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More Drills Drama

If you subscribed before the drills went out today, and have not received an email yet, please contact me at with a valid working email address, along with name/information from your order. Some emails didn’t work, but I THINK we have everything working now, other than those.




Subscription Drills

Today’s installment of the subscription drills just went out. If you have subscribed, and not recieved it, or the last installment, please contact me so I can remedy that situation. I know at least one person subscribed before the last installment, and didn’t recieve theirs. I THINK I got that fixed, but again, if not, let me know.



Also, since people keep asking, subscription order form is located at


One of the things I have tried mightily to avoid is turning this blog into a business venture. I left sales of the books in the hands of another for several years, because I didn’t want to turn this into a commercial venture, where I was focused more on entertaining customers and convincing them to buy books than I was in simply putting out what I believe is good, valuable content.

I’ve received a lot of suggestions from readers that I should liven up the book covers, to make them more attractive, to draw buyers. I’ve been told I needed to jazz up the site, or kick out more content, even if it is shorter and shallower, just to keep people engaged. I’ve been told I should produce t-shirts and sweatshirts and patches and stickers, and more, all to make the blog commercially viable.

Not interested. I wasn’t interested in the beginning, and I’m still not interested. It’s bad enough that I have to deal with selling and shipping the books now. I have gotten emails from three or four people who’s orders have not been received yet. I have communicated with them, and when I return home tomorrow, as I informed them, I will get to the bottom of it, and make it right. The last thing I want to deal with is MORE of that. So, we are NOT going to turn this into a more commercial site.

I will continue to write and post articles when I have something to share with you that I think is worth sharing.


I have also received a lot of inquiries about the availability of upcoming classes. As it stands, I currently have two classes scheduled, both private. We may have open enrollment classes this year, but as of now, there are simply none scheduled. When I have informed folks of this, a few have asked for other options, so I have decided to run a test concept for me. We are going to offer a one-year subscription for training drills. For those that subscribe, there will be two drills a month, emailed to them, on the 1st and 15th of each month, beginning with the first drill after your subscription.

These drills will range from pistol and carbine drills to combatives and PT, and small-unit tactics drills. Each drill will include a task, conditions, and standards statement, as well as a description of how to actually execute said drill. Most importantly, each drill will include a statement of purpose, describing the WHY, or what purpose the drill is intended to fulfill in training.

Occasionally one of these drills will be something that was described in one of the books, but most of them will be drills that we use within classes and our local community, for training. These are not all going to be super-duper, high-speed special operations drills that require you to be a hard-dicked 19 year old Ranger to succeed at. These are drills that are used, regularly, to train folks in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and older, of varying levels of physical ability.

Cost of the one-year subscription is $120, which sounds like a lot, until you break it down, and realize it is $5/drill. I’m not going to pimp this subscription, beyond this discussion. I’m going to try it for a month, and see if there is adequate interest, so if you want in, by all means, go to the store site and purchase the plan. If, at the end of that month, there is not enough interest, those who have already subscribed will have their subscriptions filled for a year, but I will no longer offer it on the store site.


If not, no harm no foul, I’ll still be writing the blog.

Courage is a choice.

By the time you read this, I would be surprised if there are many in America, let alone among the readership here, who are not aware of the fact that, during the recent mass killing at a Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, several deputies of the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, including at least one School Resource Officer (SRO)—whose primary duty, at least in theory, was to protect those young people of his community—stood outside, even as local municipal police officers moved into the building.

Initially, it was pretty quickly known that one deputy, the SRO, had never even attempted to enter the building, once the gunfire began. Quickly—and righteously—he was labeled a coward. Just as quickly however, more than a few notable people, across the Internet and media—including some with stellar combat records themselves—jumped in to the fray in his defense, pointing out such things as their experiences having seen other brave men finally run out of nerve, and etc.

My response to this is two-fold, as we will see below.

