Emerging Threat

6-Jan-16 – 14:36 by ToddG

The world — and the U.S. in particular — is changing. There is no denying or arguing this point.

2016-2015-new-year-580x358The threat likelihood that we, as citizens, face is changing, too. While there are still muggers and rapists and thieves aplenty in our society, this year has seen a rise in organized, trained, well armed, and fearless teams of ne’er do wells who are all too happy to kill their victims. Murder for them is a goal, not an inconvenience.

“They’ll run from the sound of gunfire” doesn’t really apply to a group of AK-wielding religious zealots willing and eager to die for their cause.

So what does this mean? The idea of just showing or firing a gun is not a solution. It’s time to make sure the gear you are carrying is capable of more than scaring a kid trying his first robbery. Sure, that j-frame might be very comfortable but is it the tool you’re going to need if things go sideways? I’m not suggesting you run around with a dozen guns like Neo from The Matrix. I myself just switched from a 15+1 pistol to a 10+1. But I did so with thought and perspective and thinking through what was gained and lost by the switch.

It also means that it’s time to throw away the “defensive/offensive” line that some like to pretend exists. There is only one line that matters: the line you cross to start shooting. Once you’ve crossed that line, you don’t know what is happening, or how many threats might appear, or what kind of weapons, or explosives, or who knows what?

Now is the time to start taking things seriously. What can happen? What can you do to affect it? What do you need to learn? What do you need to get better at? Are you training for an easy fight, or a real fight?

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG

  1. 23 Responses to “Emerging Threat”

  2. Very good points. This is time for all serious armed citizens to acknowledge that we are at war and we have domestic enemies. From now on any pistol you carry needs a minimum of two mags. 1911s need 3, and backup guns arnt an option. Get training, practice and be prepared

    By Gerard on Jan 6, 2016

  3. Todd, what weapon did you switch to? Last I saw it was a G19.

    By Cam on Jan 6, 2016

  4. Cam — I am switching back to my Burton-Heirloom 9mm Commander.

    By ToddG on Jan 6, 2016

  5. Good to see a post from you.

    By Matt S. on Jan 6, 2016

  6. Good reminder. Thank you.

    I wonder what your thoughts are about the self limiting aspects of gunfights, including terrorist/active shooter incidents?
    My ideas have evolved over time. After a lot of thought I came to the conclusion that most of a terrorist gunfight will be just like a robbery except as you point out it is more a quick draw as they want us dead and not compliant.
    If they are in front of us with a weapon then it’s a problem we need to take care of right now. We need to get rid of the excuses and just take care of the problem once the mental trigger has happened.
    If they are far away I believe the problems of ID’ing the suspects over the good guys would require me to run to the gunfight and observe. Plus shooting long distance shots in a public place is a recipe for hitting an innocent who decides to move away or to cover at the wrong time.That’s happened more times that I care to count during FoF for active shooters.
    I think many people believe they will just know it is a terrorist act. The truth is usually it’s not easy at all. So do we run to a police shooting or get the heck out of the way? Would we get involved in a gang fight or move away?
    If we run to the terrorist threat we might be intervening in a fight we have no business sticking our nose in.
    I also have some philosophical reasons not to get involved but they are very politically incorrect. So I’ll keep them to myself. LOL.

    By bryan on Jan 6, 2016

  7. I carry the largest gun I can accurately shoot and comfortably conceal. Right now that’s the USP45. I’ve fired over 10,000 rounds through that platform. There’s very little I can’t do with it at this point. Which is why I carry it.

    By Greg P on Jan 7, 2016

  8. Todd, just out of curiosity, what exactly were the reasons for the switch from the G19G4 to the Heirloom Commander? I ask because I’ll be getting my CPL soon and would like to eventually carry a G19 when one can be procured.

    By Zach on Jan 7, 2016

  9. Re “throw[ing] away the ‘defensive/offensive’ line that some like to pretend exists.” In most cases, that line is in statute. A private citizen has no duty to pursue or apprehend, so if you insert yourself into someone else’s gunfight, you have committed a felony. If you’re in a duty-to-retreat state, ignoring that duty is a crime, as many people have found out to their sorrow.
    I’m all for armed defense against terrorists, but I’m not about to expose my family to 6- or 7-figure medical bills that my insurance won’t cover because I deliberately put myself in an extremely dangerous position, or 6- or 7-figure legal bills because I ignored the offensive/defensive paradigm that’s written into black-letter law.
    Call me a chickenshit if you want. My first duty is to the people in my house.

