Entrenched Positions in Self Defense

Although you can and most likely should try to glean what you can from what happened in Las Vegas in regards to your own safety, navigating a panicked crowd, etc., I want to make it clear that this post was written and prepped for publishing late last week before everything went down. So, no, I will not be talking about Las Vegas in this post.

The hardest thing, I’m told, is attacking an entrenched position. The challenge comes in the form of finding a way to maneuver around, to flank the position. This is just as true on the battlefield (never served, comment here is made from reading and going off what I’m told from servicemen who’ve “been there”) as it is when discussing opinions, especially hot button ones. You have to maneuver, you have to flank in order to get through the faulty logic and reasons in order to communicate effectively.

On practically every topic, you will find entrenched positions – regardless of fact, regardless of information or misinformation – it’s practically a given nowadays.

It doesn’t take long to find these entrenched positions in regards to self-defense.

If you hang around anyone self-defense minded long enough, you’ll eventually hear them talk about protecting their family and sometimes about how if “the day” comes, that they’ll be able to do it.

They’ll be ready. Full stop.

From my personal experience among those in the self-defense world, most of those who are “entrenched” fall in line with someone who – despite being well-meaning, – is untrained, unprepared, unhealthy (usually a few rolls over the belt), uninformed, or some sort of combination of those four.

I’ve had both failures and successes in the few conversations I’ve had with well-meaning folk like that fall into this category. The failures, of course, came from doing exactly what you shouldn’t do and the successes came from flanking to see what was behind the entrenchment.

When I’ve gotten around, I’ve tried to understand exactly why they believe they’ll be able to deliver on “the day”. Maybe its a form of cognitive bias, or confirmation bias – I’m not really sure – they insist that they will be able to deliver on “the day” despite training, despite physical fitness, despite mental preparation and counting the cost due to a myriad of reasons: the adrenaline surge, the love for their family, the anointing of God (think Samson), the weapons they possess, the “cowardice” of the criminal, etc. I have had at least five one on one conversations of this caliber over the last handful of years.

This subject popped back into my head again after my writing my posts about preparing for and participating in my first BJJ Tournament (See here, here and here.)

Firstly, as I cannot and do not speak on behalf of the trained warriors in our society (LEO, Soldiers, Special Forces), for the civilian, nothing can fully, truly, “prepare” us 100% for the time that violence comes to our doorstep. The closest we can get to 100% preparedness is training.

Serious training.

Training, drilling, stress testing the skill set learned, repetition upon repetition upon repetition, pushing your body physically, inoculating yourself to stressors similar physiologically to a real fight, rinse, repeat.

Over and over.

Similar to my experience at the tournament. I had trained, trained and trained some more. I had pushed myself with physical training on top of BJJ. I had taken care of my body with proper fuel and severely limited my intake of sweets and junk. I rolled many, many times with people who are better than me, both equals as far as rank as well as higher belts. I did everything that I thought was right to do in order to prepare. All of it certainly helped.

And here is where I tie this back in to the subject of self-defense.

At the end of the day I still found myself lacking and among the participants who did not go home in the top tiers of their brackets. I lost.

Does that mean I will lose in a real life fight? Not necessarily. However, I have gone so far as to see how my mind and body would react against an opponent who didn’t know me and was going full power against me to put me down. I put my BJJ skill set, technically speaking, to the best stress test I could and came back with a couple of losses.

Now, what if I believed with all my heart that the adrenaline would somehow get me through the matches – without training, without preparation – see what I’m getting at there?

My wife and kids were watching, too, and I love them dearly. But my love for them didn’t give me any special abilities. I personally do not buy the stories of “I know a guy who knew a girl who knew the cousin of the roommate of the person who bench-pressed a car off their baby”. People, no matter how much they love you or you love them, cannot imbue you with a super human strength and berserker warrior ability when their lives are in danger.

Guns aren’t magical. They are tools. Inanimate objects, devoid of special powers. Like it or not, when operating said tools in a real situation, what we have or haven’t trained will be to our benefit or detriment, and even that will be a severely downgraded version of our best training. I can’t be hardware oriented, tools are just tools.

I could’ve worn my coach’s brown belt and his favorite Gi but those things are just clothing – there isn’t anything magical or special in them that could transfer to me. It is the training that the person wearing the Gi and belt have put in that makes the difference.

img_4311

Hopefully you are tracking the overarching point of this post.

I won’t magically “have it” on the day that “shit goes down”.

This isn’t a mythical legend I am living in.

This isn’t a cartoon.

If I am serious about protecting my loved ones or myself, then it should behoove me to remove the planks from my eyes, take an unflinching objective look at what I am doing and weigh it against what I am not doing, and adjust accordingly.

Nothing can substitute training and preparation.

My life and the lives of those I love do not deserve anything less.

Train, then train some more.

Deeds over words.

So, some may be thinking, “Well, Tom, do you think you’ll be ready when/if the day comes?”

My answer: Am I willing? 100% Am I able? 100% Will it be enough? I hope so.

I don’t think I’ll ever come to a place where I believe I have done “enough”.