Rather quickly though, the news leaked out that it wasn’t just the SRO, but two or three other BCSO deputies besides, also stood outside, even after local municipal officers arrived on scene, and initiated entry into the building. Now, it was pointed out that perhaps, after all, it was simply that they were following department policy, to wait for SWAT in such instances. As more information comes to light, this does appear to be the case, along with a host of other egregious wrongdoings on the part of BCSO that—if they did not lead to this event, then, at the very least, contributed to it, and made the outcome far more gruesome than it might have been.

I am not going to waste a lot of time, effort, or bandwidth discussing the niðing behavior of the deputies. They are all cowards, and department policy be damned. You do not take the gifts—pay and benefits—of your community, in return for the expected duty of protecting them and—especially—their children, and then, at the moment the bell tolls for you, decide department policy and officer safety trumps those obligations. Doing so makes you an oathbreaker and a coward, by any reasonable definition.

I am not particularly a fan of “the police,” but neither am I a “cop hater.” I count a number of sworn officers amongst my friends, and at least two within my innangarð, making them oathsworn brothers, rather than simply friends. I understand the importance of “officer safety,” and I don’t begrudge a peace officer ensuring his safety, within reason. However, like myself, and every other man I know who puts a gun on their belt in the morning, and steps out, ostensibly ready to provide protection for those around him—especially if you are receiving compensation for said service—deciding that “officer safety” trumps doing your duty is the definition of cowardice.

Again though, I am not spending my supper time with my family on writing about them. Instead, I am going to discuss some things, from my own experiences and observations, that relate to this, in the context of the prepared citizen, recognizing our current position in the normal cycles of history.

To whit: courage is a choice. It has been said that courage is like the fuel tank on a vehicle, and eventually, if you use enough of it, you simply run out. I don’t know how perfectly accurate that is, but it is a good enough analogy for the moment. Here is the thing about that analogy though, and the point of this: like a fuel tank, you can refill the reservoir before it runs out—or even before it runs low. Running “out” of courage—especially in an occupation or role that demands physical and moral courage—is no different than running out of gas…it is a choice, and rather simply remedied, by topping off the tank regularly. If you read this blog regularly, I will take the liberty of assuming that you have chosen to identify yourself as someone who intends—when the time arises—stand to protect your innangarð, however you define it. This article is intended then, to discuss HOW we might make ourselves more ready to do so, without becoming niðings, when the moment comes.

I have previously written at least one article with Aristotle’s famed quote, “We become what we do,” as the title, and it is a line I have mentioned numerous times over the years in my writing. It is a core part of my personal philosophy on life, and has been since my grandfather said it to me decades ago, before I even knew who said it first (seriously, until I was in my thirties, I thought my grandfather had made it up.).

So, what does that have to do with the choice of courage? We are not born intrinsically courageous. If anything, our evolutionary biology programs us to be rather craven, into at least adolescence, as a survival mechanism. Due to our inherent physiological shortcomings as “hairless apes,” who lack fangs or claws, until we are old enough to manufacture and wield tools, natural selection has made it the role of the adults of our tribe/clan/pack/community, to protect us from harm.

For most of humanity’s existence, the majority of humans have understood that those “bumps in the night” are not just random noises. SOMETHING made those noises, and sometimes those things had claws, fangs, and a taste for the succulence of human flesh. It was understood that the role of any man who considered himself such, was to go out and hunt down and slaughter those things that might harm the young of his tribe or clan or community. It was the duty of every woman, no matter how domesticated she might be; no matter how happy she might be keeping the hearth clean and welcoming, to stand ready to pick up her husband’s extra shield and spear, and stand in the door of their hovel, hut, or fortress, and slaughter those beasts that came looking for the flesh of her offspring, when her husband was absent.

I doubt few Americans, even today, do not have—buried somewhere in their brain—an image of a brave pioneer woman, nuzzleloading rifle in hand, standing in the door of a small frontier cabin, ready to shoot down any marauding intruder, bear, wildcat, wolf, or man.

The problem in America, as with every other great civilization in history, is that we—like our forebears—abrogated that responsibility to a selected corps of “protectors,” in favor of doing less dangerous, “more rewarding” tasks like banking and arguing before a courtroom, fixing someone’s plumbing, or working on their computer problems. Even my farmer neighbors, those stalwart representatives of our yeoman agrarian past, when a predator stalks their livestock, are as likely to call in the game warden as they are to simply shoot, shovel, and shut up.