    By Old 1811 on Jan 7, 2016

  10. Old1811,

    Hopefully Todd will find time to answer your questions because I too think it is important for us to answer those questions before something happens.

    However, I took the offensive/defensive quote to mean something different. I have heard Todd often say that it’s better to have a quick draw/reload/etc and not need it than to have a slow one. So when a crazy person is trying to kill us it is about ending the fight in a very quick manner. Others like to talk about a pocket draw or a feint during the draw or a psychological stop. I will take all of those if they are available. But the bad guy, fate and the type of crime often has the control on what we need to do?

    Even in a normal robbery the way it might end is to shoot the bad guy and to do so by hitting him in the head. IF I don’t have that ability because of some error in my thought process about defensive shooting, then I’m screwed.

    By bryan on Jan 7, 2016

  11. Good points.

    As Travis Haley said (I am paraphrasing):

    “Defensive pistol shooting kind of doesn’t make sense. Once you decide there is a need to shoot somebody, there’s not much defensive about it. Shooting bullets into somebody’s body is an offensive act”.

    By achmed on Jan 7, 2016

  12. I apologize about the offense/defense confusion. My point is simply that once the gun comes out, it’s a shooting situation. Pretending that my goals are different is silly. Shooting someone is shooting someone (he said, never having shot anyone himself).

    The Burton Commander thing was partially a lark and partially obsession. It’s just hard to see that gun lie fallow in a safe. It was built to be used and shot and carried, and it runs great and does everything I could ask of a gun. Except for the magazine capacity, it exceeds the Glocks (which were working just fine for me, no complaints there) in just about every way.

    It points better for me, the trigger is amazing, the sights (custom designed and built by Jason Burton himself) are perfect, the feel is amazing, the build quality is uncompromising. It practically aims itself. It’s just — for me, at least — an awe inspiring gun that makes me feel better than I am. In contrast, the Glock always felt like a lot of work to shoot at my best ability. That’s on me, not the Glock. But things like the trigger are just incomparable between the two.

    Mostly, I’m just a gun snob.

    By ToddG on Jan 7, 2016

  13. There’s nothing wrong with being a gun snob!

    By Rick R on Jan 7, 2016

  14. Todd: I am glad to see you posting again. Your thoughts on certain things really cause me to reflect upon my own situations insofar as concealed carry and the way things are around us. I hope we will see more from you by way of similar posts and to keep us updated on the Heirloom gun. Recent weeks have seen me trying to find out more about your experiences with it due to a hiatus I had been on from shooting.

    It’s also interested to me that you are back to a 1911. I recently got into a P30 for the purpose of extra rounds (I agree with the spare magazine necessity nowadays, and 2 with a single stack), ease of concealability due to the lighter weight, and so on (I can conceal everything from a P30 to a USP fullsize, to a Sig P226 and 1911 without a problem.). But I find myself carrying my 1911s again because they are slimmer, I have a lot of time on them, and because I am confident in the gun and my ability with it. It doesn’t hurt that I have been becoming a lot more physically fit – predominantly because I have thought about the very topic of this post.

    Finally, for all… this is a scary world where it doesn’t matter if it is a terrorist situation, mugging, active shooter opening fire anywhere, much less a place that pretty much becomes a cattle car. Far more articulate – and experienced – people have better advice than I do. I hope that none of us have to experience the evil that this world is presenting nowadays. What you decide to do, just like was mentioned above, you have to have that honest conversation with yourself. I have. My priority is to protect myself and the people I love and care about. God forbid the necessity ever happens, I hope I can rise to the occasion – whether it is reacting or getting out of there.

    Anyway, this is very timely. There is nothing wrong with being a gun snob… it is an awesome hobby. I hope we see more posts. And I speak – mostly for myself – when I say I would love to read and see how that Heirloom gun is working out for you. Cheers!

