18 May 2016

Communications Security 101

Communications Security 101

by Cope Reynolds

Let's talk a little bit about communications security or "COMSEC" as it pertains to email, texting and social media.  COMSEC is also critical in the use of landlines, snail mail and even the face-to-face conversations that you have on the street from day to day but for now, let's stick to online dangers.  The following is fairly long but if you value your safety and privacy, it will be WELL worth your time to read it.  Please bear in mind that are many more advanced measures above and beyond what is mentioned here but for now, this will get you headed in the right direction.  Like everything else, opinions may vary on this subject.  I can say that I have had a couple of the finest communications and security specialists available advise me on this subject and we have been playing this game for a long, long time.  

"COMSEC" is not just a military or law enforcement term acronym.  The things that you say online can be used easily to build profiles on you and your family or your business by those that wish to do you harm either physically, financially or psychologically.  These can be hackers, scammers, violent criminals or the gov't.  For instance, after a few times of mentioning on Facebook what time you pick up little Jimmy from baseball practice or what time you go to work or when you get paid, just to mention a few, a profile can be started on you and how you conduct your day to day life.  Careless mention of friends' or family names, addresses, phone or social security numbers, dates, etc.  Nearly anything you provide can be used to harm or inconvenience you and it is astonishing to see the amount of personal information that gets put out every day! Luckily, there are a few things we can do to dramatically reduce that possibility.

One last thing before we move on and this is crucial! Keep these three words in the back of your mind and consider them before you relay ANYinformation that may be of a sensitive nature. "Need-to-know".  Make absolutely certain that the person that you are sharing information with NEEDS TO KNOW!  If they want to know just for curiosity's sake, do not share it with them!  If you want to tell them just to stroke your own ego, do not share it with them!  This goes for nosy spouses, best friends and your barber.  NEED-TO-KNOW!  That's not WANT-TO-KNOW! It's not WANT-TO-SHARE!  Your three-word, take-home phrase of the day is... say it with me -- "NEED-TO-KNOW!

OK, we can move on now...


Good, strong passwords are the key to protecting your personal information online.  Never use birthdays, phone numbers, Social Security numbers, addresses, names or recognizable words as all or part of your passwords.  Information that you may inadvertently provide can allow people to hack your passwords through what is called social engineering.  Social engineering it is just one of several methods used to hack passwords.

Four or five character passwords may be okay for forums and chat rooms where personal information is not usually at risk.  6 characters are better especially if you use uppercase lower case and numbers in your password.  However, this is still only moderately secure.  A "complex password" is one that uses uppercase and lower case letters, numbers and special characters.  A 6-character complex password has something to the tune of 700 billion possible combinations.  I know that sounds like a lot but it still not all that difficult to hack using electronic means.  A simple, 8-character password using only letters and numbers has over50 times more combinations then a 6-character complex password.  An 8 character complex password, choosing from a pool of numbers, upper and lower case letters and 19 special characters give you almost 646 trillion  combinations.  Again, that's a staggering number but a determined hacker with a fast computer and the right software could break that in less than three months.  Add one more character out of the same pool and it could take as many as much as nine years to go through every possible combination.  Obviously, the longer the password is and the more characters to choose from, the stronger the password.  This is also why we should change our passwords from time to time so if someone has already begun this process, they'll never reach their goal.  Ideally, we should memorize our password.  However, we should NEVER use the same password for everything so that makes it difficult for us to memorize all of them. It is best not to write your passwords down but if you must, save them somewhere secure.  It is best to store passwords in a file that is protected by a very strong, complex password.  We strongly encourage people to use a program called KEEPASS which can help both create secure pass phrases and store them in encrypted files.

To further protect your contacts, messages and information, it is imperative that your phone also be passcode or pattern protected instead of just swiping the screen.  A good passcode is stronger than a pattern but a complex pattern using at 6 or more dots works too.  Locking by using your fingerprint is extremely secure unless... an aggressive captor physically forces you to unlock your screen by forcibly touching your fingertips to the screen until they get the right one. 

Okay, now that we got that out of the way, let's talk about secure communications.  For our purposes today, it's online voice and text that we are concerned about.  I could spend an hour telling you what not to use and why but I'm going to spare you all that let you do your own research.  I will tell you that Hushmail and Safemail are a couple of email programs that most of us no longer trust completely.  Understanding that technology is subject to change, I will tell you some programs that we use that we do trust and if you wish to speak securely with any us, you will likely have to use one of these programs.


Signal is our top program for about 95% of our day-to-day communications.  Signal allows secure, encrypted texting and encrypted voice communications.  Signal is a full-service texting program and should be installed and used as your default texting client.  Signal, like so many others secure programs, is only secure if you are communicating with another Signal user.  Texting to another Signal user will automatically be secure, there is nothing more that you must do.  That being the case, there are a couple things you must watch out for to avoid sending sensitive information to people that are not secure.  For one thing, in the text box where you type your message, it will say "Send Signal Message" before you ever start typing.  As soon as you start typing in the text box, the blue attachment button to the right with the paperclip in it will morph into "Send" button. It will still be bright blue and have a little paper airplane and a locked padlock in it.  If you wish to send a secure attachment, you will need to touch the paperclip in the blue circle on the right before you start typing. 
If the text box says "Send Unsecured SMS" obviously your message will be unsecure when sent.  When you start typing in the unsecured box,the "Send" button on the right will turn dark grey with an unlocked padlock in it.  Those are two prior warnings that you may be sending sensitive information to an unsecured user.  Also when you send a secure message you will see after it has sent there will be two check marks beside your message on the right if it went through.  If there is only one check mark that means that it was either sent to an unsecure recipient or has not yet been received by a secure recipient.  That will let you know that you may have inadvertently sent sensitive information to an unsecured user and give you time to work on damage control.

Signal users must be in your phone's contact list.  You must have their phone number and they must have yours.  This may be considered a downside to Signal because you can only use it with trusted contacts and not anonymously.  Signal allows secure texting and calling over Wi-Fi and data which opens up many options for you.  That means that you can pull up beside McDonalds and make a free phone call on their wifi using Signal. You could download Signal onto a disposable smart phone, make your important calls, destroy the phone and be on your way.To use Signal voice communications, tap the telephone receiver with the padlock on it in the top, right corner of your phone screen.  That will open up a secure line to your contact.  When your contact answers the phone you will see two words pop up in the red bar on your screen.  Your contact will see the same.  Since you initiated the call you should say the first of the two words and your contact will say the second word. This establishes a handshake between you and you each know who the other one is.  It may not be as important that you establish the fact that you are communicating with a known contact but if those two words do not show up, it reportedly means that the call may have been compromised and there is a middle man somewhere.

Signal has no mandatory burn time on messages nor any means to set voluntary burn time so one must delete messages as they are no longer needed in order to maintain security if someone were to get a hold of your phone and break your password.  Signal, as well as all the other secure program should NEVER be set to where you are signed in all the time.  You should always set it to where you have to sign in periodically.  The higher the risk at any given time, the shorter the time before the program should lock you out.  When you do not do that, you are compromising everyone in your group.  If you are too lazy to type in the password occasionally then you should not be trusted to share information with. Integrity, respect and honesty in this game are imperative!
Make Signal your default texting program.  It has all the features you need and is every bit as easy to use as anything else with the exception of punching in a password from time to time.  Signal is limited to 2000 characters per message.


