The Survival Mom » Firearms & Self Defense http://thesurvivalmom.com Helping moms worry less & enjoy life! Wed, 23 Apr 2014 16:54:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9 How to be as scary as hell in less than 5 seconds http://thesurvivalmom.com/scary-hell-less-5-seconds/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=scary-hell-less-5-seconds http://thesurvivalmom.com/scary-hell-less-5-seconds/#comments Sat, 05 Apr 2014 13:40:35 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=13437 As a new college graduate, I toiled for five long years in the underbelly of public education: the middle school. Although I loved my job and students, I was a mere 7 or 8 years older than some of my Read More

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image by Sarah G.

image by Sarah G.

As a new college graduate, I toiled for five long years in the underbelly of public education: the middle school. Although I loved my job and students, I was a mere 7 or 8 years older than some of my students and more than a few inches shorter.

I had to quickly learn how to take control of a situation and let every student know that this short little teacher, fresh out of college, could handle anything. I learned how to give The Stare.

Now, you may think that giving someone, “the stink eye”, or, “the evil eye”, is a matter of scrunching up your face, squinting  your eyes, and curling your lip. In fact, to truly scare the hell out of someone with just a look, it’s a matter of doing none of that.

Instead, learn to relax every facial muscle.

You do this naturally when you’re laying down resting or sleeping. Every muscle in your face is completely relaxed. Now, just learn to relax those same muscles quickly while you’re standing up.

Practice in front of a mirror. You’ll know you’ve got it right when you have “dead eyes.” Lower your chin just a tad for an even more threatening, maniacal look.

I’ve done this with my kids on a number of occasions and it completely freaks them out.  My daughter tells me I look like a zombie.

It’s a lot easier to maintain this expression for a long period of time than it is to maintain a sneer, squint, or face scrunch for those times when you need a prolonged stare to get your message across.

If you ever have to confront someone because you feel threatened, this is the look you want to have on your face: devoid of expression, scary as hell.

Remember, every muscle has to be relaxed. This takes practice but after a while, you’ll be able to switch from your normal facial expression to this one in a matter of a second or two.

When you think you’ve perfected this new skill, try it out on someone you love and report back to us their reaction.

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What’s your plan? Home Invasion, Part 1 http://thesurvivalmom.com/whats-plan-home-invasion-part-1/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=whats-plan-home-invasion-part-1 http://thesurvivalmom.com/whats-plan-home-invasion-part-1/#comments Thu, 06 Mar 2014 12:33:16 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=13122 It’s 11:30 p.m. here in the Bedford household. My son is in bed and soon will be asleep. Daughter is working on a graphic design project in her room. Husband has been snoring for at least an hour, and here Read More

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Crime Scene

image by Alan Cleaver

It’s 11:30 p.m. here in the Bedford household. My son is in bed and soon will be asleep. Daughter is working on a graphic design project in her room. Husband has been snoring for at least an hour, and here I am, sitting at the computer. Our pets have settled into their favorite cushions and only the kitten is awake to keep me company.

It’s quiet and peaceful. The end to a busy day.

The sound of breaking glass, the sound of a door crashing in would bring all this to a violent halt.

Home invasions have become more violent over the years, and smart Survival Moms have thought about preventive measures. Perhaps you even have multiple layers of security in your home, along with a response plan.

Like you, we have various security measures in place, but home invasions can and do happen even to the most prepared households and when the adrenaline is rushing, kids are screaming, whatever plan you have in place had better be

If you and your family suddenly heard your front door crashing in, at that very moment, what would you do?

Do you have a plan?

What would you do first? Second?

Would you run? Fight? Hide?

Share your plans, tips, and ideas here, and I’ll post the very best ones in Home Invasion, Part 2.

Resources for you:

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Video Vibe Recording! Home & Personal Safety http://thesurvivalmom.com/video-vibe-recording-home-personal-safety/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=video-vibe-recording-home-personal-safety http://thesurvivalmom.com/video-vibe-recording-home-personal-safety/#comments Wed, 02 Oct 2013 15:49:38 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=12503 Just in case you missed the outstanding video webinar last night, here’s the link for the recording: https://www.fuzemeeting.com/replay_meeting/83fba1fc/5530647 You’ll hear a martial arts expert, Steve Ledford, discuss the 4 phases of self-defense, alternative weapons, how a criminal thinks, why there’s Read More

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video vibe cameraJust in case you missed the outstanding video webinar last night, here’s the link for the recording:

https://www.fuzemeeting.com/replay_meeting/83fba1fc/5530647

You’ll hear a martial arts expert, Steve Ledford, discuss the 4 phases of self-defense, alternative weapons, how a criminal thinks, why there’s no such thing as “women’s self defense,” and a lot more. I was so impressed with his information.

Charles Daugherty, an expert in home security introduces a product I’ve never heard of, sill spikes for protecting window sills. He talks about the pros and cons of a home security system, the downside of having a dog for security, and so much more that you’ll see in his slide presentation.

Finally, we wanted to cover school safety, so we invited an assistant principal to address the issue of how to talk with school administrators and teachers about their emergency plans, items kids should carry with them everyday, and how schools have responded to the Sandy Hook shooting.

Here are more details about each speaker:

Steve Ledford, Asheville Integrated Combatives – http://www.avlcombat.com/
Steve currently serves as the Chief Instructor and head of curriculum development for Asheville Integrated Combatives, including the Heroes in Training program, women’s self defense program, and C.O.R.E. Krav Maga. C.O.R.E. is a system developed by Steve over the past several years and is a culmination of the many reality systems he has studied. The goal of C.O.R.E. Krav Maga is to present a reality based system in a format that is quick and easy to learn, providing programming to students who seek to further their martial arts and combatives training across a broad spectrum. While Steve continues to develop the system, he also continues to be an avid martial artist, continuing his own traditional martial arts training under Master Julio Anta (Hung Gar Kung Fu) and Shidoshi Sean Kennedy (Budo Taijutsu), as well as continuing to study street combatives through instructors such as Tony Blauer (SPEAR), Eyal Yanilov (Krav Maga Global), and others.