This then, is the most important lesson given the American people by the niðings of Broward County—and perhaps the only thing of worth they’ve done in their lives, if I had to guess—and it is one that many of us have been telling people for a very long time: no one is coming to save you. You are responsible for your safety, your family’s safety, and the safety of your community (and if you think any of those stand alone, then you are a fool).

How then, do we ensure that, when the bell tolls for us, we make the “right” choice, and choose courage over cowardice? We begin by ensuring we have filled the fuel tank, and then we top it off at regular intervals, rather than letting the needle ride the “E.” We choose courage—moral and physical—in our every activity, every day.

My experience—and every one with similar backgrounds that I have spoken to about this subject has agreed wholeheartedly—is that, in the moment, running toward the sound of the guns—real or metaphorical—was not particularly difficult. The choice had already been made, and the pattern of behavior set in place through repetition.

In a nutshell, making the choice of courage, rather than cowardice is as simple as “always choose the harder path.” We are, at our most base, lazy. Again, it is evolutionary biology at work: the less we do, the easier it is to store calories for the winter starving time. Getting out of bed, in the morning is, at a very basic level, an act of courage. We are accepting that we might expend calories that will not be replaced, which could—ultimately—result in death from starvation.

That’s not the choice I’m discussing though.

It’s not a particularly widely known fact about me, and certainly not something anyone expects to hear from me, given my professional background, but I am horribly, deathly afraid of heights. I am scared to climb a ladder, or stand on a table. I don’t even particularly like standing on a chair, to change a lightbulb. I had two particularly bad falls, as a very young child, both of which resulted in broken bones. This resulted in the very natural aversion to repeating the experience.

Despite this though, I managed, for almost a decade, to remain on airborne status in very active special operations units, as well as fast-roping out of helicopters, and even spent a significant amount of time, in and out of the service, as a recreational rock climber. I have roofed several multi-story buildings, both with and without fall protection in place.

Now, ultimately, military parachuting is—statistically—a remarkably safe activity. Since 2004, the US Special Operations Command has had a mere five static-line fatalities, and only 16 deaths from free-fall accidents. When considered in light of the number of successful landings that occur in any given year within the SOF community, that makes dying in a parachuting accident somewhat less likely than dying from being struck by lightning, and significantly less than dying in a traffic accident driving across town.

Despite that, I’m seldom scared of driving, and I don’t have a qualm in the world about being outdoors in a thunderstorm. Fear is not rational. Not succumbing to fear however, I posit is entirely rational. Courage is a choice.

How then, do we make the decision to charge the sound of the guns, when it is our time to leap into the breach? The same way I made the decision to overcome my terror of high places, and not only volunteer to go on airborne status, but to remain there. The same way I can stand on the top of a parking garage in a metro area, and look down, without having a panic attack: we choose to not be cowards.

I have discussed it in the past in articles, and it is often derided as posturing, but I stand by the statement, as have other experienced people in the training industry: hard, uncomfortable, potentially dangerous training and activities, force us to fill our courage reservoirs. Brazilian jiu-jitsu training builds physical courage. It is distinctly frightening to be choked into unconsciousness. At an evolutionary level, we understand that being unconscious leaves us susceptible to whatever someone else wants to do to us. Being put into a position where we know only the goodwill of our training partner is stopping them from rendering us helpless or even dead, is frightening. Putting yourself in that position, by choice, is choosing courage.

Pain is scary. It is our body’s way of screaming at us, “Danger! Danger! Danger!” At an unconscious level, we KNOW getting punched in the head is an invitation to being rendered unconscious, just like being choked out. Getting repeatedly punched in boxing training is frightening. Especially against a significantly more skilled sparring partner or coach, when we are basically powerless to stop the assault, our brain registers that we are at their mercy, until we learn more and advance. Putting yourself into that position, long enough to learn and advance, requires making the choice to be courageous.

