Thursday, March 10, 2011

New Website

Hello all, LMS Defense has migrated this blog to our new web site:

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Monday, August 23, 2010


By Yancey Harrington, LMS Defense

I recently had the opportunity to use and subsequently test some of the US Primary Armament & Logistical Manufacturing, also known as US Palm ( ), AK30 magazines made for the AK-47 rifle. Basically, if you have an AK in 7.62x39 that accepts double stack magazines, this magazine will fit your rifle. I became aware of US Palm a few months ago while I was still working security contract overseas. Our local national guard-force was equipped with AK’s of various manufacture as well as magazines of every imaginable source; many of them were of local and questionable reliability. As can be imagined, without quality magazines and ammunition, the rifle is a useless boat anchor.

Basically the US Palm AK30 Magazine exhibits the following characteristics:
- Caliber: 7.62x39mm
- Capacity: 30 rounds
- Material: Proprietary Polymer
- Weight: 7.0 ounces
- Overall Length: 9"
- Overall Width: 1 3/16"

These magazines are made in the United States by Americans, and they are a little more expensive than foreign made AK magazines. While these magazines are not for everyone, the fact they are US made by a very reputable company will attract many, as well it should.

The AK30 magazines come in black, FDE and a new color called Bakelite which is a reddish brown similar to the Soviet Bakelite AK magazines of the Cold War era.

After I returned stateside, I got a few of these magazines to check out and see what their deal was. My tests were not scientific, but rather practical. First, I tested ease of loading…I was able to load the requisite 30 rounds with no problem at all. Loading is easy until you get to about the 25th round, and it gets a little tougher, it’s tougher, not impossible. Note: The Lula AK Mag Loader/Unloader will fit on the AK30 magazine with a little bit of effort. The Lula makes loading, and more importantly in my book, unloading a breeze. Inserting the AK30 into a Kalashnikov based rifle is no different than that of common steel or synthetic magazines.

There were a couple threads on various internet forums where some folks stated that they had accidentally dropped fully loaded US Palm AK30 magazines onto the carpeted floors of their homes and the magazines broke. So, what did I do, I took a fully loaded AK30 magazine… and dropped it onto the hard packed Nevada high desert ground from shoulder height. I did this several times in front of several students. Then, I tossed it across the range, perhaps about 10-15 feet. We all then inspected the magazine, inserted the magazine into a student’s rifle and shot all the rounds in the magazine with no problem in the cycling.

The AK30 magazine was fully loaded again and the torture existed again. The magazine was dropped onto some large stones that were on the range…base of magazine, then on the lips of the magazine. Once again, the magazine was inserted and the rounds fired and no appreciable problems. Ok… now, let’s purposely try to break this magazine.

With the AK30 magazine fully loaded, I did a softball wind-up pitch and sent the fully loaded magazine about 30 feet vertically into the air… as the AK30 magazine hit the ground, some rounds popped out. We all inspected the magazine… no visible problems. So, I replaced the rounds that popped out and did it again… up the magazine went and back down it crashed and a few rounds popped out again. We all then inspected the magazine again and still… no visible problems that we can see. The magazine was inserted into an AK and we shot a few rounds and there were no problems with feeding. We replaced the missing rounds… and up it went again… this time… the front magazine well catch of the AK30 magazine broke and it could no longer be inserted into an AK rifle.

I believe the test was to such an extreme that it was to the point of being unrealistic. However, having been around foreign and third country nationals working various security contracts in the Middle East and South-West Asia some of this abuse could be expected. After all, things that are unexplainable do happen.

US Palm also manufactures a dedicated AK chest rigs called the AK Attack Rack that actually holds AK magazines! I am so tired of using M4 chest rigs and having to cram AK magazines into a pouch that they are not meant for. They also make interesting plate carries and other soft goods with and without armor that would be ideal for minimalist Low Profile operations. This company has allot of promise and I will be watching them closely!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


By Yancey Harrington

A great number of us believe that preparation is key to survival, and it is. A greater of number of us have every imaginable trauma kit known or imagined by man. I’d venture to guess that some of us can probably outfit a Level I Trauma Center.

For the better part of the last 20 years I have been traveling for work. Of those last 20 years, I spent 20 months working for a private security company in Iraq and in Afghanistan. While I worked overseas, either on my person, in my vehicle, on near my bed in my quarters I had appropriate trauma supplies. When I travel, I have with me the appropriate trauma supplies for whatever may happen. Preparation is key…

Recently, upon returning home to the United States, I attended a trade show in a very well known convention city in America’s Southwest. People from every corner of the planet converged to this trade show to see the latest wares of their industry. With them, they bring a myriad illnesses, colds, etc. This, coupled with the air circulation system that continually insures that everybody gets to breathe everyone else’s, possibly, contaminated air, virtually guaranteeing that the visitor to trade shows is almost guaranteed to come down with something.
I happened to be of the later, I came down with a mild case of bronchitis. This was diagnosed after I had returned home after a very short flight.
Now, what happens when you are across the water, in…Europe for example: Europe is very user friendly, easy to navigate, remarkably similar universal product offerings that we Americans would be very familiar with. So, there I was, in a familiar destination in Western Europe that I had been to so many times before. Very familiar, well inside my comfort zone, and I have my every day carry stuff: pocket knife, flashlight… and in my pack, first aid, and small trauma kit. All this is well and good.

I went to a “Get Together Party” on Saturday night as I have every year. Met with old friends, met new friends, food and drink was plenty and I generally had a good time. When I woke up Sunday morning before I even opened my eyes I knew that the beers that I drank the night before did not cause the way I felt. Immediately, I felt as though I had a fever, as I stood, I was dizzy. Within 30 minutes of waking, the sweats started and continued all day. I had severe body aches and a headache that would have killed all of Africa’s Dangerous Big Game Animals. On top of this, had severe thirst, so I opened the mini bar in the room and took out all the water, mineral water, juice, etc, and proceeded to drink it all. Then I took the bottles, rinsed them out and filled them with water from the tap…and repeated it again, and then again. I tried sleeping, but only slept about 30 minutes at a time. By noon I was facing the music that I was one sick puppy. I got dressed and went down stairs, head throbbing, to ask where I can get some aspirin. The concierge looked visibly disturbed that I would ask for aspirin and politely informed me the hotel had no aspirin for sale or to give out. I then asked where I can go get some, he said take your car and go….I didn’t have a car. Okay, get a taxi and…. I looked outside, it was snowing and I was dripping with sweat. I returned to my room and lay down again without being able to get any over the counter medications at all. Finally, about 12 hours into this ordeal, I found that I did have some Ibuprofen and some Aspirin in a non-emergency first aid kit that I had. Thank heavens I had that and it indeed did offer a degree of relief.

All of this brought to point an important point in self preparation: we might have all the items we think we need, but do we? After all, I was in a user friendly European country, well stocked with all the stuff I could have possibly needed and could have had relief if I hadn’t had been so sick, if the pharmacy was closer and the weather was more cooperative.

Luckily I was able to get some aspirin and get home and get treated. I will say though, that this 36 hour bout with whatever virus I managed to pick up floored me. Then I began to think about another level of preparation: while trauma supplies are necessary, we should have sick call level, over the counter medications as well. So, I contacted my friend Mike Griffin of Austere Provisions Company and asked his opinion of this and luckily he informed me that his company is looking to offer this very same concept.

Here are some of the contents:
-Acetaminophen 500mg 12 Packets of 2 (Compare to Tylenol)
-Aspirin 325mg 18 Packets of 2 (Compare to Bayer)
-Ibuprofen 200mg 18 Packets of 2 (Compare to Motrin)
-Phenylephrene HCL 5mg 18 Packets of 2 (Compare to Sudafed PE)
-Diphenhydramine 25mg 18 Packets of 1 (Compare to Benadryl)
-Loratadine 10mg 3 Packets of 1 (Compare to Claritin)
-Alamag Plus 24 Packets of 2 (Compare to Maalox Plus)
-Loperamide HCL 2mg 12 Packets of 1 (Compare to Imodium AD)
-Meclizine Hydrochloride 25mg 3 Packets of 1 (Compare to Dramamine Less Drowsy)
-Cold Relief Multi-Component Tablet 12 Packets of 2
-Zantac 75 6 Packets of 1
-NoDoz 200mg 9 Packets of 2
-Talnaftate 1% 12 Packets of cream (Compare to Tinactin)
-Assorted Flavors of Vitalyte Electrolyte Replacement Solution 6 Packets for mixing with 16oz of water each

All packed into a LOKSAK baggy. For those of you unfamiliar with some of these dosing and use instructions are printed on each item.

