The Mission Drives the Gear


OK, so you've decided to take responsibility for your own safety. You have seriously reflected upon the idea, that if you are subjected to an illegal Deadly Physical Force attack, you have the moral courage to take actions to stop the adversary even though these actions could result in the adversary's death. You've selected a caliber (hopefully 9mm or better) and quality purpose built defensive ammunition. You sampled several pistols and have settled on one that is big enough for you to handle and small enough to conceal. Now what?

Define your "Mission."

Yes, I have a lot of time in the military and law enforcement. Yes, I use that knowledge, training and experience as I go through life. I fully understand the the LE world is different from the Mil, and is different from the Civ. Got it. But we can learn from them all. The military is really good at breaking big jobs into smaller tasks. They excel at breaking down a given mission into phases and different tasks. These skills are important so that you don't waste time and effort on something that has no bearing on the overall mission.

What is your "mission?" For the purpose of his article, let's say our mission is to "carry a reliable, ballistically relevant pistol, concealed, everywhere I am lawfully permitted to do so (in compliance with my CPL), with the intent to be able to defend myself against and survive an unlawful Deadly Physical Force attack."

"Ballistically relevant" defensive pistol ammunition must be able to penetrate 12-18" of properly calibrated ballistic gelatin AFTER having passed through heavy clothing. Nothing smaller/weaker than 9 mm parabellum can do this reliably. The bigger the cartridge, the bigger the gun and the harder it is to conceal. The more powerful the cartridge, the harder it is to control. ALL bullets are poor stoppers of determined (and/or nutty and/or intoxicated) human beings. You should plan on having to fire multiple shots very quickly and accurately at a small, moving target (brain, heart or spine) while the adversary is trying to do the same to you.

"Pistol." If you can't get all your fingers on the grip with your dominant hand, the gun is probably too small. You need to have as much of your hand(s) on the gun as possible in order to control it. Revolvers DO allow the fastest resolution to a dead primer in that you simply pull the trigger again. HOWEVER, the "foot print" of the revolver is the same for a comparably sized semi-auto pistol. Semi-auto pistols are far faster to reload and revolvers have dismal ammunition capacities. Simpler to use? Yes. But if you don't care enough to learn how to run your semi-auto well, I suggest you reflect upon your desire to defend yourself with a gun.

You must have enough hand strength to manipulate your pistol. A smaller platform will usually have a stiffer operating spring. If your hands and arms are weak, fix them. In order to prove reliability, you really should shoot your defensive ammunition in your gun at least 500 times, preferably 1000 times to prove it functions reliably. Any more than 3-5 stoppages is cause for alarm. I know that is expensive. Sorry.

Night Sights? I've evolved over time on this topic. I now believe that if it is so dark that you cannot see your sights, it is probably too dark to positively identify who/what you are shooting at and you probably shouldn't shoot. This implies consideration of a light. Weapon Mounted Lights are the standard. At least 200 lumens for a civilian gun. BUT WMLs dramatically increase the foot print of the pistol, making it a little more challenging to conceal. Handheld light as part of your Every Day Carry? Sure. But shooting with a hand held light is fraught with issues-the reason WMLs are a thing to begin with. Lasers can be problematic. If you don't train frequently and properly, they can make you much, much slower. Mini Red Dot Sites? Take a while to get used to, can make you slower at close range if you don't train properly, and you must have Back Up Iron Sites.

"Concealed" holster selection and position is a big deal. Inside the Waist Band (IWB) is the most effective means of concealing a gun. Ankle holsters may suffice for a back up gun but are too slow to get to in a hurry. Shoulder holsters can be very problematic. I discourage off body carry (purse) as the gun is too easily left or taken out of your control.

 Imagine that your pubic bone is 12 o'clock and your tail bone is 6 o'clock. For most, a 1 o'clock "Appendix Carry" (IWB))  carry is the fastest and most effective as long as you don't have a giant beer blister.

Seasonally, I will transition to a 3 0'clock holster once the weather turns cold as my coat will conceal the gun. If I use an Outside the Waist Band (OWB) holster, it will be equipped with a retention device to prevent a grab/take away. Truth be told, retention is there just to give you enough time to realize that someone is trying to take your gun away from you so that you can respond appropriately. IWB holsters put "all their eggs" in the concealment concept to avoid detection and a potential grab/take away attempt. I prefer a holster that is secure by my pants belt as opposed to a paddle. The paddle is just a bit weaker.

