A Close Call…Lessons Learned

are-you-prepared-active-threat

I live in the Reno, NV area and we were fear-struck by a “serial killer” on the loose. There were four murders in a matter of two weeks which is unheard of for these parts. They have since arrested a suspect but people are still on edge and gun sales are the highest I’ve ever seen them here. Everyone is a bit on edge but that being said, life goes on. My activities haven’t changes but my level of awareness is a little higher though I am usually fairly vigilant anyway.

So last night about 9:15pm, my teenage daughter and I went to our gym. This isn’t a public gym but one that is part of a private housing community. It’s gated and requires multiple levels of badge access to get into the gym itself.  That’s better security than most facilities but not fool-proof my any means.

We had finished our workout, leaving one other woman in the weights area to continue her night. We went to the locker-room preparing to leave. Suddenly a loud male voice yells out on the main gym floor.  Neither of us could make out what he said but it was alarming. Immediately, we grabbed the pepper spray and knife I keep in my gym bag.  I didn’t have my handgun with me, I had left it in the truck. A decision I immediately regretted and have since remedied.

Alarmed, my daughter and I immediately constructed a plan. The locker-room only had one exit and it led directly into the area the voice came from. Being trapped without an alternate exit was not ideal. We decided that I would take the weapons and take point leaving the area with her within an arm’s reach behind me. Intentionally, I flung my gym bag over my left shoulder and put the knife in my left hand, pepper-spray in my right. I am right-handed and I train to not carry things on my dominate side because of the grasp-reflex that often prevents us from dropping a held object when we are ambushed thus I had the less effective weapons on my left.

We began to make our way toward the main exit, cautiously checking each section using the gym mirrors to gain greater vantage before proceeding to the next section. We made our way to the exit door which led to a well-lit walkway, still inside a gated section of the community. As we exited, from a darkened area about 15 yards away, the same male voice yelled “Goodnight!” with a tone of anger and contempt.

I knew we were steps away from turning a corner that would afford us cover and a directly line to the exit gate. So we quickly proceeded to round the corner and ran for the gate, to my truck parked nearby. We safely got in the truck and drove away.

Here are some of my after-action thoughts on the event.

1 – I am incredibly grateful that I have invested resources in training for my daughter. She’s skilled with a firearm, pepper-spray, edged weapons and is a hell-cat if physically attacked. More than that she remained calm, she took action and operated with intention. She recognized that there was a potential situation developing and she worked as a team to move to safety.

2 – I am grateful that I had a couple tools at my disposal but realize I can do more to prepare in the future. There are also times when we can’t have any weapons but we can improvise and we need a plan for that.

3 – Being aware of your exits, physical location and options is critical in developing a plan quickly. Using the mirrors and positions of advantage (angles and concealment matter). I am confident that this mindset saved my life during the Route 91 mass-shooting.

4 – I was aware that another woman was potentially in danger. However, my goal was to get my daughter and myself to safety.  In many of the classes I teach, I admonish students to be clear about their own personal rules of engagement prior to a critical incident.  For me, it’s a bit of a hierarchy and may vary depending on the scenario.  Last night, my daughter and I were my priority.  The other woman was on her own until I knew what was happening.  If I had walked out and found her being assaulted, I am confident that my daughter and I would likely have intervened on her behalf.  But that wasn’t the case and my priority was to move to a position of safety as quickly as possible.

Overall, it was a good learning experience and I’m pleased with how things turned out. You never know how you will truly react until you are put a situation like that.  I was very grateful that the training I’ve done over the years have given me tools that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. Panic happens when you feel helpless, presence of mind comes from preparedness.

There is no way of knowing what was really happening last night or if we were actually in danger. As an instructor I like to say “You win 100% of the fights you aren’t in”. I consider last night a win.

Are you prepared for situations like this? I want to hear what you would have done.  Share your thoughts!

 

Team Never Quit Ammo Review – Part 2

Marcus Keith ammo in focus

You can read Part 1 of this review here.