I can, without doubt, recall on business trips, deployments, in the past that I could have used every one of these items in the past.

This offering is called the 72 Hour Individual Sick Call Kit and will be available from Austere Provisions Company:

This was a learning experience for me and I will not be caught unprepared again. I’d like to elaborate that this kit is not the end all of kits. It’s merely a part of the overall puzzle to get you, or keep you on your feet so that you can get to where you need to be and get the medical attention that you require.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Dear Pistol Log.....

The keys to healthy living are living a balanced life, making sure you take in adequate servings of sunlight, water, carbs, protein, healthy fats, and pistol training.

Yes, I said pistol training. If I skip more than one day of dry or live fire I become violently ill and become intolerable to be around.

Ammo is not cheap, so I prefer copius amounts of dryfire mixed in with my live fire work.

There are various ways to perform your daily pistol work. You can perform skills in isolation or combine them into larger drills that force you to focus on multiple tasks/manipulations.

Here is what I did at the range this morning. Total ammo expended was 20 rounds. I got 150 quality trigger presses doing 20 cycles of dry/live fire.

I started with 5 draws from concealment, pressing out and breaking the shot on a 3x5 card at 10 yds.
These were all dry fire. After each click, I performed tap/rack, slacked out the trigger and then recovered back to the compressed high ready and did a quick scan.

The live portion started with an empty magazine in the weapon, live magazine in my mag pouch, and an empty chamber.
Drawing from concealment, I pressed off the shot (click) at full extension and executed immediate action (tap-rack). This brought me to slide lock so I executed a slide lock reload and fired 1 live round at the 3x5 card. This entire dry/live cycle was repeated 20 times.

So you can see how I get to 6 dry fire presses for each live round fired. Each live cycle works on the draw, presentation, malfunction clearance, emergency reload, confirmation of marksmanship with 1 live round, and post shooting scan.

Dry fire doesn't have to be boring or tedious. Use it to be a force multiplier for your live fire training efforts.

If you haven't taken any professional training before, look for an LMS Defense One Day Pistol Clinic in your area,
In addition you receiving a good grounding of the fundamentals, you will learn how to set up and develop your own personal training plan.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Instructor Profile: Todd Nielsen

Editors note: We are adding a new format to the blog in the form of interviews. In the first interview, we feature Todd Nielsen, LMS Defense Instructor.

How long have you been a cop and where has your career taken you regarding your position?

Well it has been a long time since I have thought about that. I started April 19th, 1990 as a Reserve Police Officer. I was a Reserve Officer until April 24th 1995. To be honest I didn’t ever really think I would be cop, even though my Grandfather was a Police Officer in my home town back in Minnesota. I was working in a Bike/Ski shop as the Repair Shop manager when I had a bunch of guys from our Ski team bringing in their skis to get tuned up. Because of my Grandfather we started up a conversation and built a friendship. At the time my supervisor was actually testing for the police department. After he was hired I went on a ride along with him. I was hooked ever since.

After I was in the reserves for a couple of years I was promoted to Sergeant. I was in charge of the new level 2 reserves that came in and it was crazy to say the least because back then everyone wanted to be a cop. I started the first Reserve Bicycle Patrol Unit. The Rodney King riots came and it was a wakeup call. It changed my profession forever. No longer were we respected and trusted. Now everything we do is scrutinized.

I finally finished up my college and was able to apply for a full time position. 1994 was the worst year of my life because the same week I put in my application we had a hiring freeze. In late 1994 the freeze was lifted but I had to reapply. We had over 3600 applicants for 60 positions. No competition there! Not to mention the fact I am a white guy that doesn’t speak any other languages. I made it through the process and was hired. While in the academy I began to see that being a team leader was in my future. Literally two days into the academy I was told by my T/O (Tac-Officer) that I was going to be a team leader. I hated being responsible for others that were on my team but you don’t argue with your T/O. I graduated as Top Gun in my class, Vice President, and Team Leader.

I went into the FTO (Field Training Officer Program) right out of the academy and I was lucky to have my first FTO be Ray Ireland. He has shaped my career even today. On my first day and before our first call I saw a car that looked weird and drove up to it. As we drove up everyone scattered and the foot pursuit was on! Turned out the car was stolen and they had just stolen it. It was a hell of a start in the FTO program! Ray was so pissed because he hadn’t had his coffee yet! I cut my hand going over a fence and arresting one guy. When I brought him back to Ray he was fuming pissed. I learned a lot about Officer Safety and pre-planning from that case. Thanks again Ray.

I was released a month early from the program and assigned to a very senior team, me the rookie and the closest to my seniority was on for 21 years. The saving grace was that I was on day shift and had weekends off! Three months later I began the learning curve of midnights on the Eastside of San Jose. Back then we were having shootings once a week. It was crazy busy and I loved it. I was hooked on adrenaline and loved the fast pace. Working Mids and being proactive I was asked to become a FTO. Now Rays influence really came into play. He taught me the basics of being a good mentor. I was one of the most junior officers that was an FTO. It sucked because I could never bid a team that I wanted to work. That’s what happens in a seniority based department.

In 1997 I became a member of our now named Specialist Group. It is a core group of officers that have an AR-15 variant rifle and receive extra training. We were started as a response to the bank robbery in Los Angeles in which LAPD had to commandeer AR-15 from a local gun store to try and stop the robbers.

In 1998 I had my career turned upside when we lost our helicopter pilot and the mechanic. Desmond Casey (the pilot) was my old supervisor that I went on my first ride along with. On the day of Desmond's funeral I lost another friend, and mentor to a car accident. It was a rough week for me, but it taught me to be prepared and ready for anything.

In 2000 I was selected to go to a new unit that was formed called Metro. We focused on quality of life crimes and did tactical entries for Patrol. That I feel was what started me down the path in working for LMS Defense. I started out working the Prostitution thing and now scared about how much I know about the sex trade. Working the whores I learned more and more about dope. Dope was my transition from working the whores. Dope lead to doing entries and being a TL (Team Leader) it was my job to get warrants and execute them.

2001 changed my career again when Officer Jeffery Fontana was gunned down. My unit was the liaison with the field operations for the investigations. It was 12 days of 20 hour days. We literally had guys sleeping in their cars in our parking lots so that that they could get back to work faster. I will never forget how we all chose to skip the skip the funeral because we wanted to put that @#$%^& in jail. It sucked not going to say good bye to my fallen comrade but it was better to arrest his killer and bring him to justice.

In 2003 I was assigned to our Training Unit. I trained all of our in service people in Slow/Dynamic Search Techniques, Low Light Firearms Techniques, Active Shooter Techniques, First Aid/CPR, Tactical Interpersonal Communications, and Use of Force. I did a lot of team training for different teams. It was a lot of fun and definably lead to me becoming part of LMS Defense. I had the ability to attend training with a number of trainers. One that stuck out the most was Kyle Lamb. Back then he was just an Army SOF guy that had a training company and wanted to show us what he had to offer. It changed our Specialist Group dramatically. The guys we had in charge of the program where forward thinkers and saw that what was happening in the world needed to be addressed by our department. We continued training with him as an outside training provider. To say the least he shaped my teaching career. Realistic training is so hard to find in the LEO world we had to stick with him because it was real training. That training changed how we as a department actually trained. I have developed so many scenarios that are based on real life that I can’t possibly keep track of most of them. I left the training unit to go back to the FTO program in 2006.

