Are you Coaching or Just Shooting?

Coaching for Concealed Carry Success

It’s a beautiful Saturday Morning. The sun is shining and there’s a nice, cool breeze. You got your go-mug of coffee and your favorite handgun with a fresh box of shells on the bench. Even better, your shooting buddy just pulled in at the practice range, and you know that this means the gun powder is about to fly. After hanging your targets, you commence to take turns and polish a few of those aging shooting skills. Now ask yourself…what are you doing when your buddy is shooting? Are you watching the target to see where his or her shots go? Reloading your magazine for your next turn? Or admiring that boomingly loud canon the fellows next to you are shooting?

Are you coaching or just shooting? It’s time to get intentional about the gift of having that buddy in your support network. Practice is fun…of course it is. However, you can head out for a day of practice and leave the range with worse habits than you came with. Remember that you are also there for a serious purpose. The skills you are working on are preparation to save life. You ARE working on skills, right?

Start thinking of yourself as a coach and expect the same from your buddy. There is nothing to see on the target that you can’t check out after your buddy has finished the course of fire. You are no idiot. You know the fundamentals of good shooting. You can note good habits from bad habits and point out what you are seeing. (If you don’t know the five fundamentals, don’t pass go, sign up for a good class immediately.)

Move in to a close position that is safe and watch the body position, hands, and trigger pull. Watch the mechanics that your buddy is using. Look for that accuracy killing “trigger anticipation.” Is she leaning back by the third shot? Does he have the trigger too deep on his finger? Is she letting the grip loose between each shot? Then share it. Make a relationship of humble coaching. It is hard to note shooting problems on yourself. It is easy to note problems when watching someone else shoot. Bless each other with intentional coaching. This is a benefit of being in a Community of Stewards. Don’t just shoot…coach and make each other better.

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The Concealed Carry Routine: Consistent Routine Equals Success

Concealed Carry Routine for Success

One thing I've learned from my 5-year-old is that a good, healthy routine makes for a successful day. Being around my son when he wakes up is a little touch-and-go. The first few minutes determine the state of the union for the morning hours, if not the whole day. Every parent knows that this reality means that you better have a game plan for guiding those first golden minutes of the little man's day. A stable and healthy routine is the only thing that ensures a stable and healthy kid. That routine is the game plan. It's a game plan that can be carried out, even though I do not wake up so well myself. It's not so different for us, really. We have all heard the expression, "Getting up on the wrong side of the bed."

When it comes to concealed carry, we cannot afford to have a day that starts on the “wrong side of the bed.” It can be dangerous and irresponsible. We need a game plan…a stable and healthy routine. A routine that can be carried out even in morning groggy land, when our brain is halfway engaged. Let’s face it. There is more to responsible day preparation than grabbing the gun, strapping it on, and running out the door before you’re late for work. I don’t know about you, but I operate at a 5-year-old level before the first pot of coffee, which I rarely finish before I leave the house. Routine ensures thoroughness and safety.

So, what goes into a good morning concealed carry routine? Well, the truth is that this routine will vary from person to person. However, no matter what routine works best for you, there are a few staples that should be included for all of us:

1.  If you unload the weapon before locking it up, load the weapon. If you don’t, at least once a week, you should unload, check the weapon’s mechanics, and reload. Can you imagine the silliness of carrying a malfunctioned weapon for a week or more.

2.  Do a press check in a safe direction (ensure that a round is chambered). This should be done every time you strap it on. Again…can you imagine carrying a weapon that is not ready for action? Don’t laugh…I’ve carried it all day before without realizing that I failed to chamber a round.

3.  Put it on, and check your concealment. Go ahead…do the twirl in front of the mirror. This one is important. If you are not truly concealed, you have given up any tactical advantage, become the first target when a Dirt Bag cases the joint, made multiple people uncomfortable throughout your coming day, possibly created unnecessary confrontations, and possibly gotten yourself in trouble…all before you left the house.