Wickr is our second choice for secure texting.  Wickr does not need to exchange phone numbers so communications can be done anonymously. It has a mandatory burn time which is inconvenient.  You can set your burn time for anything from a few seconds to 6 days but you cannot keep it permanently.  This means that if you have information that you want to save you will have to copy and paste it and put it somewhere else where it won't burn.  You do not want to copy the information and store it in an insecure file on your computer.  The best thing that I have found is to send the information to yourself through Wickr.  It will not send and will stay under your username indefinitely unless you have to restart the program.  Wickr can send secure files, pictures and very short audio files. Signal and Wickr both have their strong and weak points as far as convenience is concerned but they both have about the same degree of security.
Wickr is limited to 1,500 characters per message.


It is assumed that some messages, whether secure or not, may be time sensitive.  If you are relaying the time to pick someone up or go to a meeting and the recipient doesn't receive the message for a hour after you sent it, it doesn't do much good. With all texting programs, when you are in a questionable service area, it is important to begin all text messages with the time that the message was sent in 24-hour format or "military time".  That way,  if your message is received much later than it was sent, your contact will know. This may be critical. 
For example....
Let's say that you send an important text message to a contact that is in a weak signal zone.  The message appears to have sent on your end and you have no reason to believe that it wasn't received a few seconds later.  However, since your contact was in a poor service area or maybe had his phone off or in airplane mode, he will not have any idea when the message was sent.  If he assumes that it was just sent and the information is time sensitive,  it could be catastrophic.  Also, be specific in your instructions in case the message is not received right away.  Don't tell someone to "Meet me at HQ in an hour".  Your text should be worded thusly... "1335 - Meet me at HQ at 1500 hrs."  Your recipient will have all the information they need.


Zello is another means of voice communication.  It can turn your cellphone into a secure walkie talkie.  It is easy to use, may be used anonymously, and is free.  The free consumer version is encoded but not encrypted and may not be secure enough to topple governments. However, the paid, commercial version of Zello IS encrypted and has been used successfully by rebels, insurgents and criminals around the world.  If you want the most security with Zello you will need to use the paid, commercial version.  Again, the paid version and the consumer version do NOT have the same degree of security.  If one does not use real names or other identifying information and is careful with other specific information, the free version Zello is adequate for much of what you may need.
Another word of warning about Zello. You must not "share a message, even to yourself. People often want to save a message for later retrieval. Once a Zello message has been shared, it is saved onto their server which is available to anyone. One of our operators actually did this and then went and listened to his own conversations on the Zello server that someone in the group had "shared" with themselves, not realizing that it was stored on the Zello server. Be careful! 


Skype is an amazing program!  It is easy to set up, incredibly useful and there is a free version.  Skype does not have the same degree of security that it had before Microsoft acquired it. You can call Skype to Skype for free and have unlimited talk time.  If you want to call a landline, you either have to subscribe to one of their programs or offer payment information call by call.  You can get Skype on desktop computers and there is an full-featured app for your phone.  It has a wonderful texting program, voice and video messaging and file transfer.  Skype is moderately secure in all modes, free and easy to use. 

If you would like to purchase the premier version, you can also get your own phone number which you can use for a home or business phone and it is pretty cheap.  When you call out, you can set your caller ID to either show that you called from an anonymous number or any number of your choice.  You have complete control of call forwarding, caller ID and many other features.


Protonmail is probably the most secure, stand-alone email program known at the present time.  It is based in Switzerland and is extremely secure. You can send secure attachments, both voice and text plus images and audio files.  As with Signal, Protonmail is only totally secure with other ProtonMail users.  Protonmail may take a little while to get an account.  I've had people tell me if they've got it in as little as two days but personally, mine took 8 months to get but that was back when they first started.
As with Signal for texting,  ProtonMail is the only email program that we will share sensitive information over at the current time.
Other email programs can be made secure as well and there are dozens of tutorials online to help you do that.  Here is one such link that will walk your through using Thunderbird and PGP encryption.

So, there you go.  There is so much more but for now, this should give you some things to think about concerning your personal security.  It's time folks!  It's time to start covering your tracks a little and being just a tad more cautious!

Cope Reynolds (Desertscout)

Southwest Shooting Authority

Listen to Cope live on The Shooting Bench Mon thru Fri, 8 to 9pm Pacific/11pm to midnight Eastern

"The Shooting Bench" Podcast: The Shooting Bench

Colts and Kimbers are what you show your friends.

GLOCKS are what you show your enemies!

Cope Reynolds (Desertscout)

Southwest Shooting Authority

Listen to Cope live on The Shooting Bench Mon thru Fri, 8 to 9pm Pacific/11pm to midnight Eastern

"The Shooting Bench" Podcast: The Shooting Bench

Colts and Kimbers are what you show your friends.

GLOCKS are what you show your enemies!

21 December 2015

The 10mm Bear Gun?

 The 10mm as a woods gun

Hunting with a handgun is one thing. Self-defense against toothy things is a different critter all together. When most everything is in your favor and you are calling the shots, so to speak, things are MUCH different than when you are being attacked. Those that are shooting 4" groups at 10 or 15 yards and think they shooting pretty well do not need to be trying to hunt with a handgun. I'm sure everyone here knows accuracy that may be considered adequate for defensive purposes may be woefully inadequate for quick, humane kills while hunting. As far as bears are concerned, are you talking black bears or one of the big bears? If it's black bear, the 10mm will do fine if you choose the right ammo and place your shots carefully. I wouldn't hesitate to hunt blackies with my G20. Big bears, OTOH, are a different story. For HUNTING big bears I would use a minimum of a hot-loaded .44 mag with at least 300 grain hard cast WFN bullets. Preferably, I would have .454, .480 Ruger or a .460 S&W. For DEFENSE against big bears, if I were not planning to have anything to do with them and they just happened along at an inopportune time, I would still use my G20 loaded with hot 200 grain FP-FMJ's or, if I had an after-market bbl (which I do), I might use a hard-cast 200 grain WFN or something along those lines that fed reliably in my gun.

Here's why I say that. I carry a Glock of some sort every day, every waking minute. It's safe to say that I am intimately familiar with it. It's also safe to say that under extreme duress, a man does funny things. I read an account of a man that had been close enough to an angry griz to hit him with a pistol and was carrying a large caliber SA revolver. Because he was used to a DA revolvers, he repeatedly pulled the trigger on the SA and it never fired. Fortunately, the bear must have had other dinner plans and left. Another account had a man empty his DA revolver and continue to pull the trigger, clicking on empty chambers, until his compadre took the gun away from him after the bear had left. Being that close to something that has a mouth that you can put your head in, teeth nearly as long as your fingers and breath that will drop your socks in cotton puddles around your ankles is probably the most stress that a guy might ever experience.

