Conceal Carry or any other Firearms safety course…

8 06 2013

Getting adequate instruction for personal defense:

There are many “instructors” out there that promote their courses and some of them are actually good at what they do while others are trying to take your money and relying on your ignorance on the subject to get away with it. By ignorance, I do not mean that you lack education or common sense, just that you may not know too much about the subject of adequate firearms training.

With that, please think about something before committing to a dedicated course: if is broadcasts online, ask yourself “what if I have a question?”. Currently (and for the foreseeable future) the NRA does not have any online courses. With that, any NRA instructor that says it is an NRA course and they happen to put it online (for firearm courses that is) for you to register, pay for and “attend” (which usually means you watch a video or PowerPoint presentation) then expect your money to be wasted because the courthouse is probably going to kick it back. This means you will not get your money back AND you wasted your time AND you learned nothing about firearm safety.

When it comes to defensive information, such as conceal carry information, it is important to get out of the class what you need to and what your “need” would be is: what are the conceal carry laws? Where can I legally carry? How can I transport my firearm? What do I do/say if I get pulled over? What if I need to fly and want to carry/bring my firearm? What are the rules of the local area? What signs do I need to be aware of (to prohibit carrying)?

You cannot plead ignorance if you actually have a license to carry concealed. That license states that you attended some sort of firearms safety course and that you are aware that you need to stay “up” on the local/state laws in your specific area. By saying “I was not told that”, “I did not know that” or “how was I supposed to know that” you are already wrong. It is your responsibility to gain that knowledge.

How much money do you have and do you enjoy throwing it away? I ask this because if you attend an online course for your conceal carry permit and the state does not accept it, or you attend that course, the state does accept it but the NRA finds out that the instructor did it online and revokes their credentials, then you are liable now and you learned little about the “can and cannots”. The money? Well, now you have to attend another course, sit in the classroom and hope that THIS class is actually going to teach you something. Fingers crossed!

Point being, if you attend an online course (which most universities are now promoting big time) you may not understand certain information. This is not even speaking about the conceal part of the course, this is just speaking about the firearm safety part. So, if you do not understand a part of the safety when dealing with the firearm and you end up firing that firearm anywhere, you are now liable for where that bullet goes. You are guilty and negligent. So if that bullet were to strike someone, you are guilty. How would you feel if it struck a child?
The phrase (which unfortunately is used a lot) “I didn’t know it was loaded” will not hold water in court on any level. You are responsible for the condition of that firearm, all firearms in your possession, at all times and guess what? If your firearm gets stolen and you do not report it, then you are still liable for everything that occurs with that firearm. Hmmmm think maybe you should research qualified and competent instructors now? I would hope so.

Many people are trying to capitalize on the latest fad/phase and that is that most everyone wants to gain their conceal carry license. That means that there are people out there that will devise ways to convince the public that they have the course that they need. They may advertise it as a defensive course that satisfies the state’s requirements for their conceal carry license. They will devise these courses preying on the ignorance of society to make as much money as possible while trying to “skirt” the laws of morality and ethics. I take my responsibilities more seriously than that.

My main concern is that there are plenty of firearm owners that are out there that believe they are “safe” and that they already “know all that they need to know about firearms” and this worries me for everyone’s safety. Their ignorance of reality places everyone around them at risk, especially if something bad happens. There are many that “talk” a big game and when they are called up “to the majors” they fail miserably. I don’t want to be the end result of their failure (being shot because they thought that they were good to go/the hero/bulletproof/etc.).

It is important to research anyone that is teaching you a skill. Not only research them but ask around to see if anyone else has gone to their class to see how it was (was it informative, instructors available after the class for questions, information easy to follow and understand, etc.). There is nothing wrong with calling the instructors/business and ask them questions about their instructors, if they are legitimate then they would have no issues letting a client/customer know who is teaching, how long they have been teaching, their credentials, etc. If you are made to feel guilty for asking such questions then that should SCREAM at you that you have asked / looked towards the wrong business. In that case you should RUN, RUN AWAY from that business as fast as you can.