    By John K on Jan 7, 2016

  15. Old 1811 and Bryan raised some valid points to consider. Terrorists, active killers, and even garden-variety armed robbers prefer soft targets because getting killed, even for a terrorist, too early into the crime doesn’t serve any purpose and may even empower the people, including the first responders who stopped them in their tracks. A piece of garbage who pulls out a gun in a public arena (church, mall, restaurant, etc) has to be stopped as quickly as possible. Any reasonable person should be exercising constant situational awareness regardless of whether or not he/she is armed. The foreign terror industry has brought another weapon into play in the form of body-borne, unstable improvised explosives, and individual skills to counter that new threat must be considered and put into practice in a training environment. For a civilian concealed carry practitioner, running toward the sound of gunfire, especially with gun in hand, when the incident did not occur in their immediate area presents an identification problem for first responders. This is even a concern for plain clothes or off-duty LEOs, but they may find themselves under some form of obligation to respond regardless. Any armed citizen is the area not immediately engaged would probably be just as justified, and useful by keeping a clear head and help people find exits to evacuate to safety. I talked to a fellow LEO once who was eating out with his family when two shotgun wielding thugs entered and started to rob the manager. Even though he was packing a capable handgun, he chose not to engage the robbers and start a firefight in a crowd. Instead, he used his firearm to cover the avenue of retreat while evacuating the diners through a side door. For anyone who goes outbid the house armed, carrying the smallest, lightest, tooth pick-caliber watch fob gun is no longer an option. Nor is leaving the extra ammo or the light source at home. And there’s nothing wrong with being a gun snob.

    By Rob T on Jan 8, 2016

  16. I’m glad you clarified. I’ve had too many conversations with people who don’t understand the difference between lawful defense of life and unlawful defense of property, or “taking the fight” to an offender (also known as “aggravated battery” or worse). Too many keyboard commandos seem to want to seize on any excuse to shoot someone (at least on the internet), and ignore or don’t understand the consequences of even a “good” shooting.
    Regarding your 9mm 1911: It’s America, you can do what you want, but I don’t believe in carrying an expensive, irreplaceable pistol for defense. If you have to use it, it might sit in an evidence locker for a year or more, and in some jurisdictions you’ll have to sue to get it back, even if your shooting is ruled completely justified. (That’s why I carried the agency’s pistol instead of my own on the job.) I’ll take a Glock or an M&P any time.

    By Old 1811 on Jan 8, 2016

  17. Great topic Todd and it is one I have been thinking about for the last two weeks. I currently carry a G43w/spare mag but I have been thinking about moving up to a G19w/spare mag for EDC. Especially when going to the more public areas where bad things can happen on bigger scales.

    By 9mmBrad on Jan 8, 2016

  18. Todd, I can purchase a Glock 32, which shoots the 357 SIG cartridge. I want to know if it’ll beat the glock to death. I know it’s a flat shooter and potent.

    By David on Jan 8, 2016

  19. Not Todd- The .357 sig beats the snot out of the gun. I say this based on shooting .357 Sig out of a G35 with a conversion barrel so as to shoot with a local agency. YMMV greatly.

    To Todd: How many mags are you carrying in the wild? Laser Grips or no?

    By David Barnes on Jan 8, 2016

  20. Todd,

    There really is just somethin’ about a bespoke gun, isn’t there? 😉

    By Tam on Jan 8, 2016

  21. David — agreed. I’m a fan of the SIG cartridge but historically it’s been tough on Glock longevity.

    Two spare mags, VCD (non-laser) grips.

    By ToddG on Jan 9, 2016

  22. Todd, what primary metrics would you base this decision from?

    It would be helpful to me and probably others who contemplate the decision of their EDC.

    Fast forward past reliability, after market support, etc. I’m speaking mainly on which drills or basic requirements do you see?

    There’s obviously a big difference between carrying a full size Glock or 1911 and a Shield for example.

    Speaking of 10+1, would you feel underarmed with a G26?

    Thank you

    By Gary on Jan 10, 2016

  23. Gary — More is always better. If I could magically fit 50 rounds into a single stack standard length 1911 mag, that would be great. Leaving that aside, I feel like 10+1, regardless of weapon, will do “if I do,” as the saying goes.

    Metrics. That’s harder to answer. I didn’t make the change because I knew I could pick the gun up and instantly shoot it better. Glocks, while hard work for me, have always shot & worked well.

    My primary motivation, while perhaps not logical, was “want.”

    The Burton Heirloom gun is also just amazing. There are times I pull the trigger, call the shot a miss, but the bullet ends up in the scoring zone where I was aiming. Sights and trigger are amazing.

    By ToddG on Jan 11, 2016

  24. “If I could magically fit 50 rounds into a single stack standard length 1911 mag, that would be great.”

    It happens in the movies so it must be possible!

    By John K on Jan 12, 2016

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