If you aren’t familiar with Team Never Quit by Lone Survivor Marcus Luttrell it’s more than just an ammo brand – it’s a movement. A community of people who stand united in the fight to honor, support and restore our veterans and to help them overcome the struggles they face when they come home.  TNQ products are also Made in the USA.

Recap

We shot several calibers through several guns.  We tried several different mediums and tried to test the claims made by the manufacture: frangible, reduced ricochet, reduced recoil, etc. By no means was this a scientific ballistics test, you can find that information here.

Frangible Results

In our opinion each type of ammunition performed as the manufacturer claimed it would.  Frangible behaved like FMJ ammo when it impacted surfaces softer than the bullet (wood, etc.).  When it impacted a surface harder (steel, concrete), the projectile virtually turned to dust. In a hardened environment (e.g. schools, hospitals, etc.) this frangible ammo would be ideal for minimizing causalities from ricochets, often seen with FMJ ammo. It is worth noting, that in the FBI ballistics testing of this type of ammo, it does not perform well against automobile glass because of it’s hardened state.  This is a factor common to all frangible ammo.

Over the course of the day, one phrase was heard repeatedly – “Wow, that’s impressive!”

The frangible training ammo presents new opportunities for CQB training.  We often train at distances farther than would happen in real-life to avoid the likely injure from metal fragmentation. As you can see by our test results in part 1 and the video, you can safely shoot frangible training ammunition within a few inches of hardened surfaces.  This allows for much more realistic training scenarios without risk of injury.

TNQ 9mm Frang HP Gel Block3

Conclusion

After shooting this ammo, speaking with company reps and learning more about their mission, I have become a believer.  Not only are their products top quality and made in America, the people behind the movement are among our nations finest. In addition to switching my self-defense carry ammo to Team Never Quit, I have proudly become part of their Pro-Staff team.

If you have more questions about my testing or the ammo, post them below or email me.

Team Never Quit Ammo Review – Part 1

Team Never Quit

As a firearms instructor, I am often asked for advice regarding Ammunition for practice and personal protection.  It’s a topic I take seriously because the consequences can be severe.  I also take seriously the responsibility to endorse or recommend a product to students.  They trust me making significant choices that affect their safety.

In the interest of full disclosure, for the last few years I have carried Barnes TAC-XTP in my personal defense guns.  I have also had the privilege to know the family that made Barnes the company what it is – Randy and Coni Brooks. Not only does Barnes produce a great product but the Brooks family are some of the best people I know. That being said, I have continued to explore and test other brands.

Last week, I received a few boxes of ammunition from Team Never Quit (TNQ) to test and review.  They sent me two boxes each of TNQ 380 Auto Frangible Training Ammunition and TNQ 9mm Frangible Hollow Point Ammunition. I purchased additional boxes of TNQ 9mm SCHP, .223 Training Ammunition and TNQ 7.62×51 (.308 Win) Match Ammunition.

If you aren’t familiar with Team Never Quit by Lone Survivor Marcus Luttrell it’s more than just an ammo brand – it’s a movement. A community of people who stand united in the fight to honor, support and restore our veterans and to help them overcome the struggles they face when they come home. In addition to a fantastic purpose, TNQ products are Made in the USA.  These reasons alone are enough to pique my interest in a new product.

Team Never Quit AmmoNow, ammo in hand, I headed to the range with the help of my husband, Carol Morrell – Lead Instructor for The Women’s Shooting Academy and Ken Morrell – Retired Law Enforcement officer. Combined, I would estimate we have around 100 years of shooting experience.

I am in no way qualified to conduct ballistics test or “official testing” but I did want to see the rounds in action.

On the range I wanted to explore two different aspects: cartridge performance and bullet performance so we set up a few different target stations.  Testing a range of target hardness a soft, medium and hard, we were looking particularly to see the different behaviors of the frangible ammo against various surfaces. As I understand it, the bullet is designed to act similarly to ball ammo unless is strikes a surface harder than itself. For instance, it should pass through the soft and medium stages but virtually disintegrate when impacting steel. So let’s see how each round performed.