A business is out to make money, some people go into business because they love what they do, others just want to make money. The bottom line is a business must make money if it intends on doing more business and intends to stay in business. With that, a business can still make money while providing adequate information at an affordable price. That price should be competitive for the area. Want to find out? Call around and ask each location their cost for their class (NRA firearms class/Conceal carry class/defensive fire class, etc.). Compare the costs with each of them, compare their credentials and what others are saying about them and get your answer that way.

Let me give you another example: When a question is asked to the average person in this area on what they would do if someone were to break into their home and their common answer would be “I would shoot them dead”. My answer to them at that point is “You will then be arrested and thrown in jail, probably sued by the threat/threats parents or spouse and your firearm will be confiscated”. They usually, at that point, look at me and say “I don’t care, I did not invite them, they were there to do me harm”. I tell them that in VA there is no “make my day law” or “Castle doctrine” so there are rules and regulations.

Just by that example, people go on the defensive and say crazy things like “I will shoot them and drag them into the house” (what they don’t know is that they will still go to jail), “if they come into my yard I will shoot them” (jail time), “I will put a knife in their hand and say they tried to kill me” (jail once the police investigate and realize that your fingerprints are on the knife and the knife matches the same ones in your knife drawer…two rooms and one floor over). Yet, people will still give a disgusted look and think that they have rights or that they will be “in the right” because someone attempted to break into their home.

Bottom line: you MUST know the do’s and don’ts when it comes to your rights, the laws and proper training involved with carrying for defensive reasons (and concealed carry is for defensive reasons). It does take more than going to the range once and shooting at a paper target. Ask yourself this: when was the last time a paper target attacked you? Just saying. There are techniques that can be used to increase speed and accuracy and prepare someone for quick/defensive firing if the need came up. Remember, if you get into a situation where you have to shoot to defend yourself, you still OWN every one of those bullets, regardless the situation, you are responsible for every bullet that you fire and you will be tried for any innocent struck by your bullet (that also means property as well).

Research for your rights, for your sanity, for your protection and the protection of your friends and family. Ignorance of the laws and regulations in your area (or other areas) is not a viable defense. If you enjoy your freedom, I would suggest you research your instructors, your future firearms safety classes and the things that will ultimately keep you safe in a dangerous/deadly situation.

Please feel free to forward this, email this, copy and paste it, share on social media, etc. I only attempt to ensure everyone knows what would be needed for their safety and the safety of their loved ones, especially today. Please be safe and DEFINTELY attend a safety course.

Smart Tactics {}


Be wary of contractors….

18 07 2012

If you have contractors visiting your home to do some work: painting, flooring, plumbing or whatever. It is important to go behind them and check the security of the area after they leave for the day. Some have been known to open windows or at the minimum unlock the window for entry later.

There have been many cases where a plumber has disabled a window alarm and then snuck into the home in the middle of the night to assault the homeowner. You cannot be too careful in your own home when others that do not live there are there working.

Even if the workers are family or friends, it could be that they opened the window to throw something out or for whatever reasons but forget to lock it back up when they closed it. This is a possible entry point for a threat.

Sliding doors, main doors, alarm systems, locks and windows: if you can gain entry into the home through it, then a threat can gain entry into the home from it. Secure those areas and ensure they remain secure for the safety of your family.

Safe-Room “Cheatsheet”

4 04 2012

 Having a safe-room is vital to personal safety while inside the home but everyone reacts differently in different situations. This is why practice is important so evaluation of each person’s response and actions can be assessed and then “fine-tuned” to ensure 100% safety.


The Cheat Sheet in mention is something as simple as a 3×5 recipe card with useful information. Well, what sort of useful information would need to be on this card? Good question but a better question to start would be “Why would I need a card in my safe-room?”. Keep reading…

Why would someone need a cheat sheet/recipe card in their safe room? Because, when there is an emergency at hand, such as a fire or worse: someone trying to invade the home violently, each person will react differently but there is a good chance that even those that react effectively, could have premature memory loss when trying to answer 911 operator’s questions. Because of this probable memory loss during a traumatic occurrence, it is important to have a cheat sheet present to be able to read off the information.