I have work to do. What about you?

Pursue Mastery.

choose-wisely

**Hey there, thanks for reading this post! If you find value in the writing you find here, the biggest compliment I can receive is for you to share the ever loving shit out of it. Thanks again for reading!**

Advertisements

Train, train more. Train harder.

Inspired by this post over at SHTFPLAN.

Antifa (link for humor, but truth is oft found in humor) and their ilk are speaking more and more about training, organizing, and learning how to be proficient in hand to hand combat as well as weapons. These are people who are willing to make IEDs out of glass bottles and M-80s and throw them into a crowd, as well as deliver bricks to the face of someone opposing them.

They are willing to be violent, very willing. Just disagreeing with them is enough of a reason for them to become violent. Now granted, I’m not looking to go to events in places that mobs like this congregate, but that’s not the point. I could be caught unaware and be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Shit happens. The point that I want to focus on here is training. How well are you going to fare against them when they up the ante on their training and you are at the wrong place at the wrong time and you just happen to look like someone they hate and do not tolerate?

Image result for berkeley antifa

Train, train more.

Train harder.

Like I was explaining to a friend a few weeks back. I’m not training to defend myself against a coward who will tuck tail and run as soon as my right cross connects with his chin. No. I’m training for the 350lb gorilla looking motherfucker with his five friends ambushing me, hell-bent on destroying me and doing unspeakable evil to my loved ones. My mindset is this: I am the only one that stands in the way.

Appropriately enough, Tim Kennedy shared a similar sentiment this morning. Emphasis in bold is mine.

If you keep knocking on the devil’s door, at some point he is going to answer it. In that single moment, when you’re going to have to fight for your life, what you do then and there truly won’t matter. There will have been thousands of decisions up to that point that will dictate the outcome. Every one of those decisions contributes to your survival or failure and potential death. Your life may not matter, but those behind you that you are there to protect will face the horrors of evil without you standing in the way. Have you trained? Have you put the blood, sweat, and tears into preparing for this chance to be the defender we need? Your spouse, children, and potentially hundreds of innocent and vulnerable lives, with nothing to stop the violence headed their way but you… what have you done to prepare you for that fight?

I’ll look this devil trying to dish out death straight in the eye and tell him to pick his poison. Either way, he’s going to die.  ~Tim Kennedy

Now, if recently re-enlisted Special Forces/retired UFC MMA fighter Tim Kennedy believes there is no such thing as enough training, and if others like him down the line believe the same, and guys like me who are so low on the totem pole that we’re not even on the radar believe there is no such thing as “enough”… What makes you believe your training is enough?

Train, train more.

Train harder.

There is no such thing as “good enough”. Do not believe for one second that you can “just go to guns” or draw a knife and be guaranteed victory. No, train with the understanding and mindset that there are people out there that can easily take that gun from you and whip you to death with it, or take that knife from you and ventilate your chest cavity with impunity.

Let that sink in.

I am not the baddest, meanest, most lethal motherfucker out there, I am well aware of my shortcomings as well as my proficiency. That being said, every day I am trying to get the edge of my “knife” sharper. To be more resilient, stronger, faster, to endure more and be harder to kill than I was yesterday. This is why I enjoy training with and around guys who are better than me. This is why I seek out training from highly proficient people whenever I can: the range, the gym, the mat. I keep hubris in check and embrace the humility of knowing there are always bigger, stronger, faster, more proficient people out there.

Train, then train more.

Train harder.

Pursue Mastery.

Gear Review: Tier 1 Concealed AGIS Holster

This review is a few months in the making, okay…truth be told, its more like four months in the making. Maybe this should be considered more “informative” since I don’t go through holsters fairly quick and I’m not keen on wanting to review every holster under the sun. So, maybe a little back story?

I like making connections with and supporting local businesses. Granted this means my immediate city, county and surrounding areas, but I personally like to expand that boundary to a reasonable drive time, say within 6-7 hours. Tier 1 falls into the latter category. In late June 2016, I took a road trip just south of Salt Lake City and had the privilege of meeting Jared, the founder of Tier 1 Concealed, during the second day of Baret Fawbush’s Two Day CCW Fundamental Course. As luck would have it, I was able to be on the firing line with him and witness first hand the skill that he has developed through consistent hard work and discipline. Seriously, check out his Instagram account (@t1cs).

I made a small connection with him that day at the range and have been following him on IG ever since. I was definitely interested in purchasing his product and I planned on checking the product out once I returned home. We spoke a few times through DMing on Instagram regarding his holsters and he is really good at responding, especially when you consider he has 38,000+ followers and must receive a deluge of DMs.

Anyways, I have said all that to say this:

I have not been compensated in any way for this review, nor has Jared asked me to do it.

I purchased my holster at full price and told Jared via DM that I would be writing a review after I worked with the holster for a while. His holsters speak for themselves and I could end this “informative” review with just this: They are worth it.

First Impressions

Up until the time I received the Custom Tier 1 Concealed AGIS, a few months after meeting Jared, I had been shooting the Springfield X D .45, 4″ service model, using Alien Gear’s Tuck 3.0 IWB holster (a “local” Idaho company) for a few years.

