Monthly Archives: May 2015

Unarmed Self Defense Techniques

Well, who would have known? Who would have ever thought, that I, Papa Dave, would be discussing a topic unrelated to holsters, guns, ammo, firearms training, etc. Miracles never cease! …and that really is the truth!

But here I am responding to a need I didn’t expect I’d ever be addressing…unarmed self defense techniques, can you imagine? I must be truthful, I do not intend to discuss various techniques, I have been exposed to one and I am confident I am doing you a service if I tell you about it.

Responding to New Need                                                                                                                                                I have had responses from readers who live in places in the world where the possession, no less the carrying of a firearm, is absolutely forbidden by anyone not military or police; hence, it seems unreasonable to leave our international friends without any means of self defense. Let’s be truthful, there are bad guys everywhere and while the police try, it is just not possible for them to be everywhere every time they are needed. Fact of the matter is, while at times the police are able to scare off the perpetrators with lights, sirens and even physical presence, the vast majority of the time they normally show up to clean up the mess and to write the reports.

How to Respond to Societal Restrictions
So, what can you do if you live under such societal restrictions? First answer is, “I don’t know.” (Which triggered my memory, you see as a healthcare provider I’ve tried over my thirty year career to be as honest as possible; hence, I realized early on that no doctor has all the answers, therefore I frequently found myself beginning to answer a patient question with the phrase “Well, I don’t know, but based on my knowledge and experience I would suggest…blah, blah, blah”). Well here I am again starting with the same premise. Never having lived under such conditions I am only theorizing…assuming I speak with some type of knowledge…but you know what that means, don’t you?

First Always, Avoid Trouble
Part of being a responsible good citizen, I believe, is preparing yourself to take care of yourself and your family.  So to me that means making decisions as to where to go and where not to go…said another way, stay away from trouble. If I know a certain area of town, a specific restaurant or bar or even a sporting event is likely to have a higher percentage of bad guys there, I’m not going there. The best defense is a audience-547372__180good offense…avoid trouble if you possibly can. Now some people just aren’t able to fore go the crowds and excitement, but that is not me. While I’m sure there is a lot of fun to be had, I just won’t take the chance of being in a potentially unmanageable crowd…perhaps my exposure to psychology says avoid…who knows? If you are one of those who can’t fore go such events, then you have to learn to be hyper vigilant about your surroundings…what others are doing, is the “mood” of the crowd changing significantly? You have to keep your finger on the “pulse” of your environment and just because I carry a weapon does not give me the right to go where I believe the potential is greater that I’ll have to deploy it. My opinion is to stay away from problem places, people and events; I’ve even avoided certain family members because of their volatility.

What Really Is Your Goal
Next, consider that even under the of best circumstances, one can not always “get to your weapon before trouble gets to you”; hence, I have studied unarmed self defense techniques…not with years of judo or the like, but I review training videos and practice a very limited set of skills in the event I am unwilling or unable to deploy my weapon and my life is seemingly in danger. wolf-383928__180Therefore, understand, the few techniques I have learned and practiced are only those which would have the exact same effect as using a weapon…these techniques would only be used IF I BELIEVED MY LIFE OR THE LIFE OF A LOVED ONE/INNOCENT PERSON WAS IN JEOPARDY…what do I mean? The effect of their use would be to totally stop the threat even resulting in the demise of the aggressor if they would not cease…I believe we always fight back, never lay down to aggression (except in one very specific religious circumstance but that is not the topic here). When the goal at hand is to meet lethal force with lethal force one only needs two or three very precise moves at very specific targeted area of the body (no I am not speaking of a groin kick) to totally incapacitate/disable. Remember, I have no desire to injure another person; therefore, I will avoid concerts, sporting events, restaurants, areas of town and other fun things so as not to put myself and family in harms way.

Target Focus Training

Target Focus Training (TFT) by Tim Larkin

The best program I have come across (actually the only one I’ve reviewed because it was referred to me by a firearms training facility of which I am a life member), is the TARGET FOCUS TRAINING. The information provided with the packaged says this,

“It’s the stuff NOBODY else in the self-defense world will even talk about. How to cause as much damage as a bullet using your bare hands.”