Charles Daugherty, Patriot Crime Defense – http://patriotcrimedefense.com/
Charles is currently the owner of Patriot Crime Defense which specializes in home security from a prevention stand point.
They have designed and have manufactured The Patriot Door Kit, which when installed will prevent your doors from being kicked in. This type of breach is the most common way a criminal gains access to your home. In addition to his engineering and design background, Charles also is an avid outdoorsman,  a certified NRA Rifle and Pistol Instructor and Range Safety Officer to name just a few of his many talents. His life is very simple; he want to honor God in his work, take care of his family, and help others succeed!

Todd Sepulveda, Ed. that Matters – http://www.edthatmatters.com/

Todd Sepulveda is an elementary school assistant principal.  He is also a minister and pastors a home church.  Todd is better known in the preparedness community for being the owner of Prepper Website that was started in September of 2011. He also runs Ed that Matters.com where he posts his own articles along with guest posts on education and preparedness.  Ed that Matters also features Todd’s free ebook, Education After the Collapse that has been downloaded more than 6,900 times.  Two times a year Todd publishes The Preparedness Review – a free eReview that contains articles from well-known authors in the preparedness community.  TPR-Spring 2013 was released in May and has already been downloaded over 29,000 times. Todd is a prepper and believes that it is just plain common sense.  He is a native Texan and lives in Houston with his wife and boys.

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Staying alert and ready for trouble: Violence at the mall http://thesurvivalmom.com/staying-alert-ready-trouble-violence-mall/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=staying-alert-ready-trouble-violence-mall http://thesurvivalmom.com/staying-alert-ready-trouble-violence-mall/#comments Tue, 01 Oct 2013 17:17:10 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=12486 I don’t visit the local mall very much, mostly because I don’t like to expose myself to that much shopping temptation! When I do go, though, it’s a fun outing. My daughter and I will pop in to Sephora and Read More

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photo by [henning]

photo by [henning]

I don’t visit the local mall very much, mostly because I don’t like to expose myself to that much shopping temptation!

When I do go, though, it’s a fun outing. My daughter and I will pop in to Sephora and check out their makeup and perfumes, my son always nags me about going to the sports memorabilia store (I usually give in), and overall, it’s a fun and relaxing time.

In no way am I alert or ready for a terrorist attack.

However, this is exactly what happened in Nairobi, Kenya, just a couple of weeks ago, leaving more than 60 people dead. Many of the victims were tortured and there are reports of children’s’ bodies stuffed into refrigerator compartments.

TSM_RadioNetwork_webbanner_081413_final

After reading several accounts of the attack, 2 things leaped out at me.

1.  The terrorists had planned this attack with great detail and forethought.

2.  I need to be alert and ready for trouble, even on fun outings…no, make that especially on fun outings with my kids.

Regarding point 1, the attack took place on a Saturday, one of the busiest mall days of the week. There was a cooking for kids class going on at the time, and numerous children were killed.

If bad guys of any stripe plan an attack on civilians in a public place, you can be sure it won’t be spontaneous, drunken, “let’s go out and kill some people!” event. It will have been  meticulously planned.

Therefore, whether I go to a sports event, a concert, restaurant, or the mall, it just makes sense that I also plan ahead and think about how I might react and escape sudden violence.

Minimize distractions

When my kids were much younger, I remember feeling like a pack mule heading out for a trail ride. I had a huge purse, a diaper bag, a double stroller, snacks, water bottles, extra clothes, you name it. Keeping track of all that extra stuff kept a part of my brain busy and took some of my attention away from the kids.

Back then all I had was a cell phone, but nowadays, each family member has their own phone and other electronics.

Every single distraction increases the level of vulnerability, not just in the event of a terrorist attack, but the so-called “knock ‘em down games“, and being caught unaware in a rapidly developing violent scenario, such as a riot.

The next time you head out on an errand or to an appointment, take a look at what you’re carrying. Most of the time, you can get by with a house and car key, ID, and cash/debit card.

For years I carried around so many items that when I finally took inventory of what I was actually using, I ditched my purse entirely!

If you must carry a purse or a diaper bag, they should be as small as possible. I also recommend that they not be the pricey versions. If I had to run for my life and leave my purse behind, I could leave behind my $26 Target purse, no problem, but a $850 Coach purse? I’d at least pause for a few seconds to consider my options, and those seconds could be the difference between life and death.

Dress to run!

I live in Arizona where the unofficial state footwear is the flip-flop. Comfy, easy to slip on and off, but in no way are they running shoes! If I ever had to run for my life, those flip-flops would be kicked off in a heartbeat.

What makes a lot more sense, is to leave the house dressed and ready to react in any situation, including just chasing down a toddler headed for the escalator!

Comfy shoes, suitable for making a quick getaway, don’t have to look like your grandma’s SAS shoes! But they should have a non-skid sole and be comfortable enough for walking longer distances and running, if necessary.

Average-looking clothes in neutral colors might not send your friends into swoons of envy, but the look might really pay off in helping you blend in with a crowd and by not alerting would-be thieves with expensive name brands and jewelry.

Sometimes our own clothing can be a distraction. Tugging on a shirt, hiking  up jeans, dealing with straps that keep falling off shoulders — again, little distractions that add up to lowering our level of awareness.

What about self-defense measures?

A few years back, I took the official Concealed Carry class here in Arizona and got my permit. My firearm of choice is the Glock 26. Easy to shoot, very reliable, easy to conceal.

A firearm is my preference because I am not nearly as sure of my ability to win a physical fight with a stronger and likely younger man as I am of my ability to hit a target with my Glock. Hand to hand combat just isn’t my thing.

If a firearm isn’t for you, consider carrying a Taser, pepper spray, or a knife. (I highly recommend taking a class in knife fighting, if that’s your choice.)

Being in fairly good physical condition, at the minimum, is another form of self-defense. Increased upper body strength and strong legs will help you not only run but grab that baby and those two toddlers as you race toward safety!

What about your family’s mall rat?

