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Impossible Expectations – Part 3

 

 

Impossible Expectations – Part 3

Should law enforcement officers (or armed citizens) be confronted with a situation that requires them to use deadly force, they need to do so without hesitation. There are, however, situations that we may find ourselves unprepared to handle and that may cause societal discomfort. We must be prepared for such situations and, if they do present themselves, recognize that either way it's a bad day. Some believe it is never justified to shoot pregnant women, children or teens, or the elderly...especially if the one shooting is a man (Calm down... I didn't created the perception--I'm just acknowledging it.). Many don't believe that these individuals are capable of posing real threats, but trust me they do (click on hyperlinks below for examples).

 

Women, Pregnant Women, Children, And the Elderly

Police officers, armed citizens, and civilians rarely consider that they may have to use deadly force against women, pregnant women, children, teens, or the elderly. These circumstances may be rare, but they do occur, and these confrontations are increasing in regularity. Those who are confronted with such threats will make one of two decisions.  Both may have negative consequences.
When faced with a threat by an atypical malevolents, armed individuals have to make split second decisions.  They may opt do nothing. This risks their personal safety, or worse, their lives. For some people, it is just too hard to use deadly force against deadly force assailants. They are pre-programmed to show compassion for these groups of people. And since these situations are rare, they may not have prepared to face such individuals.  Lack of preperation can leave them mentally unprepared.

Photo © Sumners Graphics

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A second response is to use deadly force. Hopefully, most armed individuals wish they never have to use deadly force.When this option is employed it can be emotionally difficult. Their emotions can be further impacted by the response of the media and the general population. The expectation to restrain from using deadly force is exasperated by public opinion that men should be capable of overpowering pregnant women, or children. Though this may be true with unarmed assailiants, it is not always true of the ones who are armed. Weapons, especially firearms, place both good people and bad on equal footing.
Those who doubt the danger posed by some women, pregnant women, elderly, and children, should search online. Clearly the violence wrought by children in schools is more prevalent now than it was in the past. Elderly people, who sometimes feel frightened and vulnerable, have been known to use weapons. Women, especially those affiliated with violent felons and gang members, are increasingly carrying and using firearms. There are those who don't believe criminals can fall in certain demographics, but we know they can and do. Likewise, there is a segment of the population that believes that before firing a shot at a violent criminal, the armed individual should fire a warning shot. That's nothing short of crazy and reckless.

 

Warning Shots

Joe Biden is famous for his suggestion that Americans should fire a warning shot before using deadly force. This recommendation is endorsed by those potential victims who are unwilling to defend themselves through the use of physical or deadly force. They believe that submission is the key to survival. The reality is that perpetrators often size their targets up. They choose potential victims the believe won't fight back. These are not the individuals we want to arm.                                                                                                                                    Photo © Benjamin Vess
dreamstime_xs_6305083Anyone, civilian or police, uncomfortable with using a firearm for self-defense should not carry one. And if they are uncomfortable using guns against  violent intruders, they should leave them locked up. Firing a warning shot communicates to the bad guy that you have a gun (which he or she may want to take), and that you are afraid to use it. There may exist a few success stories where this strategy of avoidance worked but don't be fooled. Don’t let a few success stories validate poor tactics. With almost two decades in law enforcement experience in a high crime area, I can tell you that it is both unreasonable and dangerous to expect a violent criminal to show the same compassion law-abiding citizens would. They’re criminals because they don’t play by the same rules.      
                                  
It's interesting to note that the majority of law enforcement agencies do not use warning shots to gain compliance, and in my opinion, neither should armed citizens. It only makes sense that if confronted with a situation which rises to the level of deadly force, that deadly force be used. This is because deadly force is the only force option that will consistently stop deadly force (unless, of course, you miss – which then becomes a warning shot). Sometimes the only ‘warning’ we can give is the time between the trigger break and the point of impact. As far as warning shots, just remember that what goes up must come down (and if your luck is anything like mine…it’s coming down on your head!).

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It is uncommon for police departments to authorize warning shots.

                                      Photo By: Sara Ahrens

 

In deadly force situations, whether it's facing an atypical assailant or choosing to not use a warning shot, the courts have clearly indicated that neither the police, nor the armed citizen is expected self-sacrifice. The truth is, we can only react to what we know at the moment the situation unfolds. It is contrary to case law for juries to use 20/20 hindsight to determine the lawfulness of any use of deadly force. But the fact is that sometimes they do. So before carrying a firearm, both armed citizens and law enforcement officers must determine if they are more comfortable being judged by 12, or buried by six.  It’s a personal choice not to be taken lightly. 

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

Lead Dangers - Part 1

 

Lead Dangers – Health Effects & Methods of Contamination

When I became the Range Master for my agency, I didn’t know what I needed to know about lead. Two years into my position I got a real education  that was nothing short of terrifying. The recession forced my agency to mandate my unit and I (five of us) to handle all range functions from training and qualifications, to maintenance of firearms. Unable to pay overtime, I could no longer rotate these responsibilities amongst a large cadre of part-time range officers and armorers.