Yes, you should have an evening routine, as well. For most of us, this routine is carried out the minute you walk in the door. If you are like me, disarming is the first thing you do. Whether this is true or not, not having a routine when you get home potentially endangers your family. Ok…I know that sounds a little over the top. But, let me be frank…It’s not. It is far too tempting to take off the gun and set it somewhere convenient. Always take your weapon to its proper place. Lock it up the same way in the same place. This ensures that: (1) only those who should have it, get it and (2) you know its condition and where it’s at when you need it.

A consistent routine will ensure that you never find yourself on the wrong side of the concealed carry bed. There is also a comfort that comes with it. You are more likely to carry and carry with confidence if it starts and ends with a routine. Be safe…Be prepared.

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Make it Fun or Perish:
Friendly Competition is a Winning Concealed Carry Strategy

Competition Improves Shooting Skills

So I’m playing Go Fish with my wife and 4 year old son, because my son loves to play a game before bed…It’s not that we are passionate about Go Fish or preparing for the National Go Fish Championships. However, suddenly something started to happen. As we get to the last cards in our hands, I catch a subtle glare coming across the table from my wife. Naturally, I glare back. The spirit of competition begins to surge in the air like there is a million dollars riding on the game. If my son is smart and cares about his well being, he will keep his hands clear of the table when it’s not his turn. Oh yah…being 4 is no free pass when competition rears its head.

Yes, the spirit of competition flows naturally and effortlessly in the human psych. It is a powerful force, a surging motivator, and a fun-stimulating producer of dopamine in the human brain. Powerful enough to turn ordinarily-loving parents into rabid dogs, which should probably make a 4 year old leave the Go Fish table immediately if he cares about his future. The shooting range is kind of like the gym. Make it fun or parish. If going to the range is not fun, something that you look forward, think about when you’re not there, can’t wait to get back to, then you’ll stop going. I know… you love to shoot. However, life is busy. Ask yourself: How long has it been since you went shooting last? Now, compare that answer with: How long has been since you met a friend for your last competitive passion? I bet it’s been longer since you have been to the range.

Each time you go to the range, add in a friendly competition. Heck, put some stakes on the game: Looser buys lunch or winner tweets the victory to everyone we know. If one of you is significantly better, give a handicap that levels the playing field. If handicaps are given in golf, we can certainly use it for life saving preparation.
Victory with Handgun Skills
Three things will result from the competition. First, you will suddenly pull out your best performance of the day. Second, you will leave the range with a sense of boosted confidence due to that performance. Third, you will have powder loads of fun, causing you to look forward to next time. I recommend winning. Just holster your gun before throwing up that universal sign of victory, with arms stretched up into a “V”. Make it fun or shooting skills perish.

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Absurd Handgun Training? The Flawed Approach of Slow Handgun Shooting.

Correct Slow Shooting

Imagine with me: Two shooting buddies walk out on the firing line at the local range. Let’s call them Bob and Sally. The conversation goes like this:

Bob says: “Hey, Sally. Let’s see how slow we can shoot.”

Sally replies, with excitement: “Yah. Maybe we can win gun fights by being as slow as possible.”

Bob: “Remember, we’re making shooting habits here. We could be slow for the rest of our lives.”

Sally: “Yah, that’ll be great.”

Hopefully you said to yourself, “That’s Absurd,” because it is. What if I told you that this is what we usually do when we step out on the range? Think about it. You go out to the range. You step up to the firing line and slowly draw your gun from the holster (if you used a holster at all). Then you proceed to take slow, methodical shots at the target…maybe one shot per second. You concern yourself with the accuracy of each shot. Am I close? All of this is creating slow mental habits. All of this is teaching our brain and muscles to perform this way.

Years ago, I went to a training for instructors. The training was intended to add the “tool” of steal targets to our instructor tool box. It was quickly apparent that the instructor had another idea in mind. He used the steal to heal our slow brains. He illustrated that all of us trained ourselves to be slow and consequently, as instructors, we were training others to be slow. He introduced us to the rhythm method of shooting. Unlike the rhythm method for birth control, this rhythm method is actually designed to make your productivity fast. This method revolutionized my thinking. It completely revolutionized my shooting and my training to others. That day I learned that there is no reason every shooter can’t put two shots per second on target within ten yards.

