Kelli on #Queensshoottoo. A New Shooter who Took On Her Fear

Kelli contributed her story to #Queensshoottoo. She is a beginning shooter who has decided to  cast her fears aside and see for herself.
Kelli contributed her story to #Queensshoottoo. She is a beginning shooter who has decided to cast her fears aside and see for herself.

This week on #Queensshoottoo we are going to be going to the other side of the threshold. Dasia trains five days a week and is building her own rifle. Akua has been making bullets with her step-dad since she was 14. They aren’t common.

For every Dasia or Akua, there are hundreds of women like Kelli. She grew up in an anti gun family but decided to find out on her own. Now she is taking control of her education and discovery, visiting ranges and renting firearms.

She’s the first to admit that she isn’t an expert, but she’s on the right path.

Anyone that wants to own a firearm should go through training and not just training to shoot the gun but how to deal with situations that rise. If everyone had to take classes before owning a gun I feel like less people would be dead and more people would feel safer.

What are your earliest memories of firearms?

My earliest memory of a firearm had to be in a movie because I honestly did not see a real gun until high school.

Were there guns in your home as you grew up?

My mom has never had a gun and chances are she won’t ever.

What were your parent’s attitudes towards guns?

My mom doesn’t like guns, she doesn’t like violence.

 What was your perspective as a child, and how has it changed?

As a child I was afraid of guns. I’m still somewhat afraid of them because of the power behind them. I use to get so nervous when I would see a gun, my stomach would knot up. Once I used a gun my fear calmed down. I’m still not 100% cool with them because I don’t know about a lot of guns.

Describe your first time shooting a gun.

My first experience shooting a firearm, it was right after my 20th birthday and it was a revolver. I don’t know what model it was. It was my first time having a gun up and personal, I was very scared. I did not know how to hold it or anything. The guy that worked there showed me everything I needed to know. I thought when I shot it it was gonna kick back hard but it really didn’t kick back much. I was very shocked of how much easier it was. It was kind of addicting when I started shooting, thoughts of how I could protect myself where going through my head. It was such an amazing experience. When I ran out of ammo,  I was very sad.

 20150315_105419Do you currently own a gun?

I don’t currently own one because I want to do it the legal way with a license so I can carry it on me if needed but I will in the future.

How often do you go to the range? What is your attitude towards training?

I go to the range every once in a while, it’s not cheap and I love training. Practice makes perfect and a better chance of me defending myself if needed.

 What advice would you give to someone who was interested in owning a gun?

For anyone that’s interested in guns, educate yourself on them and always handle them legally.

 What skills do you think that every gun owner should know?

Anyone that wants to own a firearm should go through training and not just training to shoot the gun but how to deal with situations that rise. If everyone had to take classes before owning a gun I feel like less people would be dead and more people would feel safer. A lot of people don’t like guns but if they get educated maybe they won’t be so scared.

 

The NAAGA: National African American Gun Association

Crazy like a fox.
Crazy like a fox.

I don’t know if my problem is with the NRA or its leadership.

They are the undisputed big dogs when it comes to insuring that we continue to have the right to keep and bear arms, and they are vicious. They are so rabid about our rights to keep and bear arms that they have begun t0 push for rights that I am not entirely sure are necessary.

But the leadership… Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre and newly elected President Jim Porter come off as paranoid people and they say crazy things. Witness this post with Think Progress entitled the Nine Most Insane Quotes from the NRA’s New Apocalyptic Op-ed. Reading it gave me the impression that we are about three weeks away from a living like Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead.

RickGrimesSeason2
The NRA wants us to go through life at Defcon 9.5, hyper vigilant about the coming and inevitable collapse. Self defense is good. Paranoia isn’t.

Not to mention race. LaPierre painted a picture where there were threats around every corner ready to kidnap, rape or loot. And most of them, be they the looters of South Brooklyn, Mexican drug gangs, Al Queda or the President, were people of color. No mention of white power groups or pumpkin rioters. Go figure.

Notice, I didn’t say that they were crazy. You don’t maintain one of the most powerful lobbying groups in the country by being crazy. The NRA pushes self reliance and security. Not easy, when  according to the FBI, crime is at an all time low?

What some people call nutty is probably shrewd, calculated organizing. Some lobbies boast a sensible membership. The NRA cultivates passion. Few people are driven to write letters to their congressmen in fits of sensibility. Passion = power, and the NRA is powerful.