In 2007 I met this guy by the name of John Chapman. He seemed so easy going and was starting this training company called LMS Defense. At the time Ken Hardesty was my neighbor and we did a bunch of training together and he was working for Chappy. He needed some help in this area and ultimately I passed my interview with Chappy and began to work with LMS Defense. I was scared to death. I had been training cops but this was going to be way different. I taught my first class with this crazy Navy Corpsman named Jim “Doc” Amentler. I was so nervous that I would screw up. I ended up doing a photo shoot for this company I really didn’t know much about that Chappy asked me to be there for. That company was Laser Devices. Next thing I know I was the poster child in 6 magazines. I taught a bunch of classes and then Ken my teaching partner moved out of the bay area. Now I was on my own and the rest is LMS Defense History.

I was in the FTO program until 2008 when I chose to just be a patrol officer, because of some political things I saw coming down the pike. I have been in Patrol ever since. I am currently assigned to the Patrol division and working back on the eastside of the city. It just feels like home to me.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Straight and Narrow

In our never ending quest to become a better shooter, we often practice what we are good at and what is fun to us. From time to time though, we become aware of areas and skill sets that we are neglecting or that we have become inefficient at.

Regardless of what drills we are running or what scenarios we are working through, mastery and execution of the basic fundamentals of shooting is important. Stance, grip, sight alignment, sight picture, trigger control, followthrough, and breathing all must be handled on a conscious and ideally subconcious level.

Grip is an area that is hard to quantify for some. Different schools of thought advise 60/40, 70/30, or equal grip ratios for support hand/firing hand gripping efforts. Trigger control is another area that new shooters many times have difficulty mastering. What's important is getting enough gun time to find out what works for you with your selected weapon.

Here is one simple drill that will help you gauge your grip tension and trigger control. All that is required is a target backer and a strip of tape, black works best. Run the tape vertically on the target.

From the holster or a ready position, fire single round engagements at the vertical target. Only concern yourself with putting your rounds through the narrow vertical target. Shoot this drill at various ranges: 3, 7, and 10 yards. Any grip or trigger control issues you have will quickly become evident with rounds off to either side of the tape.

Add this to your next several dry fire sessions and head to the range to validate what you've been working on. I'm confident your work will be fruitful and your shots will be centered on whatever target you are engaging.

I know this has helped me. Try this and let us know how it works for you. Come discuss it at our forums here:

Monday, March 1, 2010

Dry/Live Practice Routine

by Mike Perez, LMS Defense Instructor

A disciplined dry fire practice routine is absolutely critical in weapons training; not only for keeping our skills sharp, but for taking our skills to the next level. On the one hand, you can spend hours at the range shooting hundreds of rounds to reach a performance peak only to return to the range a short time later to find those skills severely diminished. You then spend half of your range day shooting to get back to where you were and the next half gaining only marginal improvement. It's not just inefficient, it's just plain wasteful of time and ammo, neither of which are in surplus for most of us.

On the other hand, a few short minutes a week can not only help maintain our skills but actually improve them. None of this is really news but here's the rub: An unorganized dry fire practice routine can be just as inefficient if not as wasteful! So often we practice things at home dry and then get to the range and practice something completely different live. That's like an athlete training for a marathon by running sprints. Our live fire practice should be a verification of the things we practice and learn in dry fire practice.

Dry fire practice is a way to get the most out of your training investments. A wise man *cough cough* (Chappy) once told me at the conclusion of the first LMS Defense class I took that "the class was not training". While I scratched my head wondering what I was doing there if not training he continued, "this is a down payment on training, if you want to truly own these skills you must make your payments in dry fire practice. If you skip the payments you lose the skills".

Too often in this business students use courses as their only form of practice and end up frustrated when they don't see the desired improvement. But if they spent some quality time practicing in between their LMS Defense Pistol 1 and Pistol 2 classes, they would begin to see exponential improvement and realize the true value of their training. So how then do we get the most out of our dry fire practice time? A dry/live practice routine is a great way to see actual progress in our skills and keep our training interesting and relevant.

Example, choose three skills or techniques you want to work on the next time you go to the range, such as draws, reloads, and one handed shooting. Next, plan dry fire practice sessions between now and your next range day that incorporates each of these skills or techniques. Five minutes on each per session is plenty. Then at the next live fire range practice, spend the first hour at the range practicing draws, reloads and one handed shooting. While at this live fire practice, review the documented results of your dry fire practice time, note improvement, identify problem areas, and then you can move on to other skills. End your session with two or three things you will work on during the down time between your range sessions. You will now have fresh skills to work on and incorporate into your routine. This practice method can add value and efficiency to your training time and dollar.

And remember, always follow your dry fire safety protocol. Stay safe.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

To Carry or Not?

By Matt Merony, LMS Defense Instructor

I am a Law Enforcement officer and get asked all the time if I carry my sidearm off-duty or not and if I do how often? My answer to people is yes and almost always. I say I almost always off-duty carry because there are certain situations where carrying a firearm would not be appropriate. These situations would include anything that puts you in a state where your judgment may be impaired. The following is just my two cents.

It is my opinion that officers are never “off-duty”. When a person takes their oath they do not swear to “protect the citizens of their community for a certain numbers of hours on a particular day”. As a trainer in my agency this is a battle I have fought with others many times. The following are some of the responses I have been given when I pose the above question to fellow officers: “I’m not getting paid for it so I’m not doing it”, “This is a paycheck, when I leave for the day I leave everything here”, or “It’s too hard to conceal” and my answer to them is to find another job. We as Law Enforcement have been given the task of protecting our communities from ever growing violence in society, a task we freely accepted by taking our oath’s. The first Department I worked for made it mandatory for officers to carry their weapon off-duty, the only excused days were if the officer was sick or they were on vacation and this was a large metropolitan department; in my opinion every department should have this policy. We are given the training to employ our weapons in an effective manner to stop a threat and we owe it to the people we serve to be able to do that whether “on duty” or not.

Civilian Concealed Carry holders have made the decision to be armed and it is a decision that should not have been taken lightly. If you are one of the people that got a Concealed Carry License just because you could and do not train with your weapon, do yourself and society a favor and lock up your gun and never touch it; you will ultimately only hurt some innocent person and put the ones you love through a legal nightmare. The others that have taken the step to get the training and pursue additional training in order to better prepare themselves, I applaud you. Armed citizens have made the choice not to be victims to the ever increasing predatory nature of criminals in our society. The decision to carry your weapon should not be made whether it is convenient to do so or not, I don’t recall suspects asking people if it was a “convenient” time for them to be a victim. If you are licensed to carry a weapon, and appropriately trained to do it, then please do; you may be all that stands between an armed assailant and a massacre.

It is far better to have and not need than to need and not have. Again, this is just my opinion. Train hard, train often, and stay safe.

Monday, February 8, 2010

How will you be remembered?

by Rob Edwards, LMS Defense Instructor

I have been a law enforcement officer close to 20 years now. With 10 or so years left on the job, I have begun to think of how I will be remembered. You can call it self-centered or conceited if you want. I would rather say I am concerned about how my peers feel about me. I want to feel like I have served my team well and earned my living. I also like to think that I made a difference. I think of guys that I know that came before me. Some I have the utmost respect for, others I don’t. What impact did they have in their chosen profession? What impact will you have?

Whether you strap a weapon on and defend our streets, defend your household, or serve in the armed forces, you have a job to do. Do you train for the event that your teammate or family will need you most? I often see guys in my line of work that refuse to train. They look at being an armed professional as being a job and not a way of life. I know it’s not just the police that don’t want to train. It comes in all line of work. The one thing that I always try and remember is that I am constantly being evaluated. That evaluation is informal but is conducted by peers, citizens, or family members. I refuse to be a failure or fail the people who mean the most to me. What they think is very important.

I am making it my commitment to be the best I can be. Every day I will do the best job I can. Not for me but for everyone who I come in contact with. It is kind of a life re-dedication. I encourage you to do the same. As I contribute to this blog, I plan to focus on pushing all of us to be the best we can be. Hopefully you and I both will get something out of it. At LMS Defense we have experts in all facets of shooting and tactics. I would like to push your mind. The mind is the ultimate weapon. How will I be remembered? That is for others to decide. My goal is simple, a professional!