I prefer the OWB  at 3 o'clock method as it is more comfortable than appendix. But I understand that carrying a gun should be comforting, not necessarily comfortable. I use the discomfort of the holster to keep myself in "Condition Yellow."

Pocket Holsters/"De-profilers"? Some times a pocket holster is all that will work. However, this is severely limiting pistol size. For my size, a Glock 43 is as about as small as I am prepared to go.

Leather holsters will usually require some time to break in. They tend to retain moisture and may lead to corrosion. Kydex is the new standard and are generally superior. Always keep in mind that your holster should allow you to re-holster one handed. You other hand may be occupied with say, your phone, a loved one, or it may be occupied trying to plug a bullet hole somewhere in your body. Also keep in mind that when that moment arrives that requires you to draw and go to work, you could be in a weird position. Like on the ground curled in a ball as you are being kicked to death. Can you make the draw form this position?

Your spare magazine (at least one) should be on the "opposite corner" of your body from your gun. Buy purpose built pouches. If you want a hand held light, it too should be stowed near your magazines.

Stowe your ID and CPL AWAY FROM YOUR GUN! Like totally away from your gun. If you have to show your ID and CPL, your hand should go nowhere near your gun. If your gun is at 3 o'clock waist line, your ID and CPL should be in a left breast pocket. That's what I mean by "nowhere near."

"Defend myself" means fighting. You have to be able to put bullets where they need to go, quickly and repeatedly. Potentially against multiple adversaries. Usually at fairly close range. You need to keep your wits ("Combat Stress Inoculation") and be determined to see it through (Mindset). You need to keep your gun loaded (Emergency and Tactical Reloads) and you need to be able to clear any stoppages.

"Survive." It makes total sense to have a legal defense plan in place before the event. It makes total sense to get tactical medical training and to carry some basic stuff to stop bleeding and plug holes. If you live long enough to realize you've been shot, your odds of survival are about 90%. But preventing yourself from bleeding out or suffocating makes sense.

The Mission drives the gear.



PRODUCT REVEW: What Optic Do I Put on My Rifle?!


Take a few minutes and have Jim, our Sales Supervisor, walk you through some options for your new rig! This is one video of a series, reviewing different types of optics available for your rifle, whether it be AR platform, long distance shooting or a CQB weapon.

As always, if you have any questions, please contact us and we will be sure to assist you!


WHY? What?


I love the word "why."  I also like to ask; "What?" (As if to ask for further explanation). They challenge people that rely on their status over their knowledge. It loosens your own brain, priming it to learn and evolve. Personally, I am very happy to have students ask me "Why?" Learning is about to occur. I take my job very seriously, and will not teach crap. I will generally teach several options for a given task, explain pros and cons and let the student ("Stud'") decide. I have ZERO interest in teaching you WHAT to think. I am very invested in teaching you HOW to think. Big difference.

So, as this is my first blog post, where to begin? 

Why are you here?

You have decided to take responsibility for your own safety? Good. No one else really cares about your safety more than you. Maybe your mom cares, perhaps your family really cares, but they are not with you 24/7. That leaves us back at you.

Law Enforcement is taking a beating lately. Guess what? They are human too. They make mistakes, but they also resort to deadly physical force much, much less frequently than what they are legally permitted to.  There is an agenda being followed today that results in LE being demonized. LE is NOT your enemy. If you disagree with how they police your area, ask yourself "Who directs the Police?". YOUR elected officials, that's who.

Ever see video of an Active Killer Event? San Bernardino? Virginia Tech? Dallas? Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs) are RUNNING to the fight. If/when they learn  that you are in trouble, they will come. As fast as they can. They might even place themselves at tremendous risk doing so. BUT most will not willingly die for you. They are not required to. If you ever see a Law Enforcement Executive or politician say "Officers are payed to die if necessary," file his/her face under "Moron". Either way, once they are on the way to you, you are still on your own for several minutes.

Why do violent felons think it is acceptable to hurt other people? Don't care. By the time I become aware of them/him, (statistically most human predators are male) it's irrelevant. Prison turned them into monsters? No. They were sent to prison because they were monsters. They expect to live short violent lives. They expect to die violently.  80% practice with their (typically) illegal gun, usually on average 23 times a year. Gun laws have zero effect on them. 40% have combat experience (not necessarily military). They typically have no strong emotional attachments to anyone. They have no moral or ethical reservations against killing, and will do so with little provocation.