If your teen is used to hanging out at the mall, in my view you have 3 choices:

1.  Unsupervised mall time comes to an end, immediately, and it’s not just because of the possibility of a terrorist attack. I’m a little conservative with my parenting views and believe that nothing good comes of tweens and teens hanging out in large groups, unsupervised, with lots of time on their hands.

Can I get an “Amen”?

2.  Visits to the mall are supervised by one or more parent. Kids might think it’s not possible to have fun with lurking parents around, but when safety’s an issue and kids are under 18, this is the only mall-time option.

3.  For older kids, absolutely make them aware of potential dangers and provide self-defense training. They should also learn about the 4 levels of awareness and practice being at Level Yellow when they are out and about with friends. (See pp. 169-176 in my book.)

 

 

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Home Protection: Security Basics http://thesurvivalmom.com/home-protection-security-basics/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=home-protection-security-basics http://thesurvivalmom.com/home-protection-security-basics/#comments Mon, 11 Feb 2013 08:00:32 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=11156 Guest post by Thomas Bryant, a licensed Fire Protection and Security professional, who blogs at Cube 2 Farm Whether you are an urban prepper or are perfecting a homestead, upgrading the locks on your home and making sure they are installed Read More

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Guest post by Thomas Bryant, a licensed Fire Protection and Security professional, who blogs at Cube 2 Farm

Whether you are an urban prepper or are perfecting a homestead, upgrading the locks on your home and making sure they are installed properly is one of the most overlooked, least expensive, and most effective ways to harden your security.

Broken glassI believe the best way to keep the bad guys from getting your stuff is to keep them out in the first place. This is the job of a good commercial quality lock and NOT your average home alarm system. Alarm systems only let you now when someone got in – they will not keep them out.  (Unless you are taking about perimeter defense systems-which I am not.)

Not all locks are created equal.  The lock on your doorknob or leverset is not strong enough to withstand breaking and entering. Neither are the small screws holding the hinges to the door frame.

You need an ANSI Grade 1 deadbolt on every exterior door, the door from your attached garage leading into your home, and on every door leading to your stores. Period.

  • ANSI Grade 1: Highest Rating for Commercial and Residential Locks
  • ANSI Grade 2: Highest Rating for Residential Only Locks
  • ANSI Grade 3: Lowest rating and only meets minimum grading requirements

Unfortunately, most common residential locks are only ANSI Grade 3 and can be quickly and easily defeated by intruders.  The ANSI grade can be found on the package of higher quality locks. I recommend and install Schlage ANSI Grade 1 Deadbolt Locks.

You will also need to install a Door Reinforcer and a Strike Plate. The door Reinforcer is a piece of steel that wraps around your door at the deadbolt location. This prevents breaking and splitting of the door.

The strike plate is critical piece of hardware installed on the doorjamb. Without a properly installed quality strike plate, your door can be kicked in – even with an ANSI 1 deadbolt. The bolt can be kicked through the wooden doorjamb and trim.

Pro Tip: Use a Lock Installation Jig for doors with no existing deadbolt.

Once you have installed your new deadbolts it is now time to install the strike plate. The strike plate should also be ANSI Grade 1. The Schlage deadbolt comes with the strike plate and 3” screws.


The strike plate must be secured into the doorjamb with at least 3” long screws. The screws should go through the doorjamb and into the structural studs in the wall. The screws must be strong enough to withstand kicking and battering. DO NOT USE black drywall type screws – they will snap in half!

Pro Tip: Use a drill to bore a pilot hole in the wood to prevent the jamb and studs from splitting.

It is imperative that you reinforce the hinge side of your doors with long screws just as you did with the strike plate. On the door side of the hinges, remove and replace one screw at a time. Use a pilot bit to prevent the jamb and studs from splitting and install the long screws. Again, the screws must be long enough to go through the jamb and into the structural studs. You will be alarmed to find the screws you just removed are only 1 ½” long. These tiny screws are holding your door in place and will be torn out of the jamb with only one or two good kicks.

Pro Tip: Use the proper sized Philips screw tip when installing the longer screws. A bit that is too small will bounce out of the slots and strip out the screw head before you get the screw seated and will be nearly impossible to remove.

Check out “how to videos” on YouTube like this one on how to secure and reinforce a door.

For around $100 per door you have hardened the security of your home and purchased real piece of mind. No lock is completely burglar proof. But, by hardening your doors, you are making it harder to break and enter, the would-be intruder needs to make more noise and spend more time to break in to your home – two things he doesn’t want to do.

TommyPortraitTommy is a licensed security and fire safety professional with 20 years experience designing, installing, and maintaining life safety and security systems. He is licensed in multiple states and has obtained the highest certification level from NICET.  Tommy is passionate about teaching others about how to be safe and secure at work and at home.  He specializes in perimeter protection, video surveillance, intrusion detection and fire protection technologies.

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2 Safety tips for your kids: The sound of gunfire & concealment vs. cover http://thesurvivalmom.com/2-safety-tips-for-your-kids-the-sound-of-gunfire-concealment-vs-cover/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=2-safety-tips-for-your-kids-the-sound-of-gunfire-concealment-vs-cover http://thesurvivalmom.com/2-safety-tips-for-your-kids-the-sound-of-gunfire-concealment-vs-cover/#comments Tue, 18 Dec 2012 19:58:36 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=10827 In the wake of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, a lot of parents have asked how their children can be safe at school if something like this hits closer to home. This is a national discussion that, I Read More

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image by Ross Griff

image by Ross Griff

In the wake of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, a lot of parents have asked how their children can be safe at school if something like this hits closer to home.

This is a national discussion that, I hope, will be ongoing and will result in some really smart actions on the parts of school officials. However, there are two simple concepts you can begin teaching your children now.

What does gunfire actually sound like?

Kids should know what live gunfire sounds like. Believe it or not, even seasoned policemen can sometimes be fooled by the sound of a gunshot since it can sound like a car backfiring, a firecracker, or just a loud POP.

Take your child to a shooting range, even if you are not going to actually shoot!