Stay safe.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Pocket Carry IFAK Update

Well, if you look back about a year, you'll see a blog entry I made on a small trauma kit meant for everyday carry. The premise being, what you have in your pockets day to day, is all you're likely to have should bad luck find you.

The kit has held up and worked well, however carry was only possible while wearing cargo pants due to the size of the pouch. Fine with me, but I also need to wear jeans from time to time (per my wife).

Not to long ago, I borrowed a friend's vacuum sealer and created a pouch with the same capabilities in a much smaller footprint. I wanted something wallet sized that I could carry in a front pocket.

What's in it? Swat tourniquet to function as a tourniquet or pressure dressing. Quickclot Combat gauze to pack a wound or apply hemostatic agent at the point of bleeding. Gloves to keep the ickies off me. And if need be, the wrapper can function as a chest seal. I cut some pre-tears on the edge of the packaging to allow easier opening under stress.
Like any other piece of equipment though, if not trained properly it will be of little value to you. Get training somewhere, anywhere, and maintain and increase your skills. Being physically fit and proficient with your carry weapon is only part of the package. You need to be able to treat yourself or a loved one until professional medical help arrives.
LMS Defense's Defensive Medicine course is one place you may want to start. Here's a link to one coming up in March in Nevada and here's an after action review of a recent course in California
Start the year out right and inventory the skills and training you have and what you're lacking.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Weapons Mounted Lights

By Jeff Hogan

Since 9/11, the firearms industry and gear industry has grown in leaps and bounds. I can't even keep up any more with all the new "must haves" that come out what seems like every other day.

The best products invented,besides the accessory rail handguards for the AR15,has to be the weapon mounted light. I come from a time when night sights were too expensive for the regular cop to afford and using a PVC, mag light and hose clamp was the weapon mounted light for a rifle. In reality, weapons mounted lights have been around forever but when they were designed to be a designated system, it was a breath of fresh air.

Alot of departments will not allow weapon mounted lights for their officers. This is something I have yet to understand. Why would you want to keep your officers at risk?

The argument against weapon lights that I hear all the time is, " You will cover what you are not willing to destroy because your light goes where the muzzle goes" or vice versa. I call BS on that.

If your house is blacked out, turn on your weapon mounted light and point your weapon at about a 45 degree angle. Does the light reflect off the walls, pictures and floor? Does it give you enough ambient light to identify a threat? Yes it does. The other argument I hear is that it will give away your position. Well gee, what do you think that hand held light is doing? Even if held out with the arm fully extended, it is causing enough ambient light to show your body.

I have proven in several classes that you will not cover your children, wife or dog if you search with a weapon mounted light. The reaction from people is generally the same. It is a look of disappointment. Because so and so said it in a magazine, it must be true and they just took it as gospel and never tried to challenge it.

Open ground searches are a different animal that we will get into at a later time but I challenge you to clear your house with your handgun or rifle with a weapon mounted light. I'll bet you can do it with out covering something you are not willing to destroy.

In the picture below, you can see how much light bounces off of furniture and walls. There is plenty of light to identify a threat while not covering anyone with your muzzle. The light is an X300 mounted on a short barrel rifle. I am standing at the low ready at about a 45 degree angle to the ground.

Monday, January 11, 2010

To Stay or Go – What will you do during a crisis or emergency?

By Jason Drader, LMS Defense Instructor

In the spring of 2009 I wrote a column for the blog on planning to make it home, whether it be during inclement weather or during a crisis or disaster of some kind. Since then I have continued read comments made by folks about grabbing their rifle and the bug-out bag when the SHTF and heading for the hills.

Unfortunately I don’t see a lot of value in the prevailing concept of heading for the hills as soon as the proverbial SHTF. In some extreme cases, it might be the only answer. But the concept itself leads to more problems than it answers. So let’s explore what it takes to make the decision to stay or go during a crisis.

For myself and those that I care for, departing our home is the last thing I am going to do during a crisis unless absolutely necessary. For me, we are talking about imminent or immediate threat to life such as a chemical or biological hazard, where staying home would mean our certain demise. Post disaster such as an Earthquake would be another, where the damage is so bad that staying home would be hazardous. So short of such incidents, I’m not going anywhere. My bug-out bags are in fact get home bags. They are to sustain me and those I care for until we can make it home.

There seems to be a prevailing attitude or belief with some people that anarchy, whatever it ends up being, will best be sorted out with a bug-out bag and a gun and running around the hills. Unfortunately, I believe this belief can do more harm than good.

OK, so let’s say you made a decision to GO…now where are you going and what are you going to do when you get there? IF you can even get there.

Rolling with your decision to bug out for whatever reason, let’s say you have a three day pack, rifle and the seasonal clothes. You were lucky to hit the roads before the masses and traveled 350 miles en-route to Uncle Herb’s farm in the hills…a spur of the moment decision. Uncle Herb has stuff stashed away, he will look after you right? Unfortunately, you have run out of gas about 100 miles short of your destination and yes, you are in the middle of no where and no one is interested in stopping to help you. There are no services available. You will have to walk to Uncle Herb’s.

Now, imagine this 100 mile trek by foot in the winter time in the Pacific Northwest where you are going to be rained and snowed on for a good week at stretch. Why will it take you a week or more? Because you have a wife and three kids aged 7, 9 and 11 along. Remember that 3 day pack? It now has to sustain five people. I expect you ran out of food and fresh water before you were more than a day on foot because there wasn’t any stored in the vehicle and your wife grabbed her knitting bag and not the pack you set out for her.

You have a tarp and a couple of solar blankets, but you are still soaked and freezing as is the rest of your family. You haven’t slept properly in three days now. It isn’t just the cold and wet. For the last two nights there have been shots not that far away. You though that you may have even heard screams. You are the only person that can shoot, so you have to remain awake for security reasons.

Sounds like fun right? Trouble is it isn’t necessarily that far from reality. I believe that many people rest upon unrealistic preparations, planning, equipment and ability to solve there post-crisis problems. When in reality they add to the problem by becoming a casualty themselves. In many cases this can be avoided.

Let’s say there was a crisis of some kind, but we didn’t need to go. Let’s say we decided to bug-in instead of bugging-out. There are a huge amount of advantages to bugging in. For starters, many of the things we need day to day are already there; clothing, blankets, food, water, medicine, toiletries, etc. Our home gives us shelter (hopefully) from the elements and a good amount of security if we spend a bit of time preparing.

Our preparations to bug-in, aside from the normal stocks in the household, are specific items that are set aside just for a crisis or emergency. We have a supply of water and provisions to sustain us for at least a couple of months should we be unable to leave the home. We have a box of over the counter meds to treat cough, cold and flu symptoms, pain meds and other things we might need but are unable to go out and buy. If you have prescription meds that you need to take daily or something to that affect, ask your Doctor for an extra prescription so that you can have a supply on hand.

Extra batteries, glow sticks, solar and hand crank lights are also stored for times we may be without power. I also have a fairly comprehensive medical kit set aside as well.

For securing the home, I have been laying on a stock of ½ inch and ¾ inch plywood to cover doors and windows. I don’t live in hurricane or tornado country. I have the plywood to add to security of the home during a time of crisis. If your windows and doors are covered for the most part and you have someone on the other side determined to get in despite those coverings and warnings from you on the other side, its pretty obvious their intent is less than honourable.

While there are plenty of us that can look after ourselves for an extended period in the field, at some point supplies run out. Having a family to care for can compound issues very quickly. You can only carry so much stuff. Sure I have heard people discuss using utility trailers, RV’s, etc. Again, if absolutely necessary they are fine.

Caches might be an option if you are so inclined, but they require a considerable amount of planning and effort to put in place and maintain. Not to mention you may have to bug-out the opposite direction of your caches, in which case they won’t do you any good.

A retreat or cabin might also be an option. But the majority of people don’t have the luxury of such things.

With a little planning, bugging in can sustain the majority of people through many different emergency scenarios that you could well envision, and most people would be better off for it. You are less likely to become a casualty yourself and face it, emergency services are already going to maxed out. Why not add bugging in to your preparedness plans? Stay safe.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

How many ways can you skin a cat?