Why is adversary analysis important? Because it can indicate how they will fight. They act like what Animal Planet will call "Ambush Predators." They will generally do a careful target analysis before they attack. However, if they are desperate they will attack a target that under normal circumstances, they would let pass. They use surprise. They use speed. They use violence to overcome resistance. Why? Because they have been successful with these methods (Tactics Techniques and Procedures) in the past. Some predators function in packs. These can be extremely dangerous.

They picked YOU because experience has taught them that your persona indicates an easy target, or you appeared when they are desperate. You didn't detect them before the "Merge" and now you are at a profound psycho-physiological disadvantage. And no one cares.

What can you do to avoid being targeted? Avoid areas that draw predators. Travel in groups. Don't act like food. If you are a fat slob, stop eating so much junk and move around more. Maybe get into a habit of lifting heavy stuff repeatedly and/or running around your neighborhood. Do push ups and air squats during commercials. Why is fitness important? People that are fit make better and faster decisions. People that are fit will tend to tolerate and recover from injury faster. People that are fit tend to carry themselves with more confidence (they don't look like food). Finally, the typical predator will be younger than you and will be in much better physical shape. You have to be able to match him for at least a couple of minutes.

As mentioned above, a predator will attack a larger, stronger prey item (talking human predators now to be clear) if he is desperate. If you missed the ques that you have been targeted, and find yourself confronted, now what? You must break into his OODA Loop. You do this by an explosive, violent, precise counter attack. No, you cannot just shoot him, unless doing so is legal. But you must shock him psychologically. This will cause his brain to "reboot," giving you a couple of seconds. Remember he has been successful many, many times with his method. You must surprise him. You may very well be fighting for your life. Never forget that.

Just give him what he wants. Maybe he won't hurt you. No. He is a predator. He learned to prey on normal people. I do not trust his moral compass. Odds are, he doesn't even have one of those anyway. Look on YouTube or live leak at street crime attacks. Do those people really inspire you to trust them to not hurt you? He may very well decide to kill you. Maybe for nothing else but for "street cred." Maybe to prevent you from identifying him.

You must be better than him. Why? Because you are a normal human being and will be held responsible for your actions, and should you shoot, for every bullet you launch. You must be fast, accurate and precise. This will require significant practice under realistic conditions. Why are our Nations Special Operations Forces so capable? For many reasons, but a big one is, is that they have trained (and continue to train) so that they can perform basic skills to a very, very high standard, on demand, even though they are cold, wet and hungry. Even if they don't feel like it. They train until they can't get it wrong. Then they train more.  "Advanced skills" are simply well executed basic skills, "stacked" upon each other. There is no magic to this. It is simply the result of a lot of well planned practice and training. How much do you train? 

If you decide to carry a gun, it must be powerful enough to stop a human adversary. Bullets do not stop people effectively. Defensive ammunition must be able to penetrate 12-18" of properly calibrated ballistic gelatin after having passed through heavy clothing. This means premium quality defensive ammunition of at least 9 mm parabellum. .380ACP isn't enough. .22 LR or MAG isn't enough. 

The gun must be as big as you can conceal. Yes, you might have to modify the types of clothing you wear. Deal with it. Tiny guns in adequate calibers must still deal with considerable pressures. Subsequently, the operating spring will tend to be rather heavy. This can make it very difficult for weak handed people to manipulate. The next time you go to Meijer, go into the fitness equipment section and buy a spring hand grip strength thingey. Work your hand strength while you drive around in your car. Or, while watching TV. Instead of stuffing your pie hole with Cheetos, work your hand strength. Once you are strong enough to manipulate a smaller gun, you can sell your medium or full size pistol and buy a smaller one if you want. One of my favorite things about CQT, is that they have a broad selection of rental guns. You can rent an example and see if you like it. You can even buy a short, cheap lesson to learn a little about each gun. Make an informed purchase decision.

As noted above, bullets do not stop people effectively. You must be able to quickly and repeatedly hit structures that will rapidly stop a human. That means the brain, the heart or high up on the spine. Profound blood loss will stop a person but it takes time. Your adversary(s) may be nuts, intoxicated or very determined. You have to be able to stop them quickly, despite their mental state. The brain, heart and spine are small. About the size of a closed fist. That is the target size you must train to be able to hit. Small guns are hard to shoot well. No, technically you are not trying to kill him. You ARE trying to STOP him. Yes, he may die after being shot through the brain or heart, but you were only trying to stop his attack.