I grew up in a big city, I believe it was 4 to 6 million when I was young. There were times on the walk to school I’d have to pretend to be physically handicapped (limping) as I turned a corner unsuspectingly walking straight into a gang of hoodlums…eight or nine guys, two or three years older then me…I learned quick. At our religious school we were taught gentlemen didn’t fight…but I also learned sometimes the fight comes to you…so therefore don’t fight like a gentleman…fight to end the fight. That was my goal then and that’s my goal now.


Have To Deal With the Hand You’ve Drawn
I’m not young anymore and while I was never the athletic type, I always felt I had the strength and dexterity to handle most of what would come my way. As I aged I realized my physical strength and power was not going to cut it anymore…fact is, either one of the young men above could probably do me some serious damage without a great deal of effort…that is, unless and until I felt my life was in danger, grandfather-153659__180then with my exposure to the above training system, I would seriously feel sorry that the poor kid had the misfortune to choose to pick on this “fat old man”.  I have a confidence that I could deliver a very few hits that would turn the tide (sort of a miserable topic, isn’t it) but that is what we are talking about…lethal force for lethal force or surviving in a very hostile, mean-spirited world.

It’s Not All Bad News
Don’t get me wrong, the topic isn’t necessarily fun but it is part of reality…it is not ALL of reality…I love life, I live in a relatively safe wonderful small city, people are by and large pretty good and while I do not like the way our culture, or lack thereof, has gone in the past fifty years, I do not live under the oppression and fear so many encounter daily.

IF YOU DO and YOU OFTEN FEAR FOR YOUR LIFE  or SAFETY, then turn up the volume for here are some serious self-defense training using 15 of the most dangerous moves known…this is not for the squeamish, CLICK HERE.

I am forced to remember so many others who have it far worse then I do. If my topics and/or rantings bring you down…that is not my intention.

What’s your take on this topic?


Photos Courtesy of



4 Gun Safety Rules

Safety, we all want to be safe. Actually, safety is probably the primary reason thousands upon thousands of Americans have made the decision to seek a concealed carry permit…we want to be safe in a very unsafe world. But that desire to be safe by using a tool such as a gun brings with it an awesome responsibility…the safe handling of your tool, and while the shirt on the left is “cute”, it doesn’t represent any of the 4 Gun Safety Rules.

In the gun community there is a basic set of rules that everyone is taught and the breaking of those rules often results in serious negative feedback from the members of the community. I have seen the 10 Basic Handgun Safety Rules, the 6 Handgun safety rules, etc., etc. Today, I’m going to deal with the most basic 4 Gun Safety Rules and we’ll leave it at that. These rules should be known and memorized until they are second nature…they may save the life of a family member or friend some day.

It would stand to reason that you wouldn’t carry a pitchfork with the points under your chin as you walked through the field nor would you hang a noose around your neck with the trail dangling as you crossed a busy street…it is obvious certain tools have inherent dangers associated with them…as do guns.

How many times have you regrettably heard a news report of a child, or sometimes even an adult, who picked up a weapon, and thinking it was unloaded, jokingly fired it in the direction of a friend or family member? Too often, sadly that is the loudest “bang” that person will ever hear!!! So these 4 Gun Safety Rules were developed to prevent what is known as an accidental discharge…an unintended firing of a weapon. And if not to prevent it, at least to minimize the negative impact should it happen nevertheless.