Posted for Troy Price:

Many firearms trainers quote "Hicks Law" as the reason to train to a finite number of techniques when using firearms, with no variation. Hick's Law generally states that the more options that you have the longer it takes to choose an option and execute it.

The trainers' (there have been more than a few from multiple different organizations that I have witnessed) reasoning usually includes the precept that the more ways that an individual knows to perform a specific task the longer it will take them to perform that task or the more options a person has the longer it takes to respond. While this could potentially true if the individual in question has not mastered any singular technique, I want to point out some flaws in using Hick's Law to justify a singular methodology of training or technique.

Hick's experiments (and the previous experiments of Fitt and Donder) used a known stimuli to trigger a known response: see a light or sequence of lights (Morse Code), press a button or see a colored light press a colored button. Where the options came in was that the numbers of buttons to be pushed went from two to 10-15 depending on which experiment.Issues:The response to be performed was to push a button; the choice of button was increased but not the task of pushing the button. In a threat/conflict scenario your options are not that limited. You can run, punch, stab, subdue, or any number of other choices (and those are just fight/flight choices). When it comes to clearing weapons malfunctions the desired end result is the same every time; be able to continue the fight not to specifically clear the weapon. This can be done by clearing the weapon, choosing another weapon, etc. etcHick's experiments found that after a specific number of options had been reached reaction times were the same no matter how many more options were presented (that number was generally 4). This somewhat rules out the logic that the more options you have the longer it will take you to respond ad infinitum.

Hick's experiments did not take into account the option of no action being taken. This has to do specifically with the algorithm that demonstrates Hick's Law but can be used to illustrate the absence of multiple courses of action or the actions of other individuals (ex: when I am in public with my friends they are usually as well armed as I am and potentially solve the problem before I do - not saying this should be a consideration but it is a variable that is unexplained by Hick's Law)Hick's experiments found a correlation between intelligence (measured by IQ) and response time.

His conclusion was (no surprise here) that the more intelligent an individual is the faster their brain processes information. This can be extrapolated to demonstrate that the better you process information the faster you can choose from multiple options. (ex. the more skills you have mastered and continue to practice the faster you will be able to choose).

Hick's experiments showed that between the introduction of options 2-4 there was measurable increase in response time. The problem with this is that between each experiment the options were moved or switched around. The person executing had to evaluate each option because its location was unknown. In solving a threat/conflict you should know, and have practiced if not mastered, each and every one of your available options. In choosing an otion that you have mastered there is no "unknown location variable" as created in Hick's experiments.

Bottom Line:
If someone quotes you Hick's Law, or any other physic/behavioral law, as a reason for learning to perform a task/technique in a singular fashion you might want to be wary.

Conclusion: Go train. Learn several different ways to perform the same task. Choose what works best for you and master it. Remember the other techniques and practice them.

Why? Because you may be forced to do it that way due to the dynamics of a situation.

Saturday, September 5, 2009


I saw this today and took heart. We are exposed to so many young people being spinless, I am strongly encouraged to see some character in a high school student.

Warriors protect others at risk (hopefully controlled) to themselves.


September 1, 2009

Yazoo High athlete a hero, sheriff says

By Chris Joyner

Law enforcement and school officials are praising the efforts of a Yazoo County High School football player for disarming a 14-year-old student aboard a school bus this morning.

Yazoo County Sheriff Tommy Vaughan described Kaleb Eulls as a hero for tackling the girl, who allegedly threatened to shoot the 22 other people on the bus, some of whom where elementary school students.

“If it hadn’t been for this star football player, things could have been different,” he said. “He didn’t go overboard, but he did exactly what it took to get her on the ground.”

Vaughan, who watched the incident from the bus security camera, said the girl, whose name has not been released, entered the bus at 6:53 a.m. and moved about two-thirds of the way to the back before pulling a .380 semi-automatic handgun from her bag. The girl loaded a clip of ammunition into the gun and pointed it at several students while ordering the bus driver to pull over, Vaughan said.
“She was using some hard words,” he said. “She was saying somebody on the bus was either messing with her or picking on her.”

Vaughan said Eulls stood up, talked briefly to the girl and then tackled her, wrestling the gun away.

“He made the statement to one of my deputies that if she was going to shoot anyone he would rather she shoot him,” Vaughan said. “Watching him do that and him doing such a heroic act and not even caring about his own safety, that’s something you don’t see every day.”

Vaughan said the girl was arrested on 22 counts of attempted aggravated assault, 22 counts of kidnapping and one count of possession of a firearm on school property. She was transported to the county juvenile detention facility, he said.

Yazoo County High School Principal Billy Ray Harber would not comment on the specifics of the incident, but praised Eulls and the bus driver.

“They did a great job,” he said.

Eulls, a 6-foot 4-inch, 255-pound senior, plays defensive end and quarterback for Yazoo County and was a Dandy Dozen pick this year by The Clarion-Ledger. He has committed to Mississippi State.

Stout Hearts

Friday, September 4, 2009

Techniques vs. Tactics

Several students asked me this week "what is the difference between a technique and a tactic?".

Techniques are specific skills (front sight focus, trigger press, shooting on the move, pivots, moving as a team, etc).

Tactics is a term used to describe the combination of skills applied to a given set of circumstances.

What separates the good from the dead is their ability to think clearly enough under stress to consciously apply a correct set of skills to that specific set of circumstances.

Stout Hearts

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Photo by jason metcalfe / david howlett us tactical rifle association

We want to give a hearty congratulations to King County, WA SWAT for their First Place finish at the 2009 Washing State SWAT Rodeo.

A more professional, dedicated group of warriors would be hard to find.

Stout Hearts.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Comics blog launch

We wanted to create a single area where all of our comics could be viewed and downloaded, so we've launched a new blog.

International Poser

Friday, March 27, 2009


Given the current ammo situation, I have been hearing more than the usual banter about the value of practical firearms competitions for personal defense training. Bottom line up front: any shooting and dry practice time, no matter the motivation, serves to improve your skills.

Having said this, make sure you do not completely replace training with competitions. Competitive shooting gets you out of the house, allows you to hang out with a good bunch of folks who enjoy the same things you do, and gives you time on the guns. The fundamental gunhandling you practice will serve you well.

Do not, however, mistake practical competition scenarios for serious tactical training. Some of the rules and tactical "solutions" I have seen in competitions will get you hurt on the street. Remind yourself of the differences, and remember it's ok to lose the competition if you decide to break their "rules" (not talking about safety) in order to not go against your good habits developed in training.

In conclusion, more shooting is always good. Come talk to us about it on the forum.

Stout Hearts

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Staying Fit and Fighting the Inner Demons

By: The Hog, LMS Defense Instructor

The last year has been a sobering time for me. Both humbling and discouraging at the same time. Visits to the Doctor for my back, coming to the realization that I am older than I think I am (no matter how juvenile I act) , told that I can no longer fight, and losing my last fight. It put me in a slump where I lost interest in staying fit. I'll give a little history...

I weighed in at about 230 on a regular day, would drop weight to 205 with no problem. I then decided to cut a huge amount of weight, 75 pounds and try my hand at lightweight. In about 6 months, I cut the weight while maintaining my strength. My back gave out once again and I went to the doc who told me, I was done fighting and I needed surgery. I thought, ok, I can still train but I am in no way, having surgery. Then an opportunity arose that would have changed things for me for a while. I had an opportunity to take a lightweight fight . I told my wife, let me have this one fight. If I lose, I will quit, if I win, I will go out on top of my game and can be left with some pride. Well, it didn't quite work out the way I had planned and it started that downward spiral. I still went to the gym to teach and workout with the kids but something was scratching at me.Then I stopped going to the gym as much. I started eating wrong, didn't work out and just had no heart to put into it. I gained some bad weight. Although it was 30 pounds, it was an ugly 30 pounds. I looked in the mirror after a few months and just had enough...

This is when I started practicing what I preached. Some of the forum members and alumni had contacted me in the past about helping them lose weight and get them on a PT program. It was now time to take care of myself.