Aiming a gun at another human being and pulling the trigger is a really big deal psychologically  for normally developed human beings. It would be wise for you to reflect upon that at length and make your decision about this sort of thing now. Are you prepared to pull the trigger if you are legally and morally justified? You need to figure this out.

You should take classes. Why? Because one of the most dangerous mental states to be in is not knowing what you don't know. (Denial of the threat and your vulnerability is probably the worst). Your CPL class is simply not enough. Think of a CPL as a "Learners Permit." I have been teaching civilians for many, many years. Most have graduated from a CPL class, and almost all of them were disasters relative to weapon handling. It takes a tremendous amount of time to get skilled with a pistol. In fact, practice and training should NEVER end. Yes, training classes and ammunition are expensive. Instead of buying that $5, high empty-calorie count cup of whatever every morning on the way to work, throw that money into a box. Every quarter or so you will have enough money to buy ammunition and take a course.

What else are classes good for? Learning to manipulate your gun. Buy a few dummy rounds or "Snap Caps." The overwhelming majority of skills you learn in a class can be practiced with an empty gun and dummy rounds. I recently taught a "Skills and Drills" class. One drill was to draw from concealment and fire two rounds into a 3x5" card at 20' in less than two seconds. It's tough. Another drill is to draw from concealment and fire 10 rounds into a 5 1/2" circle at 30' in 10 seconds. That's tough too. These are worthy, useful goals. They can be practiced safely with an empty gun. Dummy rounds also allow you to practice clearing stoppages and reloads.

Take a class and then practice the skills you learned. Then you will be in a much better place to take the next step with additional training. Ultimately, you will take these skills to "Force on Force" training. Using training pistols that launch colored soap projectiles against another human being. The goal is that you have reached a point where you are "Unconsciously Competent" running your gun, so that your higher brain functions are free to deal with the scenario/situation.

Why are you still sitting there? Your adversary is preparing. Why aren't you?



USCCA Talks About Carrying an Additional Mag

Recently, we've had one of USCCA's main contributing editors, Mark Kakkuri, come take a few courses with us. Take a look and see what he has to say about carrying an additional magazine/reload on your person in conjunction with your standard carry weapon.

You can read the article here. Keep your eyes peeled for upcoming articles about Mark's experience training here at CQT!

A sequel but with better actors...

Not all change is bad, right? By now, you've realized that we've given our website a facelift... Well, more like a transplant. Or we just changed the actor in the sequel. Except for a better actor, not a worse one. This isn't like Ben Affleck "becoming" Batman. (I mean, how silly is that?)

In any case... Welcome. We've got a whole lot up our sleeves to help improve your experience at CQT and for you to get more out of our online and social presence. Over the past month we have toiled over the keyboard, raised our fists to the sky in frustration and triumph and have had nightmares of failures and dreams of sweet success. We are going to bring you solid visuals, fun and exciting video, training aids and demonstrations, behind the scenes intel and, likely, some utter nonsense that'll give you a solid laugh at our expense.

Kinda like Rob here, smiling while taking an elbow to the face with the imminent doom of a ZT pen perforating his cranium. It's all fun and games until it's not.

While you're here looking around, be sure to check out our Instagram feed. We know it's on the homepage with a few images, but be sure to follow us so you'll be in the know about our occasional giveaways, tips and tricks and information about our courses and when they're scheduled.

We also want to open a direct line of communication between you and us. No more tin cans connected by a shoe string, leading into the window. We want to know what you think of what we're doing, how we can improve and what you'd like to see. 

What would benefit you? How can we make your experience better?

Mull that over for a little bit and while you do, look at some guns. 'Cause looking at guns is always fun.

Now that you're all excited about guns 'n' stuff, reach out to us. Let us know what we can do for you. Let us know what you'd like to see. We have a wealth of knowledge within our walls and are looking to share it. Not only through our courses but with regular tidbits. Little golden nuggets streaming from the screens of your computers and mobile devices. Comment below, hit us up on our Contact page, swing by the shop or give us a ring. We look forward to hearing what you've got to say.

Without y'all we wouldn't have the opportunity to bring you the quality training, quality gear and excellent service we do. It's what we love to do and without you, it wouldn't happen.

See you on the firing line and until we do, Dominate the Fight.