Thoughts On Open Carry

Posted: October 14, 2014 in Uncategorized

It has been a little while since I have had the time to hammer out an article but last week something caught my attention that made me really want to get back to the keyboard. It was kind of a tragic comedy in my opinion mainly because this proves something that I have said for quite awhile now.  If you missed the news or are unsure what I am getting at an Oregon man was robbed of his gun while open carrying.

All the time I hear and read open carry advocates claim that displaying a gun openly is the ultimate deterrent. We have heard all the examples, “The convenience store robber will see them standing there armed and the sight of their gun will sway the decision-making of the would be bad guy into picking another time and place.”

I never could come to agree with these theories. Criminals don’t fear the mere sight of a gun, they fear the armed citizen that is willing to use the gun. What happened in Oregon just cements this idea into my mind. Not only did the bad guy not automatically see the gun and run away, he walked up to the open carrier and struck up a conversation, bummed a cigarette, then robbed him. Die hard open carry advocates need to realize that they cannot rely on the idea that the mere presence of a gun will keep them safe. So many of them seem to believe it is like garlic to a vampire and that is far from the truth.

Am I against open carry? No, I believe there is a time and place for everything when done properly. I sometimes open carry to and from the range depending on what the day holds. I saw 3 or 4 people open carrying at our recent county fair and the holster of choice seemed to be a soft nylon Uncle Mikes with a strap and button snap for retention. At least one of these candidates didn’t have the button snapped. As I said, when done properly…

Please, if you are going to open carry use some form of retention holster and have some form of physical retention training. And please, for God’s sake, don’t think that just because you have a gun that everyone can see nobody will target you. You never know, it might be what puts you in the cross hairs to begin with.

Let me know below or on the Facebook page what you think about today’s subject. If you open carry are you immune to attacks?


Train often,


Hands on with the LC9s

Posted: August 27, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

Got to play with the LC9s last night. This is Ruger’s new striker fired version of the LC9. It was really interesting. The trigger was everything you wouldn’t expect from Ruger, in fact, it was great. The LC9s felt good in the my small hands. I was able to reach all the controls easily except for the mag release and I will get to that below. In regards to size I would say it would fall somewhere between a Sig 938 and a S&W Shield so it should be extremely concealable.

There are a few things I would change on it. The reset is agonizingly long for a striker fired gun. Coming from a M&P or Glock I felt like I was searching and searching for it. As I stated above the controls were easy to reach except the mag release. Keep in mind I’m left handed and run my guns with the mag release set up for right handers by engaging it with my middle finger. The msg release on the LC9s is difficult for a lefty using that setup to get to because of its size. It is obvious Ruger wanted to keep the gun as slim as possible and had to sacrifice here. The mag release also lacks the ability to be reversed to the other side for the lefties that prefer that option. After switching the gun to the right hand I had no trouble getting to the release so normal handed people should be OK. Last but not least… the manual safety. Take an efficient platform that is a viable option for carry and then add a manual safety. Why Ruger, WHY!?!? Ruger has already came out and said they will not be offering an LC9S without a manual safety like Smith and Wesson recently did with their shield. Is that a deal breaker? That is up for you to decide.

Overall I think Ruger has a good start. Coming in at under $400 it will appeal to the new shooters pocketbooks. Get rid of the manual safety and shorten the reset and I would probably rank this before the Glock 42.


Tell me what you think in the comments below or on Facebook.


A lot has happened since June when I wrote the last entry. I was sitting in a motel room in Warren Ohio resting for day two of “Critical Defensive Handgun” class with Paul Carlson. It was a great class and you can expect a full review coming in the near future. At the time of the CDH course I was kicking around the idea with my fellow Valkyrie Defense business partner Jason about where we wanted to take the next level of training to. We had a few ideas in mind but after the CDH course we had our eyes opened up to the benefits of the Combat Focused Shooting program and decided that weekend that we wanted to bring that to our students. In the following weeks we put in three treacherous days of insane amounts of stress, intense levels of learning, personal growths, personal failures, and more McDonald’s’ food than I ever want to see in such a short amount of time ever again. In the end of the week we were lucky enough to graduate as ICE Defensive Firearms Coaches. To me it was a huge success not just for the low passing rate of participants, but because it was extremely challenging and I feel I grew to whole new level of instructor. After coming back and teaching a few classes we added a ton of new material to our Concealed Handgun Course and are now offering a taste of Combat Focused Shooting to all of our Concealed Handgun classes now.