It did not take long for these cutbacks to affect everyone in my unit. We have our lead levels checked annually. The test we took after having assumed all range responsibilities indicated that we all had increased lead levels. This is unheard of in our agency. Unable to rotate range officers put the five of us at risk. I did some serious research on lead and the more I learned about lead, the more terrified I became. I was concerned about my own health, but the sickness in the pit of my stomach arose over the potential risk I exposed to my children. Lead accumulates in the body over time, so there are many precautions and practices that can help minimize exposure for both shooters and their families. These precautions and practices only work if the risks are taken seriously.

 

Picking up sent brass is just one method of lead exposure
 Lead contamination on the range occurs in some obvious activities 
Photo By: Sara Ahrens
For chronic lead exposure, about 6 percent of the lead that enters the body is deposited in soft tissues like the brain, kidneys, and other organs, and in the blood stream. The remaining 94 percent ends up in the bones. Lead is deposited in our bones because the body mistakes lead for calcium, tricking the body into storing it. Over time, our bodies excrete lead through our urine. The half-life of lead in adults is about 30-40 days; meaning one-half of the deposited lead will be excreted in that time. The remaining lead is stored in the body for about twenty years. Every exposure adds to this cumulative effect. Chronic exposure to lead negatively impacts the health of the shooter, and their loved ones.

Health Effects of Lead Exposure on Adults and Children

Research over the past couple decades has revealed that increased lead levels in young and unborn children can cause metabolic and developmental damage. The health risks are different for adults and children. Since children are smaller and develop rapidly, they are more vulnerable to the hazards.  Lead poisoning in children can result in permanent damage such as lowered intelligence, learning disabilities, hearing loss, reduced attention span, and behavioral abnormalities.              
    
Lead in adults can cause damage to the peripheral nervous system. Damage to this system can affect memory, vision, coordination, and dexterity in the fingers, wrist or ankles. High levels of lead in the system can cause damage to the kidneys. The end result of kidney damage can include anemia, miscarriage, and decreased fertility in men and women. 
           
Lead is more harmful to children

 
 
 
Differences in adult and child physiology, makes the adverse affects on children greater than that of adults.
Photo By: Sara Ahrens

 

 

 

Methods of Contamination

Some of the ways lead exposure occurs on the range are more obvious than others. Here a few of the ways:
  • Ingestion – Lead enters the body through the digestive system. Lead can be ingested when shooters eat, drink or smoke on the range. Airborne lead will deposit on all surfaces within the immediate environment. They can then be ingested if the surface comes into contact with the mouth. When lead is ingested it deposits in the digestive system.Screen Shot 2013 09 19 at 11.31.18 AM
Dry sweeping a range floor creates plumes of lead particles. Using a tool that picks up brass, but leaves debris is safer.
Photo By: Sara Ahrens
  • Inhalation – Lead enters the body through inhalation. There are numerous ways in which lead becomes airborne on a range, such as:
    • Since primers contain lead, whenever the striker, firing pin, or hammer ignites it, the lead particles contained within the primer are released.
    • Bullets contain lead and even if a bullet is jacketed, that jacket begins to break apart during its travels down the barrel. By the time the bullet exits the muzzle, lead remnants from both the bullet and the primer exit in the muzzle blast.
    • When the bullet containing lead impacts it's target, the fragments that result not only pose a ricochet threat, but an airborne lead exposure threat as well.
    • Any range that supplies a broom for the purposes of cleaning up the floors after a shoot is argueably creating the worst risk of exposure to airborne lead particles. Sweeping.
  • Absorption – Lead is absorbed into the body through the pores. The hotter the temperature, the larger the pores become thus allowing for greater absorption. Lead can be absorbed into the body when:
    • Shooters collect spent brass in their hats and then wear the hats allowing the lead to enter the pores on the scalp.
    • Shooters who collect spent brass can see the lead residue, without decontamination it will be absorbed into the skin or through mucus membranes, or it can be ingested should contaminated hands make contact with the mouth.
    • Cleaning firearms also creates an exposure risk. The use of solvents and lubricants actually opens the pores allowing for increased absorption.
Being aware of how lead enters the body and the danger it presents is an important part of the plot, but its not the whole story. See the upcoming article to learn more about symptoms of high lead levels, and appropriate methods for decontamination.

 

 

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

The Duck Hunting Journal - Xtreme Flyways - Entry Two

 

Have you ever met someone so dumb they could throw themselves down on the ground and miss? Well this teal season I was thinking that about the local weather tv personality. I mean if brains were leather, he would only have enough to saddle a fire fly. It was suppose to be nice, like cool September weather. Instead, the entire teal season was hot as hell. I just new after last years unbelieveable teal season that we, the pro-staff of Xtreme Flyways, was going to lay down some awesome footage the entire month. Yea, I felt like things were all going my way. The problem was I was in the wrong lane. 

