My wife thinks I’m OCD about having back-up supplies for my personal consumable items. Perhaps I am, but she ended up pleased we weren’t caught short during the Great Toiler Paper Shortage 2020. She also liked I had extra packs of hand-cleaning wipes and similar items. Those planning skills (yes, I like to call them skills rather than OCD tendencies) came in handy.
I’m not like this on everything — it’s just the things I frequently use or might cause catastrophic circumstances if they’re not available. It never hurts to be prepared. It’s innate thinking to me, since I’m usually asking myself, “What could go wrong with this situation?” I do the same thing when I’m thinking about my time as a firearms instructor or even just a casual shooter. So, I thought it might be a good idea to share some of these preparation strategies.
What’s one of the worst things that can happen on a gun range? Obviously, it’s someone being shot. So why are so few people prepared for this? I can tell you as an instructor, this was one of my first considerations when deciding what goes to the range.
I keep a first aid kit in my truck, but I prefer having one dedicated to my range bag, and I think every shooter should. There are many options out there. I used to assemble my own, but I recently came across MyMedic. They offer an assortment of kits based on needs.
For range use, you’ll want the advanced version of whichever kit you choose. This means it will have a chest seal for lung puncture wounds, QuikClot for accelerating the body’s natural clotting process to stop bleeding, a 4″x5″ Pressure Bandage used to sustain pressure, a quick tourniquet and the normal first aid products.
It’s now time to update my kit, so I’ll be ordering the advanced version of the “Range Medic.” It comes with all the standard products in a handy pack you can attach to a belt, vest or range bag using the two buttoned MOLLE straps on the back. As a bonus, the kits come in a variety of colors. I like the functional (even Tacti-cool) black the most.
Another consideration for your personal safety is having a great understanding of the laws of self-defense. As a former police officer, jail would be unsafe for me. It would be plenty unsafe for you too, not to mention disruptive to your life plan.
Sure, we all received basic legal lessons in our concealed carry courses, but is this enough? I recently put together an updated CWP lesson plan and decided to do a little research to refresh myself. Two books I came across go into the topic in fascinating detail.
The first is titled Deadly Force — Understanding Your Right to Self Defense written by Massad Ayoob ($21.99). He covers techniques, mindset and other relevant topics but also the legal implications involved with shootings. His knowledge is top notch and he shares actual case studies as evidence for his suggestions.
The second is The Law of Self Defense Principles written by attorney Andrew F. Branca ($ 23.95). He’s a practicing attorney specializing in self-defense law. Branca is known for legal expertise and testimony in actual self-defense cases and offers numerous educational items for concealed carrying adults. He also uses actual case studies to emphasize his teaching points. Interestingly, the foreword to this book is written by Ayoob. That’s a pretty good endorsement if you ask me.
I’ve been through the police academy twice in my life (a long story) and thoroughly studied legal issues related to police work and criminal law there, yet I still learned plenty from these two books. While they cover some of the same material, they complement each other rather than compete. Both are now in my library, because I believe you need to know what the laws are in your jurisdiction and how they can be used either to protect you or convict you. Ever wonder why some lawyers focus on “accidental discharges” and push the theory you accidentally shot a suspect rather than intentionally doing so? This seemingly inconsequential issue could make the difference between your freedom or incarceration. Read the books! You’ll learn this and so much more. Both are essential investments in my opinion and are reasonably priced. Visit your local bookstore or online bookseller to get a copy of each.
Have you always wanted a gun safe but don’t really have the space? One neat solution I’ve been recommending for years is a recess-mounted wall safe. They are fairly easy to install and provide secure, out of the way storage for guns, jewelry or other personal items. I’m fond of the SnapSafe in-wall safe. Made of 16-gauge steel with a 0.15″ steel door, it allows you to store handguns safely out of reach of small children or guests yet still provide easy access to them when needed. My preference is to mount one in the closet of the master bedroom or whatever you decide is your safe room in the house.
The safe mounts into a wall and is secured to the wall studs with long screws from inside the unit. The handy design then becomes hidden behind shirts, coats, or other items hanging in the closet. You can even hide one behind a picture on your wall if you like. This is secret squirrel stuff! Even if discovered, it’s very difficult to access or remove from the wall, giving you peace of mind when not carrying. I mean, you have to take a shower sometime.
It’s surprising how much handgun training you can do at home. You can practice your draw and safe holstering. You can go through handgun retention drills, takeaway drills and all sorts of other things.
BlueGuns offers safe replicas matching many popular handgun designs easily distinguished as practice units by their solid blue color. They’re inoperable and used by police academies and agencies across the country. Simply select the model matching your handgun of choice and use them with holsters, lights and other accessories providing realistic training opportunities using your existing gear.
Their selection is huge. You can even get flashlights, knives and other common items. I’ve trained with these items for years and can attest to their accuracy in detail and their ruggedness. I’ve seen them tossed across concrete floors, thrown at brick walls and endure hundreds (if not thousands) of disarming and retention drills, with no ill effects. It’s no wonder why so many police departments and academies count on them. You should too.
I encourage you to seek out the best products available to feed your own preparedness (or OCD) tendencies. It’s usually better to buy quality first rather than paying for cheaper alternatives then later moving to the best. Think about the roles you’ll find yourself in and how a piece of gear fits into your needs rather than just succumbing to the latest new item on the market. Once you’ve figured out your roles, you can then prioritize items in order of their essential functions within those roles.
It’s usually not the guy with the most equipment that wins but the one who is selective in what he buys but trains with the stuff he has. Training is more important than equipment. Bruce Lee said it best in one of my favorite quotes, “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”