Valkyrie Defense is now offering two new classes to its lineup, Fundamentals of Home Defense and Counter Ambush Concepts. Each class is powered by Combat Focused Shooting and ICE Academy. We recently taught one of the CAC courses in Coshocton and had a great turn out. The Debrief went well and everyone provided great feedback. One of the students said that he might put together a little after action report for us to use however we would like. We told him that would be fine but we wanted him to be honest. I wasn’t expecting a three page essay but I am really glad he threw it together for us. I asked if I could share it on the blog to see if I could get any feedback from the readers and he said I could. He does a great job of giving you a glimpse into the day of a Counter Ambush Concepts as a student, and what to expect if you ever plan on taking a class with Valkyrie Defense Group. I will admit now that I had to edit a small part of his piece. He went into detail about the evaluation at the end of the day and it was a bit of a spoiler for future students. Now on with Jon’s report…..


I am going to attempt to give my review of Valkyrie Defense “counter ambush concepts” course that I recently complete. It is detailed in nature to give a full review from all perspectives. That said it is hard to write this review objectively because I have known one of the instructors for almost 20 years now as a close friend. We have different tastes in many things which has always led to a friendly rivalry in approach and naturally an almost excessive amount of smack talk. This was no different in firearm choice, even down to a caliber standpoint. More on that later

I was very very hesitant to take the course when I was first invited. I recognized this was their first class beyond CHL courses and wanted to be supportive, but from the description was I ready? The description I got was combat effective accuracy, with significant stress, and working on applying drawing from a holster when faced with an ambush situation and applying counter effects to target. Hmmmm…. My holster situation has always been a self-conscious spot for me; what is comfortable and deployable versus what conceals against my thin and smaller frame? (NUOSU concealment, you get a shout out here because I like your work and we just haven’t had time to get together on the right concept). I was reassured just bring whatever it is that you conceal on a daily basis and we will figure it out from there. So I packed my cheap kydex IWB, which is so unpractical to draw from, and then brought my SERPA OWB that looks like I have a tumor growing. Combat effective accuracy??? I have always only practiced on making groups as tight as possible centered on the “X” ring. Am I really ready to sign up for being stressed and not focusing on accuracy?   This defied all logic in my head.

I show up for the morning, and already the smack talk emerges as I start to unpack my bags. Lets start with the gimme: yes I do have a range bag and it is made by Paul Mitchel. Your are correct the shampoo guy; the bag was free, it houses all my gear perfectly, I have had it for years, and I am starting to enjoy the hard time I get for it.   Next, I unpack my H&K USP compact and full size pistols. I routinely carry both of these guns and have found a comfort level with the grip, the mag release, mag size, and have enjoyed good accuracy with them. We debated technology aspects of creation, which from an engineer prospective I am very interested in (forged rifling…..HELLO!!! very cool). Enough of the personal smack talk on to the course work

The course started with a brief of why we are here and what we want to get out of the day. Surprising to me the range at which the majority (greater than 75%) of attacks occur; less than 10 feet. Why have I practiced shooting with a pistol at 20 yards for all of my life then? We discussed bullet design and the plus and minus; naturally I tried to crank up the discussion and get into the specifics of bullet design and ultimate choice. I was very satisfied with the opinions; heavy to caliber bullet weight and proven stoppers, forget the gimmick flavor of the month projectiles (I carry Winchester Ranger daily). Caliber choice from a medical standpoint; maybe my .40S&W with huge muzzle energy numbers isn’t that big of an advantage? My humility kicks in at this point; gun choice. What’s the best design from a citizen carry standpoint? We went through the positive and negative aspects and it made me rethink the trigger orientation of what I brought. Do I really want two different trigger configurations and two different sensitivities to train to get used to?

We discussed single action 1911 which was a major point of contention. As an owner of many 1911 I love to shoot them; at static targets, when I have time to flick off the safety, when I have time to reload after 8 rounds, when I have time to correct a FTF (I experience very few, but they are known to be finicky), etc etc etc…. Do I want that additional stressor in a gun fight?

Then we moved onto my beloved USP, double action first shot if I carry in condition one, and then short single action after that. There is a major difference in the trigger feel between the two.   Am I ready to be trained for how the trigger will react every time, am I really competent to put rounds on target with two different trigger pulls? For that matter could I push the safety off effectively every time I pulled from holster if I carried in condition two? It was a thought provoking discussion.