Another reason: What if you, as the adult, are busy trying to keep an invader on the other side of the safe-room door and your child(ren) must work the phone and talk to the operator? Young children can also become so scared that they forget information as well. Having a cheat sheet allows the occupants the ability to read off the pertinent address and name information and that information is enough to allow the operator the time to get the police or emergency vehicles to your location.

The things to write on the cheat sheet:
-Name (Last names)
-Phone number
-(If child is talking on the phone): What they see
-Where occupants are located in the home
-Direction to help the police out (“go to the back of the home and we can drop a spare key down to you so you can enter from the back door because the bad guys are in the front living room”)

This cheat sheet is small and can fit in the sock drawer or night table drawer to be easily accessed if it was needed. The cheat sheet takes very little time to fill out and can save you from going “blank” during an emergency. Operators do not like charades and threats bank on the fact that, just by them being present inside the home, they occupant’s would be scared enough to remain hidden or locked away hoping it “all goes away”.

Be prepared now and create your cheat sheet. This could save you later on down the road of life. Be safe and be prepared.

Having a Safe-Room

4 04 2012

 This is a subject that some refuse to acknowledge or just don’t care. When asked if someone has a safe-room, the usual reply is “I don’t need a safe-room”, “I live in a good neighborhood”, “What is a safe-room”, “I have a gun, I ain’t running to any room” and then best reply yet … “A what?”. Super (sarcasm)!

A safe-room is a room that is designated as the “go to” room in the event of an emergency. An emergency does not have to be a burglar or home invader, it could be a fire inside the home. A safe-room is a room where the occupants (roommate, family, etc.) can egress towards in the event of an emergency. Now, for most people, the immediate “safe-room” for them is their master bedroom and this would be a good thing for them. Why? I will tell you:
Master Bedroom:
-Usually has a bathroom in the room


-Is usually the largest room in the home
-Usually has a window or two
-Usually will have an adequate amount of furniture inside to allow a barricade to be used against the door or an object to keep a threat away from the occupants (cover and concealment as well).

The safe-room is not a room to just point at and say “that room there, yeah, that’s the safe-room so if there is any emergency, that is where you need to run to”. It is important to practice scenarios with the family to ensure they can egress to the safe-room from any location in the home, at any time day/night without any issues.

Having adequate locks on the door on the safe-room can impede the progress of an intruder if it is needed and can also keep “nosey children” out of your personal effects while you are away at work. It is important to also have an emergency egress ladder in the event the safe-room is not on the ground level. Practice should be accomplished slowly and not rushed to ensure anyone that is using the ladder, maintains their grip and can egress safely.

Go to www.smartweaponstactics.comto keep updated on courses and seminars for person protection and safety. Be safe.

Home Invasion: Coming to a home near you?

31 03 2012

Every so often there are events that occur in the news that seem to continue and grow throughout the areas and end up looking like a “popular” trend of criminals. Well, home invasions seem to be the “flavor of the week” as it were. Home invasions were not a part of crime statistics because it would usually be labeled under burglary and there really was no cause to add a different category to the statistics. Now there is.

A burglary is where someone breaks into a home, steals items and leaves quickly. The burglar would attempt to be as quiet as possible (to not draw attention to their actions) and as quick as possible (to avoid being caught). A burglar would attempt to steal high-dollar items to sell or pawn for quick cash and would attempt to do so when they thought (or knew) no one was at home.

A home invasion is a more violent type of burglary and in some cases is not a burglary at all. Home invasions are more violent, louder without care of anyone hearing them and has an increased violence rate attached to them. Most home invasions end in assaults, rape and even death. The threat that accomplishes a home invasion is banking on the victims being immediately scared and “frozen” where they sit because of the rapid entrance, weapons in view and loud commands.