Expecting to perform as you THINK you should be able to when in the safety of your living room is not going to be a happening thing. When you have little to no control over your fine motor skills, you will only do what you have practiced, good or bad. Having committed the operation of your weapon to muscle memory is a good thing. I can shoot a revolver pretty damn well and pretty damn fast but I am certain that I could dump 15 rounds of hot 10mm's (weighing a total of 3000 grains) into Bruno and reload a HELL of a lot faster than I could shoot 5 rounds (weighing a total of 1500 grains) out of a very big, heavy single or DA revolver and reload. Yes, I know the .44/.454/.480/ hot loaded .45 Colt has a lot more energy than the 10mm does. Just about any CF rifle caliber over .25 has more than all of those and is the clear winner of this discussion. However, I am certain that multiple 180-200 grain, .40 caliber bullets at 12-1300 fps has more collective energy than multiple loads of 00 buck but there are a great many guides and experienced hunters up north that recommend the 12 gauge with alternating 00 and slugs as a camp gun. The slugs, of course, are a different story but buckshot is usually made of very soft lead and to think that you get even a fraction of the required penetration with it is ludicrous.

As far as the likelihood of being attacked is concerned, I don't think it is quite as remote as some might think although I have spent a large amount of my 59 years in the woods and a good bit of it in ID, WY and MT and I have never been attacked. However, in some parts of the country, it is more likely that you will be attacked by a critter than a human but we all still feel the need to CCW everywhere we go. In the 4 years that I spent in Cody, WY, there were 2 attacks by grizzlies on people that we knew. The bear came back for seconds in one of those instances and mauled the man that had already been mauled the first time and lightly mauled another guy. They claim to have shot 2-3 .338's into him and 6 .44 mags but, (they claim) they never found him. The wounds were very real and life-threatening after the 2nd go-round.

We’ve watched a medium sized grizzly rip the top off of a little Ford Ranger like a sardine can sitting at a trailhead one morning. Had someone walked up on him at that time, they probably would have been in a fix.

So I think the potential is there and is more likely if you don't conduct yourself properly. I'm fairly certain that many folks having never been attacked is at least partially due to knowing how to act and keeping a clean camp. Folks that don't do that are actually somewhat likely to be attacked.

The hard, cold facts are that you may not have time to use either so it's probably a moot point so you might want to save the last round for yourself. That's my opinion and you're welcome to it.

It's pretty tough to beat the 10mm for a woods gun. I don't particularly care for as it an SD gun but it's dynamite in a rural environment. It's accurate, hard-hitting and the capacity is quite appealing in areas where things with teeth live. The recoil on the 10mm is a little offensive to some, especially in steel-framed guns but it's quite comfortable in the full-sized Glock. My ex 5'2" and weighed about 110 and she absolutely adores my G20 and has no issues with shooting it at all.

Some compare it to the .41 magnum and rightfully so. However, factory loads are not THAT much horsier than the .40 S&W unless you buy ammo from Buffalo Bore or Double Tap or you reload your own. I reload and I can easily get over 1200 fps out of 200 grain bullets without any signs of high pressure. I can get a little over 1300 fps out of 180's. THAT is very much encroaching into .41 mag territory. With that being said, I can say, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that I would rather have a Glock 20 loaded with my 200 grain handloads for protection in big bear country than any other handgun or load in existence. Is it more powerful than a .454 or .460? Hell no, but I'll bet you I can put 15-200 grain bullets at near .41 mag performance in Bruno a whole lot faster than the average guy can ACCURATELY put 5-300 grain .45's in him. I can also get 15 more in place and ready to unload into him in a hair over a second if need be, which I doubt. Muscle memory plays a big part in my decision also. Since I carry a Glock daily and train regularly, the speed and unconscious operation of the gun would be much to my benefit. The 10mm would NOT be my first choice for HUNTING big bears but only for defense against them.

The accuracy and velocity claims of the 6" "hunting" barrel are grossly over-rated and for the most part are pretty much a non-issue. The assumption that the longer barrel is inherently more accurate is a common one but not generally factual. If you do not have the corresponding sight radius, it wouldn't make any difference if the barrel was a foot longer than the slide, much less 1" longer. So you'll increase your velocity slightly by putting the longer barrel on but if you want to possibly increase your accuracy, you'll need a longer slide and accompanying sight radius too. Just as a point of interest, I killed a nice mule deer with my G20 at 112 yards a few years ago with a stock barrel.

The CLAIMED increase in velocity is BS. You're only talking 1.4" difference. On the average, ANY firearm gains or loses between 35 and 50 fps per inch of barrel length added or subtracted. Yes, there are exceptions but the 10mm is not one of them. Even if you give it the benefit of the doubt and assume that you're going to get the larger number, you're only talking about 70 fps difference. That's hardly worth the expense of a new barrel that's not going to increase your accuracy also. Now if you went with a longer barrel AND a longer slide for the sight radius, it may be worth it to some folks. Not me.
Just to take away some of the guess work, here are some actual chronograph readings from 3 different 10mm bbls. The numbers listed are an average of 5 shots with 180 grain Remington UMC ammo. My handloads are considerably faster but I didn't have a chance to try them in all 3 barrels.

The first was a stock Glock barrel at 1043 fps.

The next was a KKM .45/10mm conversion barrel, at 1037 fps. I actually lost 6 fps but that was to be expected due to the better gas seal provided by Glocks rifling and the additional drag of the conventional rifling in the KKM bbl.

The last was a 6" KKM "hunting" barrel at 1063. Notice that the 6" bbl was only 20 feet faster than the stock barrel. We only expected 50-70 fps increase in the first place assuming the barrels were the same except for length. Considering stock Glock barrels are usually faster then cut-rifled barrels anyway, that 50-70 foot difference doesn't hold true. Now if you put a GLOCK 6" bbl with the same rifling as the stock bbl, you'd see a little bigger difference. So, with all that being said, you don't gain enough by going to a 6" to justify the expense of it by my way of thinking.

So, in a nutshell, if you're a hard-core revolver aficionado and you feel confident with it, by all means that;s what you should carry. But at least consider what has been said here. For me, I am exceedingly pleased with G20 in the woods pretty much anywhere in North America and beyond!

24 November 2015

Freedom is not free!!

Everyone is starting to see lots of requests by different groups and individuals to help defray the expense of fighting for liberty. In 17 years of doing this, I have never once asked for help in the way of donations. We have received a few from good-hearted, loyal patriots but we never asked for them. We have conducted a few fund raisers like turkey shoots and raffles over the years but time is of the essence right now and staging fundraisers just isn't in the cards. If we make it safely through this winter, maybe we can start doing some of that fun stuff again next year.

Surely all of you have seen at least some of the stuff going around on the various news outlets. Natural disasters, terrorism, economic and social degradation, illegal immigration, gov't over-reach and invasions, etc, etc. The vast majority of people do nothing either because they don't care or they are oblivious to what is going on.

There are also many patriots that are simply unable to do anything physically no matter how much they want to.

Then there's the III%. Those few that will risk life and limb. Those dedicated, patriotic individuals that put all else aside and dive head first into the fray. Whether it be helping citizens during disasters, helping law enforcement during search and rescue operations or getting involved in the battle for liberty, the III% are getting things done.

Unfortunately, everything we do costs money. We have homes, jobs and families just like everyone else.

We can't do this much longer without some help. Our personal gear wears out or gets damaged and has to be replaced. Sometimes we need specialized items for certain missions that we don't normally have. There's tires, fuel, maintenance, food, medical supplies, porta-potties and much more.

The informed patriot knows that time is short. We know that there is a storm brewing. Most of us feel that we are past the point of no return. Whatever is going to happen will happen with or without us. The concern is, will we be able to continue the struggle, whatever it may be for, or will we be defeated because we can't travel to where we need to go or feed ourselves or will many simply quit because of personal issues.

