1 Oct 03

The 6th Commandment

Many friends and students have been troubled by the admonition in the Sixth Commandment, ie: “Thou shall not kill.” It is time this confusion be put to rest. Research through Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance and several different translations of The Old Testament is helpful.

The clause in question is found in the book of Exodus, chapter twenty, verse thirteen. In the King James’ Version (KJV), that verse is translated, “Thou shall not kill.” In the days when this was written, animals were, of course, killed for food, and there is nowhere in scripture any instructions that this practice be stopped. So, we must examine the Hebrew word that is translated “kill” in the KJV in order to clarify exactly what is meant. Incidentally, it is only in the KJV and several other (old) translations that the word is translated “kill”. In the Moffatt Translation, the verse is rendered, “You shall not murder”. In The Living Bible, it is rendered, “You must not murder”.

The Hebrew word translated to the English word “kill” in the KJV is “ratsach” (pronounced raw-tsakh’). It literally means, “to dash to pieces”, and it is never used in context with animals. It refers exclusively to people. In fact, this particular word is used only several other times in The Old Testament, and each time it refers to homicide. A different word is used to describe the killing of animals for food or sacrifice. It is “shachat” (pronounced shaw-khat’).

For example:

Numbers 35:15-16:

“Anyone who kills a person by accident may take sanctuary in them (your towns). But, if he (deliberately) struck the person with an iron tool, so that he died; the man is a murderer; the murderer must be put to death without fail.”

The word here (ratsach) translated “murderer” is the same one translated “kill” back in Exodus. Apparently, KJV translators were not particularly consistent, unless it fit their agenda.

Continuing, Numbers 35:20-21:

“Also, if he pushes a person, because he hates him, or hides and throws something at him, so that he dies, or maliciously strikes him until he dies, the man who struck the blow must be put to death without fail; he is a murderer.”

Again, the same word, “ratsach” is translated “murderer”.

The word used to describe a public execution of a criminal, such as in the verses quoted above as “to put to death” is “nathan muwth” (naw-than’ mooth). “Nathan” is a form of the verb, to do. It usually means, “to put,” or “to make.” “Muwth” is a form of the verb, “to die,” and it refers to the state of death.

The word translated “kills” in the verse above, where the killing was an accident is, “nakah” (naw-kaw’). It means to commit a homicide, as does ratsach, but it is a softer word and is usually used to describe an accidental homicide, rather than a murder. There is no separate Hebrew word used to distinguish a deliberate, but justifiable homicide from a deliberate, but unjustifiable one. Ratsach is customarily used in both instances, much like our word, “homicide”.

However, certain homicides are clearly identified as justifiable:

Numbers 35:26-27:

“If the murderer ever goes outside the bounds of the town of refuge where he has taken sanctuary and is caught by the avenger outside the bounds, then the avenger may kill (ratsach) the murderer without incurring any guilt.”

From the foregoing, I think it is safe to say that Exodus 20:13 is correctly translated, “You shall not murder”. “You shall not kill”, is an obvious mistranslation, because it is not specific and engenders confusion, particularly among grasseaters who use it to rationalize their own willful unpreparedness and cowardice.



2 Oct 03

Fox Incident in SA:

My friend recently underwent back surgery and is currently in a brace and unable to sit down:

“My wife drove me to our local shopping mall, so that we could take a short walk. Car transportation for me consists of an awkward process of arranging my frame into a suitable configuration, so that I can plop into the passenger seat. The seat is flat, as I cannot sit. Getting out is even more of an expedition.

On arrival at the mall parking lot, my wife parked the car and got out to come over to my side to help me. I unlocked my door and opened it partially. Next thing, the door was violently yanked open, and I was confronted by an aggressive, belligerent drunk, who was shouting, cursing, and demanding money. No hesitation on my part! He instantly got a squirt of Fox. My aim was off. The main stream went wide. However, the little he did get was more than adequate! He lurched backward in astonishment. The last I saw of him, his face was buried in his hands, and he was coughing, gagging, and floundering aimlessly on one foot and one knee. My wife and I, of course, left immediately and parked on the other side of the mall. Never saw the guy again.”