The whole season wasn't a bust. But it was tough. We started out in Southeast Missouri on opening weekend. Thought we had a few flocks patterned...nothing both days. So, I called a buddy at River Ridge Outfitters in Carrollton, Missouri. It is a small town in the Northwest corner of the state that lies on the Missouri River. Its a hotbed for Canadian Geese late but I didn't know if it was going to be worth it for September teal. You see teal are very moody, tempramental and can't stay in the same place for long periods of time. Remind you of anybody? Don't read this next to your wife.

Anyway, we made the five hour journey as a team up north ahead of a good cold front that was pushing down. Getting all the cameras and equipment moved that far as well as the staff on such a short notice is tough. You see we not only have to film in the field but we also have to do all of the interviews with the entire staff and go through every detail of what we did or are going to do. I know, this information is about as useful as a pogo stick in quick sand. However, you just have to trust me this is going somewhere. When we arrived it was not much different than down south. HOT!

On the second day the cold front was getting close and that morning it was like the sky openedTealBlog up and started raining teal. From every direction they where coming into the duck hole. We were smiling like goats in a briar patch. For two straight days our Beretta shotguns smacked and I mean smacked the teal. These birds fly so fast with no slow down in them. Filming them is very tricky but we picked up where we left off last season with no hitch in our step.

Now some people would have just set home, called themselves a duck hunter and wiped their ass like normal. Those people would gripe with keys to a new Lexus in both hands. I am not trying to beat a dead horse here...course, can't hurt none either. What I am trying to say is this coming duck season or whatever tough moments you might be going through in life always remember you were created to succeed. Failure only comes when we choose it. My father once told me the definition of a Man or a Woman was the person who stood up for what was right even if they had to stand alone. I choose to succeed even if I have to stand all by myself.

Take that mister weather guy!

You can follow Adam and Xtreme Flyways on the Beretta website.

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

Myths & Misconceptions of Concealed Carry - Training Series

 

Beretta Tomcat for conceal carryThere are many myths and misconceptions regarding concealed carry in the United States. Some are related to efficiency of equipment like handgun selection, holster selection, defensive ammunition and tools for training. Others are connected to gender stereotypes and socio-economic norms. Personal responsibility, a commitment to relevant training and legal considerations are other areas that we all should continue to be mindful of. Physical strength and the strength of the human will to survive are additional topics for discussion. There are many areas that we will explore together through this series. In this segment, I would like to establish a baseline grounded in truth and focused on choices.

Beretta Nano in holster

The commitment to conceal carry is a very big decision and one not to be taken lightly. It is a lifestyle choice similar to your commitment to health, exercise, working hard in your job or to support your household. It is a willful choice that must be made with careful consideration before you begin. Unlike many of life’s learning opportunities, drawing your firearm to stop a life threatening situation, or failing to, is not something that you want to look back on with regret realizing that you were not really prepared. This is one aspect of your lifestyle that requires research, knowledge, mental preparation as well as the cultivation of the physical skill set necessary to optimize your ability to navigate a critical dynamic incident. This decision demands your full attention on the front end because without due diligence, you may not have an opportunity to look back and evaluate what you could have or should have done differently. There may not be a tomorrow for experience to lend itself to. Some decisions are final.

My father always taught me to “begin with the end in mind and think it all the way through.” This has proven to be worthy advice in many areas of my life.  It was and continues to be applicable to my daily decision to carry my firearm for the protection of myself and others. The everyday choices we make in life directly impact the quality of it. How you choose to protect your life and those you love is one of the most important factors to consider. Choices require an analysis of the pros and cons. Some require research and the counsel of those who are subject matter authorities. There are in addition moral considerations and matters of responsibility for our actions that come into play. Choices have consequences both positive and negative and our goal should be to position ourselves as advantageously as possible for a successful outcome. Though there are no guarantees and we cannot control everything, we each have a responsibility to ourselves and those that depend on us to give the time and attention to detail where personal safety and well-being are concerned.

A common misconception about the choice to conceal carry is that having a firearm is enough. There is a serious differentiator that needs to be addressed.  Checking the box on simply buying a gun and carrying it with you every day is a dangerous place to stop in the process. Unfortunately, many people take a required class or just simply fill out the necessary paperwork required to legally carry and stop there. An overview of these decisions can be found in one our most successful white papers: The 10 Most Important Things to Know About Conceal Carry.

Many don’t realize that there is so much more that goes into this choice. Getting the permit and the tools are just a part of the process. If you were going to build your own home for the first time, would you just apply for the building permit and then buy the tools and supplies without really understanding all aspects of how to build successfully? That’s a simple example, but in reality concealed carry is much more than a simple concept or a perceived easy solution to making you feel safer. Feeling safe just because you have a gun is a serious misconception. I always tell the men women and families that I train a simple key phrase: “Feelings are not Facts. Just because you feel safe, does not mean that you are safe.” This applies to many aspects of personal protection, but with regard to concealed carry, there is an important differentiator here. Before you make the decision to carry a gun there is work to be done on the front end that has nothing to do with the actual gun itself.