The requests probably won't stop anytime soon. The big question for those donating, and a very legitimate one, is where does money go and what is it used for? Just like any other large group of people, there will always be a few that are unethical and in it for themselves. We saw that at Bundy Ranch. We saw it down on the border and we saw it in Washington state during the fires. Do your research and chose carefully who you donate to. None of us really have an in-depth accounting system. We operate on the honor system. I can tell you that it doesn't take long to separate the wheat from the chaff.

One thing that I can assure you of... We, you and I, are the only thing that stands between the citizens of this Nation and our destruction by the enemies of all that is good. The morals, values and standards that most of us grew up with are being destroyed by enemies bith foreign and domestic. From without and from within.

There are current issues that MUST be dealt with immediately and others on the horizon.
Make an informed choice, but make a choice. Support the militias and patriot groups that are giving their all for their God and their Nation.

In Liberty,
Cope Reynolds (Desertscout)
Southwest Shooting Authority of Arizona

If you'd like to help support our efforts, you can do so by donating at Living Liberty

Listen to Cope live on The Shooting Bench Mon thru Fri, 8 to 9pm Pacific/11pm to midnight Eastern

"The Shooting Bench" Podcast: The Shooting Bench

Colts and Kimbers are what you show your friends.
GLOCKS are what you show your enemies!

11 July 2015

Shotgun Ammunition Performance for Home Defense

Once again, I must apologize for taking so long to post new material here! However, this topic comes up with monotonous regularity and the amount of misinformation concerning it is mind-boggling. Here are the results of some testing that we did back in 2009 that may clear up some things for you...


Shotgun Ammunition Performance for Home Defense

This began as a response to a guy that had posted his experience shown in the bracketed text below...
[[Originally Posted by Xxxxxx
Just a warning... I just did some running/shooting drills with 20ga birdshot out of a 28" barrel with a modified choke.
Granted, I was shooting 7 1/2 shot, where 6-shot & a 12ga would probably be what you chose... 
Still, even at 7 yards where the pattern is only about 2 inches in diameter, the shot only penetrated about 3/8" into a weather-worn 2x6.
I've heard some people say birdshot is the same as buckshot at close ranges... and I don't think it's true.
After seeing this, I decided to do some testing and posted my results in the same forum...
  Seeing how far lead shot goes into a wooden 2x6 at 7 yards tells you approximately how far your shot will penetrate into a 2x6 at 7 yards. I'm not sure that that is a reasonable indicator as to how well the same load will perform in human tissue at the same range. It might offer a little more information to shoot it into something that is flesh and bone. Shoot into a turkey or ham at the same distance and see what you get. By the way, set a doll behind the turkey a couple of feet away for visual effect. You might be surprised.

I realize that 7 yards is pretty standard for testing performance and I generally agree on that but for home defense, well, I don't know for sure. The way my house is arranged, there's only 1 place that I can get a 7 yard shot. 3 to 5 yards would easily be the average.
This is not to be argumentative but consider this: You do your testing at 3-5 yards and see if your chosen load is acceptable. If you like it, good. That means that any pellets that miss won't be doing much damage beyond that. Birdshot will almost certainly not OVER-penetrate except at point-blank range.

Since frozen turkeys are so cheap, buy 2 or 3 of them and do the same thing with #4 buck and 00 buck.

No, I am not trying to convince everyone that #7.5 birdshot is the best home defense load by any means, but I surely do NOT believe that 00 buck is either. At least not if you have people in other parts of the house.
Or if you live a trailer park with another trailer right next door.
Or if you live in an apartment or duplex where the neighbor's kid sleeps just 8" on the other side of that wall.

I think #4 buck or #2 birdshot might be a better choice.
We went out to the range one morning before we opened and played with the scatterguns a little bit. Pretty interesting. We got it all on video and I'll try to put it on YouTube one of these days. But here's what we found out anyway

I took a couple good-sized, thawed, bone-in pork shoulders approximately 7" thick and put them a pedestal at the customary 7 yards. The first one was shot with the #4 buck and the second with #2 birdshot. The gun was 12 gauge Mossberg 590 with cylinder bore. Without seeing the video, you will never be able to appreciate what we saw but both sizes of shot would be more than adequate. The difference between the two was pretty much indistinguishable. The shoulders both blew up like they had grenades in them. We found pieces of meat as far away as 17 yards forward of the pedestal and 20 yards behind it. Most of the pieces were between the size of a marble and golf ball and they were EVERYWHERE, including the back window of my truck which was 13 yards behind where the meat was. A half dozen pieces were slabs the size of your hand. I will have to review the video in slo-mo to see for sure but we all agreed that the #2 birdshot was more dramatic than the buckshot.

We also shot some 5 gallon jugs of water with 7.5 and #2 birdshot; and #4 and 00 buck. The results were pretty inconclusive because the plastic was so thick.
The 7.5 caved in the front of the jug a little but only a few of the pellets entered it with 0 exiting. The jug tipped up but did not quite fall off the stand.

Quite a few of the #2's entered, 0 exits and the energy transferred to the jug knocked it off the stand and about 3' from it.

All of the #4 buck entered, most exited with a few bouncing off the inside of the jug and remaining inside. The distance that the jug was knocked off was virtually identical to the #2 birdshot.

All of the the 00 entered and 75% of them exited (these were 12-pellets loads). Three of them bounced off the inside and remained in the jug. The distance that the jug was knocked off was virtually identical to the #2 birdshot.

I bought 4 turkeys the night before to test all 4 sizes of shot but they weren't thawed enough to use the next morning. We left them in the conex out at the range so that we could continue the tests the next day.

Here is more of the original poster's comments...
This afternoon, I am going to use my 12ga Winchester model 12 (at least 28" barrel, so we'll be getting MAX velocity)
Velocity will not change much, if any, by using a 12 gauge, providing you're using the same type of shell. He said the 20 gauge that he used originally had a 28" bbl also. There will be a larger amount of shot, thus a larger shot column using the 12 gauge, but it won't be going any faster. In fact, you may find the smaller gauge to be faster depending on manufacturer. If you use Winchester AA trap loads in your 20 gauge and Winchester high velocity hunting loads in the 12 gauge then yes, the 12 ga will be faster. Federal lists it's 12 gauge Premium Gold Medal as 1180 fps for 1 oz. of shot and 1145 for 1 1/8 oz. of shot. The same shell in 20 ga is listed as 1200 fps but for 7/8 oz. of shot. The same shell in a .410 runs 1230 fps but with 3/4 oz. shot.

Contrary to very popular belief, you'll find that going to a 3" magnum doesn't usually give you any more velocity either and in most cases is slower than the 2 3/4". The 3" shell gives you more shot, not more speed. A 3" Federal Power-Shok with 00 buck runs 1210 fps. The same size shot in a 2 3/4" shell runs 1325. Different manufacturers and configurations will vary slightly but not that much.

I would never, in my wildest nightmares, use slugs in a HD gun.