Lesson: My friend had a plan! The drunk did too, but the last thing he expected was an immediate and precise counterattack. In the end, a violent encounter was avoided, and my friends are okay. Good show!

Fox OC really works! Highly recommended. I carry it all the time.



7 Oct 03

At an Urban Rifle Course in WA last weekend, one of my students brought a Krebs AK47 in 7.62X39 (30 Soviet). It is a wonderful rifle, and the inherent superiority of the 7.62X39 round over the 223 was evident.

The rifle features Western sights, and didn’t display so much as a single hiccup all weekend.

Mark Krebs and his crew are making an outstanding piece of equipment indeed. Good show, guys!



8 Oct 03

An LDS friend reminded me of this quotation from Joseph Smith in the Mormon Church’s Doctrine and Covenants, Section 134, Verse 11:

“We believe that men should appeal to the civil law for redress of all wrongs and grievances, where personal abuse is inflicted or the right of property or character infringed, where such laws exist as will protect the same; but we believe that all men are justified in defending themselves, their friends, and property, and the government, from the unlawful assaults and encroachments of all persons in times of exigency, where immediate appeal cannot be made to the laws, and relief afforded.”

Curiously, the foregoing is exactly what we teach today. The Mormons got it right!



11 Oct 03

One of my LEO students in a large city in the Midwest was involved in a fatal shooting last week. He is an exceedingly competent shooter and a dedicated trainer. His skills were tested:

“My young partner (two weeks out of the academy) and I responded to a domestic call. Our department just graduated a large academy class, and all us senior patrolmen are currently functioning as FTOs. A man had accused his wife/live-in of hiding his drug supply (crack cocaine) from him. He subsequently became angry and threatened her with a pistol (Bryco 9mm, bright-chrome plated). The call to 911 was made by the woman. The offender, upon discovering that his wife had called the police, said that he would ‘have a little surprise for them (responding police officers) when they arrived.’ He then went outside and waited for us.

He didn’t have to wait long! The two of us arrived, parked one house away, and approached the house in question on foot. We saw the suspect standing near the sidewalk, but it was a warm evening, and there were many other people walking about, as well as a good deal of traffic. However, the offender’s stance (his hands were not visible) made me particularly suspicions of him. I said to my partner, ‘See the way that guy is standing? That may be our suspect.’

He waited for us to get within twenty feet. We were commanding him to move slowly and show us his hands. Without saying a word, he brought up the Bryco pistol and pointed it directly me. I responded by lurching to the side and simultaneously drawing my SIG P220 (my hand was already on it). As soon as I found my front sight on his body midline, I fired several rounds (230gr Gold Dot). I could see his shirt convulsing, so I knew I was hitting him.

He stumbled backward, but stayed on his feet and did not drop the gun. I could see him frantically yanking on the trigger of his shiny pistol. He was trying desperately to shoot me. I fired several more rounds, again into the body midline. By this time, my partner was also firing (9mm, 147gr WW). The suspect fell backward onto his fanny and then fell the rest of the way, hitting the back of his head on the ground. However, he still had not dropped his pistol.

Then, he sat back up and pointed his pistol at us once more! I knew I couldn’t have more than one or two rounds left in my magazine, so I put my front sight on his head and fired what turned out to be my last two rounds (shooting him in the pelvis would have been pointless, as he was already sitting). One round hit him in the throat, and the other hit him in the eye. That did it! He finally dropped the pistol and fell back down, DRT.

I reloaded, but have no memory of it. My partner commented on my fast reload. When he made his comments, I didn’t even realize that I had reloaded.

Of nine shots I fired, seven struck the suspect. Of the seven that hit, two, fully expanded, still went through and through. The rest stayed in the body.