If you want to learn the rhythm method and reach your potential as a shooter, sign up for a Concealed Honor Advanced Training. It’s too much for this article, but there are some quick tips that I can give you to at least stop the slow-shooter-brain-washing that you do to yourself every time you practice.

1. Remind yourself that, when practicing, you are teaching your brain to actually win in a defensive situation. This means that you are trying to be fast and accurate, right?

2. Use your chosen method of carry. Do not just shoot from the bench. What good is it if you are a great shot, but it takes you 5 seconds to get from the holster to the shot-on-target?

3. Here’s the big one…wait for it…wait for it: Shoot like you know the goal. Do you remember the goal? As many shots on target as fast as possible, right? Then do it. There are times that you slow down to correct a problem or to focus on a skill; however, most of the time you are putting all your skills together for as many shots on target as fast as possible.

Don’t be absurd. Practice to be fast. Heal your slow, brain-washed mind. And…sign up for an advanced training so we can give you the method that will spring you to your full potential.

2013 Colorado Gun Legislation: The Quick and Dirty Effect on Your Daily Concealed Carry and Firearm Ownership.

Colorado Gun Legislation - 2013

Your representatives decided you need some more restrictions on your freedom to own, carry and use firearms for defense this year. 2013 has been a huge year for new gun legislation. Ultimately, you still have the right to own, carry and use your guns to save lives, for a time anyway. But a littering of new laws changes the Colorado landscape a little.

At Concealed Honor, we always say that the best way to protect your personal right is to respectfully comply with the laws. Do you know how the laws effect your daily life? I know. The thought of compliance to more restrictions on your God-given right to protect yourself and on your constitution-given right to bear, is probably a little nauseating. However, non-compliance will take your right away completely and make you a criminal. Let’s face it. You will not very well protect yourself or anyone else if you are serving a 3 month sentence. If you disagree with the direction of legislation, use your vote to replace your representatives and guide the future or join the NRA (see the link below, for a discount on NRA membership from Concealed Honor). In the meantime, there are three new laws in Colorado that require compliance.

While does seem strange that the ordinary things you did with your guns on June 30th effectively qualify you for a mandatory prison ministry on July 1st, any responsible Steward of Life walks in the honor of compliance. Do you know the new 2013 laws? You are aware some legislation passed, but how does this legislation affect your daily life? Let us break down the changes in a quick and dirty format that brings it to the level of your life. Here is the quick and dirty:

House Bill 13-1229: (fully effective starting July 1, 2013)

Requires universal background checks for the transfer (including sales) of firearms, to include private transfers. Requires mental health reporting. Requires a judicial appeals process for people restricted from acquiring or possessing firearms.

What’s it mean for you:

A. We already had a required background check for firearms sales through a dealer. Now, private transfers must acquire a background check through a dealer. The dealer may charge a $10 fee for the service. The obtained background check is valid for 30 days.

Legal Exceptions:

Antique firearms, curios (any unusual article valued as a curiosity) and relics. A gift between immediate family members. Due to a lawful transfer caused by a death and the transferor is the executor of an estate or will. Temporary transfer in the home if the receiver: (1) is not prohibited to possess a firearm and (2) the transferor believes the transfer is necessary to prevent imminent death or serious bodily injury. Temporary transfer (1) at a shooting range, (2) at an approved target shooting competition, or (3) legally hunting, fishing, target shooting, or trapping. Transfer for the purpose of obtaining firearm repair (gunsmith clause). Temporary while in the continuous presence of the owner. For up to 72 hours, except that the transferor is liable for damages caused by unlawful use of the firearm. To immediate family members of an armed services member that is deploying in the next 30 days.

Consequences for violation:

Violation is a Class 1 Misdemeanor (6-18 months, $500-$5,000 fine, or both AND prohibition from possessing a firearm for 2 years.)

What’s it mean for you:

B. The state court administrator has 48 hours to electronically report court orders to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (The agency that is responsible for approving or rejecting transfer applications based on background checks) that are mental health related, to include people that are: Found to be incapacitated Committed to a behavioral health program (such as substance abuse treatment) Committed to involuntary treatment and care for mental illness

C. Of course, the law requires the court administrator to correct the record when such condition no longer applies; however, there certainly is no 48 hour deadline to get that done. To correct the record the prohibited person must petition the court, go through the judicial process, and the court can still deny the petition of appeal, based on whether the court believes the person is likely to act in a dangerous manner or lifting the prohibition might be contrary to public interest. Now that’s a lot of power.