Your mind is your primary weapon. Your ability to navigate a critical dynamic incident is directly impacted with the pre-loading of your decision making paradigm. The boundaries that you predetermine include proximity to a threat, how many verbal warnings will you give if any, the legalities involved, if you are alone versus if you have a family member with you, how many threats versus how many rounds of ammo do you have, how to determine the greatest threat if there are multiples or if a person that you know or love become the threat to you. These are just a few examples of things to think through and train through while preloading your decision making paradigm. Taking yourself through the mental preparation of “what to do if” and “if this then that” is a fundamental means of preparing to navigate those situations more successfully.

Realistically none of us can prepare for every possible scenario. But what we can do is prepare our minds with informed, pre-loaded decisions about what choices we are willing to live with. Being as prepared as we can be in advance helps to minimize the negative after effects or potentially fatal effects of not being ready.

I encourage each of you to think about where you are in your mental preparation for defending your life. Your firearm is a tool to be used as an extension of the decisions and preparations you make in advance. If you believe that in your hour of need or moment of truth that somehow the skills and fortitude to act without hesitation will somehow miracle themselves into your brain and body, you are taking a big risk with your life and those you intend to protect. Are you willing to accept the consequences of that decision? We will discuss more on this topic in future posts and will explore this topic in more depth. For now, think about how much time you have dedicated to mental preparation. How seriously do you take your physical training regimen? What changes need to be made? Are you really ready?

This series is designed to address some of the common misconceptions surrounding concealed carry that pertain to both men and women. Each topic presented is done so with hopes to stimulate your mindset, perceptions, training habits, purchasing considerations and overall belief system surrounding this life preserving commitment to your personal safety. Whether you are a seasoned concealed carrier, or just starting to consider it as an option for personal defense, my goal is to bring you relevant perspectives to lend insight into this all important aspect of your life.

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

The Duck Hunting Journal - Xtreme Flyways

 

The other day I was catching a flight on a small plane to another airport to board another. Now, the redneck in me should have named this airline "Backwoods Air." I say this because as I boarded this commercial airliner, the seats looked like them old fabric lawn chairs that grandma used to sit in on the fourth of July. You know you're on a small plane when the pilot looks back at you mid flight and says, "hope you don't mind us spraying a few fields on the way." That's when the thought hit me...I wish I had the money to buy this plane. HA! I'm just kidding. I was so nervous I didn't know whether to scratch my watch or wind my butt.

Filming duck huntsDuck season is right around the corner and we are busy filming new episodes of Xtreme Flyways. This month we will be chasing blue-winged teal, trying to lay down great footage of our hunts (with a few tips and techniques along the way). Filming a duck hunt takes a good amount of patience, which is something that I'm missing. When the season is in, I'm wound up tighter than a jock strap on a preacher. I just can't slow down. But once we get a few hunts under our belt, things seem to run smoother.

The weather has been cool all summer.  Now all of the sudden, right here at the beginning of teal season, it wants to get hotter than two hamsters farting in a wool sock. I tell ya, if a cool front doesn't come through up north pretty soon it's going to be tough. But we are so dedicated that we never give up or give in. If the teal won't come to us, we'll go to them. Sometimes you have to press the envelope a little to be a successful duck hunter. A wise man once told me, "Adam, if there is a mountain to be climbed than damn-it, start climbing." I have no idea what he meant by that, but it made me think of all those tough duck hunts that I've had and how great they turned out. If I would have stayed home in the bed on those hot days in September I would not be where I am today.

It's during this time of year that we basically fine tune everything from dogs working, communication in the blind, shotgun techniques to how to cook bacon and eggs while hunting. We do all of this before regular duck season hits so that our mistakes are minimal. Teal only fly for a few hours in the morning so its not so hard to beat most of the heat. Don't stay home. This is the perfect time of year to Adam Brassfieldtake your family and kids to the duck blind and enjoy duck hunting. Us duck hunters where born for such a time as this. We will prevail and we will succeed.

Over the next several months I'll use this blog to give updates or journal entries on Xtreme Flyways, where we are hunting, and how things are going. Our Beretta shotguns will be doing most of the talking, but every now and then we'll let you in on how our team is doing in the blind. Until then I hope your season starts well and, for crying out loud, if you are killin' ducks and I ain't, then email me where you are hunting!

You can follow Adam and Xtreme Flyways at www.berettausa.com/xtremeflyways

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

Learning to Shoot with your Weak Hand - Firearms Training

 

When you go to shooting school there are a number of things you will learn before you ever fire a shot. One important thing you will be taught is how to determine which eye is your dominant eye and to shoot with the correlating hand.

How to determine eye dominance

Your dominant eye is the one that looks directly at an object. It is easy to determine. Extend your arms with your palms facing straight ahead. Bring your hands together with your thumbs facing one another. Overlap your fingertips and thumbs to form a triangle of space. Next, select an object in the distance and look at it through the hole formed by your hands. Now close your right eye. If you can still see the object, you are left eye dominant. If you can no longer see the object, you are right eye dominant.