In the later parts of last year, I started to get some motivation and started a PT program of my own. I started reading books from the 50's-60's . The workouts the old timers did before performance enhancing drugs, creatine etc. etc. However, I don't have alot of money and couldn't afford a gym membership and being with my kids all day made it rough to get to the gym with my old training partners. So I thought, I don't need tons of money to get back in shape. So I went to the junkyard. I found a stainless steel bar that weighed in at 143 pounds. SWEET! I'll take that sir. I found some old 55lb tractor weights, a fire hydrant, keg and some chains. Then a buddy of mine hooked me up with an olympic weight set. Now I had everything I needed and no more excuses. For the last few months I have busted my butt to get back in shape.

You may ask, "What's the deal with a fire hydrant?" Well, you lift it in a bear hug and walk around the yard with it. It weighs in at 150 pounds. The tractor weights? My version of a poor mans kettle bell. The stainless bar? I cut it down and it made a squat bar and two dumbell bars for the olympic weights. Dumbell bars alone weigh 20lbs.

I have what I call the torture rack. It's a home made squat rack . I can do squats and a variety of pullups. I bought some baseballs, drilled holes in them and bolted chains to them. I hook them up to the torture rack and can work on grip strength pullups. In total, I have spent about 80 bucks. I'm up to 190 and it's a good 190. My cardio is lacking but I have begun a cardio program which includes running 3 miles every other day...on my garage sale treadmill. I am stronger at 36 than I was in high school.

What's the point of this blog entry? Well, we all lose sight sometimes. Whether it's how much we get to the range or our bodies. It's a proven fact that the better shape you're in, the better your chances are of surving a deadly encounter. We look at ourselves in the mirror and we don't like what we see but we lack the motivation to do something about it. It takes hard work, there is no miracle pill and it doesn't happen over night. All you have to do is...DO IT!! Set a goal for yourself. It doesn't have to be unreachable. Just small baby steps. When you reach that goal, set a new one. You will be surprised at how quickly you notice the change. You will feel better about yourself and your confidence will show. You will almost have an intimidation factor in your favor.
Look, we all have an inner demon. It may be Taco Bell, McDonald's, pain killers...whatever. Once you identify the problem, it makes it that much easier to over come and be the best you can possibly be. Will I be fighting again? Nope, but I don't care any more. I have other mountains to climb. Find your mountain and attack it, destroy it and own it.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Happy Carry

By: Kevin Williams, LMS Defense Instructor

There are several common locations for carrying a concealed handgun on one's person. Strongside hip at the 4 or 3 O'clock, weakside hip (if carrying a backup pistol), small of the back, an ankle or purse holster - all have their pro's and con's. A person's level of confidence, flexibility, any physical disabilities they may have, and body type are also just some of the factors that make some carry methods more suitable for a person than others.

A couple of things are needed regardless of which method is chosen: the pistol needs to be carried in a holster that prevents objects from entering into the trigger guard, the holster needs to stay firmly attached to one's belt, and ideally a person should be able to access the weapon with either hand and from multiple positions (standing, seated in a vehicle, laying on their back).

For the last few years I've been using the appendix carry method almost exclusively, commonly known as Appy carry. Appendix carry is holster carry with the holster located somewhere to the right of your belt buckle, typically the 12 to 2 O'clock position. Here are a few reasons why it's the method I prefer.

1. I'm faster drawing from the holster from the appendix position than from my hip at the 3 or 4 O'clock. My shot timer doesn't lie. Less ground to cover as I bring my gun on target.

2. It's less obvious to people on my flanks or rear that I'm drawing a weapon. May be important if I'm confronting multiple bad guys or if I want to draw covertly.

3. I'm safer from bump frisks or people inadvertantly contacting me and feeling my pistol because it's in front of and almost centerline of my body.

4. I'm far less likely to print through my cover garment. I can bend, squat, lean, and reach without the butt of my handgun presenting it's ugly head. I carry appendix in a t-shirt and shorts all summer long with no issues.

5. I can draw with my support side hand much easier than if I had my gun on my strongside hip. Could be important if my strongside arm is pinned by an attacker or wounded and unusable.

6. Drawing while seatbelted in a vehicle is much easier. I have had to do this once under duress in a real life encounter from a strongside holster and it was an eye opening experience.

Ok, so more than a few reasons but you get the idea. Appendix carry is a viable technique that bears looking into. As with anything self defense related, don't take my word on it. Seek out professional training, try it for yourself and see if it has merit. Then practice, practice, practice until your at the level of unconscious competence with it.

In case your wondering if this is for tiny guns only, it's not. I'm 5'10, 205 and my daily carry is a full sized Glock 17 with 2 spare magazines.

Photo of access seated and belted in vehicle:

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A Man's home is his castle

Kevin Williams, LMS Defense Instructor

Or so it should be. Everyone's probably seen those ridiculous home security system commercials on TV where the bad guys kick in the front door, and then run away like little girls when the alarm starts making noise. Of course the alarm company is on the phone calling in to make sure Mrs. Smith is ok, and the police are on their way.

Reality, no.

It makes sense to make your house a less inviting target to criminals by cutting back excess shrubbery, installing motion sensor activated lighting, and taking your cars' garage door openers in the house with you at night. But none of those will stop a determined predator.

Any house is subject to forcible entry and nothing is foolproof. But you can take some simple steps to delay a criminal's entry or make it much louder, so that you have time to orient to the threat and put your home defense plan in effect.

A good solid door with a deadbolt is the first step. I have stuffed many doors with a simple mule kick during forcible entry operations to gain access during a structure fire. Deadbolts are often present, but I'm surprised at how many homeowners don't use them.

Another low cost tool is available at Target department stores and costs about $20.

This extendable door brace makes contact with the door knob and floor and resists efforts to open the door. I have them on all lower level exterior doors in my house.

Don't forget the windows. Cut sections of PVC pipe to place in the channels of your side opening window frames, so that an intruder has to break glass to gain entry. Many hardware stores sell small alarm units that make an ear pierceing shriek when a window in opened and the alarm in armed.

Remember, the idea is to delay, deter, and create noise so that you are awakened and ready to defend yourself should that bump in the night get ugly. Your nightstand gun does you no good if you're sound asleep.

We've got a larger discussion on putting together a home defense plan on our forum. The link is

Come check it out and tell us what your thoughts are......

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Jason Drader, Managing Director
LMS Defense Canada

There are countless magazine articles and internet forums filled with all kinds of discussion on “bugging out” or SHTF scenarios. Few of these articles or discussions focus on making it home during or post-crisis, let alone how to sustain ones self or family during the trek home. If you can’t drive home, how long will it take you to get there and how will you survive in the interim?

As the fast majority of us rely on motor vehicles for getting from point A to point B, our preparations to make it home need to start there. Have a look in your vehicle, what do you see that will sustain you and your expected number of vehicle occupants for 24-48 hours? For many vehicle owners, they won’t find a damn thing.

Let’s first talk about the Get Home Bag. That’s right I didn’t say “bug out bag.” The only place I am going if I can help it is home. I have a Get Home Bag in each vehicle that is pretty much identical. Each bag is set up to help me get the family home if we are rendered unable to travel by roadway for an extended period. Each bag contains the basics; food, water, shelter, fire starter, warm clothes and a first aid kit. These items will help us get home if the need arises, or at least look after ourselves until alternate arrangements are made. If there is a crisis on, you can’t rely on checking into the Super 8 and ordering room service until it is over.

How about vehicle equipment? Perhaps the only reason you can’t drive home during a crisis is because you are simply stuck off the highway. Chances are that you aren’t going to come across a tow truck when you need one, so how about a tow strap or chain? You can have another motorist pull you back up onto the highway. How about snow chains, road flares, an axe, a shovel, spare engine and transmission oil? All of these items could aid you and your family in making it home.

After the Get Home Bag and vehicle equipment, we get into seasonal equipment. Whether travelling in an area of extreme weather conditions or not, you need to consider before you start your trek if the clothing and items you have with you will get you home if things go bad. If you are going were it is expected that it get’s cold at night, consider blankets or sleeping bags and extra clothing in the car. If travelling in arid areas, have extra water in the car. In fact, make sure at least some of the extra water is accessible to you in the passenger compartment of the car. How many times of you heard in the news of people trapped in their car for days? It would make you pretty mad being stuck in the car knowing full well you had six liters of water in the trunk!