If you go to an outdoor range, park a distance away and let them hear the sound of gunfire without any ear protection. Move a little closer and let them hear a few shots without ear protection and then with ear protection. By the way, you can purchase inexpensive foam ear plugs at any drugstore or Walmart. (I usually wear “foamies” along with ear muffs.)

Indoor ranges will require everyone to wear ear protection and they will loan it to you, but even with that, there will be no doubt what gunfire sounds like.

IF, and that’s a very big IF!, your kids ever hear gunfire, they will be able to identify it quickly and take action, whether it’s running away, calling for help, or taking cover. Considering that a bullet can travel thousands of feet per second, every second counts when it comes to staying safe. Compare that with the length of time required to find a phone, dial 911, give a coherent explanation of a live gunfire event to the operator, and the arrival of police… just sayin.

Concealment vs. Taking cover

Kids need to know the difference between “hiding”, or concealment, and “taking cover.” I’m a full grown adult, but I could “hide” behind a silk tree in my house or under the kitchen table. Neither would protect me from much danger at all, much less gunfire, but it might conceal me from a bad guy with really bad eyesight!

“Concealment” is simply hiding behind or under something. It’s possible that hiding place might conceal them from a bad guy, but simple concealment is no protection from a bullet.

In movies you’ll often hear one character yell to another, “Take cover!” Taking cover means hiding behind or under something that offers real protection from gunfire. In a typical commercial building, including schools, this could be a concrete or brick wall. If school classrooms have metal doors, that is a better cover than a wooden door.

 

Teaching these concepts to your kids

Sadly, the Sandy Hook shooting has been in the news so much that most kids have heard about it. The fear is already there. What probably is not there are techniques or a strategy to use if something like that should happen in their own school or at home.

If your kids have been talking and asking about what happened, you may as well get to the point about discussing ways to stay safe and get it over with. Kids appreciate honesty and directness and probably have plenty of worries they may not have voiced.

They’ve already learned about cyber security (never give your name, age, address) and much more. Equipping them with information and some practice when it comes to staying safe from gunfire makes sense in this day and age.

 

To parents who hate guns…

Even if you personally hate guns, raising children who are completely ignorant of gun safety rules and how a gun works is negligent parenting, in my opinion. We teach them about fire safety, bicycle safety, how to dial 911, and staying away from Mr. Stranger Danger, but too many parents pretend that guns don’t exist when it comes to those safety talks. With 200 million guns in America, no parent can afford to stick their head in the sand and wish for a different reality.

Blunt talk, I know, but Hollywood, video games, and the media make guns seem so exciting and glamorous that kids, especially boys, become fascinated by them. Once kids learn just how loud a real gun is and learn how to be safe around them, and that includes handling them safely, guns lose their allure.

 

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10 Lessons for Armed Citizens from the Aurora Theater Mass Murder http://thesurvivalmom.com/10-lessons-for-armed-citizens-from-the-aurora-theater-mass-murder/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=10-lessons-for-armed-citizens-from-the-aurora-theater-mass-murder http://thesurvivalmom.com/10-lessons-for-armed-citizens-from-the-aurora-theater-mass-murder/#comments Sat, 27 Oct 2012 10:09:31 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=10498 Guest post by Ed Monk, Co-Owner & Instructor, Last Resort Firearms Training. NOTE FROM LISA: In the days and weeks following the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, I’m sure I wasn’t the only mom in America who wondered, “What Read More

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Guest post by Ed Monk, Co-Owner & Instructor, Last Resort Firearms Training.

NOTE FROM LISA: In the days and weeks following the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, I’m sure I wasn’t the only mom in America who wondered, “What would I have done? How could I have protected my kids?” Some of us have made the decision to carry a handgun with us everyday or just occasionally. Would a loaded handgun in the hands of a legally armed citizen have made a difference in Aurora? This article contains some great insights and food for thought in answer to that question.

We encourage our defensive handgun students to study media stories about violent attacks to find lessons, consider options, and conduct mental rehearsals.  There are still many facts and details the public does not know about the “active shooter” attack in a movie theater in Aurora, CO, on July 20th.  However, in its immediate aftermath, there does seem to be enough information to reap valuable lessons for legally armed citizens to learn or re-learn about preparing for, identifying, and reacting to an “active shooter” (AS) event.  These include lessons about mindset, gear, and tactics.  To limit the size of this article, I offer ten.  For

image by DrJimGlide

simplicity, I will refer to the Active Shooter (AS) and the armed citizen as “he” or “him.”

1.  When an AS begins his attack, it may not be immediately obvious to you and others what exactly is happening.  After many AS attacks, witnesses have stated that they initially believed the gunshots they first heard were fireworks, construction, or some kind of prank.  Even for those of us who shoot often and are very familiar with the sounds of gun shots (although usually altered through hearing protection), that sound in a crowded public place would be extremely uncommon or a new experience for most people.

In the Aurora AS attack, this confusion was amplified by the darkness of the theater and (at least somewhat) reasonable assumptions by many witnesses who initially believed the smoke and shots were special effects or some surprise special promotion by the theater for this special midnight premiere of a hyped-up action movie.  Although rare and bizarre, we must keep the AS attack mentally filed as the possible cause for sights and sounds we experience in public.  The more quickly we realize and identify an AS after he begins shooting, the more quickly we can react to protect ourselves and other innocent people.

2. An AS attack can happen in low-light and darkness.  The vast majority of AS attacks I’ve researched have occurred in daylight or in well-lit indoor locations.  Two exceptions (until now) that immediately come to mind are portions of the Mumbai (India) attack by teams of multiple shooters and the AS who turned off the lights in the aerobics workout room in a Pennsylvania fitness center before shooting at women inside.  The Aurora AS attack occurred inside a dark theater at night.