If you are right handed, but left eye dominant (or vice-versa) this is called cross dominance. It is simply the situation that occurs when your dominant eye and dominant hand are on opposite sides of your body. Determining eye dominance is important because of the variance in depth perception when you are looking at a target versus looking at your gun sight.

There are a number of techniques shooters with cross dominance can practice and still use their strong hand. You can close the dominant eye thus focusing with the eye which is on the same side as the dominant hand. The shooter can try placing a small piece of scotch tape on the dominant eye lens of their shooting glasses. This blurs the dominant eye and forces your weak eye to take over. Another technique includes shifting the gun toward the weak-handed side so the sight is in front of the dominant eye. These techniques can be used with pistol and become effective with lots of practice.


There are a couple reasons it is invaluable to learn to shoot with your weak, non-dominant, hand. One is to be able to keep both eyes open. In regard to long gun shooting moving your head or shifting the gun to get your dominant eye behind the sights as you would with a pistol is simply impossible.

Left handed shooter has sight in line with dominant left eye

Shooting with both eyes open can be important for hunting, target shooting and personal protection. If you are pheasant hunting or target shooting, you can see the bird, or clay, as it launches from your weak side. The peripheral vision gives you an added amount of time to mount your gun and acquire your target. The same can be said in personal protection. If you have to close your eye, you may not see another attacker coming from the side. Having both eyes open gives you a greater field of vision.

I am mentioning eye dominance because it seems, my dominant eye has changed over the years. It is becoming more difficult for me to shoot moving targets.

Here is the problem. If you put the shotgun in line with your dominant eye and have both eyes open, you see a smooth line down the barrel and the sight at the end. Try switching hands and mount the gun in front of your non-dominant eye. Open both eyes and look down the barrel.  The view is almost one of double vision. The barrel may appear crisscrossed with two sights at the end. This is one reason you end up having to close an eye to shoot.

I decided to learn to shoot with both hands. I took my pistol, rifle and shotgun to the range to attempt shooting with my weak hand. Overall the shooting went well. I had a fairly good grouping with both the pistol and rifle. I thought the shotgun would be the challenge of the trio, but I was pleasantly surprised as I shattered eight out of ten clays.

With the pistol I fumbled around a bit when I approached the line to practice. The grip felt awkward as my right hand fought to be in charge. Next, my thumbs had a challenge as they argued with the safety. My muscle memory told my right thumb to flip the safety. With the new grip, the left was in the way. I took my time and worked this out. Next, I practiced releasing the magazine.

When I felt safe and comfortable with my new grip I sent a few rounds down range. The trigger-pull felt fine, and my shot grouping was fairly good. The most difficult undertaking of live fire was the old habit of closing my left eye. Ultimately, it was the muscle-memory from years of shooting that presented the largest challenge.

Shooting the rifle offered no huge obstacles. I shot from a bench and remained steady. After this experiment I believed shotgun would be the most difficult since I would be shooting at moving targets.

DSC 7528 resized 600

I practiced mounting and swinging the shotgun before going to live fire. I had to place the opposite foot forward which opened up my stance, allowing me to swing through with ease. I was able to focus with both eyes open much easier than I had at the pistol range. I felt more relaxed in my movement and confident in my shots.

At the shotgun range, I was using a Beretta Silver Pigeon 12 gauge. I have used this gun over the years and have always been able operate the break action with ease. When I switched to my left hand, I was a bit awkward opening the action and catching the spent shells with my right hand.

After this personal test, I am certain anyone can practice and become quite proficient with both eyes open using their weak hand.

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

Impossible Expectations in Self Defense – Part 2

 

Statistically, it is unlikely that law enforcement officers or armed citizens will ever find themselves in a situation that requires them to use deadly force. For those who do, they will face a grand jury that determines whether or not that force was justified. If it’s determined to be unjustified, an indictment, criminal prosecution, and civil suits will likely follow. Their trial will consist of a jury of their peers, which is composed of citizens. 

JurorsThese jurors will have their own personal beliefs and opinions about appropriate use of force. Even with legal guidance and the standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, there is no guarantee that an acquittal with be forthcoming. Juries have been known to erroneously apply their beliefs of guilt or innocence by applying hindsight.

 

 

 

    Photo Copyright: Craig Robinson/Londondeposit

Some of those beliefs include that the victim could’ve or should’ve:

  • Known whether or not there was a bullet in the suspect’s chamber
  • Shot the threat in an extremity
  • That it is never appropriate to use deadly force women, pregnant women, children, or the elderly
  • Fired a warning shot before utilizing deadly force

Empty Chamber

The only people who are capable of knowing if there is a bullet in the chamber of a firearm is the suspect, God, and Superman. To expect anyone else of making this determination is preposterous. Still there are many who believe that this is possible. It’s unfair to expect an officer or citizen to risk their life by waiting to see if a round is actually chambered.  Case law does not require a wait and see strategy.Suspect Pointing Gun

Is it Loaded, or Empty?