4 Gun Safety Rules

  1.  Never point the weapon at anything you are not willing to destroy (this is known as muzzle awareness. A gun in a holster points to the floor; it should never be outside the holster unless it is pointed at a specific target…either paper or threat. Hence, even when cleaning a gun, the owner should be certain the muzzle will not sweep past any living creature)
  2.  Treat every gun as a loaded gun…EVEN IF YOU JUST VERIFIED IT IS UNLOADED. (This creates a respect for the gun’s potential for harm and creates in your mind an aversion to ever handling the gun in a less than absolutely serious way. Understand I used to play Cowboys and Indians (sorry, Tonto) as a child. I learned these rules as an adolescent when I no longer had plastic “guns”…I do not fear of little children playing with toy guns, I did and I’ve never misused them nor have any of my children or grandchildren).
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger and out of the trigger guard until you are bringing your weapon into the position of firing. (As you train, so will you do when you are under massive physiological and psychological stress as is the case in a gun fight. It is said you will be half as good as your best day at the range…take no chances, some triggers can be activated more easily when a person is shaking or wearing a glove.)
  4. Be certain of your target and everything surrounding it. (Certainly you wouldn’t want to accidentally shoot an innocent bystander or a child or someone’s dog. It is your responsibility to be sure you know what is in front of, behind and to the sides of your target…and under stressful conditions, this is almost impossible given the nature of the physiological reaction to stress…but you are responsible nevertheless. One the bullet has left the muzzle you are responsible for everything it encounters).

These are the 4 Gun Safety Rules that are most basic within the gun community. If you are going to have a weapon in your home, your children MUST know these rules. While my own children are now grown, when my grandchildren and their friends visit, they know Papa Dave may quiz them at any time on the 4 rules. They are expected to know them because, with their parents permission, I have taught the rules to them…and they do know them. The 9 to 11 year olds are expecting to go shooting to the range with me and one of the rules laid down was that they must know these basic safety rules or they will be excluded from those events. You’d be surprised what efforts a young kid will go through in school and at home in order to be able to take a trip to the target range with their father or grandfather…a real bonding event for both the boys and girls.

Guns are tools…nothing to be afraid of unless the muzzle is pointing in your direction by the hand of someone untrained or the hand of someone intending on doing you harm. I am not afraid of a pitchfork, nor a noose…I have a righteous and appropriate fear of evil men intent on doing me harm. In the gun community we have a saying, “I am the weapon, the gun is merely one of my tools.” Observe a mother whose child is being harmed, if she doesn’t have a gun…doesn’t matter, she will do everything she can, with everything at her disposal to save her child…you see, the tool is just a tool, she becomes the weapon.

I thought of what images I could offer you to keep your interest and also what other training I could recommend. And try as I might to come up with something new, I just don’t think there is any better more comprehensive training available for under a couple hundred bucks then the training program I’ve already recommended, and reviewed, referenced below.

Product Details
The Armed American’s Complete Concealed Carry Guide To Effective Self-Defense

I have it and I recommend it, it is thorough, comprehensive and user-friendly. Do you think that’s a cop-out or do you know of a better training…remember it must be comprehensive and under a Two hundred?

Be safe, keep safe!

Papa Dave


Best Concealed Carry Guns

punchWhen Violence Happens…

Ok, so if you have perused other areas of my site, you already know what I consider the best concealed carry guns available…that would be the gun you have on you when the bad guy shows up to do you harm like the guy in the video, right. No gun, no caliber, no size…nothing about a weapon will matter when the bad guy arrives if the gun is at home on the nightstand or in the center console of your vehicle. Now, we got that said. The gun ON YOU is the BEST gun.

But now let’s discuss what criteria you must consider prior to deciding which gun you will actually carry, day in and day out, in all kinds of weather and all manner of dress…even at the beach. What, you say? …bad guys go to the beach? Figure it out.

bulletarrayYou must first consider whether or not you understand enough about calibers in order to “feel” more secure with one versus another. Do you know enough to determine which caliber weapon you trust to “get the job done”.  If you know nothing about calibers, ask friends, family, spouse … or me.

One solution to this is to go to the local gun range, many ranges today have guns they rent so you can try them but realize this is not necessarily a speedy process because there are so many factors that can make significant differences. You must consider:

  • Caliber
  • Bullets
  • Gunpowder
  • Materals
  • Grip angle

And all of this BEFORE you consider conceal-ability and wear-ability.


caliber-comparisonCaliber has to do with the size of the projectile, especially the width of the bullet. Just to illustrate, there are three categories of 9mm (diameter) ammo, two of which are shown above: the small .380 ACP on the right (aka: 380 Auto, 9mm Browning, 9mm Corto, 9mm Kurz, 9mm Short, 9×17mm and 9 mm Browning Court), the 9mm Makarov (aka: 9×18mm PM) and the most well-known 9mm Luger on the left. The differences between these three 9mm’s is 1mm in the length of the case. For further reading, see the Wikipedia article here.


