This article is a compilation of lessons I have learned, either from real world events or through lessons taught to me by the men and women I served with. Their advice has saved my life on a few occasions, and perhaps this gunfighter’s guide, also developed from lessons learned the hard way, may do the same for you one day.
In part 1, I covered three main topics– cars and guns, the scorpion vs. box jellyfish philosophies, and close quarters battle takeaways. Today we will move into fighting in larger spaces, specifically the backwoods and move onto other topics also. Then, in part 2, the topics included backwoods fighting, dealing with intense stress, practicing like you play, and continuing the fight as long as you are able to move.
Now, it is time to move into some equipment details. Let’s take a look at our kit next.
Customize Your “Kit” or “Loadout”
Ounces add up to pounds, and pounds equal pain. So, everything you wear and carry with you should have a thoughtful, specific purpose.
The gear I carry is dependent on the mission that I am preparing for. For example, in my car I carry enough equipment and supplies for 72 hours, because I know that is how long it will take me to make it home if I had to walk home from my place of employment.
My kit changes if I am preparing for a day scouting excursion. I place less emphasis on food and shelter supplies and more emphasis on bullets and trauma equipment.
We can debate the pros and cons of specific gear all day long, but at the end of the day the basics of all my kits/loadouts include:
- a camelback,
- a plate carrier with class 3 trauma plates,
- a small bottle of gun oil,
- a quick draw holster and side arm with at least three extra magazines,
- a longer range rifle or pistol caliber carbine with at very least three extra magazines,
- Quikclot gauze,
- a tourniquet,
- a small, powerful flashlight,
- a high quality, Knife,
- earth tone camo pants,
- long-sleeve shirt,
- ball cap,
- duty belt,
- and a watch.
Consistent Set Up For Access When Adrenaline Flowing
I set up my belt and plate carrier to allow me to draw my equipment with the hand that would likely need to access it. For example, I am left handed and so my handgun is always on my left side, but my magazines will always stay on my right because my right hand will primarily be used to feed magazines into my gun. Consistently setting up your kit in the same fashion allows you to unconsciously access equipment when the adrenaline is flowing.
Quick access to your trauma gear is extremely important. During a fire fight you will likely be the one applying aid to yourself initially. This self sufficiency allows your team to continue focusing on eliminating the threat while you can get to safety and work on stopping your blood flow.
The Caliber Conundrum
“The shooter who can accurately hit their target first lives, regardless of caliber.” – Former Range Master
Some Caliber Lessons
The argument on which gun and in which caliber is best for what situation will likely always be debated. However, here are some caliber lessons that have stayed with me.
The .22 Caliber, Killed More
The .22 caliber isn’t incredibly reliable due to misfires and jamming in semi-automatics, but despite that it has indisputably killed more people around the globe than any other caliber. Therefore, it is important to not underestimate this round.
The 9 Millimeter, Common, Inexpensive, and Accurate at Distances
The 9 millimeter is common, inexpensive, and can kill at distances farther than you can accurately shoot it. New brands have made this round shoot farther and faster than it originally could, making it great for close quarters engagements. Agencies like the FBI have transitioned back to 9mm from the .40, because they can carry more ammunition and have greater accuracy on follow up shots.
Best Gun For a Gunfight
Ultimately, the gun that you can shoot the fastest and most accurately is most likely the best gun to have in a gunfight. For example, I would rather have a $500 gun that I have put 10,000 rounds through rather than a $3000 larger caliber gun that I have only put 100 rounds through. This is because I know I am going to be more comfortable and more proficient with a gun that I have spent more time training with.
Whichever caliber you choose, make sure that you can train with it consistently. Get to know its quarks, how it functions, and what brand of ammunition that works best in it. Additionally, get to know the distances you feel you can comfortably and accurately hit your target.
Misfires, Mishaps and Mistakes:
The last thing you want is for your gun not to fire when you need it to. Although this isn’t extremely common in high quality firearms, it can and does happen to the best of them.
Tap and Rack
For any semi automatic firearm that uses a detachable box magazine, you can use the “Tap and Rack” method to clear the vast majority of malfunctions.
“Tap and Rack” is a simple two step process. First, slam your support hand into the magazine to ensure that it is properly seated into the firearm. Next, rack back the slide or charging handle while turning the ejection port down towards the ground. This allows misfire or jammed casing to fall out of the firearm so that a fresh casing can be picked up by the bolt carrier and enter the bore. When done correctly this process will clear the vast majority of misfires in under a second and a half.
You can practice this process while on the range by having a partner put a spent casing randomly in your stacked magazine. The spent casing will simulate a misfire. Then, a simple “Tap & Rack” will easily clear the firearm.
The majority of malfunctions I have seen in handguns is due to “Limp Wristing”. In rifles, it has most often been due to a lack of lubricant.
AR Rifle Lubrication
AR pattern rifles are notorious for needing gun oil to run properly, so be sure to keep a small bottle with you. Then, focus your lubrication on the bolt assembly and barrel, as these see the most movement during the firing process.
Limp wristing is a process where the shooter allows the recoil of a handgun to rock their wrists back towards their body, instead of keeping their wrists firm and level while firing.
One freezing January night on the range early in my police career, I was guilty of limp wristing, and it caused one of the most reliable handguns in the world to jam nearly every shot. After I learned to keep my wrists firm, I found that my handgun was in fact reliable. It was just a combination of cold, fatigue, and operator error that had caused my malfunctions.
This example is just another reason to train in a variety of conditions, because earlier in the day I had been shooting just fine. Earlier, I was less tired, and it was less cold. If I hadn’t practiced under these trying conditions, I would never have realized that I may cause my firearm to malfunction in this manner.
Mistakes Made In Training Save Life in Field
Mistakes made in training have saved my life in the field. We were in a diamond formation making our way through the wide hallways of a high school when we started to take fire from our left down a long hallway. I left my position in the formation in an effort to get a better firing position on the hallway shooter. I posted up on the far wall on the other side of the hallway and immediately fell into an ambush, taking multiple clay and paint rounds to my legs, chest, and back of the head. I was hurt and embarrassed but had learned my lesson. Had I moved with my team, we could have had cover to watch my back as we dealt with the hallway shooter. Never once in my career did I break formation again, because this embarrassing training accident had been forever seared into my memory. I can’t stress high stress scenario drills enough.
This article is simply a collection of my personal lessons learned that have helped keep my alive in some difficult situations. I hope that you never encounter a situation where you need to use deadly force. However, if you do, perhaps some of these lessons will be useful to you. Until next time my friends, keep your trust in God and keep your powder dry.
SurvivalBlog Writing Contest
This has been another entry for Round 78 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:
- A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
- A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
- A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
- DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
- Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
- A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
- American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.
- A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
- A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
- A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
- A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
- A Three-Day Deluxe Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $190 value),
- A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
- RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.
- A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
- A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
- Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
- Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
- Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances, and
- Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).
Round 78 ends on September 30th, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.