The same can be said about clothing and footwear. While that tank top, speedo and flip flops served you well at the beach for the day’s outing, how comfortable will you feel walking 5, 10, 20 or more miles with that clothing on now that you are unable to drive?

The inability to travel by roadway during or immediately post-crisis is a common occurrence, why not include the contents of your vehicle as part of your preparations for such an event?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Rifle support gear

Kevin Williams, LMS Defense Instructor

Load carrying gear is a matter of personal preference and should be based on the expected mission parameters and needs. There are numerous options available, but many times people buy and use what they see on the internet or in the latest gun magazine.

One popular piece of equipment is the chest rig and there are several great ones available from Eagle, DBT, Tactical Tailor, and a host of other fine gear makers. Chest rigs are great for hauling magazines and equipment during classes, but they take some time to get into and don't always work well over overt armor carriers. They are well suited to a law enforcement officer or military member who has time to gear up in advance.

Another option for a rapidly deployable platform is the bandoleer. I have tried the majority of chest rigs out there and I much prefer this setup. It is very quick to don, modular to allow me to mount whatever pouches I choose, and I have access to a large amount of medical gear by rotating the bandoleer across my chest.

The bandoleer fits well regardless of whether I am wearing body armor or not. I have mounted 3 M4 magazines pouches from Eagle Industries and an Eagle horizontal utility pouch for bleeding control supplies. The bandoleer is from Blackhawk Products and is their STRIKE bandoleer.

The Eagle horizontal utility pouch contains: 4 -6" ace bandages, 4 - large rolls of kerlix gauze, 1 packet of Celox hemostatic agent, 2 CAT tourniquets, and 2 pair of gloves.


John McCoperson, LMS Defense Law Enforcement Instructor

Patrol officers lead the way. There is no way around that. Investigation, specialty units and even SWAT are needed and serve a purpose, but when things first get going, patrol is usually the first on scene. With this fact in mind, every patrol officer or deputy needs to be ready for those extra ordinary calls.

First and foremost, all should have some type of “go bag” with extra supplies. Most people think of supplies as extra ammo, while I agree, this needs to be a bit more involved than that.

First, I believe that extra water is a primary concern. During times of increased stress your body can double or triple its need for water. Remember that you are carrying more weight than normal with your vest, duty belt and whatever other equipment you have. Now, add to that a rifle, ammo for that rifle, hard plates, a go-bag or chest rig and things can get real heavy. Having to run distance carrying these things, then possibly clear a large school or commercial building where the average inside temperature is 70-74 degrees will wear you out and dehydrate you very fast. Think about standing on a perimeter for several hours without anyone able to bring you a drink. If you live in areas such as the Southwest , where temperatures can reach triple digits, your ability to operate at the top of you game will be cut well below half with out fluid intake. Add a couple of bottles of water to your gear bag. You will be glad you did.

We discussed ammo but I’ll touch on it briefly again. There are varying ideas on how much you should be carrying. I think that three to four extra magazines, on some type of carrying device or in a bag is adequate. These combined with the one in the rifle gives a load out of 120 to 150 rounds of rifle, not including your pistol and extra ammo for that. If you are in a situation that requires more than that, things are seriously bad. I am not saying this is an absolute, just a guide. For the rural deputy who’s back up maybe an hour away, or the city patrol officer who has several large schools and banks in his beat, things may change. Adjust your load out to what you feel is right.

Gunshot Trauma Kits are also a mandatory item. Not just for treating injured victims, but yourself. None of us want to think about this, but it is always a possibility. Being able to stop major bleeding, or any other major injuries that could reasonably occur, should be a mandatory skill. A minimum list of items to include in this should be; Tourniquet, trauma bandage, occlusive dressing, a compact roll of gauze and a triangular bandage. These items can be placed into a package that can be carried in a side pocket or easily within the contents of our go-bag. Build it to your needs and learn how to use its contents.

Another item should include a small set of binoculars. These are an under used item. Too many times do we advance to our objective location without observing it first. Many times we could take an extra second and check the area first if we had a set of these available to us. Again, if you are on a perimeter waiting for SWAT, a set of binoculars could provide a ton of information that you may not get without them. There are a thousand different uses. If you don’t have a set, borrow a friend’s and see how much you begin to use and depend on them.

Some sort of marking device should also be carried. I tend to use a large Sharpie Marker. It allows for use on a ton of different surfaces. It will also last a while if it is kept properly. Chem. Lights work for lighting dark areas, or doorways when securing building too. Carrying a long strip of evidence tape is a cheap way to go. It is compact, and can be torn to the desired length and tied around door knobs to mark areas.

Add a heavy duty knife to your bag. This will provide you with the ability to open, cut and even pry things in a pinch that you may not have been able to do with a small cheap folder. Knives are an over looked item in the law enforcement community.

Power bars or other sources of energy. This is low on my list because eating will not be as important as re-hydrating. We all know that we can go days without food, but a substantially lot less without water. Having said that, it sucks to go 10 hours with no food, so why not add a couple ounces to our go-bag weight and throw in some CLIFF bars.

Something that needs to be mentioned but not discussed in this article is breeching. If able, a crow bar and sledge hammer will benefit you kit also. Gaining entry to a residence or building when you absolutely must is just as important as getting there safe.

The things mentioned above are just a guide. Take a look at where you work and what your needs will be. Once you have spent a little time doing that, build a kit which works for you. Nobody can tell you with certainty what you will need. That has to be determined by you, and the little things you forget and need, will come with experience working on the job.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Some time ago, we decided to design our own set of targets to fulfill our requirements. It wasn't that we didn't think anyone else's targets were good, it was just that we couldn't find any that were realistic enough or which provided odd-angle views of threats which incorporated realistic target zones.

In our own training, we noticed we never shot at anything on an oblique angle, requiring us to identify the proper shot placement on a person from an odd angle. So, the "Tony Target" was born.

We encourage you to go to LE Targets and try some out yourself. We are interested in hearing your opinions on them at

To order the targets go to:

LMS Target 1


LMS Target 2

Stout Hearts

Monday, February 16, 2009


Bill Toy, Instructor

So, money is tight, gun prices and ammo are skyrocketing, and most of us are finding it difficult to find the time and resources to head to the range for training. How can we keep our edge and hopefully improve our capabilities in today's state of the nation?

Chappy and Jeremy have posted some excellent advice on improving your efficiency through video taping your range visits and dry fire drills. In the next few articles we will be taking a look at some other ways you can keep your edge without cutting into your already tight budget.

The first thing I would like to discuss is one of the most overlooked yet highly effective training techniques, Creative Visualization. Professional and Olympic athletes, competition shooters and tier 1 military units use this technique to improve outcomes under stress. Simply put, it is using your imagination to visualize a specific action or scenario in a very detailed manner in order to replicate a desired level of performance. While visualizing an act, you want to include every available sense (Sight, sound, feel, and even smell). You can slow the act down or execute it in real time. The key is that every single mental repetition is executed PERFECTLY.

How effective is Creative Visualization? A paper written by Charles A. Garfield Ph.D titled "Peak Performance-Mental Training Techniques of the Worlds Greatest Athletes" cites a study which matched 4 groups of world class Soviet athletes prior to the 1980 Winter Games.

• Group 1 - 100% physical training;
• Group 2 - 75% physical training with 25% mental training;
• Group 3 - 50% physical training with 50% mental training;
• Group 4 - 25% physical training with 75% mental training.

The results? Group 4 showed significantly greater improvement than group 3, which was followed by group 2 and finally 1.

We have all heard the term "Practice doesn't make perfect, PERFECT Practice makes perfect." By including Visualization into your training plan you will make the most of your limited range time and ammo budget. In the next post I will take a look at how to conduct visualization and incorporate it into your training plan.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

IBM files Matrix bullet dodging patent

When I first read this over at HotAir, I thought to myself, this is going to be good.