Their formula works perfectly. I just don’t know if I’m comfortable with it.

Sam shot me a link to the National African American Gun Association. Below is their mission statement.

THE GOAL OF THE NATIONAL AFRICAN AMERICAN GUN ASSOCIATION IS TO HAVE EVERY AFRICAN AMERICAN INTRODUCED TO FIREARM USE FOR HOME PROTECTION,  COMPETITIVE SHOOTING, AND OUTDOOR RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES. WE ARE A CIVIL RIGHTS ORGANIZATION FOCUSED ON SELF PRESERVATION OF OUR COMMUNITY THROUGH ARMED PROTECTION AND COMMUNITY BUILDING.

Makes sense to me.

This weekend I will be going to a meet and greet at a local gun range. I’ll keep you posted.

Maryland 10th Calvary Gun Club. Photo from NPR
The NAAGA is a new shooting organization for African American shooters. Pictured are the Maryland 10th Calvary Gun Club. Photo from NPR

How Not to Suck at Shooting: You Need Schoolin

Michonne on The Walking Dead, tea-cupping a gun. She's going to mow down a dozen zombies. Don't expect the same results.
Michonne on The Walking Dead, tea-cupping a gun. She’s going to mow down a dozen zombies. Don’t expect the same results.

My father owned guns my entire life. In that time I remember him going to the range a handful of times. By range I mean an expanse of red clay and briars behind a friend’s house in South Carolina and the back yard of our family’s home in Virginia.

We called it plinking, and we didn’t accomplish a whole lot. I learned to load and shoot all of the guns. I learned a healthy respect by seeing what they were capable of. I got over my fear, and I learned some important lessons about safety. I guess, loading the magazines for his Mini-14 prepared me to load the Glock 17 that I eventually bought, but I’m pretty sure I would have figured it out.

Most gun owners will never go through the process of becoming an effective gun-fighter. People don’t think that you have to. TV and movies show us that if you are a good guy, God will bless you with infinite bullets and guide them to the skulls of your enemies.

We didn’t do accuracy. We did our best but my father didn’t know about acquiring a sight picture or proper grip. We never discussed draw and fire. To my knowledge he doesn’t own a holster.

My dad wasn’t alone. Most gun owners will never go through the process of becoming an effective gun fighter. People don’t think that you have to. TV and movies show us that if you are a good guy, God will bless you with infinite bullets and guide them to the skulls of your enemies.

On the Walking Dead, Michonne tea-cups her Beretta? and lands head shot after head shot. All of the good guys do, until the directors decide that a miss would advance the plot. Everybody thinks they are the good guy. And a whole lot of gun owners think that righteousness is a guarantee of safety and accuracy.

I thought I was an okay shot. Good enough to put a bad guy on his back. My first visit to the range with Samuel Hayes of Caliber Training Group not only showed me how good I wasn’t, but it also made me better. Not great, but better.

I learned to hold the gun by emulating the guys in the gun magazines. The devil is in the details. It’s easy to make your grip look like their grip, but there is a lot going on beneath the surface. If your learning strategy is trial and error, you will spend years trying to figure out something that a professional could correct in about five minutes. And there are some things that you will never figure out.

In the spirit of figuring it out, in a few weeks I will be going to Urban Gun-Fighting Combatives at Caliber Training Group. The course puts the gun into the context of urban combat. It includes an extensive look at non-lethal options. I am preparing myself to be humbled.

Speaking of grip, below is Bob Vogel. According to his website, he’s a World Champion Shooter. I don’t follow the IDPA, but I’ll take his word for it. The video covers a lot of the ground that Sam discussed with me at our first meeting. I don’t know if I’ll be extending my support index finger around the trigger guard though.  

Dry Firing 101: The Wall Drill

“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once. I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”

Bruce Lee

Sam Hayes (Caliber Training Group) showed me the wall drill weeks ago. It is one of those things that is greater than the sum of its parts. You practice dry firing with your barrel extended to within an inch of a plain wall. It ain’t calculus.

What does it do? When your front sight is an inch away from a wall, you can’t kid yourself. It puts your trigger pull under a microscope. If it’s smooth, the sights will stay centered. If it’s like mine, you will see every flinch, shake and drift.