Making the courageous choice is more than that though. Making the choice of courage is also about moral courage. It is standing by your convictions, even when others around you succumb. Most people talk about this, yet every day, we see people succumb to pressure to bend the rules or violate their own beliefs. Like courage, cowardice is made up of small choices, and the more small choices to the wrong that we make, the easier it becomes to make wrong choices when the stakes actually matter.

An example of this I’ve seen a lot, is when someone who brags constantly on their honesty and integrity discovers that a store clerk gave them too much change. Rather than going back and giving back the incorrect extra, they chalk it up to “my good luck.” Well, that’s fine, but it puts the lie to their integrity, doesn’t it? They engaged in a commercial transaction of X amount of money in return for goods or services, but the other party made a mistake, and rather than be honest to the contract, they took advantage of it (and yes, for the record, I make it a point of returning to the cashier when this happens, if I don’t notice it at the register and repair it then. Courage is a choice.). Moral courage is as important as physical courage, if not more so.

I got stopped one evening recently. When the officer approached the vehicle, he asked if I knew why he stopped me. Since I knew I wasn’t speeding, I assumed it was because I wasn’t wearing my seat belt, and informed him as much. He laughed and said, “Well, no. I didn’t know that. I stopped you because your tail light is out.”

“Well, now you know I wasn’t wearing my seat belt either.”

I didn’t get a ticket for either violation, but he could have written me the ticket and added the seat belt infraction, since I had already admitted it. That’s okay. I certainly wasn’t going to simper and cower, “Gee, no, officer. I have no idea why you stopped me.” (I get stopped for not wearing my seat belt, a lot. Since I don’t ever speed, any time I get stopped, I just assume it’s for that. I KNOW it’s a ticketable offense, and I don’t care. I am willing to accept the consequences of my choice to not wear my seat belt in urban traffic. Courage is a choice.)

When someone uses an excuse like the murder of children to try and rob you of your ability to protect your community, I would offer that, rather than hide behind “it’s my right!” or any other excuse you have been handed by others, choose courage, and simply tell them, “No.” I have reached the point where I no longer engage in debate with those who demand I give up my best weapons to protect my people. I won’t argue with them about the Constitution. I won’t argue statistics with them. I won’t argue the morality of using armed police officers to take guns away from people. I simply tell them, “No.” It is not easy, initially. We all want to be liked and likeable, no matter how misanthropic we try to portray ourselves. We want to reason and rationalize with them, so they will see things from our perspective. Don’t bother. Be willing to be the pariah they want to make you. Courage is a choice. Just say, “No.”

At some point, it is time to accept that you will not change their minds, and compromising is only resulting in more victories for them, so stop compromising, by having their discussions, on their terms. When someone tries to bring up the idea of registration, confiscation, or bans, just say, “No.”

These seem like small, petty things, but they really aren’t. They are deposits in the fuel tank—or savings account, if you will—of courage. Courage is a choice, and everything you do that requires you to exercise physical or moral courage, builds that balance up in your favor.

Cultures of Courage

Ultimately, as in so many other ways, we are social creatures by design. “No man is an island,” as the man said. No matter how well-intentioned you are about making courageous choices, if you surround yourself with cravens, you will make a coward’s choices. You may chalk it up to “department policy,” or “well, everyone is doing it,” but at the end of the day, you are making the choice, and those around you are not only facilitating it, they are encouraging it.

In Forging the Hero, I spent a lot of time explaining the concept of innangarð, and that our tribe/clan/community is defined as those who share our values, as evidenced by shared traditions and customs. If you identify as part of a tribe, or “inner circle of trust,” no matter how lightly, that practices behavior (customs and traditions) that evidence cowardice as a value, then you will succumb to the ease of cowardice.