I was right. Turns out IBM indeed has filed a patent to this effect. Patent #7484451 to be exact.

Here is the abstract from the actual patent.

A method of protecting a target from a projectile propelled from a firearm comprises detecting an approaching projectile, continuously monitoring the projectile and transmitting an actual position of the projectile to a controller, computing an estimated projectile trajectory based upon the actual position of the projectile, determining an actual position of a target with a plurality of position sensors and a plurality of attitude sensors, determining whether the estimated projectile trajectory coincides with the actual position of the target, and triggering a plurality of muscle stimulators operably coupled to the controller and to the target when the estimated projectile trajectory coincides with the actual position of the target, wherein the muscle stimulators stimulate the target to move in a predefined manner, and wherein the target moves by an amount sufficient to avoid any contact with the approaching projectile. The projectile may be detected in the detecting step by emitting an electromagnetic wave from a projectile detector and receiving the electromagnetic wave after the electromagnetic wave has been reflected back toward the projectile detector by the projectile.

Will it work? Who knows. What I do know is I would rather address a lethal threat with the appropriate level of lethal force. Preferably before I need to dodge a bullet.

I'm sure Chappy will weigh in on this with some real world wisdom at a later date.

Friday, February 6, 2009


Back in the day (late 90's), I was turned on to a simple way to drastically improve my shooting: video feedback. I know this is probably not the first time you've heard of making a video of your training for review and correction later, but reading some old AAR's of some of Paul Howe's classes jarred my memory.

I stopped doing this at some point when the camera I was using died, and just never really started it up again. Pretty lame, huh. If you are having issues finding a training partner, or you and your partner only get together occasionally, video feedback is a must. As with all training, honesty with yourself is obviously a must. If you are just taking video to see yourself being a badass, don't waste your time. Remember, growth requires pain and struggle. Be ruthless with yourself, and share the video with your partner and have him rip it apart.

Use this invaluable tool to identify things requiring work, and develop your plan accordingly. I am interested to hear your thoughts on camera types and systems for this application, as I am now in search of a good camera system.

Take advantage of this lesson learned at my expense: just because it's not convenient, doesn't mean it's not valuable.

Stout Hearts

Monday, January 26, 2009

What's in your pockets?

If you're like most of us, you have some sort of emergency trauma kit somewhere in your shooting gear. It makes the trip to all your range sessions, competitions, and any classes you take to become a more skilled shooter.

You probably also have a small pile of gear you stuff in your pockets each day as you go out into the world and conduct your day to day business....Pistol, holster, spare magazine or 2, small flashlight, cell phone, pager, wallet, car keys. Notice something missing here?

That life saving equipment you make sure to always have around firearms is no where to be found. You may have a first aid kit in your vehicle, but that does you about as much good as leaving it at home should you be out in public and away from your rig (anyone remember the Tacoma Mall shooting?)

The missing item here is a compact kit containing the means to stop severe bleeding. An adult can die in 2-3 minutes from an uncontrolled femoral artery bleed. By carrying a few low cost items, you can greatly increase your chances of surviving a traumatic injury.

Where and how to carry it? First off it needs to be small in size or you'll leave it behind. That bulging nylon pouch that hangs on your plate carrier is not the answer. Think wallet sized if you're a man. If you wear cargo style pants, you can get away with a slightly larger carrying container. Women have it easier in that they typically carry purses and don't need to cram something in a pocket.

The container should be water resistant and hold up to the rigors of everyday carry. Quart sized ziploc bags last about 2 weeks. A much better option I've found is this handy little pouch from REI.

For about $7, it's tear and water resistant and the contents are visible from the outside. The zipper keeps everything contained and is easily accessible.

What to carry? That's simple. My main concerns are gunshot and stab wounds and being able to control the bleeding till help arrives. For severe extremity bleeds, a tourniquet gets the job done. I carry a Combat Application Tourniquet (CAT) in mine. Anything not able to be controlled with a tourniquet gets a pressure dressing. For that I have a small 4" wide ace bandage and a compressed roll of kerlix gauze. I also have a hemostatic agent (Celox) in the pocket kit to help with difficult bleeds. If I need to seal up an open wound in the neck or chest, the wrapper for the Celox or gauze will do the trick.

I also carry a pair of nitrile gloves to protect myself from bloodborne pathogens. If I am in a position to help a wounded stranger, I want to make sure I don't expose myself to any of the serious diseases spread by contact with blood.

Some newer products to the market will allow me to downsize my kit even more. Combat Gauze combines a roll of gauze with a hemostatic agent. The SWAT Tourniquet (Stretch,Wrap,and Tuck) looks like a section of rubber inner tube and can be used as a tourniquet or a pressure dressing. Mine are on order and once here, will give me the wallet sized envelope I'm looking for.

Equipment is just a small piece of the equation. If you don't work in a field that provides you the exposure, seek out emergency medical training on your own. Most fire departments offer a low cost, monthly 8 hour first aid course. Organizations like the Red Cross offer classes as well. There are numerous resources online, and hands-on training courses available that are geared towards treating injuries resulting from hostile action (LMS Defense's Defensive Medicine for example).

Whatever your individual situation, the responsibilty to protect yourself and family and ensure their well-being lies solely on your shoulders.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Traffic Stops and the Legally Armed Citizen

Jeff Hogan, LMS Defense Law Enforcement Program Manager

This topic frequently comes up in conversation. Sometimes, it brings hostility from those that don’t like law enforcement for whatever reason, and some just want to know how to handle it. We wont get into a political debate on this issue. Instead, I will just give some pointers how to handle the traffic stop and the officer. Keep in mind I am an officer, and fully support your right to be armed.

Ok, let’s get this out of the way right now. Law enforcement does not go around just pulling people over for no reason. You have violated a law, however minor it may be. Before you get angry for being stopped, find out why you were stopped in the first place. There are the obvious laws that everyone knows about, like speeding. There are also laws on the books that some have no idea about. Heck, there are laws on the books that I didn’t know existed. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse for any of us. It’s our responsibility to know them, whether it’s me as an officer, or you as a citizen.

Also, some States require you to notify the officer that you are armed. Even if this is not the case in your state, it’s still a good idea, trust me.

Let’s move forward to the stop. After pulling to the right and coming to a stop, place your hands on the steering wheel. Place them both at the 12 o’ clock and relax. Placing them at the 9 and 3 makes you look a little tense and will start sending warning flags to the officer.

Allow the officer to make his approach and make contact. You don't want to stick your head out of the window and scream, "I'm armed officer". Let him give you his reasons for the stop. At this point, he’ll probably ask you for your registration, insurance and drivers license. This is where you chime in. Let him know, “Officer/Deputy, I am a CCW holder and I have a weapon on my side and it happens to be on the same side as my wallet. ” The officer will probably give you instructions at this point. Just follow what he tells you to do. He has to worry about his safety, just as you do yours. If you keep a good attitude, it should not be a rough experience.

The officer may or may not have you step out of the vehicle. If he does, just do as he says. Right now is not the time to fight or argue the 2nd amendment. Remember, he has the duty to make sure that you are legally carrying that firearm. If we believed everything we were told and trusted everyone’s word, we wouldn’t put very many bad guys in jail and we would bury a lot of cops.

I know none of us like others touching our weapons, but he may want to make sure it’s not stolen. You wouldn’t believe how many guns I have run that people bought at a gun show or from the local paper that were stolen. Better you find out now rather than when you’re involved in something bigger than a traffic stop.

After the check, he may or may not drop the magazine, clear the chamber and lock the slide back. You have to remember, he is thinking of his/her safety and trying to take one factor out of a possible deadly incident. He is not doing this to screw with you. Keep a positive attitude…it’s almost over.

He’ll write you a ticket if he feels the need or give you a warning. You then get sent on your way.

Just remember this, LEO has a job to do. You entrust them to do it. That’s all he is doing. If you feel that the officer did something wrong during the stop, don’t confront the issue on the side of the road. When it’s over, file a formal complaint.

Bottom line, keep a positive attitude, be polite and go with the program. You may end up talking guns with the cop and gain a new training buddy.