There are a million variations. I sometimes practice it as the last action of my four step draw. If you remember, the last time I went to the range with Sam, I was humbled by my inability to shoot the black dot. Well, this is my medicine.

Why a wall? This is how, Master Sargent George Harris, Director of training for Sigarms Academy and  United States Army Reserve shooting team coach answered that question.

“Your eye wants to transition towards the target during the stroke of the trigger. The wall makes sure that doesn’t happen. [The wall] keeps your eye focused on the front sight, keeps your eye open, and makes sure your trigger control is clean and pure.”

Always practice safely. It has been said that most accidental discharges occur during dry fire practice. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I don’t want to find out what happens when you shoot a cinder block wall with a 9 mm at point-blank range.

Keep your live rounds out of your practice area. I practice in my garage. My hot magazine stays on the kitchen table. I check the chamber after I switch in my practice magazine, and again immediately before I start practicing. Also, I wait for the kids to go to bed and then practice using a wall that doesn’t have anything behind it but the empty Georgia woods.

What you do is up to you, but you need to take it seriously.

 

Don’t Be Shaneen: Know the Law

Shaneen Allen and son. Her child was in the car when she was pulled over as she left an Atlantic City birthday party.
Shaneen Allen and son. Her child was in the car when she was pulled over as she left an Atlantic City birthday party.

Yesterday I wrote about Shaneen Allen. I focused on the overzealous prosecutor, mandatory minimums and pretrial hypocracy. Then a friend who knows much more about guns and the law pointed something out to me. It could have all easily been avoided.

There will always be routine traffic stops and asshole prosecutors. But if you get a gun and a license to carry, you have an obligation to learn the laws, not just of your home state but wherever you happen to be. The moral here is Know your Rights.

Soon my wife and I will drive from Atlanta to Philly. Our trip will take us through seven states, each with its own set of laws. South Carolina doesn’t respect the Georgia CCW, but North Carolina does. Virginia is cool with open carry. It appears to be legal in Delaware, but not as common. Don’t even try it in Maryland.

That’s just carrying. What about transport? Virginia lets you carry a loaded gun in your unlocked glove box. In North Carolina, this crosses the line into concealed carry, which is a no no unless you have a concealed carry permit. (Open carry is legal. So what about driving with it sitting on your passenger seat?)

You get the point? The laws don’t always make sense, but it’s still our responsibility to make sense of them. And Allen should have known better.

Yesterday I wrote that telling the officer about your license was a courtesy. That isn’t exactly true. In some states like South Carolina, it’s a law. If you are pulled over, you have to tell the officer about your weapon and show him your license, whether or not you are asked. That isn’t the case in Jersey. Allen had no obligation to volunteer the fact that she had a Bersa 380 in her purse and he had no probable cause to look for one.

The relationship between Philly and Jersey is special. When I lived in Philly, we crossed the bridge whenever we got bored. We would go to the Mall in Cherry Hill, hit up the Olive Garden down the road and then end the night at the movies. Throw in occasional trips to Atlantic City and then jaunts to New York, I must have put in 10 thousand miles on the Turnpike. And I wasn’t alone.

I still don’t think she deserved to spend 40 days in jail. I don’t think her son should have had to watch his mom get taken away and I can’t imagine what it must be like fighting a possible five year sentence. But Shaneen should have known better. That information is just a Google search away.

I’ll make it easy for you. Here’s a link to Handgunlaw.us. They have a clickable map which will tell you everything you need to know.

This is the NRA’s Institute of Legislative Action.

Now you really don’t have an excuse.

 

 

The Tale of Shaneen Allen, From Firearm Owner to Felon in one Jersey Lane Change

Shaneen with her two kids.
Shaneen with her two kids.

About two years ago, Shaneen Allen was pulled over on the Atlantic City Expressway. During the course of the traffic stop for unsafe lane change, she admitted to the officer that she had a pistol in her purse. She didn’t have to. There is no indication that the officer was going to search her or her car or purse.

During the course of the traffic stop for unsafe lane change, she admitted to the officer that she had a pistol in her purse. She didn’t have to.

 

Allen had gotten her CCW license in Pennsylvania following two violent assaults. CCW holders often tell officers about firearms during traffic stops, partly out of courtesy but mostly to avoid surprises and shootings if the officer happens across the firearm.