.380 Auto, 75 gr Frangible Training Ammo (Product Data Sheet)

Sig P238

Sig P238 with TNQ .380 Frangible Training Ammo

Guns Used: Sig P238 & LCP .380
Distance: 5 Yards
Station 1 (Soft): Cardboard, Particle Board and USMC Target
Station 2 (Medium): Wooden 2×4
Station 3 (Hard): Steel Silhouette
Findings:

  • All fed and fired correctly and performed as expected.
  • Action was clean and good casing ejection.
  • No splash-back off steel

We also tested recoil levels by alternating Barnes TAC-XTP with TNQ in the magazine.  We tried this with both guns as the LCP is a much lighter gun that the P238 so recoil is more noticeable – both shooters thought Barnes has a slightly lighter recoil and it appeared to be lighter by visual observation.


 9mm, 100 gr Frangible Hollow Point Ammo (Product Data Sheet)

Springfield XDM

Springfield XDM Competition with TNQ 9mm Frangible HP

Guns Used: M&P Pro, Springfield XDM competition, Springfield XDs
Distance: Starting at 5 yards and walking up to 12 inches
Station 1 (Soft): Cardboard, Particle Board and USMC Target
Station 2 (Medium): Wooden 2×4
Station 3 (Hard): Steel silhouette inside a cardboard box to capture  bullet fragmentation pattern and residue
Findings:

    • No splash-back at all, bullet spray pattern visible in box sides, residue in box (see pics below)
    • Comparison Ammo:

– Fired same with (non-TNQ) +P+P – huge chunks of lead and copper, large hole torn in box
– Standard (non-TNQ) ball ammo at steel from 15 yards and was hit with shrapnel

Spawl Pattern

Spawl pattern from bullet framentation

Largest Spawl

Largest fragment we could find – much smaller than a bullet

Spawl Dust

Fragmentation dust left in the box.

Steel in Box

Impact in the center of steel with perforations from bullet fragments.


223, 45gr Frangible Training Ammo (Product Data Sheet)

Guns Used: Two custom-built .223 carbine rifles
Distance: 21 Yards
Station 1 (Hard): Shot cinder-block set at a 45 degree angle to the cardboard
Station 2 (Medium): Shot at steel plate at angle to create ricochet into cardboard target behind
Station 3 (Medium): Pallet stood on end – shoot through both oak 4×6 boards

Findings:

Station 1:

1st Round – TNQ ammo blew a large hole in the first wall of the block but not the second wall – bullet fragmented and did not ricochet

2nd Round – TNQ ammo blew a large hole in the first wall of the block but not the second and the end panel of block was broken off from the energy- bullet fragmented and did not ricochet

3rd Round – Soft-tip .223 (non-TNQ) bullet – caused block damage and ricocheted through the cardboard target

Station 2:

1st Round – TNQ hit plate and disintegrated (see photo)

2nd Round – Soft-tip .223 (non-TNQ) bullet – ricocheted, went through carboard target and support stick then continued downrange (see photo)

Station 3:

1st Round – TNQ surprisingly went through both 4×6 oak beams, including a knot.  I suspect the higher velocity from a lighter bullet was a factor. (see photo)
2nd Round – Soft-tip .223 (non-TNQ) bullet went through 1st 4×6 and into 2nd but did not exit (see photo)

TNQ .223 Frangible Training Ammo

TNQ .223 Frangible Training Ammo

TNQ .223 Frangible Training Ammo

TNQ .223 Frangible Training Ammo

Ricochet Setup

.223 Ricochet Setup

223 Frangible Round

Station 1 – Entry hole through first wall but didn’t exit through second wall.

223 Frangible End Cap

Station 1 – End cap of block was broken by impact of the round two inches to the right of the end.

