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Long ago in another life I had the pleasure of attending a local Police Academy, and obtaining my TCLEOSE certificate from the State of Texas. Dame Fortune stepped in and guided me into other work before I could join the “thin blue line.”

As soon as Texas began issuing Concealed Handgun Licenses, I obtained one, and have been carrying on a daily basis ever since. I still use many of the lessons in officer survival I learned at the academy as I go about my daily life.

Recently I can across some videos from the First Person Defender video series on the http://www.Gunblast.com website. I have been a big fan of Jeff Quinn’s site for years, and highly recommend it as a source of information on firearms and accessories.

Jeff joined the First Person Defender team to run some exercises simulating a robbery at an ATM. The video can be seen here:

First Person Defender: ATM Robbery – GunTalkTV and Gunblast.com

I was particularly taken aback by the scenario where the bad guy walks up and flashes his gun by lifting his shirt tail because I recalled the Tuller Drill taught in most law enforcement programs.

The Tuller Drill simulates an attack on an officer by an assailant with a knife, club, machete, or similar hand weapon. The bad guy begins the assault, and the officer must draw his pistol and engage the attacker before the assailant makes contact. The basic Tuller assumes the officer is alert and facing the assailant. Many trainers modify the basic by having the attack come from the officer’s side, or having the assailant draw a knife from concealment. Another gimmick I have seen is having the assailant burst out of a group of unarmed bystanders. The officer must identify the threat and solve the problem.

One of the cardinal rules of a gunfight is “Distance is your friend” followed closely by “Move off the X”. Both distance and movement reduce the probability of the defender being injured. The Tuller Drill reinforces these ideas. Many years of testing of the Tuller Drill have resulted in the adoption of 21 feet as the standard minimum distance the defender needs to be from the attacker in order to draw, engage, and shoot the bad guy before the blow can fall.

Standing two people up 21 feet apart makes the attacker appear to be a long way off, but a motivated person can cover that 21 feet in less than 1.5 seconds! For verification, go look up a favorite NFL player’s time in the 40 yard dash. It is probably in the neighborhood of 4.5 seconds. Doing the math: 40 yards (120 feet) divided by 4.5 seconds = 26.6 feet per second.

Now let’s change our alert Officer Friendly with a nice duty belt along with some combatives or martial arts training into Generic Person with a Concealed Handgun License.

Generic has received the minimum State required training in order to get her CHL, and being a conscientious person she also took an NRA gun safety class. She hits the range every month or so for target practice. As she is going about her normal day, and a person walks up and flashes his gun by pulling up his shirt tail like the guy did to Jeff Quinn in the video.

What caught my attention in the video was the distance between the Bad Guy and Mr. Quinn, and it raised the question, “How close is a bad guy likely to be before he assaults his victim?” Remember, the Tuller Drill is based on an alert officer facing his opponent. For a CHL holder on the street the attacker will be at spitting distance when his intentions are revealed.

The “Knockout Game” is popular among urban youth. The victims are unaware of their peril before the blow lands. Many of them do not have time to realize they have been attacked before they wake up. Trayvon Martin was sitting on George Zimmerman’s chest before Zimmerman was able to draw his gun.

In the video Mr. Quinn chose not to go for his gun after the bad guy flashed his own. Had he chosen to do so, it would have been a race to the first connecting shot. My money would have been on Mr. Quinn because he was carrying his weapon in an inside-the-waistband holster under a loose jacket. The bad guy would have had to move his shirt out of the way before he could draw his gun. It still would have been a mighty close race.

Distance requires a change in tactics by the CHL holder. Concealment is going to require more time to draw a weapon, so with the distance being measured in feet or inches, a fixed blade knife is a more realistic solution to the problem.

Building the response to an assault on the hard facts of the Tuller Drill make sense to me. A folding knife would be employed as an impact weapon because no time is available to open the blade, so a fixed blade knife in the maximum legal blade length would give the defender an immediate advantage in such close quarters.

The book “Prison’s Bloody Iron” by Michael Brown and James Jenks is a good source of information on quick and dirty knife technique. These men do not worry about “style”, and their descriptions of knife assaults inside the Federal prison system are enlightening. http://www.amazon.com/Prisons-Bloody-Iron-Fighting-Revealed/dp/0879474246

Not long after seeing the First Person Defender video, I came across the Caliber Press training video “Surviving Edged Weapons”. When I was at the police academy part of the required reading were the books “Street Survival” and “Tactical Edge”. Both of these are published by Caliber and sales are normally limited to law enforcement. Well worth the time if a copy can be obtained.

Caliber Press: Surviving Edged Weapons

After watching this video I am even more convinced that a fixed blade knife would be a more viable response to a contact-range encounter with a mugger or rapist than trying to clear my concealed handgun and shooting the bad guy. Such a “defense” would have to be performed with a level of ferocity that would the Tazmanian Devil flee in terror.

Could it be done? Sure.
Is it there a better option? Yes.

An officer of my acquaintance once showed me a pair of .357 Magnum double action derringers made by the American Derringer Co. in Waco, Texas (http://www.amderringer.com). He carried them in the slash pockets of his tuffy jacket during cold weather. This allowed him to keep his hands warm while outside his patrol car. He always had a gun in his hand if something went wrong. A similar product is the derringer line from Heizer Defense (http://www.heizerdefense.com).

The small pocket pistol in the form of the derringer or snubnose revolver can be carried quite discretely in a coat pocket. This allows the owner to go through the day with a hand in that same pocket able to fire the weapon from inside the pocket. It is also quite easy to casually slip a hand into the pocket and grasp the pistol when approached by a stranger.

The key to the snubnose revolver is to have a model with a shrouded or concealed hammer like the Ruger LCR (http://www.ruger.com/products/lcr/models.html), the Smith & Wesson ‘J’ frames (http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Category4_750001_750051_757768_-1_757767_757751_image ), or those from Taurus (http://www.taurususa.com/revolvers.cfm).

Michael de Bethencourt (http://snubtraining.com) offers a variety of training courses geared specifically to the snubnose revolver, and folding knife. His blog offers a great deal of food for thought.

As our society continues to deteriorate the warrior must keep an open mind, so I present this as food for thought.

Watch your top knot!

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