Think about this also. Handguns are ballistically inferior to everything else out there except slingshots so we all teach, "double taps", "controlled pairs", "shoot 'em to the ground!" or whatever. No one will ever convince me that a "controlled pair" of #6 or 7.5 birdshot at accepted defensive ranges will not stop 99% of the people you use it on. If it doesn't, what do you with the other 1%? It's called a "failure to stop" shot. Show me a guy that can take a couple of loads of birdshot to the chest and another to face and still be a danger to me and I'll show you a guy that won't stop with 2-.308's in his chest either. Way too many places train people to shoot just once with a shotgun assuming that it will always stop the guy. It might not so I would plan for a follow-up shot with it just as I would any other weapon, no matter what size shot I was using. Once again, I don't claim that #7.5 shot out of a shotgun is anywhere near optimum but I don't think 00 buck is either. I don't want people thinking that 7.5 is woefully inadequate either.

I have killed way more animals in my life than some folks would think was ethically necessary. The whys and wheres and whens of all that are irrelevant right now but suffice it to say that that kind of thing just comes with living on a ranch and hunting for 50 years. What does this have to do with anything?

About 25 years ago, I shot a coyote that was terribly stricken with mange near San Augustine, TX, from a moving pick-up at about 35 miles an hour with a full-choked 20 ga loaded with Federal Express #6 birdshot. The animal was standing, broad-side, just up from the bar ditch and I was driving down a 2-lane hwy so she was around 40' or so away. A few of the pellets went completely through her and she died instantly. I still have pictures. I shot another one with the same load also from around 40' away. He was sitting facing me and I hit him dead-center chest. He was thrust back on his haunches and died instantly. I didn't do an autopsy to see what the damage was but from the way he died, I'd say his giblets got stirred up pretty well.
Does this make #6 birdshot the ideal coyote load? Certainly not but it does kinda give you an idea of the relative effectiveness of small shot in living tissue.
The point of the coyote experiences above were more for the penetration factor than the fact that they died. There is much discussion concerning passing along those "one-in-a-million" kills or failure to kill as fact. I once shot a chicken-killing German Shepherd at 70 yards with a G23 and he dropped like he'd been hit with a .30-06. Funny thing though, 2 years later, I shot a rabbit-stealing German Shepherd at 45 yards with a 165 gr. SPBT out of a .30-06 and he ran all the way home and lived. It was good shot. He had just pulled out from the our fence where the small animals were and was running down the road. The bullet hit about 2" behind the shoulder and, of course, went all the way through. The dog, ran home and I figured he'd die. I went over to tell the owner what happened and he rushed the dog to the vet and he was out running around in a few days. I shot his brother a year earlier (he was in the horse corral) with the same gun and load and he was dead before he hit the ground. Very strange.

Originally Posted by Xxxxxx
Something else I just thought of...

It may be apples and oranges to compare the damage bird shot does to coyotes and turkeys to what it could do to humans. I think it's fair to call humans "Big Game", so testing the penetration on a deer rib cage might be a good idea.

If a human's 'parts' are twice as big as a coyote's parts, than the birdshot compared to a human is the equivalent of shot twice as big when fired at a coyote.

Anyway, it could be argued that a .10 caliber pellet hitting a coyote is the same thing as a .20 caliber pellet hitting a human...an animal twice as large. A turkey? Maybe it would be like a .40 caliber pellet hitting a human. A rabbit? Maybe it would be like a 1.10 caliber pellet hitting a human.

Do you see what I mean?
I see your point, yes. The problem with ballistic testing is that there are just no absolutes. The turkey, in my mind, might KINDA give me an idea of what kind of penetration to expect out of any given shot but it doesn't have the heavy human breast bone or the proper sized vitals but I think it will be much better than a milk jug full of water or a 2x6. I've put ads in the newspaper trying to get some liberals to volunteer for some realistic, scientific ballistic testing but, so far, no takers.

A lot of folks insist that testing into ballistic gelatin is somehow a realistic way to test ballistics but there's something about testing in ballistic gelatin that just doesn't quite sit well with me. Yes, it's consistent but it's not meat. It has no bones, no tendons or sinew or cavities or different textures. To get exact comparisons of the performance of certain projectiles, I have no doubt that it is a good way to do it but I'm just not convinced that ANY projectile performs the same way in jello as it does in meat. Some will say that I'm full of it but that's still how I see it. 
OK, back to the original topic...here’s my thoughts on birdshot vs. buckshot for home defense.

We shot 4 - 13# turkeys and the results were pretty much what we expected although the #4 buck didn't do exactly what I thought it would. They were all dressed up a T-shirt and Carhart style jacket. The gun was a Mossberg 590, cylinder-bore 12 gauge firing from 7 yards. #7.5 shot is .10" in diameter and there is about 350 of them in a standard 2.75" shell. The #2 is .15" with 87 pellets. The #4 buck .25" with 24 pellets. The 00 buck is .33" and there are normally 9 pellets in a shell. For those not familiar with shot sizes, here's a comparison photo.
As expected, the #7.5 birdshot spread out quite bit but still easily went through all the clothing. Even the single pellets went through the clothing and entered the turkey. The bulk of the pellets made an entrance wound about 2"x2.5" and went through to the back where most of the shot embedded and did not exit. The shot pushed the turkey off of the table.

The #2 birdshot did very well as far as I'm concerned. Because of the clothing, it was difficult to tell exactly where the breast was and we missed the center a little bit but the #2 made a very impressive entrance by severing a leg and in turn causing a gaping entrance wound. Pretty much all the shot went all the way through, even after going through the leg and bone. Some of the shot exited and large portion of it stopped right under the skin on the off-side. I have no doubt that the over-whelming majority would have exited had we been 2 yards closer. This load rolled the turkey end-over-end off the table.


The #4 buck also did well but I expected a little better penetration. The hole made by the main shot column (top hole) was about an inch around and was encircled by 7 pellets that left the main column. The lower hole was made by the wad. This load did quite a bit of damage but it appeared that only about 3/4 of them exited. One pellet was found just under the skin and 4 more poured out when we undressed the turkey. There is no doubt that it all would exited had we been just a tad closer. The turkey did not leave the table.


100% of the 00 buck penetrated completely. The entrance hole was about 3/4"x1" with no stray pellets. The damage inside was extensive. We opened it up a little more to look for pellets and found none. I think we would have had 100% exit even if we had moved back 3, maybe even 5 yards farther. Since we had total penetration, we started looking for the pellets. We found where they hit the dirt bank 4 yards behind the table and dug up a couple of them 7" deep. From the way they are deformed, they hit the dirt pretty hard. No other pellet of any size showed much deformation just from the turkey. The turkey slid off the table but not nearly as dramatically as one would have expected due to the total penetration. The reason it slid off the table was because of the force of the amount tissue that left the turkey being propelled into the clothing that the turkey was dressed in.

This test just confirmed my thoughts on this subject. While #7.5 is far from optimum, I think it would work fine in the majority of cases. I'd a hell of lot rather have that than a .380. The way the bird left the table indicated that all of the energy was absorbed by the body even if internal damage wasn't as much as the others. The #2 did just what I had hoped and expected. Almost total penetration and 100% energy transfer which was apparent by the way the turkey was rolled off the table. The danger of over-penetration was minimized while offering good terminal performance. The #4 buck also did well with more damage to the inside than the #2 but less energy transfer because most of the shot exited. This was the only bird that didn't leave the table. The 00 with total penetration did a lot of damage with a LOT of danger behind the target. If those pellets hit hard enough to deform and go 7" deep into soil, there is some concern for me in the home. I'm with everyone else as far as the effectiveness of heavier buck but I am very comfortable with a little sacrifice in terminal performance for the peace of mind that I am not sending .33 caliber lead balls into the next room or trailer house or apartment addressed to whom it may concern..