Hollow_PointsEven within the same caliber there are different bullets based on weight, shape, length and type. The image on the left shows four different bullets, all of which are hollow points. I say this to inform you of the fact that there are so many variables to consider, it’s important to work though these various considerations prior to purchasing a weapon, holster, etc. Using one caliber with one type of bullet may give you a very different shooting experience than using another…this is not to scare you but to caution you not to rush this process. Again, for further reading see the Wikipedia article here.


Black_Powder_Close_UpThis is the substance that  burns within the round to create the pressure that forces the bullet to project down the barrel. Different rounds have different amounts of this powder and the amount is determined by the intended use of the round; hence, a self-defense round is different than a target round. Self-Defense rounds are specially made to stop upon impact and not penetrate beyond what they first hit, thereby minimizing the risk they will pass through your intended target and strike an innocent bystander. Never use a target load in your self-defense weapon. The manufacturers of ammo take all these things into consideration when they label their ammo. If you are confused, ask the counter person at the gun range  or gun store (regrettably, the counter person at the big box stores where they sell ammo rarely understand anything about this). More on this subject at Wikipedia, here.


Ruger LC9The easiest way to demonstrate the difference in materials is to show you one of the new “modern color” weapons. It is easy to see that the bottom of the gun (frame) is made of purple polymer (plastic) while the top of the gun is made of steel. You must take into consideration if the weapon is all steel, other metals (aluminum)or polymers (plastics)…these materials effect weight and recoil. It’s important to know so you don’t incorrectly judge one weapon over the other. What do I mean? Two handguns of the same caliber will recoil differently based on construction materials. You might like shooting an all steel Smith & Wesson  (S&W) but not like shooting the same caliber steel and polymer S&W. I was hoping to provide a reference to direct you to for further study but was unable to find one. If you know of one, please direct me to it in the comments section below.

Grip Angle

Luger P08 Ruger_P89_1

If you have ever handled a weapon, the first thing you notice is whether or not it fits “right in your hand” and this is perfectly normal. The width and feel of the gun is very important; however, that experience of it “fitting right in your hand” does not inform you as to how it will feel when you fire it. The angle of the grip, notice the different angle in the photos above, determines how much “felt recoil” you experience…whether it drives the recoil force “up and back” at the wrist or “straight back” into your arm. “Up and back” will normally put a lot of pressure on your wrist; whereas “straight back” will generally disperse the recoil into your more substantial forearm. So, for example, you might enjoy shooting a steel and polymer S&W but not like shooting the same caliber Ruger, or vice versa…they have different grip angles and this changes how much “felt recoil” you might experience.

Moving Right Along

So, why would I spend such a great amount of time on the above factors: caliber, bullets, gunpowder, materials and grip angle? The reason is I want to help you realize your decision to carry or not carry will usually be determined by you becoming convinced that the tool you use will indeed make you a more effective weapon. If you are not sure your gun will do when you press it into service, you will not bother to carry it…you must be totally convinced you have on you all that is necessary to accomplish your task. Getting these issues out of the way up front, I believe, will make deciding on the actual tool (gun) so much easier.

Once you decide on the caliber (and all the related issues pertaining), you can then start looking for the gun that fits your other needs. Choosing little or big is not the issue because these days you can get a little 45 Taurus Millennium Pro P145 (on the left below)


or a big 380 Browning BDA (above right) The Taurus is under 21 ounces; while the Browning is just over 23 ounces…looking at the two pistols from the side you’d probably think the Browning is the larger caliber…so it’s easier, I think, to choose your caliber then figure out what gun will meet your conceal-ability and your wear-ability factors.