Some people have the misconception or mindset that since they are inside their home, then they are safe from any threats that may be on the outside. This is common, sad, but common. Others feel “When I am in my home I am safe because if I do not invite them inside my home, they have no business coming inside”. Someone may want to tell the threats that rule because I don’t think that they follow it, or any other rules at that.

There are many things that can be done inside the home to ensure the safety of those inside but one would have to be proactive about their own safety in order to have a safer life. This does not mean that someone should become paranoid about threats or crimes, it merely means becoming aware of what could happen and doing what is necessary to minimize the chance in your home.

Newer windows have safety features such as locking tabs on the inside that stop the window from opening fully. These tabs only work when they are used, however, and just having them on the window will not minimize an illegal entry. Once the tabs are extended, the window can only be opened a couple of inches and if someone were to break those tabs by prying the window open, the noise would draw the attention of the occupants.

Older windows did not have the safety features of today and some of the older styles could be opened with a credit card or credit card-sized object by sliding it between the bottom and top window.

*Key thing to remember is: locks work when used and even if you use the locking tabs on the windows, a threat could easily break the window and enter the home. This would, however, create a large noise and hopefully that noise would be loud enough to wake or gain the attention of the neighbors.

Locking the door as soon as you enter the home will greatly reduce the chances that a threat will just “walk right in” as the statistics state. Some people actually believe that they are safe as soon as they enter their home and if/when a threat were to enter the home rapidly, the homeowners or occupants are frozen with fear because of the instant drama.

The usually doorknob lock works as a minimum safety device but there are ways to get through that minimal security lock. One of the newer ways threats are entering through a door using only the doorknob lock is by using a device that “bumps” the lock into opening. This is called “bumping” and is a rapid way to unlock the door.

Bolt locks work great and there are many types of bolt locks:
-Key/Turn knob lock: has key entry slot on the outside and a knob to turn on the inside. Most homes use this style because it is easier to use and install and serves its purpose well
-Key initiated on both sides: this could be used but requires a key to unlock or lock the door from the inside. This could be dangerous if there are children in the home because of the difficulty posed in an emergency. Trying to manipulate a key into a lock while under duress would not be an easy task.

Other locks:
Chain hasps: some of the older locks include the chain hasp which was used many years ago. The door could be opened a little to see who was on the other side of the door but not open far enough to let the stranger inside. The unfortunate thing about this lock is someone could apply enough pressure to the lock and door and bust inside.

Bar style: this is quite common on hotel room doors and work great but as with most locks, these could also be manipulated by someone who knows what they are doing and still open the door. Using a zip-tie on this lock would impede the progress of anyone attempting to manipulate this lock.

It is important to practice certain events inside the home (not just home invasions but safety scenarios as well such as fire, flood, medical emergency, etc) to ensure the family or occupants would be able to successfully egress from the area and remain safe. By practicing common events, the occupants would be able to respond without much thought. Without much practice, the occupants may freeze in fear and that is what the threat would want. It makes their intention become fulfilled that much easier.

Safety courses:
Attend safety courses to become better educated about home safety, how to safeguard your home and outside of the home safety as well. By becoming better educated, you can minimize your chances of becoming the next victim and living a safer life.

The sad reality is that most people will not pursue safety courses because “this is a nice neighborhood” and “nothing ever happens around here” and because of this thought they are more likely to be unprepared if/when it occurs at their home. Once it does occur in their home, they will always be fearful that it will happen again and will live with that fear forever. You cannot drive the “victim” and “paranoid” experience out of someone who has experienced it. This is why it is important to be prepared.

Final thought:
Along with locks and locking tabs, alarms are a great way to ensure your safety inside your home and when you are away from home but….alarms only work when they are used. If you do not set your alarms then it will never work for you.

Alarms can be outfitted with motion sensors (and it does not matter if you have pets), broken glass sensors and other sensors that can be attached to doors and windows that will sound if the sensors become separated.