In Liberty,
Cope Reynolds (Desertscout)
Southwest Shooting Authority of Arizona

If you'd like to help support our efforts, you can do so by donating at Living Liberty

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Colts and Kimbers are what you show your friends.
GLOCKS are what you show your enemies!

02 January 2015

Why I Died...

 Why I Died

As I lay there mortally wounded, with my life slipping away, I could not help remembering the words of the instructor who had taught my concealed carry class. He said, “This training is not the end, and really not even a good beginning for your self-defense training. Get some more training!” His point, as he often repeated during the one-day class, was that I was not even close to being prepared for the real deal if it happened to me or any of the other 15 students in the class.

Now I am not sure about them, but I knew he spoke the truth about me. Fitness has never been part of my life, that firearm class was my first (just to get my carry permit), and I honestly preferred to spend my money on the skiing trip I had planned with my buddies rather than paying for more training or practice ammunition. The class got me the certificate I needed to legally carry a gun, and with a gun I had the great equalizer, right?
Wrong. During that day of training, my instructor listed all the things he wished each of us would do to ensure our survivability. I could not help thinking of those things, all of which had affected the outcome on this fateful day for me.

My instructor was really serious about this one. He said that during a fight, no one was immune to the catastrophic responses of the human body under stress. He made it very clear that just owning and even carrying a gun are not the answers unless a high level of fitness and plenty of ingrained skill accompany them. He told us that most encounters would be very close, and might actually be a physical fight first. He was right.

My encounter started with a punch to the side of my head from an unobserved attacker. Even though I was armed with my trusty gun, my mind went blank after that first punch and I could not believe the terror I felt. I was frozen and didn’t know what to do as more punches impacted my face and neck. Once I finally got the mental signal to do something, I could feel my pulse in my ear and would have sworn that my eardrums were about to be blown out with the pressure I felt with every beat of my heart.

Fight back? I tried, but found that the few punches I threw back had no effect on my attacker. After hitting him several times with no effect, my arms got so heavy that I could not raise them to protect my head. I felt weak, and my heart rate had gone up so high that I began to have problems thinking and seeing clearly.
I wish I had worked through this feeling in the gym a few times to get prepared before it happened to me. Could this really be happening to me?


Getting more training was not “optional,” my instructor said. In fact, he told us this so many times throughout the day, I found myself getting sick of hearing it. But he was right. He mentioned that with the proper training, a person would learn all the critical pieces of the self-defense puzzle. He said that learning how to defend against an attack might include using punches and kicks initially, and maybe even knowing how to wrestle someone on the ground before I had a chance to draw my handgun.

I really needed that information when, after my attacker had punched me a dozen times, he knocked me to the ground and began to stab me with a knife he had in his waistband. If I had known just a few techniques to protect myself and maybe launch a counterattack, maybe I would not be lying here bleeding out on this cold pavement. No one knows I am here. I feel so alone.

My instructor told me that I did not even need ammunition to practice! He told me that I could practice my drawing techniques in a safe area without spending a dime on ammunition. He called it “dry fire,” and said that the most important thing I could do was learn how to get my gun out quickly. He did say that the concealed carry course we were taking would not teach me the draw process, so a few of us stayed after class and got to practice some draws under our instructor’s watchful eye.

It was great information, but after the class I did not make even the slightest effort to practice it. I wish I had, since after being stabbed a few times, I got one lucky punch in to my attacker’s nose. It actually knocked him back into a car, and I had a couple of seconds to grab my gun and save my own life…too bad I didn’t know how to get my shirt out of the way.

Getting my hand on my gun was not even possible, since I fumbled with my shirt and my attacker immediately recognized what I was doing. He was street smart and came after me with the knife again. Those next few stabs to my neck and head area really did some serious damage. I had the chance to defend myself for those few seconds and I missed it! Now I lay, nearly lifeless, wishing I had listened to those wise words: “Practice drawing your firearm every day.”

In class we discussed the laws surrounding carrying a firearm, and how we were responsible to follow them, but my instructor was not afraid to point out another responsibility. The responsibility to prepare. To his students, the instructor said, “Take responsibility for your own survival.” No one would be there for us when the ultimate test occurred. He said that all our excuses for failing to heed what he told us would be worthless. He was right.

All the reasons I found to ignore his advice reverberated in my mind now, and I felt myself screaming inside my own head at how stupid I had been. But it was too late. I felt my life slipping away. As I lay there within minutes of death, I prayed for a second chance. I prayed for the opportunity to prepare like my instructor had begged me to. If only I had listened! If given a second chance, I would prepare like my life depended on it … because it did.

My instructor attended my funeral and prayed for me.
This is your chance. Prepare like your life depends on it. Take responsibility for your own survival.


In Liberty,
Cope Reynolds (Desertscout)
Southwest Shooting Authority of Arizona

If you'd like to help support our efforts, you can do so by donating at Living Liberty

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Colts and Kimbers are what you show your friends.
GLOCKS are what you show your enemies!

27 September 2014

I Canceled My Life Insurance Today...

I Canceled My Life Insurance Today...

A few years ago, I wrote a piece entitled "Why I Carry Openly" in which I explained why I chose to carry my weapon openly instead of concealed most of the time. It's a personal decision and is definitely NOT for everyone. In that article, I made several references to the importance of carrying every day. In view of some recent events, I feel compelled to expound on that a little bit.

I will summarize this very briefly here in the beginning. I carry every waking moment of every day of my life and have for the last 22 years. My wife does, my two oldest daughters do, my son-in-law does and the majority of my friends do. I strongly recommend that you do the same.

When I say you should carry ALL the time, I mean ALL the time! Parties, church, work, recreational activities, around the house, even in the bathroom. Wait, what? The bathroom? Where are you the most vulnerable during your daily routine? Most people will say while they are asleep but that's not true. Many gunowners sleep with a handgun on the nightstand or a shotgun in the corner by the bed and are more likely to wake up when they hear something out of place. Its a lot harder to hear with the shower running. If someone were intent on doing you harm or stealing something specific, all they need to do is wait until you go to the bathroom. Oh! You have an alarm system in your home? Of course you do. And how long does it take the police to respond? The old saying is, when seconds count, cops are only minutes away. Do a search and use the term, "Woman attacked in bathroom." I get 17,600,000 results. How about man attacked in bathroom? 34,700,000 results.
Anywhere that you are allowed by law to carry, carry. It doesn't make you paranoid, it makes you smart.

OK, let's look at the logic, or lack thereof, of choosing not to carry.
Do you get up some days and call your insurance company and tell them to cancel your insurance on your car? Makes sense, right? You're a good driver. You don't plan to have a wreck, right? Isn't it easy enough to just call State Farm and reinstate your policy on the day that you know you're going to need it? Of course it is! This is what you are doing each and every time you decide to leave your gun at home. You're saying to yourself, "This won't be the day. I have no enemies. I will not be attacked today." Makes sense, right? Wrong!

You pay thousands of dollars each year for automobile insurance on a car that you never wreck, a boat that never sinks, a motorcycle that never gets stolen and a house that never burns down. THOUSANDS! Yet when I ask that you spend between $300 and $600 for a ONE-TIME life insurance policy in the form of a decent quality handgun, you cry, "Oh! That's too much!" You have a fire extinguisher in your house and your car, you wear helmets, and seat belts and we have air bags and car seats...but no gun? Think about it.