Guns Are Like Cars

Ford Edsel
Ford Pinto

Guns, to me, are similar to cars. If money is not the determining factor, we buy our cars not on what is really the best, whatever that means, but rather on how sexy they appear to us. I was astounded when the Pontiac Aztek was put in the same category of “ugly” cars as the Ford Pinto and the Ford Edsel…WHAT? There was absolutely no comparison.  I have owned two Pontiac Aztecs and loved both of them. If they still made Aztecs I’d buy one again in a heart beat. Of course, I like things that “look different”, are unique, but I also like comfort. The Aztek was exceptional, its drive was sporty, not Corvette sporty, but sporty. They had the comfort of a Buick Park Avenue and they were phenomenally versatile and not unreasonable on gas mileage. Great cars!!! But to others, they were the ugliest cars next only to Edsel, Pinto and Gremlins…go figure!

Visiting the Gun Store

When you go to get a gun there will be something in you that just “likes that one”. Whoever goes with you will “just like another one”…that’s the way it is with guns…that’s the way it is with cars.

You will “just like” one and not like the others as much. The one you “just like” will be a certain type of gun. Let me explain by using cars again.


To me a Volvo is a very masculine vehicle and a BMW a very feminine vehicle; whereas, the Aztek was neither a masculine nor feminine vehicle, it was functional and I love functional. I wouldn’t want to drive a Volvo (older models that is, they’ve become more feminine since Ford took over their design several years ago) nor would I want to drive a BMW…I could stand a Mercedes but not a BMW. The Bentley and Rolls-Royce combine both the masculine and feminine in their vehicles…but both really are out of my league.

Nevertheless, to me it is the same with guns. There are firearms manufacturers who brilliantly combine both the masculine and the feminine in their design; normally though I consider them too expensive to carry on a daily basis…remember this, in the regrettable event of a self-defense shooting your weapon will be confiscated by the police. Recognizing this, I’ve put the limit I’m willing to have walk away at five hundred or under. But don’t be concerned for there are thousands of guns in the five hundred and below price range; for my money, the S&W M&P satisfies my likes and I’ve grown rather fond of the Springfield Armory SD models as well…but that’s just me. You have to do your own research and make your own decision. As they say in Latin, “De gustibus non in esputantes”…in matters of taste, there’s no dispute.


There are thousands of guns…big/little, lite/heavy, small caliber/large caliber…the possibilities are endless. You have to start somewhere, so I suggest you start first by ruling out caliber and all the factors I mentioned; then, start looking for what “tickles your fancy”.

Recently I read an interesting comment, the person said “Carrying a gun is comforting but not necessarily comfortable”, in the final analysis, you will buy what appeals to your sense of “sexy”…did I say that?

What do you think, would you start your gun purchasing process with a consideration of caliber or would you look first for conceal-ability and wear-ability? Give me your take on the subject.





Best Caliber Handgun for Concealed Carry

Now we’ll see the sparks start flying! bulletsparksflyingIn the concealed carry community of gun owners there exists strongly held opinions. One swears by the venerable 45 and considers anything smaller simply a “mouse gun”; whereas, there are those who tout the effectiveness of the smaller weapons, stating simply “the 22 in your pocket is better then the 45 in your nightstand”. They make this claim based on fact…big caliber weapons are normally not as comfortable to carry nor as easy to hide.

So, what’s the truth? The truth is, in a manner of speaking, they are both right…and they are both wrong. The fact is that no handgun, as I’ve said elsewhere on this website, is fully capable of taking down a hostile, large, committed human being without delivering a direct heart or central nervous system (brain) shot. All other shots may wound, but will often give the hostile individual ample seconds to rain upon you significant injury, perhaps even death.

When I say, “all other shots”, I mean any shot that does not immediately drain your body of substantial blood volume/pressure or catastrophically unhinge the integrity your nervous system to function. Ugly thoughts, I know, but we’re not talking about baking a cake. We’re talking about someone killing you, your spouse, kids or parents.

Story in Point: A chiropractor several years back went into a McDonald’s with her aging parents and just before exiting her vehicle, she removed her concealed carry .357 magnum revolver from her hip holster because, at that time, Texas law made it illegal to concealed carry in restaurants. She watched as armed robbers entered the restaurant and in their killing spree, took the lives of both of her parents…while her weapon sat stored in her truck only twenty feet away. We’re talking about this kind of reality. Ugly, but regrettably happening in too many places in our once civilized nation.