Had an armed citizen been in that theater, a tactical light would have been very useful (maybe a requirement?) to properly identify and engage the AS, if the decision was made to do so.  Because many companies are making tactical lights that are small, lightweight, bright, and reasonably priced, keeping one with you is now easy to do.  Gear will do nothing by itself, so knowing how to fight with your handgun while holding and using a tactical light would be a critical skill in such a low-light attack.  Night sights would, of course, also be extremely helpful in engaging the AS in a dark environment, after you have positively identified the threat.

image by Angela Schmiedel Randall

3. An armed citizen may get a “long distance” handgun shot at an AS.  Many of us have heard the statistics about the “average” distance of a self-defense shooting being very close – within the 1-5 yard range.  And we are told the vast majority of such shootings are within 7 yards.  This seems correct and reasonable since most self-defense shootings are against attackers who must get close enough to touch you.  So it seems logical for armed citizens to spend most limited training time and ammunition on the most likely self-defense scenarios, those that are within spitting distance.

But I have heard some armed citizens say that practicing defensive handgun shooting beyond seven yards is a waste of time, because you could never, “justify,” shooting someone at that distance.  An AS scenario would be an exception to that theory.  If you had been in the back half of that Aurora movie theater, or on the side opposite the exit door the AS entered, you very well might have been 20-30 yards away from him.  This long-distance engagement could occur in any AS attack location, such as a parking lot, school, mall, or church.  So, to be prepared to act on and end an AS attack, the armed citizen may need the ability to, under severe stress (and other adverse conditions), shoot at and hit (maybe multiple times) the killer at distances that require increased skill.

A gun fight is a balance of accuracy and speed.  At a defensive shooting distance of two yards against someone trying to kill you, speed is extremely important in that balance.  While you must get solid hits, they do not require precision, and time is extremely limited.  At longer distances, the accuracy-speed balance tips toward accuracy.  These are precision shots, especially against smaller body parts or a moving target.  Rushed and missed shots against an AS fail to stop the mass murder, allowing the number of victims to increase.  Missed shots also waste your ammunition, draw attention to you (more on this later), and cause danger to innocent people.

So, to prepare for the possibility of engaging an active shooter, the armed citizen needs to train at longer distances.  How far?  The question might not be, “How far away from the target should I train?”, but instead know how far you are capable and confident of getting hits.  A suggestion is to start with the handgun you carry at a close distance, then increase the distance incrementally by a few yards at a time.  Each shooter doing this will discover, with his skill and chosen gun, at what distance he loses confidence in getting hits.  That is an important thing to know.  If an armed citizen then encounters an AS at a distance beyond where he feels confident, he has three choices: escape;  hide or find cover and wait for the AS to move closer; or advance towards the AS until the armed citizen feels confident in his ability.

The ability to hit a long-distance target under stress requires proper training and proper gear.  Armed citizens carry a wide variety of handgun types that have a wide variety of capabilities.  Small guns with short barrels and small sights are less suited to long-distance hits under stress.  So armed citizens who want to be prepared to engage an AS at longer distances should choose, carry and train with a handgun that gives them the capability, with proper training, to do so.   Imagine how an armed citizen would feel if he was inside the back corner of such a theater when such an AS attack began, with only a North American Arms .22 micro-revolver in his/her pocket or purse?  Our gear and our training are the only variables armed citizens have control over once an AS attack starts, so we should maximize both.

image by D Services

4. The AS may be wearing body armor.  If initial media reports are accurate, the murderer in the Aurora theater attack is at least the third active shooter (not counting the L.A. bank robbers) to be wearing some type of body armor.  Most armed citizens who might engage an AS would probably attempt torso shots.  If successful at achieving torso hits, they likely would not stop a murderer wearing a protective vest.

Using a handgun to engage an AS with a protective vest would require precision shooting while under stress.  If the AS protective vest is visible and obvious, then all shots should be aimed at points other than typical “center of upper chest” for which most of us train.  But it might not be so obvious.  What might happen is the brave armed citizen, attempting to stop the AS, is frustrated and puzzled as to why his initial shots are not stopping the AS. This supports a decision to carry extra ammunition.  The armed citizen might assume he is missing the AS, and not alter sight placement.  If you are confident in your sights and trigger press, and are seeing no effects of several torso shots, consider the possibility of body armor.

Regardless of when you realize or suspect body armor on the AS, immediately move the location of your aim.  Possible alternate bullet placement options (if exposed) include the head, shoulders, armpits, hips, legs or arms (but they can be armored as well), and ankles or feet.  All of these require precision shots against small targets, all of which might be moving.  Having confidence in one’s gear and skill would be essential for such hits, which requires training.

Techniques that might improve accuracy for an armed citizen in such a situation include bracing your body against something to steady your hands, or going to a kneeling or prone firing position if possible.  Again, the chosen carry gun will make such a shot either less or more difficult.  Imagine deciding to engage a moving AS wearing body armor at 20 yards with a derringer or Ruger LCP.

Also realize that when you start engaging an AS, if you do not stop him, (among other negative things) you may draw his fire.  Many Active Shooters commit suicide or give up when confronted with resistance or force, but not all.  When a brave armed citizen attempted to stop an AS wearing a protective vest in a Tyler, Texas, parking lot in 2005, he drew fire from the AS, which unfortunately killed the armed citizen.

5.  Expect to be out-gunned.  Most Active Shooters have a long gun, and many have multiple guns.  Most of the few that only had a handgun, had a high-capacity, full size handgun with several spare magazines and/or extra rounds of ammunition.  So, playing the odds, if an armed citizen decides to engage an AS, the citizen can expect to have far less capable gear.  To win, therefore, the armed citizen must rely on three possible advantages:

  1. The surprise of a citizen having a gun and the decision of when it is deployed
  2. Skill gained through repetitive training for just such an event.
  3. Tactics, which can include movement and use of cover & concealment.

6. Masses of moving bystanders may negatively affect the armed citizen’s ability to identify and engage the AS.  If you do not identify the AS as soon as he starts shooting, you may initially only hear shots before being overcome by the screams and stampede of people who did see the AS.  Some eye-witness accounts of the Aurora AS attack include theater attendees running, shoving each other, crawling up the isles, and climbing over rows of chairs.  All of these would impede the armed citizen’s attempt to identify, move toward (if necessary), and engage the AS.