I did a presentation for a large church in New Mexico one time at the behest of one of the members who was desperately trying to convince the congregation of the wisdom of carrying a gun. I did a little research before I went and came up with some interesting facts. I researched police, fire and newspaper archives and came up with both the number of violent assaults and murders versus the number of homes that burned down during the same 90 day period prior to this presentation. Violent assaults-6, number of homes burned-0. Zero. Zilch, none, nada, het. Do you know how many school children have been killed or injured by school fires in the United States since 1908? None that I can find yet we can't seem to get guns in schools either. That's a different story for another time. My point is, Americans spend tons of money and materials to prepare the most unlikely things but pretend that the potentially most likely hazard won't ever happen to them.

I put my gun on every morning when I get dressed. Every morning. It's not a conscious decision that I make, it is something that I have done for so long and it is so important to me that it has become something that is an unconscious, reflexive action. No different than my shirt or shoes. I am to the point that it is utterly impossible for me to "forget" to don my weapon. Most of my gun-toting family members and friends have also reached that level of "unconscious competency" as it pertains to getting dressed properly. I don't put on a particular ensemble and then try to figure out where I am going to put my gun. I put my gun on the same way, in the same place every day. If my chosen clothing for the day will not accommodate that, I'll figure out something else to wear. In short, I dress around my gun.

The two most important factors in choosing how you will carry that gun are accessibility and comfort with comfort being #1. Why? Why is it more important for your choice of carry methods to be comfortable than to be fast in accessing it? Well, quite obviously if it's not comfortable for you, you will eventually decide to leave it home instead of wearing it. It is infinitely better to spend an additional second or so getting your gun into action than to have to run home or out to your vehicle to retrieve it. Few personal defense encounters actually require fast-draw anyway. Ideally, one should choose the means and position for their weapon which permits both a smooth, rapid presentation and all day, uninterrupted carry. Another important consideration is discretion. Your weapon should not "print" or be discernible to the casual observer.

By the way, all of this really means very little without professional training. Having the gun is fine but the knowledge of the laws and knowing when, why and where to shoot can be more important than the actually act of shooting itself.

This is not intended to be a tutorial on how to carry but when to carry so let's change gears here.

Daily carrying is a very difficult concept for most to grasp. As a result, their apathy is very difficult concept for me to grasp. In this day of so very much turbulence and strife and violence, carrying a gun seems like a no-brainer to many of us. It seems to often take a neighbor or loved one getting injured or robbed to encourage one to take that giant leap and consider getting a gun. The fact of the matter is, the criminal element that we face today is more cunning, brutal and savage than at any point in America's history. The lack of values and the absolute, total disregard for human life by so many people these days is stunning. Why some folks think they are immune from the effects of this degradation of society is a mystery to me.

Let's look at some of the top reasons that people come up with not to carry the means to protect themselves on a daily basis...
  • [I don't go places where I feel that I will need a gun] 
Neither does anyone else. This is my hands-down favorite and one of the stupidest things a human being can say. I submit to you that not a single victim of violent assault has chosen to go to the place where they were injured thinking they were going to get injured or killed. Um, if you feel that you may be attacked if you go to a particular place, don't go there, whether you are carrying or not!
  • [There's no need for me to carry a gun because I couldn't shoot someone anyway]
I would like to be gentle, understanding and diplomatic and say that this is a personal decision that is your choice and your choice alone. However, I am neither gentle or diplomatic so I will tell you this a very close second to the stupidest response to this seemingly simple question. There are a few things to consider here in your choices.

#1. In our classes we emphasize the fact that you are not taking a life, you are saving one (or more). The choice that you have been forced to make is in response to a choice that your assailant made voluntarily. To him, this an acceptable hazard of employment. You should feel no guilt for protecting yourself or someone else. There will likely be a reasonable degree of remorse as no normal person enjoys taking a life but, again, it wasn't your choice so don't let it consume you.

#2. There is no Atheist in a foxhole. This isn't exactly the same but the concept is similar. For those that are against guns or against shooting someone, let me tell you how it's likely to play out. Ladies, you will wake up one night with a naked man or men with a knife or a gun standing over you about to have his way with you. Men, maybe you will be forced to sit in your favorite chair and watch as this happens to your wife or daughter. Maybe you will be tied up while they ransack the house and then set it on fire (this actually happened to a man a few years ago. He was the only one that survived. I wonder what he would have given for a gun that night?) Or maybe you will be attacked by a mindless junkie in a dark parking lot in his effort to score enough cash for another fix.
If you imagine any of these scenarios happening to you personally, what's the first thing that comes to mind? One of two things...I wish I had a gun or I wish someone with a gun were here to help me.

#3. You may not be the only one to consider. What about an innocent family member, maybe your child. So you won't shoot someone to save yourself but would you shoot to save your child? I would sure hope so.
  • [I'm not paranoid]
I'm not either. I carry a gun
  • [It's too heavy to carry all the time]
Trade it in and get another one. Better yet, if finances allow, keep it for a spare or a house gun and get something more suitable for everyday carry.
  • [What would my friends/spouse think?]
Who cares? It's your life. If they can't get over it, get new friends and you made a bad choice in a spouse.
  • [It's not legal in my city/state]
MOVE! Go where the freedom is! There is no job or house so important (to me) that you cannot start over where freedom exists.

There is no excuse for not carrying a gun unless you are a prohibited possessor. If you can legally buy one, you can legally carry one as long as you live in a relatively free state. There is some form of carry law in all 50 states now although some of them are horribly restrictive.

Considering all that I have relayed to you so far, think about what happened yesterday in Moore, Oklahoma...

A man was fired from a food packing facility and promptly attacked a lady co-worker, beheaded her then proceeded to stab another lady co-worker. Listening to the 911 call, we hear a man making the call and both men and women screaming and hollering in the background. The man that made the call had knowledge of what was going on but apparently wasn't actually at the scene. All the people screaming were obviously there or were exiting the area. One man, all by himself, had the time to stab and cut the head off of a person with no significant interference from the several people that were there. If anyone had a gun, they were unwilling to use it. No one was willing to grab a chair or a telephone or a keyboard or a coffee pot or pen or a letter opener or a briefcase or any one of the dozens of other expedient weapons that are present in virtually any workplace or home and stop this man from killing one and injuring another. Why? Because we have been conditioned to rely on the authorities to save us. We're soft and vulnerable. Call 911. Don't fight back. Finally, an off-duty sheriff's deputy who happened to be the beheader's former boss, shot and wounded him and stopped the attack. He carried a gun. Oklahoma has pretty darned good gun laws and there is no excuse not to be carrying a gun.

Similar scenarios have taken place in theaters, schools, churches and workplaces across the Nation for years. But it always happens to someone else, right? There are people in Moore, Oklahoma that would disagree today.

In Liberty,
Cope Reynolds (Desertscout)
Southwest Shooting Authority of Arizona

If you'd like to help support our efforts, you can do so by donating at Living Liberty

Listen to Cope live on The Shooting Bench Mon thru Fri, 8 to 9pm Pacific/11pm to midnight Eastern

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Colts and Kimbers are what you show your friends.
GLOCKS are what you show your enemies!

GLOCK Armorers class!

OK, Glock fans!

We believe that the Glock pistol is one of the finest handguns available, being well suited for both defense and recreation.