Deep breath…you are more than half way there. The next law is easy.

House Bill 13-1228: (fully effective starting July 1, 2013)

I promised I would keep this “quick and dirty.” Therefore, suffice it to say that the details of this law have little effect on your daily right, except that you will be paying a fee of $10 to obtain that required background check for private transfers. You always paid that when purchasing a firearm from a dealer. Well, now you’ll pay it when purchasing one from your Coloradan neighbor. You can just say, “Thank you.”

House Bill 13-1224: (fully effective starting July 1, 2013)
High Capacity Magazines
What’s it mean for you: The law prohibits, “the sale, transfer, and possession of ‘large-capacity’ ammunition magazines. To break this one down we must get slightly technical. Sorry about that…

Large-Capacity Means:

Handgun: Any type of magazine or feed strip designed to be readily convertible to accept more than 15 rounds of ammo.

Shotgun: Any fixed, tubular magazine that holds more than 28 inches of shotgun shells including any extension device that allows this. –OR - Any non-tubular detachable magazine that is capable of accepting more than 8 shells when combined with the fixed capacity.

Large-Capacity Does not Mean:

Feeding devices that have been permanently altered as to not accept more than 15 rounds -or- An attached tubular device designed to accept .22 caliber rimfire ammo. -or- A tubular magazine that is contained in a lever-action firearm.

There are also some new stipulations on firearm manufacturers that require the manufacture date to be permanently stamped on magazines produced after July 1, 2013. The quick version of how this affects you is simply that companies have already moved out of state. You can simply thank your legislators for stomping on your already suffering economy. I’m sure this was worth losing more Colorado jobs.

Legal Exceptions: Don’t worry. You can keep your AR-15 magazines…if you are grandfathered. You can keep high-capacity magazines that you owned prior to July 1, 2013, if you maintain continuous possession of it. Here is a good part…no seriously: The law specifically states that the burden of proof to refute your claim of possession prior to July 1 is on the prosecution. That is a pretty good protection. How can a prosecutor provide proof contrary to your assertion? Law enforcement agencies are generally taking a stance of not pursuing this charge unless there is specific and obvious evidence that possession was not prior to the law (i.e. witnessing the sale or transfer). Why does this protection feel like a victory, when our freedom just took a huge hit?

Yes there are other exceptions that do not affect most of our daily lives, but I promised to keep this “quick and dirty.” So, if you are in the armed forces, are in a police agency, are a firearms retailer, or a member of a foreign national government, feel free to call me with questions.

Consequences for violation:

First-time Violation – Class 2 Misdemeanor (3-12 months and/or $250-$1,000 fine) Consecutive Violation – Class 1 Misdemeanor (6-18 months and/or $500-$5,000 fine) Violation during the commission of a felony or any crime of violence – Class 6 Felony (12-18 months with 1 year mandatory parole and/or $1,000-$100,000 fine)

Senate Bill 197 (fully effective June 5, 2013)

What’s it mean for you:

Makes it illegal for the Domestic Violence Suspects to possess a firearm or ammunition, by prohibiting possession for: (1) people in violation of a restraining order (the restricted party) and (2) people under a “Mandatory Protection Order” (Mandatory Protection Orders are required for any open case involving domestic violence). It requires the compliance 24 hours after the person is served the order in court or 48 hours after being served out of court. Let’s makes this one really quick. Bottom line is that this does not affect your daily life, if you avoid participating in domestic violence.

That is about as quick and dirty as I could make it, without leaving out something that could interrupt your life with a jail term. Trust me…I am as worked up as you. Respectful compliance is the high road for an honorable Steward of Life. Take your negative energy and use the American process to change the future. Only you can vote to change our representatives. Only you can support organization like the NRA that fight for you (Use the 10% discount from Concealed Honor on the link below). In the meantime, render to Cesar what is Cesar’s and honorably comply. You will be blessed, because you avoided rebellion or dishonesty.