Photo Copyright: Pio3

Deadly force case law is similar to any use of force application, allowing the use of preemptive strikes, so long as there is legal justification. How this burden of is justified is different for police officers and citizens. Both standards, however, include the necessity to show that the individual using force was in fear of death or great bodily harm.

For law enforcement officers, the application of deadly force is more lenient than for citizens because of the duties they are expected to perform such as affecting an arrest. Officers are expected to use only the force necessary to overcome resistance. Considerations the courts take into account include; the severity of the crime, prevention of a violent offender’s flight, and the reasonable belief that the suspect would cause death or great bodily harm to the officer or others. For the armed citizen, however, the standard of reasonableness is not included. Citizens must be able to prove that a felony was being committed or about to be committed - mere suspicion is insufficient.

Shoot to Injure

Shooting to injure in a deadly force scenario is absurd. Few people possess the marksmanship skills to make such a shot. To shoot a limb is like threading a needle. It is also not going to stop the deadly force encounter (see an upcoming article on stopping a deadly threat). Suspects move and extremities move more than a torso. Shooting under the stress of a life or death encounter significantly increases the danger. Recreating stress in training, practice, and competition is different from the stress experienced when one’s life is in danger. Inoculating oneself against stress helps in reaction time, but will not guarantee effective shooting of a limb. As a matter of fact, when this does occur it is most likely the result of the shooters fixation on the threat held in the suspect’s hands – such as a knife or gun. The adage that where the eyes go the hands will follow certainly applies.

See the upcoming article addressing the belief that women, pregnant women, juveniles, and the elderly do not pose a bona fide threat.

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

Don’t Forget to Breathe - Four Breathing Methods for Shooters

 

I wake up, burrowed in my sleeping bag, and I feel a chill on my nose and cheeks. I open my eyes and see the silhouette, on the tent, made by the moon light through the tree branches. Suddenly the hair on my arms and neck stand on end as I hear a bull elk bugle in the night. My heart rate quickens as I become excited for the day’s hunt.

The morning is spent climbing, hiking, calling, maneuvering, circling, trying to think on a bull elk’s level and outsmart him. I scurry up a hill. I climb closer, hauling my gun as I maneuver over fallen trees. My heart is pounding and my breath is quick as I try to breathe the thin air. I glance over a knoll to see the bull. He is within a hundred yards from me.

The bull elk screams a bugle that makes my already pounding heart jump in my chest. I duck behind the embankment and try to calm my breathing. Now is the time. He is within range. I have to make a good shot.Whether you are shooting a paper target or hunting a live animal, you want to remain steady.

Don’t forget to breathe -

Whether we are at the range shooting targets, or in the field hunting, breathing is important. We want our sight, scope or pin to be on its mark when we pull the trigger.

Education, shooting positions and firearms are all very important to shooters. Breathing is a very important factor as well. We all breathe. From the day we were born we have unconsciously learned to breathe in and out. That natural motion can help or hinder during shooting.

Controlled breathing is a necessity in shooting accuracy. When you breathe in and out your chest rises and falls. This movement can cause your gun barrel or arrow sight to float on its target. Your breathing may cause you to move at the exact moment you pull the trigger to fire.

Sometimes when you are hunting, you get excited and/or the terrain and conditions cause your heart rate to accelerate. Your breathing becomes more rapid and harder to control. If you hold your breath, you may become light headed and your shot may be off target. It is important to practice your breathing techniques as you practice shooting positions at the range.

There are multiple methods of breathing during a shot. The best thing to do is practice them and determine which works best for you. Once you’ve determined your breathing technique, practice it so it becomes instinctive when you are under pressure.

  1. Exhale & Pause - When you are in shooting position, put your cheek against the stock of the gun. Take in a deep breath. Exhale just a portion of that breath, pause briefly and pull the trigger. The pause should allow you to hold your gun barrel and sights in perfect alignment on the target at the very moment the gun fires.
  2. Inhale & Pause – Relax and practice steady breathing. Double check your shooting position. In your rythm of relaxed breathing, inhale. When your lungs are about half full, pause and pull the trigger. The inhale and pause is similar to the exhale and pause method. Your gun barrel and sights should be in perfect alignment on the target at the exact moment the gun fires.
  3. Full exhale – Make sure you are in proper shooting position. Breathe slowly to relax. Focus on your target. As you breathe naturally, and you are at complete exhale, pause when your lungs are empty and squeeze the trigger.
  4. Breathe Naturally – Breathing naturally takes the focus completely off of breathing technique. You do not  pause at all. Focus on your form and your target as you breathe naturally and squeeze the trigger. Sometimes being consciously focused on breathing can increase heart rate and breathing patterns. The natural breathing technique takes the focus off and you begin to unconsciously form a habit of correct shot timing.