Frangible 223 Ricochet Test

Stage 2 – Ricochet Test – Round disintegrated and did not continue down range.

Soft-Tip (Non-TNQ) Ricochet

Stage 3 -Soft-Tip (Non-TNQ) Ricochet hole

Oak Pallet

Stage 3 – First of two Oak 4×6 boards on pallet


7.62×51 (.308 Win) 175gr Match Ammunition (Product Data Sheet)

Guns Used: Howa .308 Hunting Rifle
Distance: 53 Yard (Longer not available)
Station 1 (Soft): Cardboard Zeroing Target

Note: Unfortunately this rifle was not zeroed correctly for this distance and we did not have enough ammunition to zero and test accuracy.  As a result I cannot speak to the accuracy and grouping at distance.  You can read the product data sheet here. I can say that every round fired as expected and we didn’t experience any malfunctions.

TNQ .308 Match AmmoTNQ .308 Match AmmoTNQ .308 Match Ammo

TNQ .308 Match AmmoTNQ .308 Match Ammo


9mm Luger, 115gr SCHP (Solid Copper Hollow Point) Ammo (Product Data Sheet)

I do not have the proper equipment to do full ballistics testing for this round but you can read the product data sheet here. I was more interested to see how the round performed in my Springfield XDs. I have had issues with some self-defense rounds in this gun because of the tight tolerances it has. I did not experience any problems with this TNQ round. Everything ramped, fired and ejected flawlessly.

Read More

Part 2 – My Conclusions

What do women really want? Hint: It probably isn’t pink

PinkGunGearIF IT’S PINK, WOMEN WILL BUY IT

Being a woman in the firearms industry I am somewhat of an anomaly.  Not because I am a woman who owns a gun, (nearly half of gun owners are women now), but because I am a serious shooter and firearms instructor. As an instructor, I see plenty of pink range gear and guns. I am all for a woman rocking the pink gear if that is what she wants to do – but many of us don’t want to jump into the pink pool.

Recently, the topic of women’s shooting gear and guns has come up in several of my conversations. Men in the industry are often anxious to hear how they can more effectively market to women, so they take the opportunity to ask me.

GIVE HER WHAT SHE NEEDS (AND WANTS)

Last month the topic came up in a discussion I had with Travis Haley.  I shared my frustration with the current state of things and he offered another perspective – a legal liability.  While the conversation was a casual one and I do not have permission to quote Travis, he does raise some good questions.  Do pink guns appear too much like a child’s toy? Are we selling pink guns to women because they are pink and intended for a woman rather than selling her the right gun for her needs?

Today I had a conversation with a major Ammunition manufacturer about marketing to women.  He relayed a conversation he had with several prominent women in the industry last year at SHOT Show.  He asked them what they should change in their ammo’s branding to market to women.  Unanimously, these women said – “Don’t change anything!” This ammunition has a very masculine branding but the response from women was to leave it alone.  Why?  Because women want the same things men want in their gear. I will buy ammunition based on ballistics testing, intended usage and price point – not because there is a pink ribbon on the box.

SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY

Look at nearly any gun or sporting goods store and you are bound to find products that are “designed” for women. What sets them apart from the men’s products – mainly two features; size and color. The first difference, size, is completely valid.  On average women are smaller than men so this difference makes sense.  However, often my only option for a smaller size also means it only made in pink.  Apparently, the gun and shooting gear industry believes that women want all their gear to be Pepto-Bismol pink.  Did anyone do market research? Where there any actual women in Focus Groups before deciding to sprinkle sporting goods with a rosy shade?.

Women do want products that work for our needs.  If I buy cammo hunting gear, I want it to fit my female figure, but without neon pink pipping. Companies like 5.11 have done a great job in creating products for women without the Pepto highlights.  They changed what matters.  5.11’s new Women’s Stryke Pants are fantastic.  They are made of the same material as the men’s pants but have a better cut and fit for a women’s shape. They come in several colors – none of them are pink!