If Allen had kept her mouth shut about the 380 Bersa Thunder, there would be no story. She would have gone home that night, paid a ticket and returned to her life as a phlebotomist and mother two of in Philadelphia. Instead she spent 40 days in an Atlantic City jail facing up to five years in prison on charges of illegally bringing a concealed weapon into the state.

Shaneen Allen and son. Her child was in the car when she was pulled over as she left an Atlantic City birthday party.
Shaneen Allen and son. Her child was in the car when she was pulled over as she left an Atlantic City birthday party.

New Jersey has some of the harshest gun laws in the country. Guns have to be locked, unloaded in the trunk with the bullets kept in a separate space. It’s one of those details that a whole lot of travelers don’t know about. It’s also why pretrial intervention exists. To separate women like Allen from the criminals that the law was designed to target.

Allen would have likely spent the next few years behind bars, serving as an unlikely example for women who have suffered from violent assault and chosen to protect themselves. Don’t try it in New Jersey.

Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain said he was following a 2008 directive that expanded the state’s Graves Act and did not allow for pretrial intervention. The Graves Act provides for mandatory minimum sentences for firearms offenses.

Allen would have likely spent the next few years behind bars, serving as an unlikely example for women who have suffered from violent assault and chosen to protect themselves. Don’t try it in New Jersey.

Despite attention from the NRA, McClain was determined to prosecute. That is, until Ray Rice was filmed knocking his fiance to the floor in an Atlantic City elevator.

In the video Rice knocks his now-wife to the ground and then drags her limp body out of the elevator and down a hallway. Rice didn’t use a gun, but the brutality of the attack raised questions as to the role that the NFL played in the covering the attack up. It also raised questions about McClain’s zealous denial of Allen’s request for pretrial intervention.

The video was hidden for months. In that time, McClain quietly admitted Rice to pretrial intervention, despite the nature of the crime.

In September McClain bowed to pressure and Allen agreed to enter a pretrial intervention program. The program would have required her to give up her gun and complete 25 hours of community service to avoid jail time.

Now, Gov. Christie has granted her a pardon. Last Thursday, Allen’s attorney Evan Nappen said he and Allen were happy about Christie’s action, which awarded her a “full and free pardon” for all criminal charges and indictments arising from the arrest. The pardon also expunges her record and would allow her to become a gun owner once again.

The Allen case represented the willingness of prosecutors to turn a simple mistake into a life altering crime. When she was arrested, people asked why Allen didn’t know better. Jersey firearm laws are legendary. She had taken classes in Philadelphia. She should have known the laws for the State across the bridge.

But what was it about Allen that made McClain want to turn her into a cautionary tale? Is there a crisis of Black women with otherwise lawful firearms? Do Allen and folks like her really contribute to the mayhem in Atlantic City? If not, make examples out of criminals, and not women who make honest mistakes.

 

 

Akua Agusi, Author, Publisher and Shooter. #Queensshoottoo

Last week I posted a few questions with Dasia, AKA Tacticalcocoabunny. This week I reached out to Akua Agusi. Akua is an activist, children’s book writer and publisher. You can find her on Instagram  @akua_agusi.

This is Akua Agusi, activist, author and publisher. She is also an avid shooter and the latest contributor to #Queensshoottoo
This is Akua Agusi, activist, author and publisher. She is also an avid shooter and the latest contributor to #Queensshoottoo

Her imprint is called Seedsbookpublishing.com.

1. What was your earliest memory of guns?

My earliest memory was about 14 years old. My step father used to have me help him make bullets at home in a walk in closest that he converted into his little work area. I loved the idea of making the bullets ourselves. He would teach me about the guns as we worked. Eventually he allowed me to join him at the gun range.

2. Were there guns in your home as you were growing up?

Not until my mother remarried when I was close to nine.

3. What were your parent’s attitudes towards guns?

My mother was just barely comfortable. My step father of course was a collector and hunter.

4. What was your perspective as a child and how has it changed?

I thought firearms were amazing and powerful. They made me feel safe. I had seen a lot in my life before being in the same house with guns. But because my mother was not familiar she was a bit nervous. This is why its important that in relationships both people are at least familiar and trained to use them. That will usually remove that discomfort.