When you are pausing, remember just that. It is a pause, not a hold. When a shooter holds their breath, their muscles tighten and their heart rate can change. This will dramatically change the accuracy of a shot.Practice breathing while working on various shooting positions.

While you are practicing, if you become short of breath, stop. Re-group and practice your natural, relaxed breathing. It is important to steady your breath to decrease the amount of movement your body is making. If you are able, step back. Take a deep breath in. Then exhale and then reacquire your target.

These are basic breathing techniques. I have friends who are Olympic shooters. These elite marksmen practice a technique in which they pull their triggers in between heartbeats. These amazing athletes are extremely practiced and in tune with their shooting. Most of us can only aspire to that level of shooting control. 

In our journey to becoming perfect shooters, we can practice shooting positions, techniques and of course, breathing.

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

Summer Camping Fun

 

Butterfield Lee CkOne of the great things about growing up in Arkansas is living so close to the Ozark Mountains and the great camping trips we had there. Our usual spot was a 1-2 hour drive from home depending on which way we had to go in to the camp.

When I was a kid every summer as soon as school let out and sometimes sooner if we could get away, a bunch of us would hit the woods to go camping. Our fall deer camp doubled as our favorite summer camping spot. We usually had at least 2 Jeeps full of dads, uncles and kids. There were several time we had as many as 15-20 of us camped out.

In the days before seat belt safety we were usually all in Dad's CJ5 Jeep. My dad drove, another dad rode shotgun, our tent, all our gear and 5 kids were all crammed in the Jeep. Three of us had to squeeze in the back of the Jeep on top of our gear, one kid was in the dad’s lap in the passenger seat and one kid rode on center console. We also had the doors off the Jeep. I miss the good old days when we could do stuff like that without getting a ticket.

rock hole

As soon as we reached our campsite, we would pile out of the Jeep and hit the woods or the creek. We usually went straight to the creek if it was running any at all. Our camp was on a high bank above a creek over looking a spring fed hole of water that hardly ever went dry in the summer.

Inevitably one of us would fall in the creek within 5 minutes of getting there which was usually fine, but on those spring and fall trips it was a might chilly.

On the hot summer weekends we usually just played in the creek. Other weekends, especially closer to deer season, we would spend a lot of time squirrel hunting and checking for deer sign or just hiking and exploring.

While we didn’t hike in to our camp, our camping was primitive with no conveniences of any kind. We drove nearly an hour from the main road to our camp where the road ended back then so it was isolated. We used the water from the creek for cooking, doing the dishes and sometimes drinking.

ozark mountains foss

Steaks were our customary Friday evening dining choice. We didn’t bother with anything healthy like vegetables. Just the steaks cooked out over the campfire and had cookies or Little Debbie snacks for dessert. There is something about a campfire steak that makes it taste so much better. The rest of the time we lived off bologna sandwiches, snacks and sodas.

We usually set up a tent and the dads and younger kids would sleep in the tent. My camping compatriots and I usually slept on the ground out under the stars. Bugs never did seem to bother us much when we were sleeping on the ground. Sometimes you would wake up with a spider or some other bug crawling across you face that you just swatted away. Other times the mosquitoes were so bad that you had to sleep with something covering your head to keep them away. The rest of the time we just scratched a few bites and went on. And we loved every minute of it.

copperhead snake resized 600

We rarely saw snakes. I guess we made enough noise to scare them off. But there was one time one of us almost stepped on a copperhead that was about 3 foot long which was the biggest copperhead we’ve ever seen. Most of the larger copper heads you see around here are about 18” long. I helped my friend’s dad skin it out. Even with it's head cut off, that copper head kept striking at us. 

The most fun of all that we had were the vines that grew on the side of the mountain behind our camp. We would find a good thick vine with a clear area down the hill and swing from it. The side of the mountain was steep enough that we could swing out and be really high up. There was only one bad incident with the vines. Early one summer we hit the woods and the first thing my buddy did was run up the hill, grab the old vine from the previous year and swing out. He swung all the way out and just started back when the rotten vine broke. He landed tail first on a pointed rock. I think he might have broken his butt.

Despite some of the minor bumps, scratches and bruises, we all had a whole lot of fun, weekend camping was our most favorite summer past time. I hope a lot of you got to do the same, and if you get a chance take your kids out camping.

What are some of your great camping memories?

You can follow me on Twitter @thejasonparks

Pictures via:
http://www.ouachitamaps.com/Butterfield.html
http://tripwow.tripadvisor.com/slideshow-photo/ozark-mountains-by-travelpod-member-graybeard-foss-united-states.html?sid=10398652&fid=tp-2 
http://arklahomahiker.org/2012/05/22/butterfield-hiking-trail/
http://www.wanderingherpetologist.com/spot-copperhead/ Could you spot the copperhead?

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

Wiltons' Roast Grouse - A Recipe for Fall Grouse

 

The turning leaves and cooler weather of the British countryside are a clear indication that the short Northern European summer is coming to an end.