I am not sure why so many companies have jumped on the pink train but here’s my advice – Think Bigger!  I am fine with products made for and marketed to women – but for heaven’s sake, expand the palette. Give women a little more credit – we don’t buy only pink things.  In fact, many of us have developed “pink fatigue” and immediately recoil from it. If you want my business, step up your game.

Apparently I am not alone in my frustration.  For further reading, check out:

Is it Time to Put Away the Pink?

An Open Letter to Under Armour Regarding Pink on Camo

I taught you what? A lesson in parenting

 Whether you are a parent or not, you influence people every day. The question is - What are they learning from you?Have you ever wondered what your kids really hear when you tell them something? As a parent, we do everything we can to keep our kids safe.  Teach them to look both ways before crossing the street.  Fire is hot. Drugs are bad. But do we teach them to listen to their gut? To set healthy boundaries?  When to say No? Recently I learned my parental score in a few of these areas.

Scene 1

When my middle-school age daughter comes home she will often Skype with her friends and talk about their day.  Yesterday was no exception.  She was sitting at the kitchen counter chatting away with her friend, when I walked in.  Her friend was telling her that a boy in her class was asking her VERY inappropriate questions.  Graphic sexual questions.  “Would you ever…” questions.

I pretended not to hear what was being said and quickly retreated out of sight to observe how my daughter was going to handle the situation.  Yes, I continued to unapologetically eavesdrop. That’s part of my job as a parent.

As I listened silently, my daughter emphatically told her friend that she needed to block this boy online and avoid him in the halls.  If he approached her, she should confront him directly about how inappropriate his questions were.

Scene 2

Later that night, my daughter, husband and I were watching a TV show called Catfish.  It’s a show about online relationships where one person is often not who or what they appear and the host brings the two parties together to reveal the truth.  In this episode, a young man was essentially stalking a girl and being very obsessive. During the confrontation scene the young man was very socially awkward.  His mannerisms and body language made everyone on the show very uncomfortable. I closely watched my daughter’s reactions.  She winced and recoiled in places.  She was wide-eyed in others.

At the commercial break, my husband asked her what she thought of the whole interaction. Her response surprised me.

She recounted the young man’s behavior.

  • He didn’t read any clues about the girl’s refusal to meet him
  • He seemed clingy and didn’t read social cues
  • He would wring his hands and dart his eyes erratically
  • He was awkward and made everyone uncomfortable

After recounting all the reasons she was repulsed by this guy, she looked at me and said “You taught me how to see all that” with a “duh” tone that every teen girl has perfected.  I was taken aback. I don’t ever remember teaching her to look for those things specifically but she was certain that I had.

The conscience of children is formed by the influences that surround them; their notions of good and evil are the result of the moral atmosphere they breathe. – John Paul Richter

The Conclusion

As a mother of a daughter, I worry constantly about all the traps that young women fall into. Wanting attention, wanting to fit in, not speaking up for themselves, not setting healthy boundaries, etc. I have never sat down and said “here’s a list of behaviors to look for” but I have always tried to help her recognize how she feels in response to things. To be aware of her surroundings and things that didn’t look or feel right. Apparently she was paying attention.

Twice in one day, I saw my daughter respond in the way I had hoped.  She recognized inappropriate and uncomfortable behavior, then responded accordingly.  It’s moments like this, the trial runs, which help her to practice for the bigger events later in life. Refining these skills and testing her boundaries now will pay off later.  My hope is that these moments will help her recognize the erratic man who means her harm, the obsessive boyfriend or date that is too aggressive. I hope it gives her strength to ask for what she needs and walk away from things that aren’t healthy.

We can teach kids the obvious stuff but it’s the fuzzy stuff that’s harder.  Some of it is definable, some is more instinctual. Intentional instruction is more than a conversation. It’s not a list of do’s and don’ts.  It’s woven into everyday events.  It’s practicing a skill and building confidence. Teaching my daughter situational awareness or setting healthy boundaries is a series of conversations – every day.  It’s setting an example for her in my own behavior – sometimes, what NOT to do and admitting my failures.