As a quick aside, Alien Gear’s “Free Shell Trades For Life” deal is the real thing. About a month prior to ordering the AGIS, I traded in my Springfield for the Gen4 Glock19 in 9mm and I sent my worn 2.0 back, requesting a shell for the Glock. They delivered and actually upgraded my holster to the 3.0 at no cost. They keep their word and their service is on point. I’ve got to give them major props for that.

Now, back to the AGIS.

I’d never used an appendix carry holster before and was excited to see how this holster worked for me compared to carrying on my strong side. I decided to order a custom AGIS instead of the Quick Ship model because I wanted to choose the color scheme and there are a TON of options!

I chose a “Spartan-esque” color scheme: blood-red and dark grey. I completely geeked out at this piece of hardware upon receiving it.

Wearing an appendix carry holster was definitely different from what I was used to, so after playing with the retention a bit (more on that below) my next step was to break it apart and compare/contrast the AGIS’s versatility.

I thought Jared’s idea was pretty awesome. A two-in-one holster, having break-away snaps to change the AGIS from an Appendix Carry holster to a “strong side” holster with a spare mag located elsewhere. The snaps secured fairly well but they are easy enough to break apart when you want to change it up.

I wore the AGIS for the first couple weeks broken apart and having been satisfied with how it felt, I put the pieces back together and went full Appendix carry.

I haven’t looked back.

I’ve never had the snaps break-away while carrying Appendix. I still like the idea of having the option of switching to strong side with the AGIS. After using the holster in both configurations, I would purchase an extra clip to attach to the holster – thankfully it can be modified like that, so win-win! For me, one clip doesn’t offer up enough stability when the holster is broke apart. That’s just a personal preference. The AGIS performed well with just one clip.

Durability & Retention

Back to the first day I received it. After playing around with it for a bit, I took the holster over to my bed and held it upside down with the Glock in the holster, fully loaded plus the spare mag and shook it hard. Relax, the chamber in the Glock was empty… It took some considerable effort before I was able to get the thing to release the Glock by shaking it!

“Out of the box” retention: Damn!

Over the months of use, I’ve played with the retention to find just the right bit of give that I like. It’s slightly looser than how it came from Tier 1, but not by much. The retention is awesome, and with the custom molding specific to my Glock… I love it.

Seriously.

I’ve tripped, tumbled and even wrestled with my young son on the lawn, all while carrying. This holster handles like a champ. Seriously, the thing that impressed me the most about it’s retention and even concealment was how it handled at a school function where I took a good tumble. Ok, gravity is one of my mortal enemies… been like that since I was a kid, but I think this small story is worth it.

It was the Fall Celebration at my children’s school, our youngest one was playing in one of those big bouncy houses and it was time to go. He’s four, so, four-year olds don’t want to go when its time. When I finally got my son out of the bouncy house, I got caught up on something, don’t know what or how, but long-story-short we both tumbled backwards and as I am holding him, we did a weird back somersault. Firearm stayed perfectly secure the whole time. Nobody was the wiser of me carrying.

Concealment

For concealment, I think pictures are worth more here than what I could say. I work in a corporate finance environment where you dress professionally and guns are a “no-no”… you get the idea.

From professional attire to regular “street” wear, I can easily and confidently carry in any environment with this holster. 

Driving

I really like the accessibility that the AGIS provides for my Glock while driving, well, once I learned the smart way to set things up. I learned this little trick from Baret Fawbush’s IG account and having done it myself, I’m convinced. See the pics below and note where the seatbelt is located.

img_4865img_4867img_4868

If you look closely at the top image, the seat belt is secured behind the AGIS. This keeps my body secured properly in the vehicle, with the chest harness coming appropriately across my chest and over my shoulder, while allowing me easy access to my firearm. It is way more effective than what I was doing – just putting on my seatbelt across the front of the AGIS – which actually pushes it further into my belly making purchasing the firearm that much harder in the event of actually needing to get a hold of it should the need arise.

Jeans and T-Shirt

So, to be fair, the pics I’ve shown thus far were all taken over the late Fall and Winter. So I have on multiple layers, etc. What about just jeans and a t-shirt?

These pics were taken today, 02/18/17. The undershirt I am wearing is a black Hanes “a-frame” tank top.

Just shy of 1500 words, I’m sure you can tell that I really enjoy this holster from Tier 1 Concealed.

If you look on the website, they have a KOPIS design which is a lower profile appendix carry holster without the break-away snaps. I plan on getting that one too but for now, I am highly satisfied with my AGIS and will be using it for a long time to come.

There are things you will have to figure out for yourself, like going to the bathroom at home or in public, but I assume that if you’ve made it this far down the page, you are a “big boy” or “big girl” and you’ll figure that out on your own.

Check out Tier 1 Concealed Holsters HERE  Tier 1 Concealed can be found on Instagram at @tier1concealed and you can check out Jared at @t1cs

Baret Fawbush can be found HERE as well as Instagram at @truexodus

Thanks for reading.

Pursue Mastery.