Imagine, after identifying the AS,  trying to take a precision long-distance shot while under severe mental stress at a moving target who is wearing body armor, all while numerous panicked people are scrambling around (maybe over) you.  If innocent people are moving either between the armed citizen and the AS, or behind the AS, this will make a shot at the AS extremely dangerous to those innocent people.

An extra magazine or two never hurt anything! Image by 316th ESC.

7. Consider the possibility of other legally armed citizens or off-duty police officers confusing you for the AS or a partner of the AS.  If you are legally armed, there is a possibility that there are other legally armed citizens also at your location.  In #1, above, we already discussed the initial confusion we can expect most people to experience when an AS starts his attack.  Once you suspect that you might actually be witnessing an AS, and you decide to engage, what are you looking for?  A person (odds say a man) holding a gun?  Well, that is exactly what you will look like to other legally armed people there who also make the brave decision to act.  This is also true for responding, on-duty police who will arrive later.  The possible negative outcome is obvious – friendly fire.

So, how does the armed citizen lessen the odds of this possible confusion?  One important factor is simply being aware of this possibility and using techniques to minimize tunnel vision.  It also seems logical that the odds of mis-identification increase the longer the armed citizen keeps his gun exposed, such as while moving toward the AS.

The AS attack is happening.  You being mistaken for the AS might happen.  Act on what is happening.  If the armed citizen engages the AS, the quicker the engagement is over, the less likely a mis-identification will cause harm.  After it appears the AS has been stopped, immediately yelling something like, “CALL 911!”, or “IS THERE ANOTHER SHOOTER?!”, something an AS probably would not say, might reduce the chances of immediate mis-identification.

Also, tell people calling 911 to tell and repeat to the 911 operator that there is a legally armed civilian at the scene.  If possible, it may be wise to have another bystander(s) go meet the responding uniformed police, inform them about you and the situation, and (if safe) lead them to you.

8. Consider the possibility of another legally armed citizen, or off-duty police officer, drawing his gun to engage the AS.  This is the reverse of #7 above.  The average armed citizen who realizes that he is experiencing an AS attack will be under sudden extreme stress, and will understand that the sooner he engages the AS, the fewer innocent people will die.  Urgency and extreme stress lead to snap decisions and rushed action.  Citizens that choose to go armed in public must stay aware that they are not the only ones who do so, and may not be the only ones that react to an AS attack.

Unfortunately, neither the AS or legally armed citizens wear an identifying sign.  So seeing someone simply holding a gun in an AS situation may not be enough information for a positive identification, and therefore the decision to engage.  That person’s actions and type of gun(s) may help the armed citizen determine the person’s motives.  Is the other armed citizen at the AS event randomly shooting at people, or is he “stalking,” as you are, trying to understand what is happening and who the shooter is?  Also, if that other armed citizen is carrying a long gun, darn good odds he is the AS.

image by Steve Snodgrass

9.  The AS may employ tear gas, smoke, bombs, or other devices.  Initial news reports indicate the Aurora theater murderer activated teargas or smoke generating devices inside the theater before he started shooting.  The Columbine High School killers attempted to activate bombs before and during their mass shooting.  These devices will increase confusion and fear.  They will also make it harder or maybe impossible to immediately engage the AS.  It may be a very hard decision, and difficult to live with later, if a trained, armed citizen must leave and not engage due to inability to breathe.  Most armed citizens, including me, are not yet ready to carry a gas mask everywhere we go.

10. All legally armed citizens must decide what to do about locations that prohibit the carrying of defensive handguns.  Several news reports have indicated that the theater in Aurora prohibited legal concealed carry by policy.  I do not know, and will probably never know, if there was an unauthorized armed citizen (other than the murderer) in the theater when the attack started, or if any person with a concealed carry license was there, but chose not to carry their handgun into the theater.

In my opinion, the goal should be to legislatively limit, “prohibited places,” to the absolute minimum, such as jails and other, “secured,” areas.  But that is a political solution that is difficult in most places and currently impossible in some.  One option, if possible, is to not enter businesses that prohibit armed self-defense.  That denies these businesses the profit of our money, but it also leaves defenseless other citizens who do enter such a place.

But what about places we must go, or feel compelled to go that are, “prohibited places,” in some or all states?  These include government offices, post offices, churches, hospitals, schools, and other locations.  In these situations, each armed citizen must make a choice.  For those who hypothetically make a decision to go armed into a, “prohibited place,” each must understand and be prepared for what may happen should he be forced to defend innocent life while there.

Conclusion.  In the Army, after every training battle, soldiers gather and conduct what is called an “After Action Review (AAR).  In the AAR, soldiers review the recent simulated battle, to include the preparation for it.  The purpose is to identify lessons that can be identified and learned, so that they can reduce errors and repeat and increase successful actions in future battles.  Most legally armed citizens want to be prepared for a battle that they hope never happens.

The Aurora Active Shooter attack serves as a reminder for what occasionally happens, anytime, anywhere.  As horrible as it was, we should learn from it.  Armed citizens need to be mentally prepared.  We must be ready for surprise and confusion, but quickly identify the AS and decide if and how to engage.  If we decide to engage, we know that conditions of an AS response may be far more difficult than the, “average,” self-defense shooting, for many reasons.  We also must understand that we may not be the only legally armed people at the scene, which increases danger for all legally armed people who decide to act.  Each armed citizen should decide before the next AS attack if he wants to be better prepared to respond.  This probably requires improved tactics, precision shooting skills, and the proper gun and ammunition to do such an important job.