I later taught a gun class with  male & female friends in my local community. On several occasions. I’ve also spoken to youth whom I was sure was armed about gun safety and  decisions surrounding their use. It was a huge ice breaker that allowed me  to discuss other more community building content.

5. Briefly describe your first time shooting.

My first time shooting was very exciting . I made my own bullets of course and naturally I was very excited to use them. The fist gun I shot was a Colt 380 ML. semi automatic pistol. Later my step father gifted this piece to me when  I got my own apartment. It was special.

6. Do you currently own a gun? Why?

Yes, because I feel safest with a gun in my home. It makes me feel prepared in the event something threatening should surface.

7. How often do you go to the range, and what is your attitude towards training?

Its been hard to develop a routine since I relocated but I suggest at least once a month if your extremely busy. Training is absolutely crucial . You must get to know your  weapon. You must learn how to become comfortable with the sounds and you must know how to move with it and confirm that you have no anxiety about being armed. It’s equally important to mentally train.

8. What advice would you give to someone who has expressed interest in firearms?

I would suggest doing your homework first. Have an idea of how you plan to carry it. What I mean is , are you planning to carry? ( Know the laws). Is this primarily for the home? Keep in mind recoil and manageability . Things like that.

9. What skills do you think each gun owner should know?

Know the parts ( in the light & the dark). How to do a proper upkeep and cleaning. Know gun upkeep based on the finish of the gun. (They should know…) the laws in their area. Shooting stances and drills. Caliber knowledge.

Queens Shoot Too Ep. 1: Dasia aka Tactical Cocoa Bunny

Highlighting the Fierceness of Black Women

A few weeks ago I began reaching out over Instagram in search of Black women shooters. I was looking for sisters who are so passionate about their right to live in peace that they are willing to take up arms to protect themselves. What I found was inspiring. All over the country, Black women are participating in the tradition of arms, from going to the range to  learn the fundamentals to making handloads or shooting everyday.

It’s called #QueensShootToo. Yeah, it’s a thing and it’s growing. Soon I will be connecting with Black men too. If you are a woman or a man and you want to be featured, email me. In the meantime…

This is Dasia. She lives in Vegas and goes by the Instagram handle of @Tacticalcocoabunny. Her story is kind of awesome. Enjoy

Dasia at a range in Las Vegas. This is part of her daily ritual, or as she says it, "drills on drills on drills.
Dasia at a range in Las Vegas. This is part of her daily ritual, or as she says it, “drills on drills on drills.

My parents attitudes towards firearms was negative to the nth degree. A gun took my fathers legs. He will never be able to run and jump and laugh with me.

 

 

 

1. . What is your earliest memory of firearms?

My mother and father had both been shot in a random act of gang violence  while she was pregnant with me. My father was paralyzed from the chest down and my mother was shot in her arm. Firearms affected me very early on.

2. Where there guns in your home when you grew up?

None. My mother despises firearms. We also lived in California.

3. What was your parent’s attitudes towards guns?

Negative to the nth degree. A gun took my fathers legs. He will never be able to run and jump and laugh with me.

4. What was your perspective as a child, and how has it changed?

I shared my parents perspective. I felt that firearms were an unnecessary evil, and the people who carried them were extremists,  all the up until I was 21. When I turned 21, I moved to Las Vegas, about 6 months after I moved here a man I dated for about a month began stalking me. I did everything I could possibly do. I moved, changed my number, got two restraining orders, despite hundreds of pages of texts and letters of the harassment and threats, the police still couldn’t do anything. I lived in fear every day for six months. Once his threats stopped for about a week, I knew he was coming for me. Sure enough, he kicked my door in at 1am September 26th, 2014. I shot twice and hit him in the ear and chest. He survived and is awaiting sentencing. My perspective has changed tremendously, I know that man was going to murder me and probably get away with it too. My firearm saved my life.

PhotoGrid_1427918466782

I did everything I could possibly do. I moved, changed my number, got two restraining orders, despite hundreds of pages of texts and letters of the harassment and threats, the police still couldn’t do anything.

 

5. Briefly describe your first time shooting a gun.

My first time shooting a gun was out in the Nevada desert, no knowledge of ear or eye protection so my ears were left ringing for days.

6. Do you currently own a firearm? Why?

I currently own two and am in the process of building my rifle. It’s my second amendment right as an American. I have the right to defend myself and I will do so every time.