Double action only was the next topic, which my significant other carries often. The trigger pull is for days and I can never put rounds on target every time, nor very quickly.

Then we arrived at striker fired platforms. Yuck. Long trigger pull, no safety, how does this make sense. And then we discussed the technology and it has come a long way; short trigger reset and internal safeties helped to squelch my internal resistance to this being a viable option. Consistent trigger pull every time, no external safety to contend with, and good mag size. This may have merit. More later

Still in the classroom setting went onto the situation, the stress, the aftermath, and how to handle all of the above situations. What are the new trends in a dynamic situation, and how to identify yourself as a good guy rather than just the guy with a gun and shots fired in the area. That can be bad news if you don’t know how to enunciate who you are and your intentions.

Safety safety safety safety discussion. I couldn’t be happier with how that was presented

Off to the range. More safety talk. Great. We went to the point of if there is an accident, how do we make a 911 call, where are we, what do we say, how do we apply first aid. There were med bags on site, and the instructors were competent in describing and potentially applying first aid.

Lets talk shooting now ; start slow, practice with finger guns to understand the movement and what is really going on. I feel comfortable, but do the folks around me feel the same? The range officers helped to control that situation and address if there are any concerns. Proper grip was the start, followed by proper stance, punch out and the physics of why that is advantageous. Then we move on to put rounds down range. If you are making one hole that isn’t fast enough. Speed up! Combat accuracy is putting rounds in the center mass, not necessarily the same hole every time. Move on to draw from holster. Then assess your surroundings, then add your natural flinch reaction to a dynamic situation before drawing.

Then start engaging multiple targets, and during the assessment recall what critical information was happening around you. What can you recall was going on so you can recall why you are the good guy not the guy with a gun in a bad situation. Dial up the stress all day, speed up, speed up, speed up. If you do the drill wrong slow down and get it right then slow down. I was so frustrated with reloads I dropped a mag on the ground trying to get it right. Again slow down, get it right, then speed it back up to get in the stressed mind set.

Finally we ended the day with a drill that involved critical thinking to determine which target or targets to engage.

All in all I learned a ton, I applied stress to my shooting, recognized that rounds on target all count the same not just one ragged hole. I rethought my carry rig (I will still carry my DA/SA USP for now), but am actively searching for a new holster solution as well as deploying a new belt option. I have even considered sourcing a 9mm striker fired platform so I can take the course again and see if I improve. The instructors were approachable and funny, helped correct bad habits, and above all else applied safety as the most important part of the day.

I would recommend this course to anyone that has taken their CHL course (despite skill level) if for nothing else to see if your current carry rig is ready for the task. I don’t think there is a one size fits all approach to this question and comes down to what are you comfortable with when you are stressed. Be open minded, don’t be offended with differing opinions, and really think am I able to deploy my gear when stressed and be effective. I know I would question carrying some of my previous choices despite how tacticool we may think they are.


Thanks again to Jon for sharing his experience with us. If any of my readers from Ohio would like to join us or set up a CAC class please contact us by one of our many ways. The next Counter Ambush Concepts course will be held in Sugar Grove, Ohio on September 20th. There are rumblings of another to be scheduled in Coshocton before that so stay tuned to the Valkyrie Defense Group Facebook page and to the Absolute BS Blog Facebook as well. I am going to make a hard effort to cut down the waits in between posts. Thanks for sticking with me and thanks for supporting VDG and Absolute BS Blog.

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I know, I know. I have been MIA for about a month. Trust me I have a good excuse. I have been busy, extremely busy. I am currently sitting in a hotel in Warren Ohio rehydrating from a long hot day on the range participating in a Critical Defensive Handgun course put on by Safety Solutions Academy. Two weeks before this I was rolling around in the red Missouri dirt with Defensive Engagement Concepts in their Tac 2 pistol. I have taken tons of notes and have a lot of new concepts to use for topics later on. Obviously I will be doing an after action report for these classes as soon as I can get a breather. Unfortunately for the blog and my readers I will be back in a 3 day course in a little over a week then back to being the instructor instead of the student.

Long story short I am still alive and I have lived on a range nearly every weekend…. AND I LOVE IT. I am gaining more stuff to bring to the blog and to Valkyrie Defense Group. I am going to try to focus a little more on getting content out because we have picked up a few more readers from a lot of the VDG classes and I know they would like to hear more from me. (They told me.)