 

(Ed Monk is co-owner and instructor at Last Resort Firearms Training in central Arkansas.  He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy (West Point) and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel after over 20 years as an armor officer, including duty in Iraq, battalion command, and three assignments as the leader of military training teams.  He is an NRA certified handgun instructor, graduate of multiple professional handgun training schools, and a GLOCK armorer.  He also serves as a part-time city police officer.  He provides educational presentations to universities, schools, civic organizations, and other groups on the threat of the Active Shooter. He can be reached at edmonk@aol.com)

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What to do when you can’t avoid being in the wrong place at the wrong time http://thesurvivalmom.com/what-to-do-when-you-cant-avoid-being-in-the-wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=what-to-do-when-you-cant-avoid-being-in-the-wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time http://thesurvivalmom.com/what-to-do-when-you-cant-avoid-being-in-the-wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time/#comments Tue, 23 Oct 2012 15:52:49 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=10492 This article is sponsored by Home Security Store, who asked me to review their ebook, “Crowd Control, Flash Mobs, and Your Safety.” When the economy made a sickening downturn about five years ago, I fully expected to see crime rates Read More

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This article is sponsored by Home Security Store, who asked me to review their ebook, “Crowd Control, Flash Mobs, and Your Safety.”

image by The National Guard

When the economy made a sickening downturn about five years ago, I fully expected to see crime rates increase. It made perfect sense. Individuals who were out of work and in need of money to pay for the essentials in life would turn to a life of crime.

Instead, annual reports from the FBI indicated that crime rates were actually dropping! Between 2008 and 2011, murder and robbery rates dropped sharply, in spite of the economic conditions that continued to grow worse.

In spite of those statistics, it was hard not to notice an increase in a new type of crime, the flash mob. I know I wasn’t the only American who was disgusted and angry at reports that swarms of people would descend upon a helpless, unarmed business, often a retail or convenience store, stuff their pockets, backpacks and purses with anything and everything, and then leave, long before the police arrived.

More than once I wondered what I would do if I were caught in that type of scenario. The urge to do something would be strong, but the smarter side of me realized I would be in the minority and, therefore, vulnerable.

I suspect that mob violence will continue to grow, and not just in the form of flash mobs. Around the world we see mobs, angry that their governments have let them down, and they can no longer afford the basics. The only solution, as they see it, is to express their rage and helplessness by rioting.

Will those riots come to America? Might you and your family suddenly find yourself in the middle of an angry crowd and, possibly, in danger? If that happens, will you be prepared to survive and escape?

Did you realize there were so many London riots over a period of just 3 days in 2011? It CAN happen in your town or city. Image by James Cridland.

I wrote about civil unrest here, and created this video, but I also picked up some new tips from the ebook, “Crowd Control, Flash Mobs, and Your Safety.”

  • The “Bystander Effect,” causes people who are generally well-meaning and concerned about others to feel little to no responsibility for a situation due to being part of a large group of people. I want to train myself to react to emergencies in an appropriate way in spite of the number of people who could do something but are not.
  • Situational awareness trumps just about everything. If you’re not in the wrong place at the wrong time, you stand a very good chance of never being a victim of mob violence. Pay attention to local news, in particular.
  • After reading this report, I taught my kids to look for exits as soon as they enter a building or business. My daughter and I spotted four exits in a restaurant we visited on Saturday. I figure in a live shooting incident or something similar, just knowing where the exits are may be a life saver.
  • Always, layers of security. Situational awareness, dressed to survive, some sort of self-defense item (pepper spray, for example), and training in self-defense all combine to make the individual less vulnerable.

This latter point can be taught to children in ways that aren’t scary or might cause nightmares. For example, encourage kids, even teenage girls, to wear comfortable walking shoes and clothing that would make it easy to run, if need be, and blend in. Whenever you’re out in public, quiz them and even offer a small reward, say a quarter, if they can tell you the color of the cashier’s eyes, or whether the security guard at the door was wearing a cap. Without a single word of warning, you’re teaching them to keep their eyes open and to always be alert.

Practice making 911 calls with younger children, and if the family budget allows, sign up for a martial arts class at a YMCA, private school, or check to see if there are any city-sponsored classes in your area.

You can read, “Crowd Control, Flash Mobs, and Your Safety,” for yourself and put a plan together to stay safe if you find yourself in a situation that is out of control.

P.S. As of October, 2012, violent crime rates have now increased. Knowing how to stay safe and make smart decisions is more important now than ever.

 

 

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The nearly definitive word on gun holsters for women http://thesurvivalmom.com/the-nearly-definitive-word-on-gun-holsters-for-women/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-nearly-definitive-word-on-gun-holsters-for-women http://thesurvivalmom.com/the-nearly-definitive-word-on-gun-holsters-for-women/#comments Wed, 17 Oct 2012 10:33:46 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=10444 Once I became comfortable and fairly proficient with a handgun, my next question was, “Now what?” Should I carry a handgun with me all the time or only to certain places? If I carry, should I have the gun in Read More

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Once I became comfortable and fairly proficient with a handgun, my next question was, “Now what?”

Should I carry a handgun with me all the time or only to certain places? If I carry, should I have the gun in my purse or use a holster? If I use a holster, which one is best?

image by jeff gunn

The first issue I ran into was clothing. Most of the time I am not dressed in a way that would easily conceal a handgun. That’s not to say that I run around town in a bikini top and Daisy Dukes! Far from it, but still, a comfortably fitted shirt and stretchy yoga pants aren’t exactly concealed carry-wear!

Most men will wear a fairly loose fitting shirt, which easily hides most every handgun. Or if they’re feeling extra fashionable, their choice may be a t-shirt tucked in with an open, button-down shirt. In fact, as I’m sitting here in Starbucks writing this post and checking out the men, I think every one of them could easily be carrying a handgun on their person, even the barista with his green apron!

Now, I don’t want to always dress like a man when I go out. Nothing against women who wear pants and loose fitting shirts all the time, but that’s just not how I dress. So, I took my holster dilemma to Britt Lentz of Next Level Training, the company who sells the SIRT Training Pistol, and he gave me some very good advice:

The type of holster you use depends on whether you are going to carry on the body or off the body. This is a very debated subject. Some people will tell you that off the body, in something like a purse, is not safe due to the fact that you might put your purse down or that the first thing a robber will go after is your purse. These are all true, but if this stops you from carrying your self-defense firearm, then you are not any better off. Having a firearm in your purse is better than leaving it at home in your safe, as long as you get training on how to go about it the right way.

As for a true on-the-body holster, this is how I carry every day, and I feel is the best way to go about it. The issue women have is that their bodies are so different than a man’s. Men like to carry at the 4 o’clock position on their belt. You have a choice of inside the waistband or outside. This depends on the way you dress.