For any home, threats are becoming more bold and care less about human life. Their goals are to do as much damage, get into their gang, steal whatever they can and hurt whomever they like and get out without getting caught. Do not become their next target: be proactive about your home safety and personal safety and minimize your chances that you are next. Be safe

Home Defense

28 03 2012

Home Defense

There are some that believe that the sound of a shotgun cycling or chambering is enough to deter a threat inside one’s home. It is possible, but anything is possible: having your cat jump towards and hiss at a threat inside the home could deter a threat also but you are not going to rely on that, are you?

Being prepared means being ready and practicing what “could” happen, not what is going to happen because no one can predict what is going to happen day to day. Having an adequate defense device or plan, is important for the safety of those inside the home.

Some States make it Law that you would have to run away from someone breaking into your home. You are to run to a room, lock the door and call the police. I guess at that point, you should also hope the threat will not attempt to come to your location. The “Duty to Retreat Law” says just that. This is why having a safe room is vital for your safety and the safety of those you love.

Some States have the “Castle Doctrine” or versions of it, such as “Make my day Law”. These laws allow the homeowner/occupants to defend their home and allow them to defend it without fear of a civil trial if the threat (the one trying to break into your home and cause you harm) becomes injured while inside your home.

Let’s talk about that for a second: We have all heard about:

-Man falls through skylight of this couple’s home. The man was trying to break into the home to burglarize it. When the man fell he fell onto the couple’s kitchen counter/cutting board and landed on some knives. He cut himself. Police arrive, man gets taken to hospital, man sues couple for injuries sustained while on their property and …..that man won the case and the money!

Actually, the man in the above mentioned paragraph was a teenager. He was a teenager and the injury occurred at a school because of a skylight. The boy fell through a skylight: why? Because it was painted black and he did not recognize it as a skylight while walking across the roof. One explanation was that the teenager(s) were trying to steal the lights off of the roof and their explanation was that they were attempting to redirect the light so they could play basketball. The school got sued. {}

-Man breaks into a home of a doctor and his wife, doctor gets his pistol and shoots burglar in the back. The burglar, who is in jail, decided to attempt to sue the doctor stating the doctor deliberately “tried to severe my spine”. The doctor fired once at the threat who refused to leave his home.

Some States have laws in place to take care of their citizens and other States seem to have Laws that take care of those that conduct the home invasions and burglaries. Confusing? Yes? How can a State not see that a home is someone’s safe haven, a place to raise a family safely? I am not sure but in VA the “Duty to Retreat” is a real thing. It is important to gain the information on the rules and regulations because the mindset of “If someone were to break into my home I will shoot them dead” could get you prison time.

Firearms: As mentioned above, the sound of a shotgun chambering a shell is not always going to “scare” away an intruder. As a matter of fact, it may give the threat/intruder the early indication that someone is in the home with them, awake and coming their direction. This could give a threat enough time to find a hiding spot to gain the advantage.

There are some that will purchase a shotgun specifically because they are told the sound will make the threat run away every time. Now, in their mind, they do not need to fire the shotgun, maybe not even purchase any shells for that shotgun thinking the pure “shock and awe” of producing a shotgun will cause a threat to fall to their knees and plead for their lives. This is sad.

If a shotgun is the defensive item of choice, ensure it is a well thought out choice. Ensure you choose ammunition that can be used adequately in a close quarter’s situation. You would not want any ammunition to travel through walls into a neighbor’s home or into anyone passing by. Having the correct ammunition for the situation is vital. Being able to handle it safely is paramount, especially if there are others that live in that home.

If a semi-automatic pistol is the choice, ammunition is still the main topic: ensure the ammunition is the type that will provide the end result desired without damaging anything else. Know where the bullet will go if it does not hit its intended target and ensure it does not go any further than your property. You own every bullet that comes out of your firearm, regardless of the reason for pulling the trigger.

Caliber is important. Some people go straight towards the bigger pistols thinking that the size alone will cause the threat to run away. A Desert Eagle is not the firearm for home security. The bullet will travel through most everything and nothing good can come from that. That would be excessive. Know the caliber that works for your location but also a caliber that you can shoot extremely well. Coming close will not save your life!