This is entirely too easy to do in today’s wider society. We are too often not accountable to anyone, and we are bombarded with media and entertainment images of people who succeed because of their lack of integrity and cowardice, rather than in spite of it. It becomes very easy to fall prey to the allure of the easier path. We must then, choose to surround ourselves with people who will hold us accountable. When you tell a story about “getting one over” on a sales clerk, and laugh about it, your friends—if they are really friends—will greet the tale with the stony silence of disapproval. If you are screwing around on your wife, your real friends will not laugh it off and cover for you. They will beat the shit out of you. If your wife cannot trust you, why the fuck would they trust you? Courage is a choice. Choosing good companions, oathsworn brothers, to stand in the shield wall with you is one of those choices.

My Christian friends would call it good fellowship, and I cannot argue with that. Choose to surround yourself with people that will hold you accountable for making courage a choice, and making courage a choice becomes easy. If you choose the coward’s choice, they will shame you until you remedy it.


It has become a ridiculous cliché in the training industry, and the wider gun culture as a whole, but at the end of the day, it is true: each of us is responsible for our own safety. While I know—for a fact—that there are individual officers across the US who are courageous men and women that will not hesitate to run to the sound of the guns, if the Florida shooting did nothing else, it showed any person honest with themselves that counting on the police to come to your rescue is a fool’s errand.

Gun up. Train. Surround yourself with a culture of courage, amongst others that will hold you accountable, and choose courage in the small and large, so that when your time comes to confront the dragon at the gate, that you will sally forth, even if armed with nothing more than your wits and the courage of your convictions. Courage is a choice. Cowardice is a choice. Choose.

Choose to be like Aaron Feis, the unarmed assistant football coach who used his body to shield fleeing students, sacrificing himself to protect the youth of his community. Choose to be like young Peter Wang, the JROTC cadet who stood proudly in his uniform, and held open the doors as an escape route for his classmates, sacrificing himself in the process of helping his community. You think those two men weren’t scared? They CHOSE courage.

Fuck the niðings. Honor the courageous.




Granny’s Guerrilla Gun

The training industry, whether professional trainers, writers, bloggers, or the denizens of any tactical training forum, tend to be more than a little snobbish. I’ve been guilty of it myself.
“If you don’t carry XYZ pistol, and ZYX knife, you’re gonna get kilt in deez streetz, yo!”

There is an article going around social media right now, that I read the other night. I don’t recall the website or author, so I can’t link it, but it made a point that a number of other people, who specialize in criminal/predatory violence and personal protection issues, that resonated with me, again.

The point made was that, criminals, armed with whatever piece of shit gun they could steal, had a higher hit rate than police officers did (it also made the point that, while police officers should not be considered the pinnacle of firearms skill, they are probably more skilled than the AVERAGE concealed carry permittee).

I suspect the reason that this jumped out at me, this time, was because, half an hour after I read the article, a friend of a friend called me on the phone.

“Hey, John, Bobby suggested I call you. I asked him, but he said you were the guy to ask, so…if you had to choose between a S&W Sigma40 (I don’t actually recall what S&W it was, but I do know it wasn’t an M&P), and a Taurus, which would you choose?”

Now, my initial response was, “Fucking neither one of those pieces of shit. Get a Glock.”

“Well, I’d get a Glock, but I can’t afford it.”

“How much money do you have? Why can’t you save up the difference?”

He went on to explain that he had roughly $250, and with his income (barely above minimum wage), and with a wife and a school-aged kid, he really didn’t think he could save double that, without something taking priority before he saved it up.

“Well, in that case, I’d look for a decent .38 wheel gun.”

Now, that sounds like sacrilege to a lot of readers, and it sounded like sacrilege to him, because he’d been around me enough to hear me explain that ammunition capacity, when coupled with accurate fire, is never a detriment. So, I asked him what he wanted/needed the gun for. Home defense.

“Alright, dude. Here’s the thing…unless you are doing something that you think is gonna cause a crew of ‘bangers to come through your door, a revolver is probably gonna be more than adequate for home defense in our little town.”

I kept considering it though, after I got off the phone with him, and it actually really bugged me. I’m not rich. Economically, I’m probably not even upper middle-class. Nevertheless, I’ve got enough gear and weapons and preparedness supplies to outfit not just us, but a couple other families within our community. So, at a brief glance, it seems fair for me to tell people, “Exercise some self-discipline, save some money, and get a decent gun!”