Whether you are a parent or not, you influence people every day. The question is – What are they learning from you?

Nothing is so potent as the silent influence of a good example. – James Kent

Female Army Rangers – Is this really who we want to be?

army-logoThis week it was announced that for the first time in history, two women graduate from the Army Ranger program. That is no easy task so I have respect for anyone who graduates the program. But before we all get out our “girl power” shirts and sing “I am woman, hear me roar”, we need to a bit of a gut check. Do we really want women in combat roles? Is that who we want to be? Prepare to have some ruffled feather’s y’all.

When I was a young girl, my mother often told me I could be anything I wanted to be and I believed her. Being a “tom-boy” and being bit rebellious at heart, I often saw boundaries as a challenge. The more someone told me that a girl couldn’t do something, the more I enjoyed proving them wrong. It was a personal mission to be the girl who defied gender boundaries. I was the first girl to play on the middle school football team. First girl to join my high school wrestling team.

During my first wrestling match, something very interesting happened that has taken me years to fully understand. My first opponent was a young boy who looked scared out his mind. He pulled the referee aside and asked him if he could wrestle me like he does the boys. After all, wrestling is a very “hands-on” sport and you often grab each other in intimate areas, etc. He hesitantly joined me on the mat and when the match started, I completely dominated this poor boy. Not because I was a better wrestler, but because he had reservations about how he should interact with me. It clouded his judgment and ability to engage me like he would a male opponent. Then he had to navigate all the ridicule from his peers about being beat by a girl – oh the horror!

I still have a bit of that rebellious “tom-boy” (ok more than a bit) but I have come to appreciate the differences between men and women. I still work in a male-dominated industry, I participate in activities traditionally reserved for men, I shoot big guns and I drive a big bold truck. But there are limits.

This week’s newsfeeds were filled with praise for these women graduating but I think we are missing something very important.

Men and women are equal in value. Each is the unique creation and image-bearer of God. But that is not to say that we are created equally. The truth is that we are created differently – by design. In today’s world, Bruce can declare he is now Caitlyn but that doesn’t mean he’s a woman capable of bearing children. Rachel Dolezal can claim to be Black but that doesn’t change her DNA. Declaring that women can do anything a man can do, doesn’t’ make it a reality. Reality is composed of facts not perceptions.

Look the recent push for women to serve in combat roles – Female Ranger, SEALs, etc. In the pursuit of political correctness we have reduced the standards so women can be “equal” to men – it’s called Gender Norming (Let me google that for you). Women just can’t perform at the same physical levels as men and so we have changed the standard. What’s wrong with that?

They are called standards for a reason! Standards ensure that everyone has the same skills and abilities so that they can be called upon to perform at a certain level. Reducing the requirements so that women can graduate is a false achievement and endangers the rest of the unit. How many women can fireman-carry an injured 200lb man with a 70lb ruck and carry him to safety? None that I know of. This scenario is likely to occur and if she can’t perform at the same physical level as her fellow soldiers, she isn’t an asset – she is a liability!

Let’s assume that woman who is a genetic anomaly is able to pass the same physical rigors as the male candidates. Should she then be deployed with an otherwise all-male unit?

How are we going to handle issues of biology? No one wants to discuss it but it’s a reality that must be dealt with. Will she require special segregated housing because she is the only female? How are we going to handle the hygiene issues associated with menstruation while on a desert patrol? What about her significant strength and energy loss prior to menstruation each month? What if she becomes pregnant and must be taken off the line? That seems to have been a waste of resources invested in a soldier that is no longer useful.

Let’s assume we are ok with all the caveats associated with biology. What about our morality?