So, again, only a rifle caliber is able to “take down the proverbial angry man”bulletrifle…handguns are not capable BUT they are better than nothing. What makes the difference? Some will tell you caliber, others training, others specific handguns…the possibilities are almost endless. I, of course, have an opinion and since you are still reading…I’ll share it with you.

I read an article published about a year ago of a study performed by a police officer working on his Master’s Degree in Criminology. He reviewed the findings of thousands of actual shootings…noting caliber, number of hits and eventual outcome of the shooting. When I read that article I didn’t have plans to develop this website, so please forgive me if I am not precise with his findings…I read it for my own benefit and here is what I remember.

Remember, a direct single brain or heart shot is deadly with any caliber. Aside from those, only two calibers were capable of enough force to effect our “angry man” with one shot, they were the 44 magnum and the 357 magnum.  ALL other calibers required more than one shot. The interesting part of his study was he graded the calibers. For example, in the actual shootings he would list the 22 as requiring two bullets (2.00), the .380 required 1.75 bullets, the 9 mm required 1.45 bullets, the 40 required 1.20 bullets and the 45 required 1.10 bullets (understand I made up the foregoing numbers, I didn’t remember the actual numbers but they do represent his findings in principle I believe). Again, here is what I learned, since there is no such thing as a bullet and a half (1.45), it is either one bullet or it is two bullets.

Now you might ask, “Why not just carry the 44 or 357 magnum?” Good question, I’m glad you asked. The reason why not is because a man can travel twenty-one feet in seconds and that means that if you miss the target on the first shot, by the time you bring the gun back into position to fire the next round, he can be all over you like “white on rice”. These two weapons have such substantial recoil that it was thought, in the regrettable event you would miss with your first shot, you could never accomplish a second.

The issue of recoil becomes a primary focus of our attention in choosing caliber. If a 22 requires two bullets (2.0) and a 45 requires two bullets (1.10) then a main consideration is which caliber will allow you to most easily bring the weapon back into service after shooting the first round. Well, the answer is easy, the 22 has amazingly less recoil then the 45…so if that is the only factor…we all should be carrying 22s, right? And if you are excellent shooting a 22 and you trust your 22, then that’s all YOU will need.

However, for me, that was not the only factor to consider. This is a personal, highly embarrassing admission: I, Papa Dave, actually stink at shooting small caliber guns. I’ve practiced with 22s, 25s, 380s, etc. and I just can’t seem to hit the target reliably…even close up…it’s pitiful ; however, put a 40 caliber or 45 in my hand and everything changes…I really don’t get it either. Even a 9mm is too light for my liking. So now I’ve presented you with another problem…how to resolve the issue of increased recoil, knowing that there is no doubt that the 40 caliber has more recoil then any 22 or 380 or even 9mm, yet finding some people, like me, are poorer shots with the smaller handgun calibers?

The Armed Americans Complete Concealed Carry Guide to Effective Self-Defense
The Armed Americans Complete Concealed Carry Guide to Effective Self-Defense

In my opinion, this then gets down to the issue of training. Those who find themselves perplexed with their inability to shoot well with the smaller calibers, thus automatically increasing their felt recoil, must train enough to decrease the negative impact of the larger caliber choice and hence, the reason I previously provided the review of The Armed American’s Complete Concealed Carry Guide to Effective Self-Defense.

The realities you must consider are caliber, conceal-ability, wear-ability, recoil, weapon trustworthiness and skill. You must be assured you can trust the weapon you will carry to accomplish the job you need done…first time, every time.

Hence, you have to be convinced that you can deliver the necessary rounds to the target area rapidly enough to overcome any aggression toward you. To me, a 22 is a good gun to buy me the time to get to my “real gun”, because the fact of the matter for me is that I trust my S&W M&P 40 caliber to deliver the force to stop the threat every time, first time, period.

What are your thoughts on this issue? I’d be interested to know.