It also foreshadows the arrival of grouse season and, with it, the delicious dishes that accompany the fall months of Great Britain.

For the best recipe we know in existence, we turned to the head chef of Wiltons, a London restaurant that is as historic (it opens its doors in 1742) as it is iconic to the London Beretta Gallery staff and customers, with its location but a short-walk away from our London store.

Here is the original Wiltons recipe, followed by a brief history of the restaurant.

Says the chef: 

"At Wiltons we take pride in ensuring we have some of the best grouse in the country on our table and we also think it should be cooked simply so you can enjoy all the delights this glorious bird has to offer.

This is our recipe for you to cook this bird at home, but don’t forget if your going to do the traditional roast you need game chips, watercress and bread sauce."

The Roast Grouse

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This happens in three parts: the bird is seared on all sides on top of the oven it's then roasted in a very hot oven and, finally, it's rested. If any of these phases is skimped, the grouse will probably be under-, or unevenly, cooked.

You will have to ask your butcher to prep the bird for you and ask him for some trimmings too.

Ingredients

1    prepared grouse per serving

20ml sunflower oil

50g  dice of celeriac, carrot, shallots (mirepoix)

Sprig of fresh thyme

1dsp brandy

Method

Make sure you have taken the grouse out of the fridge 30 minutes before you roast them. If you stand it with its breast pointing upwards, the juices inside it will be better distributed.

  1. Heat the oil in a heavy-duty pan that will just contain the grouse.

  2. Lay the bird on one side of its breast and begin searing it. Turn it over on to the other side.

  3. Add the mirepoix and thyme.

  4. Turn it on to its back and continue to fry.

  5. Hold up the grouse and sear the plump ends of the breast.

  6. Pour brandy into the pan.

  7. Transfer pan and grouse to a preheated oven at 200°C Fan assisted.

  8. Allow 8 minutes for Medium Rare and 12 minutes for Medium.

  9. Rest the grouse at least 10 minutes before carving it.

 Grouse preparation

 
Roast gravy

Now you will never get the carcase of the grouse to make the gravy like we do in restaurants so ask your butcher for the neck and winglets so you can have a rich sauce that should accompany this glorious bird.

 

Ingredients

200g grouse trimmings

1    streaky bacon rasher

1    banana shallots, rough dice

1    garlic bulb, peeled and sliced

1    sprig of thyme

1    bay leaf

5    white peppercorns

salt

5    juniper berries

1tsp sherry vinegar

1tbsp     port

1tbsp     red wine

500ml     veal stock

500ml     chicken stock

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Method
  1. Colour off the grouse trimmings and bacon in a sauce pan.
  2. Add the shallots, garlic, herbs and spices. Cook this on a medium heat for 5 minutes.
  3. Now add the sherry vinegar and let it reduce down to syrup.  Just keep stirring this to release any taste morsels left on the pan.
  4. When it’s syrup and the port and reduce to a glaze, by glaze I mean a syrup consistency.
  5. Now add the red wine and reduce to a glaze.  All we are doing here is concentrating the flavours of the wine.
  6. Its now time to add the stocks and bring to the boil.
  7. Simmer, skim and cook out for 40 minutes approximately.  The sauce should coat the back of the spoon and taste full in the mouth. If you think its there, strain it and put it in the fridge till you need it.

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––– WILTONS HISTORY–––

 

Always in the St. James's area, WILTONS originally opened in 1742 as a stall selling oysters, shrimps and cockles in the Haymarket by George William Wilton, a local shellfish monger. Business prospered and moved in 1805 toCockspur Street.

 

Over the next 50 years, the premises moved around St James's and became a fully-fledged restaurant in 1840 onRyder Street, calledWiltonsOyster Rooms. The first Royal Warrant was received in 1884 as Purveyor of Oysters to QueenVictoria, and a second as Purveyors to the Prince of Wales.

 

In 1889, the restaurant moved out of the family for the first time and was bought by David Edwin Winder. In 1930, the license was taken over by Mrs Bessie Leal. Mrs Leal held the license until 1942, when a bomb was dropped on St. James’s Church, Piccadilly. Mrs Leal folded her towel and declared to Mr Olaf Hambro – who happened to be eating oysters at the bar – thatWiltonswas closed. Mr Hambro’s response was to request thatWiltonsbe added to his bill.

 

Mr Hambro engaged the services of Jimmy Marks, then oyster man at Bucks Club, and reopened a week later. WILTONS moved toBury Streetin 1964 then to its current site at55 Jermyn Streetin 1984. The restaurant is still owned by the Hambro family.

 

Its currentJermyn Streetlocation, in the heart of St James's, is ideally suited to its clientele, which includes members of the government, businesspersons, film stars and British aristocracy. Service is discreet, professional and welcoming. WILTONS is a British classic.

 

 

 

Wiltons Restaurant, 55 Jermyn Street, London SW1Y 6LX - Telephone 020 7629 9955 – www.wiltons.co.uk

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

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