Our Glock Armorer class is a day-long journey through the inner workings of your GLOCK where you will find the true beauty of this amazing handgun. History, field strip, detail strip, repairs, modifications, models, interchangeability and so much more. NEVER take your GLOCK to a gunsmith again!

The next class will be in Lincoln, CA on 18 October and at a dramatically reduced price due to the hard work or our host and the fact that the following day will be an 8-hour Disaster Preparedness class.

If you are interested in either of these classes, please email me at: lincolnga@outlook.com This address is for use ONLY by my FaceBook friends, and The Shooting Bench subscribers and listeners and will be disposed of after this class. Take both classes and get a free copy of my book, "DYING...is NOT an option!" Pre-registration is required.


In Liberty,
Cope Reynolds (Desertscout)
Southwest Shooting Authority of Arizona

If you'd like to help support our efforts, you can do so by donating at Living Liberty

Listen to Cope live on The Shooting Bench Mon thru Fri, 8 to 9pm Pacific/11pm to midnight Eastern

"The Shooting Bench" Podcast: The Shooting Bench

Colts and Kimbers are what you show your friends.
GLOCKS are what you show your enemies!

02 September 2014

SWSA Mobile Training Unit

Southwest Shooting Authority is going back on the road!

After about a 9 month hiatus working a number of logistical issues, we now feel that we can get back on the road from time to time and offer a limited number of classes "off-campus". That means that we can bring many of our classes to YOUR area!

The next confirmed classes will be held in Lincoln, CA on 18 & 19 October. Saturday the 18th will be a Glock Armorers class and the 19th will be an 8-hr Disaster Preparedness seminar. Because of the absolute awesomeness of our host, prices for both these classes have been absolutely slashed! Slots are filling and we expect these classes to go quickly so go to SWSA Mobile Training Unit and see what you need to do to get signed up!

Check out what you can do to get training in your area and receive FREE training!

In Liberty,
Cope Reynolds (Desertscout)
Southwest Shooting Authority of Arizona

If you'd like to help support our efforts, you can do so by donating at Living Liberty

Listen to Cope live on The Shooting Bench Mon thru Fri, 8 to 9pm Pacific/11pm to midnight Eastern

"The Shooting Bench" Podcast: The Shooting Bench

Colts and Kimbers are what you show your friends.
GLOCKS are what you show your enemies!

11 November 2013

Veterans Day

Veterans Day. What do you say? Happy Veterans Day? Is that the appropriate greeting? Are some of us supposed to be happy because we have lost friends in battle? Are some of us happy to have escaped with our lives and made it back home safely? Are some of us happy that we were able to serve but never experienced the horrors of war?

What is the correct salutation for the day? This isn't a birthday or Christmas. I don't think this is a joyous occasion for most of us. Veterans Day may bring on the worst memories and nightmares that a person can have or it may be just another reason to get drunk and have fun. 

What are we supposed to say and how do we respond? I think maybe the correct salutation for the day might be something like...

"Thank you. Thank you for your service and your sacrifices, whether here or abroad, in times of war for your blood, sweat and tears or in times of peace for standing ready to face the Beast. If you have put on the uniform, taken the oath, upheld that oath and battled for us or stood ready to do so, thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I thank you for my family's safety. I thank you for my country's well-being. God bless each and every one of you. God bless your families for the personal sacrifices that they have had to make while you do your duty to God and Country. Thank all of you, past, present and future. The time will come when we will have to battle the Beast again, here. Thank you for fighting the evil that others pretend does not exist."

The appropriate response? "You're Welcome"

In Liberty,
Cope Reynolds (Desertscout)
Southwest Shooting Authority of Arizona

If you'd like to help support our efforts, you can do so by donating at Living Liberty

Listen to Cope live on The Shooting Bench Mon thru Fri, 8 to 9pm Pacific/11pm to midnight Eastern

"The Shooting Bench" Podcast: The Shooting Bench

Colts and Kimbers are what you show your friends.
GLOCKS are what you show your enemies!

25 October 2013

Shooting children with toy guns

A recent, tragic shooting incident in California found a 13 year old boy dead at the hands of local police. His crime? Being armed with a very realistic-looking AK-47 air rifle and a plastic pistol. The rifle did not have any markings or colored parts to distinguish it from a real gun. The boy was wearing a hoodie and turned towards the cops when ordered to drop the gun resulting in his death.

The comments that come from the ignorant about defensive shooting never ceases to amaze me. There are so many "experts" out there, some that don't even own guns, that seem to have all the answers when it comes to what someone would or should do under the stress of a deadly force situation. "Why didn't he fire a warning shot first?", "Why didn't the officer shoot him in the leg?",  "Why did he shoot to kill?".
The "shoot to kill" issue has been an issue since guns were invented and people that have never had any professional defensive firearms training just don't get it. Police, like civilians, are taught to shoot to stop, not shoot to kill. Unfortunately, the largest and easiest target to hit under stress is the torso or "center mass" as some like to call it. Unknowledgable people often ask, "Why couldn't they have just shot him in the leg/shoulder?" or (I love this one) "Couldn't you just shoot the gun out of his hand?". Um, no. It is virtually impossible to do either under the stress of a lethal force scenario, whether real or perceived. I've seen dozens of people fall apart and make the wrong decisions even under the stress of a training.
Listen, I'm one of the most vocal opponents of the many jack-booted thugs out there.
I also strongly support those peace officers that uphold their oath. One has only to listen to my radio show once to figure out where I stand on this kind of thing. However, I am also a professional defensive firearms trainer and have been involved in several altercations involving firearms throughout my life.  The time factor involved between making initial contact with a gun-wielding individual and having to make that decision to shoot often is only a few seconds. The person with the gun is generally an adult and knows what he is doing. That person has only 2 choices; drop the gun instantly on command or test his skills and speed against one or more LEO's that probably already have their gun drawn, on target and their finger on the trigger. Unless you are exceeding well trained and experienced, you have little chance of surviving that scenario. 
Unfortunately, a child sees his toy gun for what it is and that command may be confusing to him as he turns to face the sound of the command. Unlike most movies and the fantasy world that liberals live in, a cop or a civilian in a self-defense scenario doesn't have all day to figure out all the details of what the person they are facing is actually doing. Viewing a 13 year old with a hood over his head with a realistic-looking gun is his hands from the rear doesn't really offer much information. When that individual turns towards the cop, the cop at that point has maybe 2 seconds MAX to make the decision to shoot or not. In this day and age, the chances of encountering a real threat vastly out-weigh the chances of encountering some stupid kid with a real-looking gun. Crass as it may sound, the cop or the armed civilian sometimes has to instantly process a minimal amount of information and then play the odds. Sometimes, they make the wrong choice. Usually, there is no way determine that until its too late.

Having not been there, I will not speculate on what the cops COULD have done but I know what the kid SHOULD have done. Having not been there and only a news article to go by, the cop made the only reasonable choice that he could. When it comes down to it, I blame the parents. What kind of a moron would allow their kid to walk around in Kalifornia carrying a real-looking illegal weapon with a hood on his head nowadays? As I said earlier, in some areas you might get away with it but with the liberal mindset of the average person in KA, I really wouldn't have expected this to turn out any other way.

In Liberty,
Cope Reynolds (Desertscout)
Southwest Shooting Authority of Arizona

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