Revolvers: make sure caliber is taken into consideration but also ensure accuracy is top of the list. It does not matter what you fire or what you carry as long as you practice with that item and become proficient in firing it accurately every time. Stressful environments are very different from range shooting and can make the difference between a survivor and a memory.

Practice at home (without ammunition) from throughout your home to ensure movement is possible and 100% control can be acquired and achieved every time. It is your home; you must keep it your home! Practice also at the range: fine tune your accuracy with different courses of fire and different distances. It is worthless to place the target at the far end of the range and then shoot at it because you would not have that ability in a real life situation. Keep it close, keep it accurate and keep all firearms clean and ready!

There are too many people today that will purchase a firearm without learning how to use it. Then, if someone were to break into their home, someone gets hurt or killed because of a lack of knowledge. Ignorance is not a defense and will cause you to go to jail because of that. Seek the education on whichever defensive tools you try to use in your home in defense and protection of your family. A couple hours in a classroom could save you from a lifetime in jail. Be safe!

Communication during an attack at home

28 03 2012

Communication during an attack at home

During an attack would not be the time to be silent: screaming at the top of your lungs such phrases as “I have a gun”, “Help! Someone is breaking in” or “Call 911” may be enough of a deterrent to cause the attacker or invader to flee. Maybe not. If you remain silent then there is zero chance that a neighbor may hear you and call 911 for you. You want to have as many chances as possible.

Communication against the threat:

Tone: it is wise to command the phrases coming out of your mouth. If you sound skittish or unsure, the threat may take what you are saying and NOT believe them. Then they may call your bluff, and possibly win. Be commanding and be loud!

Commands: Using commands such as “I have a gun” will alert the threat that there may be a firearm in your vicinity. Once again, if you sound as if you are bluffing, that may anger the threat enough to cause them to charge into your location.  Using specific commands will work in your favor, especially when calling 911 (see below).

Communication during an attack can also pertain to your family:

If an attack is occurring (home invasion, burglary) it is important to get the family into the safe-room as quickly and safely as possible. Having key phrases (when it is practiced in that home) will allow the family members to respond to a familiar phrase and do exactly what they need to – despite how scared they may be.

Communication also includes the family’s speech back to each other: if the father is preparing for the attack in the safe-room, chances are he would be next to the door (never in front of it), this would be where the child or wife informs the father that they are talking to 911 at that point in time. The family member on the phone would also update the father on everything the 911 operator has to say such as where the police are, if they are on their way and so forth.

Communication while 911 is on the phone:

This may be vital in some cases: with 911 on the phone while an event is taking place, the operator is recording the entire conversation and everything in the background. In the event a firearm is present in the home, a very loud and commanding call to the threat, while 911 is on the phone, would be that there is a firearm in the home and it will be used if they do not leave!

By repeating to the threat(s) that you do have a firearm and that you WILL use it, you are also being recorded through the phone and that does show that you are trying to warn the threats that you are prepared to defend the safety and wellbeing of your family if it comes to it.

This is not the end-all-be-all but it can help you. There are too many cases where someone was shot while invading a home and that person sued the homeowners for shooting them (while they were breaking into the home to cause the family harm at that!) and won their case. This is sad.

It you own a firearm for home protection it would be wise to ask yourself this question:

“Would I use this if someone were threatening my family or my health?” if the answer is NO, then you may want to choose other options such as a guard dog of decent size. Some people would answer that question quickly with a “yes they would” but no one truly knows how they would react in that situation until they are in it themselves.

If the family is separated it may be wise to have other means to communicate to not alert the threat that other members of the family are hiding somewhere separate. Cell phones are usually a big part of the household and codeword’s could be used to signify safety such as sending a text “We made it to the neighbor’s house” which could mean that they are safe. If a threat were to get that phone, then they would know the police are going to be called.

There are numerous options but if scenarios are not practiced, no one would know how they could react, what other options they may have to think about or where they should go in an emergency. It is always wise to practice the simple emergencies and work upward from there.

Always practice scenarios safely and slowly until proficiency of reaction increases.