We used to be a country that protected our women as a precious resource. The bearers of life. The heart of a family and by extension, our communities. What does it say about us if we decide to send them into the line of fire? Are we prepared to stomach the realities of our women being captured by enemies like ISIS who show no mercy? Anyone remember PFC Jessica Lynch?  We were appalled at her capture but now we realize how fortunate she was to not have fallen prey to the enemy that roams that land today. Do we really want to be a nation that sacrifices our women on the altar of progress?

How do we ask the male members of the unit to interact with her? Does it change the dynamic of the unit? How do we deal with men’s inherent desire to protect women who are in danger? How do we minimize the risk of sexual assault or relations? Like the boy in the wrestling match, there are a lot of unanswered questions about how to navigate such an intimate interaction where lives are at stake.

Pretending there aren’t differences is not helping anyone. In fact it’s putting us all at risk. Our families, our soldiers, our national soul is at stake here. Who we are as a people hangs in the balance.

It’s ok for men and women to be different. It doesn’t make one weaker than the other. It doesn’t devalue women. The opposite is true, we find strength in our differences.

Is that really how you see me?

Have you ever wondered how other people see you? It’s likely they see you differently than you expect.
Perspective
This past weekend I travelled to Phoenix, Arizona. And something interesting happened.

The people I was meeting with are highly respected in the firearms industry. I have admired them from afar for several years and had a bit of a “fan girl” moment when I met them earlier this year at SHOT Show.

We had been talking for several hours about my plan to gain a foothold in the industry, when one of the gentlemen leaned across the table, looked me straight in the eye and emphatically exclaimed “YOU ARE BAD ASS!” followed by his reasons for believing that.

I laughed to myself, “Me? You must have the wrong person!”

Life is a constant duel between perception and reality. – Sony Long

Perceptions are a tricky thing and I am my own worst enemy. He saw me in a way I was unable or unwilling to see myself.

Now, working in the firearms industry which often prizes masculinity and relegates women to “eye candy”, I found myself falling into the same trap – I have to work twice as hard to gain credibility. I was measuring my success on a false premise – perception.

The comment, made by a man I hold in high regard, was a bit of a wake-up call. He had a perception of me that I hadn’t considered possible. In the end, I think we are both right. I am a bit of a “BAD ASS” but I still have more work to do. Don’t we all?

The reality is this: We are all a work in progress, never fully realizing our potential. But we should strive to fulfill the purpose we were created for, utilizing our gifting and not let the perceptions hold us back.

Train Hard, Fight Easy

TrainHardFightEasyThose of you who know me, know that I committed to improving my physical fitness earlier this year. I have always been fairly fit and active but it was time to take it to the next level. I have been doing cardio and strength training for the last several months and the effort is paying off.  Sure, its nice to loose a few extra pounds, but more than that, the increase in my overall fitness has been remarkable.

As a firearms and self-defense instructor I train for specific skills on a regular basis – and I do it under stress to simulate a real incident. I train in low-light, extreme weather, with multiple targets, induced chaos. Shooting speed drills, speed reloads, accuracy drills are all very useful for refining specific skills, but what happens if I really need to fight for my life. Do I have the endurance it takes to run for cover, grapple with a large attacker or carry a victim to a secure location?

The reality of a life-threatening situation is one that will require far more of us than we realize. Relying on the adrenaline response will only help so much, but your physical strength and endurance will determine much more of the outcome.

There’s a quote attributed to an anonymous Navy seal – a special forces unit in the U.S. Navy:

“Under pressure, you don’t rise to the occasion, you sink to the level of your training. That’s why we train so hard.”

Recently I’ve had awesome opportunities to train with law enforcement, special forces and other industry professionals.  My increased fitness has allowed me to keep up during these demanding trainings.  It has improved my shooting platform and performance.

AlishaTavorShootingI have made “Train Hard, Fight Easy” my personal motto.  I want to be ready to respond in the case that I am called to. The time I spend working out is an investment in my health and possibly my survival. Are you making your fitness part of your self-defense plan?