I hope you all have gotten out and got your fingers on some triggers and used the time you spend on the range effectively.

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Looks like we have another example of violence in a victim rich zone….err I mean gun free zone. Sounds like the bad guy is in custody.

Now we just wait for the calls to ban assault knives. Think of the children.

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I will keep this short. As I am writing this it is 12:37 and the facts are still rolling in.

What we do know is this is yet ANOTHER shooting that has happened in a “gun free zone.” Plastic signs protect nobody, plain and simple.

Next point I want to make is this is the tweet that made me realize something was happening.

This made my blood boil. I cannot explain the level of pissed off I hit when I realized some of our nations warriors were being told to “Hide and Hope” instead of protecting themselves and their brothers and sisters. “Shelter in place and wait for the trained people to show up.” Makes sense right? Now for the second time, on the same military base, we have had soldiers slaughtered.  When will someone realize the hypocrisy of telling our military personnel we trust them with guns as long as they are in some other far away country when they are carrying them?

So far we have discussed two laws that are bullshit policies and need to go. You want to save lives? Stop creating victims. Just my $.02 on the legal side of this tragedy.

Another thing we know right now is that someone in Washington is thinking of the best way to use this tragedy to strip veterans of their Second Amendment rights. Just wait and see….

One last thing before I sign off. This is another instance where a shooter is met with resistance from a good guy with a gun and quickly offs themselves. According to news reports the shooter was engaged by a female MP and immediately turned his gun on himself. This seems to be a theme in the history of mass shootings and must be pointed out more. The only thing that stops bad guys with guns are good guys with guns.

As usual I will keep the same policy I have had regarding mass shooters since I started the blog and that is I will not use their names. I will not use my blog to add to the fame of any person who can commit such atrocious acts. Like the rest of the nation I send my thoughts and prayers out to the victims and their families.

Feel free to add your thoughts and feelings below on here or over on the Facebook page.

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I shed no tears on Mr. Gun Control’s departure along with his CNN show. It came as no surprise to me how he signed calling for guns to be limited to the highly skilled and highly trained hands of military personnel.

If you missed the sign off here is the text….

Regular viewers will know that the issue of gun control has been a consistent and often very controversial part of this show. And I want to say something more about that before I bow out.

I have lived and worked in America for much of the past decade. It’s a magnificent country. A land of true opportunity that affords anyone, even British chancers like me, the opportunity to live the American dream. The vast majority of Americans I have met are decent, hard-working, thoroughly dependable people. As my brother, a British Army colonel, says, “You’d always want an American next to you in a trench when the going gets tough.”

But that’s where I think guns belong – on a military battlefield, in the hands of highly trained men and women fighting for democracy and freedom. Not in the hands of civilians. The scourge of gun violence is a disease that now infects every aspect of American life.  Each day, on average, 35 people in this country are murdered with guns, another 50 kill themselves with guns, and 200 more are shot but survive. That’s 100,000 people a year hit by gunfire in America.

Now, I assumed that after 70 people were shot in a movie theater, and then, just a few months later, 20 first-graders were murdered with an assault rifle in an elementary school, that the absurd gun laws in this country would change. But nothing has happened. The gun lobby in America, led by the NRA, has bullied this nation’s politicians into cowardly, supine silence. Even when 20 young children are blown away in their classrooms.

This is a shameful situation that frankly has made me very angry. So angry, in fact, that some people have criticized me for being too loud, opinionated, even rude when I have debated the issue of guns. But I make no apologies for that.

As Sir Winston Churchill said: “If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then, hit it a third time – a tremendous whack.”

My point is simple: more guns doesn’t mean less crime as the NRA repeatedly tries to tell you. It means more gun violence, more death, and more profits for the gun manufacturers. And to those who claim my gun control campaigning has been “anti-American,” well, the reverse is true. I’m so pro-American, I want more of you to stay alive.

But I’ve made my point. I’ve given it a tremendous whack. Now it’s down to you. It is your country; these are your gun laws. And the senseless slaughter will only end when enough Americans stand together and cry: Enough!

I look forward to that day. I also look forward to seeing you all again soon. Thank you and God bless America. Oh, and while I’m at it, God bless Great Britain too. Goodnight.

True douche fashion as you would expect. The only thing I will miss from his show is watching the Youtube clips of Second Amendment supporters using him to mop the floor in debates.

So how do you feel? Let me know on the Facebook page and give it a like if you haven’t yet.

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