But…I also recognize that not everyone shares my concerns and priorities. Not everyone makes even as much money as we do. Not everyone who makes as little money as we do has enough self-sufficiency to raise some of their own food, to reduce their financial burdens.

They should, but they don’t. And, that’s not the end of the world.

So, my point is, so what if someone comes to you and asks for recommendations on guns, and cannot afford the gun(s) you think “everyone” needs? Do you scoff and tell them to suck it up and get what you recommend, or do you offer them some ideas on which they should get?

The Armed Citizen column, at the end of The American Rifleman, the NRA magazine, and Tamara Keel’s relatively new column for SWAT Magazine, highlight the defensive use of firearms by normal, average Americans. Lots of them are elderly, or live in poverty-stricken neighborhoods. It’s fair to guess—when we don’t explicitly know—that most of those guns used are NOT red-dot equipped, custom-stippled polymer frame guns with aftermarket triggers. They are old surplus 1911s, or .38 SPL revolvers, left over from Grandpa’s days walking a beat.

I don’t want to face down a home invasion with a .38 wheel gun. You know what I have never done? Anything that warranted me being worried about a crew of ‘bangers coming through my front door. Granted, I live in a very rural location, on the outskirts of a very small, rural village, but even when I lived in a shitty, ghetto apartment, in a large urban center, I never really worried too much about it. Most of the people you and I know probably don’t legitimately need to be worried about it either. If you do, fix your shit. If your friends do, reconsider your social choices, and fix their shit while you’re at it.

That doesn’t mean I’m going to trade out my Glocks for the ancient Harrington .32 caliber revolver sitting in my desk drawer, but at the same time, I have decided to peruse the counters of some of the pawnshops and gun stores in the closest larger towns to us, to see what is available, in different price points. That way, the next time someone calls me and asks for advice on what kind of pistol he should look for, when he only has $XXX to spend, I can actually give him better advice than I was able to this time.

At the end of it all, one of the things I’ve tried to express to readers, in this blog, and in my books is, when shit gets sporty, you’re probably not going to have a hand-picked crew of pipehitters with a decade of door-kicking experience under their battle belts. You’re going to have your friends and your neighbors. So, while it would be NICE if they were all equipped with top-of-the-line M4s and tricked-out Glocks or M&Ps, it’s probably not going to turn out that way. It’s going to turn out far more inline with typical SF CIDG/UW experience, where folks show up with everything from old bolt-action hunting rifles and single-shot, break-action shotguns, to pocket pistols, retired police revolvers, and whatever Saturday Night Special that Grandpa bought as a home defense gun for Grandma when they were in their twenties and just starting out. You’re going to have to do what SF soldiers and old-time Jedburghs did when that happened…roll your eyes, laugh at the ironic sense of humor of the gods of war, and drive on with the mission. So, get in the practice now. When someone asks you for the advice I was asked for, look at it as a training opportunity for yourself.

When someone shows up at the range, and they are sporting a gun you think of as a piece-of-shit, take the opportunity for what it is: a chance to a) familiarize yourself with a gun you’d probably have NEVER even touched, otherwise, and b) a chance to train a local G with their personal weapon, just like you will be doing as things get more desolate.

Oh, and don’t be a dick, by telling them they’re dumb for buying a piece-of-shit. You don’t know their circumstances, so roll with it.

More on books.

My tech guy is way smarter than I am. He got the site up, so all that have been emailing and asking about where to find the books now, say thanks to my tech guy (his name is Bobbie).


He’s good, but he isn’t perfect. Books show as back ordered, but are not. We have several cases of each volume.


I have been getting a LOT of emails, asking about the books, now that Forward Observer is no longer carrying them. We are working on a store website, but being the knuckle dragging technotard that I am, I was failing dismally. I have a guy working on it now. Hopefully it will be up within a week or two.

In the meantime, and for those who do not want to use a credit card to order online, we can still take orders the old school way. For ordering info on that, please contact HH6 at