Strengthen your Handgun-Shooting Brain – The Neurological Landscape of Effective Concealed Carry

Train Your Brain for Effective Concealed Carry

All handgun shooting starts in the brain. The brain is obviously the mainframe for everything your body accomplishes. Let’s explore the landscape of the brain during a defensive shooting situation. Let’s use driving as a metaphor to journey through the landscape of the brain. Walk with me, and I bet you will emerge with a better understanding of how to practice shooting.

Your amazing ability in the normal landscape: So you are on your way home from work. Traffic is not as bad as it could be, but you are dealing with enough dumb moves from other drivers that you are on your toes. A quick maneuver here and skilled swerve there, and you are probably going to make it home completely unscathed. Like a skilled road warrior you make it from your office parking lot to your garage without a scratch, despite 19 dumb things other drivers did. The amazing part is that while handling the crash course of the road, you also managed to evaluate how you did in the last business meeting, sketch out a plan for the weekend, figure out what you were going to thaw for dinner, and answer a text with your hands-free texting. Your brain was busy…busy, but not overloaded. It is rather amazing how much your brain handled on the commute, isn’t it? There was even a little adrenaline in the mix, caused by a few of the drivers that should probably be revoked.

How adrenaline changes the landscape: Crazy things happen in the brain when adrenaline becomes part of the equation. Adrenaline strips blood from the frontal lobe (the red part in the picture above) and transfers that neuron-firing-juice to the brain stem (the purple part in the picture above). In other words, adrenaline tells your brain to stop thinking intelligently and start reacting from that place of instinct. You got it. It makes you about as smart as a lizard. So…when that driver cut you off to accomplish .003 miles per hour faster in your lane, and adrenaline fired off just before you nailed your brakes, the landscape of your brain changed dramatically. The question is: “If you were operating with the intelligence of a lizard, how did you manage to handle it so well?”

Thanks for walking with me, or should I say driving with me? I used the road as a metaphor, because your driving abilities are proof that your brain has everything you need to master the complexity of defensive shooting situations. Now, if your practice sessions consist of standing in front of a target and making sure you can still make holes in paper, then you are probably not prepared to defend yourself or others. A practice session like that is like practicing your driving on a perfectly straight road, sunshine and dry pavement, with no other cars on it, at 5 miles per hour. You could handle the commute described above, because you have practiced thousands of instances of extreme circumstances from the driver seat. You successfully integrated proper responses into the instinctual, lizard part of your brain. That is precisely why the thought of a 16-year-old-driver strikes fear in your heart…no real practice yet.

So how do you train your brain to be as skilled with your handgun as you are with your peddles and steering wheel. Here are three practice tips that will ensure that you are training your brain rather than simply punching holes in paper:

1. Practice each skill until it is second nature like steering your car or tying your shoe. You do not have to think about either of those tasks. You can plan your opening speech for today’s business meeting while tying your shoes.

2. Use higher level thought while shooting. In other words, make plans for dinner while drawing and shooting. Complete a math problem in your head while drawing and shooting. You will be successfully training your brain to: a) multitask while shooting and b) get to that unconscious competence you already posses in your driving skills.

3. Practice with shooting drills that require you to make split second decisions (like deciding whether to hit the brake or swerve in your car). Here is an example of a great decisional shooting drill:

Paint different color circles on your target (i.e. red, blue, green, etc.). Now, add the numbers 1-5 randomly on the colored circles. Then, assign rules to the drill.

Rule 1 – If your shooting buddy calls an odd number, draw and shoot the circle with that number. Rule 2 – If your shooting buddy calls an even number, draw and shoot any circle but the circle containing that number. Rule 3 – If your shooting buddy calls a color, shoot the circle with that color and any other circle.

Don’t just punch holes in paper. Make your shooting brain strong. Practice in ways that work out your brain muscle, and be prepared for a defensive shooting situation. Unless of course, you are thinking your lurking shoot will involve a situation that requires no decision making, no time constraint, and a bad guy that will stand still until you are ready to shoot. Don’t shoot like a 16-year-old-driver drives.

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The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.