7. How often do you go to the range, and what is your attitude towards training?

Five days a week. After my shooting, I wanted to be as knowledgeable as possible about firearms. A flame ignited inside of me and I not only wanted to be a better shooter but also assist in helping others become knowledgeable. So I began working in one of the largest ranges in Nevada and eventually became an NRA certified Range Safety Officer.

8. What advice would you give to someone who had expressed interest in firearms.

I would advise them to be 100% knowledgeable about safely handling and operating their firearms. I can’t stress enough the need for responsible gun ownership.

PhotoGrid_14279212482769. What skills do you think each gun owner should know.

Trigger discipline and safe handling. Respecting the firearm for the weapon that it is and the desire to want to a competent and accurate handler. Everything else is soup of the day.

10. What skills do you think each gun owner should know.

Trigger discipline and safe handling. Respecting the firearm for the weapon that it is and the desire to want to a competent and accurate handler. Everything else is soup of the day.

That time the Good Guy had a Gun: Philly Edition


 

Just yesterday I took a look at an anti gun commercial which tied each firearm in a fake Manhattan gun shop to a tragic incidence of gun violence. I didn’t expect to find the perfect counter balance this morning, in the six men and children that could have lost their lives in a barbershop shooting in Philadelphia.

The following took place over the weekend. A good guy with a gun literally stepped into the line of fire in a Mantua barbershop and saved some lives in the process. I’m biased. After all, I have a blog called Daddys-Gun. Below is the story as it appeared by CBS Philadelphia.

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Police say the lives of several people were likely saved by a man who shot and killed a gunman inside a West Philadelphia barbershop.

It happened just before 3 p.m. Sunday inside Falah Barbershop Inc. along the 600 block of North Preston Street in the city’s Mantua section.

Police say a 40-year-old man was inside the barbershop when he started fighting with another person inside. The altercation quickly escalated and the man pulled out a gun and opened fire.

At that point, authorities say, another unidentified man took out his own gun and the shot the gunman multiple times in the chest. He was rushed to Presbyterian Hospital where he later died from his injuries.

The man who shot and killed him later surrendered to authorities at 16th District headquarters, but it wasn’t immediately known if he would face any charges.

“The person who responded was a legal gun permit carrier,” said Philadelphia Police Captain Frank Llewellyn. “He responded and I guess he saved a lot of people in there.”

Police say there was a crowd of patrons inside the shop at the time of the shooting, including several children, but no one else was injured.

“There were numerous people in there,” Captain Llewellyn said. “So it could have been a lot worse.”

Homicide detectives are investigating the shooting, but say it appears this was a case of self-defense.

via Man Shot Dead Inside West Philadelphia Barbershop « CBS Philly.

 

 

11 Questions for a Shooting Professional

Samuel Hayes owner of Caliber Training Group in Atlanta
Samuel Hayes owner of Caliber Training Group in Atlanta

Samual Hayes is owns Caliber Training Group in Atlanta where he teaches the skills that one needs to survive a violent encounter. Soon I’ll begin training with him.

  1. What is your earliest memory of firearms?
    Having a gun put to my head at the age of 11 in the South Bronx.
  2. Were there guns in your home while you were growing up?
    Yes, but I wasn’t supposed to know they were there.
  3. What was your perspective as a child?
    Growing up in NYC during the 70’s and 80’s, gun violence was an everyday occurrence so my perspective was pretty indifferent.
  4. How has it changed since you became an experienced shooter?
    Not sure that it has. My first experience, as I said, was at 11 but by the time I was 18 it had happened probably 6-7 times and I had actually been shot at once. I am also a lifelong student of various martial arts so in my youth, I began thinking of weapon disarms, although I never tried any back then. So now, as an experienced shooter and instructor, it gives me a perspective of how to apply combatives techniques to criminal assaults with firearms that come from real life scenarios and experiences. I’ve never seen guns as a bad thing, they have always been nothing more than a tool used as a means to an end.
  5. Describe the first time you fired a gun.
    Damn…had to dig deep because I honestly didn’t remember. I believe it was between two abandoned building where they was a lot of junk and trash on 167th & Prospect in the Bronx. It was a silver 38 snub nosed revolver and I remember it being WAYYYY louder than I thought it was going to be.
  6. Were you in the military?
    Yes

    If the objective is to own a gun for self-protection then it is my professional opinion that every gun-owner should be skilled in verbal de-escalation/”verbal judo”, the social skills to talk their way out of a confrontation.