This brings up the next issue for women. If you are going to carry a firearm every day, then you need to dress appropriately. This means every day you need to dress to carry, not carry to match the way you are dressed. That being said, you are going to end up with a whole box full of holsters.”

This advice was helpful to me for 4 reasons:

  1. I’ve avoided carrying a firearm in my purse exactly for the reasons stated, but Britt is right: if I want to have a self-defense weapon with me, then having one in my purse is way better than not having anything at all.
  2. It’s okay to have different holsters for different types of dress. The Flash Bang holster would be a good choice for times when I’m wearing a shirt that would be easy to pull up in order to grab the gun. (I know that sounds strange, but watch this video and you’ll understand. Here’s a review.)
  3. Finding the perfect holster for every occasion is an unreasonable expectation, so I can relax about that.
  4. Britt just gave me permission to go shopping for some cute clothes that are compatible with wearing a holster!

There is one more issue that comes with wearing a holster. Most gun ranges won’t allow holster practice. You will probably have to take a class designed to teach proficiency in that particular skill, drawing from a holster, go out far enough away from towns and cities and practice on your own, or use the SIRT Training Pistol at home.

Do you have a holster that you recommend?

 

 

 

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How the SIRT Training Pistol is improving my shooting skills http://thesurvivalmom.com/how-the-sirt-training-pistol-is-improving-my-shooting-skills/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=how-the-sirt-training-pistol-is-improving-my-shooting-skills http://thesurvivalmom.com/how-the-sirt-training-pistol-is-improving-my-shooting-skills/#comments Tue, 25 Sep 2012 10:00:16 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=10259 COUPON CODE: If you like the SIRT and want to give it a try, Next Level Training is offering Survival Mom readers a 10% discount. Use the code thesurvivalmom. A couple of months ago I was approached by Britt Lentz Read More

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COUPON CODE: If you like the SIRT and want to give it a try, Next Level Training is offering Survival Mom readers a 10% discount. Use the code thesurvivalmom.

A couple of months ago I was approached by Britt Lentz of Next Level Training, asking if I would like to test their SIRT Training Pistol. His claim was pretty bold:

We have a product that is going to change the world of handgun training. It is the SIRT training pistol, a self diagnostic high volume training system.

Well, where handgun training is concerned, I’m all in, so I gladly accepted their kind offer.

When the SIRT Performer 110 arrived, it was very similar in size and weight to a Glock 19, a pistol I’m pretty familiar with. Britt had encouraged me to watch the training videos that can be found on YouTube, and I also received a helpful training DVD. He kept emphasizing, “Remember the key is dots not dashes. Really make sure that on the break the shot indicating laser makes a dot( does not move all over the place), not a dash (a streak of laser across the target).”

This made no sense to me until I began practicing with the pistol and realized that the SIRT was sensitive enough to my trigger control, grip, and even breathing, that a potentially good shot could end up as the dreaded “dash”, if I wasn’t careful.

The YouTube videos and DVD were helpful and I picked up some great tips for improving my grip, stance, and trigger control in particular. In spite of the classes I’ve taken, I hadn’t paid enough attention to trigger control. Such a small thing to focus on, and yet it makes a huge difference in accuracy.

I don’t know what the pros like best about the SIRT, but from a mom’s point of view, here’s what impresses me.

1.  I love the fact that the SIRT weighs about the same as a real pistol. I’d like to think with my frequent practice sessions (several each week) my hand, forearm, and shoulder strength have improved. After a few minutes with the SIRT, I can definitely start to feel the weight of the gun.

2.  Because the SIRT doesn’t actually contain any ammunition, just a dummy magazine that weighs the same as a full one, I don’t have to ever worry about practicing around the house, around the kids, or in front of a mirror.

20 rounds at 10 yards.

3.  The trigger pull on the SIRT is pretty much the same as a Glock. I have a tendency to anticipate when I shoot. The SIRT has helped a great deal in training me how to pull the trigger and break this bad habit.

4.  I get tons of training without wasting any ammo. Yesterday at the indoor range I frequent, I quickly fired through 100 rounds in a short period of time. Total cost: around $25  . Compare that with the cost of “firing” the SIRT thousands of times: $0.

5.  Neither of the shooting ranges we visit allow holster practice. With the SIRT, I can practice drawing all day long if I want without a grumpy range officer calling me out over the loudspeaker. I’ve often wondered, what’s the point of carrying in a  holster if you’re not 100% comfortable and confident with drawing and shooting? The SIRT is a huge help with this.

6.  I can experiment with different styles of stance and grip without firing a single shot. This has helped me determine the stance that works best for me.

7.  My husband has been an excellent teacher and coach, but I have to admit that it’s been really nice to practice and diagnose myself. “You’re anticipating again.” I’ve heard that at least a couple hundred times!

Because the pistol has both a weighted magazine and a magazine release, it’s possible to practice reloads. Here’s something challenging to try. Practice releasing the magazine and re-inserting it all while keeping the laser dot on target. Still working on that one.

Who should give the SIRT a try?

  • Anyone wanting to learn the basics of shooting: trigger control, stance, breathing, sight alignment, and follow through.
  • Anyone who doesn’t have a ton of money to spend on range fees and ammunition.
  • Anyone who wants the safest possible way to practice their shooting skills.
  • Anyone who doesn’t have a shooting range nearby.
  • Anyone with an irritating bad shooting habit or two and wants to diagnose and correct them once and for all.
  • Anyone who likes to shoot and wants to support a product Made in America!
  • Anyone needing an expensive laser cat toy!
  • Anyone liking discounts! Be sure to use coupon code thesurvivalmom to get 10% off any SIRT.

Next Level Training offers 6 different SIRT models, and there are training videos on YouTube, the DVD that is included with each SIRT, and Mike Hughes’ blog. Here’s a video to show you the SIRT in action.

Disclaimer: Next Level Training is neither an advertiser or affiliate. I received the SIRT Pistol for the purpose of a review.

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