  7. Do you use firearms as part of your professional life? In what capacity?
    Yes. After the military I came home and began a career in the private security industry that has spanned 22+ years. During that time I have done extensive work in Executive Protection, High value merchandise transport, Luxury loss prevention, Armed static security, Fugitive Recovery/Bail Enforcement (Bounty Hunter), Labor dispute security, armed security instructor and night club security. All of those jobs required that I be armed and highly proficient. As a contract security professional, having reached high level management positions, I was also on the ground in Delisle MS, 60 miles from New Orleans, during Hurricane Katrina. My client was British Petroleum (BP) oil refinery and the damage and need for effective security there was on par with what the news showed in N.O. I was also responsible for deploying armed security to N.O. as well to support client facilities.

    Samuel Hayes of Caliber Training Group in Atlanta. The bullets landed in one neat hole about the size of the lid of a small cup of coffee. The target doesn’t lie.
    Samuel Hayes of Caliber Training Group in Atlanta.
    The bullets landed in one neat hole about the size of the lid of a small cup of coffee.
    The target doesn’t lie.
  8. If you could clear up one misconception about firearms, what would it be?
    That guns are responsible for the crime and violence in urban areas of this country. Guns have nothing to do with street violence, again, they are a means to an end. The problem is people, and if these same people did not have guns, they would use knives, bricks, sticks or whatever they felt would get the job done.
  9. You’ve just bought your first gun. What next?
    My recommendation is always to take a basics class BEFORE buying your first gun. If you get the right training, like the courses we offer at Caliber Training Group, you will be better equipped to make an educated decision about what kind of gun to buy based on a number of variables covered in class. If you have been trained and just purchased your first gun, my recommendation would be to seek a fundamentals class that will teach you the proper handling and manipulation skills. We offer classes like this for beginners such as our Handgun skill-builder courses which focus specifically on the movements or our Urban Gun-Fighting Combatives which goes more in-depth and teaches those skills in a more dynamic environment related to self-protection.
  10. What skills do you think that each gun owner should know?
    If the objective is to own a gun for self-protection then it is my professional opinion that every gun-owner should be skilled in verbal de-escalation/”verbal judo”, the social skills to talk their way out of a confrontation. They should know empty-hand combatives because not all situations call for use of deadly force and threat awareness to understand how to identify danger and position yourself to be able to deal with it should the need arise. Marksmanship, to be able to hit what you shoot at, manipulation under stress, and intermediate force options such as pepper spray.
    The learning curve never really stops once you become a gun owner. This is why we’ve designed our classes with these skillsets in mind because we think they are just as critical as being able to shoot fast. Teaching these skills is at the very core of our business philosophy.
  11. How does a person select a good instructor?
    I will say this, just because someone was in the military or a police officer, does not mean they will make a good instructor and those jobs do not automatically qualify them to do so.
    In order to find a good instructor, a person first has to know what it is they are seeking to learn. If a new gun owner is looking to learn how to use their gun for personal protection, they should seek an instructor who has some experience carrying and using a gun in similar situations and scenarios to those which they think they could possibly encounter. So, a police officer or military person who has worked undercover in plain clothes might have the skill sets but you would need to ask if they have had any formal training as an instructor. As a private security operator having spent the majority of my adult life with a gun on my hip as a professionally armed civilian, gives me a unique perspective more akin to what students need to learn. In addition to that, I continue my professional development by attending classes as a student and I take at least one Instructor development course annually.
    Don’t be afraid to ask instructors for references or to see copies of their credentials and course outlines. Any credible instructor should have both and have no problem sharing this info. If your objective is to become a good competitive shooter, then look for instructors who compete regularly and who are well established and accomplished as an instructor. Look on Youtube and see if there are any video showing their teaching style and read the comments and sift through the ones who make sense and the one’s that are trolling. Google is your friend, Google them and see what those who have attended their classes have to say.

 

In the coming weeks and months I will be reaching out to more shooting professionals, as well as men and women who shoot as a hobby or for self defense. To be a part of it, like my facebook page, send me an email or comment on this post.