As it turns out, the suspect never fired a round. His pistol had a fully charged magazine inserted, but there was no round in the chamber. Either through ignorance or carelessness, he had not loaded his pistol. He brought a club to a gunfight. Shame on him. He won’t have the opportunity to make that mistake again!

The department backed us fully. What little criticism there was of our actions was handled deftly, professionally, and quickly.”


>There is no “safe way” to walk up to a suspect, just as there is no “safe way” to approach a vehicle. In situations like this, there is seldom going to be useable cover available, so sudden, lateral movement, combined with a smooth draw, and decisive, aggressive shooting will be the difference between you living or dying.

>In gunfights, you’re going to miss with some of your shots. No one bats a thousand in this business. The important thing is to finish the fight! We carry pistols because they are convenient, not because they are effective. Multiple shots will probably be required, maybe even an emergency reload, or two. All this must be practiced thoroughly. If there must be a fight, the best one is a short one. Deadly force should always be applied with surgical precision but also with great enthusiasm, sufficient volume, and without hesitation nor apology.

>Even when a suspect is off his feet and on the ground, he can still be dangerous. You have to watch his hands. If he still has a weapon, make your judgment based upon his capabilities, not his “intent” or his posture.

>My students were victorious because of skill, teamwork, preparedness, good equipment, personal gallantry, and superiority of purpose. Good show, guys!



15 Oct 03

Matching the Mission with the Gun:

I try my best to discourage it, but, at every Urban Rifle Course, at least one student will bring an M1A (sometimes even a M70 bolt gun) with a mammoth, high-magnification, close-eye-relief scope, usually 3-9X variable. In addition, the rifle itself has invariably been “accurized” to the point where it is tight, temperamental, and ammunition-sensitive. Nothing inherently wrong with this equipment. It’s just unsuitable to our mission!

This is what we all need to understand: We carry pistols as a way to deal with unexpected threats. As such, carry pistols need to be slim, slick, smooth, short, and easy and convenient to carry concealed. In addition, a carry pistol needs to have an adequate reserve of ammunition and be powerful enough to stop a fight even if several opponents must be neutralized quickly. Defensive pistols, indeed all defensive firearms, also need to be loose enough to continue to operate reliably in spite of exposure to sweat, grit, lint and continuous neglect. No pistol is going to be nearly as effective (as accurate, as powerful) as a rifle or shotgun, but, unlike rifles and shotguns, we can have a pistol on our person (concealed) nearly all the time. Pistols are convenient, not particularly effective.

Utility/defensive rifles and shotguns cannot be carried on the person concealed (in most cases), but we keep them nearby as a means of dealing with expected threats, albeit threats that may still come at any time and from any direction. Like pistols, utility/defensive rifles and shotguns thus must be thought of as reactive/defensive weapons. Sometimes, rifles and shotguns must be employed at what are normally considered pistol ranges, where retention is a critical issue. Hence, defensive rifles and shotguns must be short, slick, and handy, but robust in much the same way a defensive pistol must be robust. In my opinion, for quick, reactive deployment, iron sights are best for most people. Anything that requires batteries is begging the question! Anything that adds bulk slows reaction time. Rifles and shotguns are effective, not particularly convenient, even in the best configurations.

Given the above, we must face the fact that any suitable, defensive rifle or pistol is never going to yield better than mediocre accuracy. Accuracy and reliability are mutually antagonistic. Of course, the inherent accuracy of any good, utility rifle is more than sufficient for the purpose to which we’re putting it. Greater accuracy is certainly possible, but tighten a gun up to yield great precision, and you turn it into a moody, temperamental prima donna, not something you would want protecting your life. I am happy to give up superfluous accuracy in exchange for dependable reliability.

Finally, we use hyper-accurate, scoped rifles as a way of dealing with threats that are not only expected but are also known and identified. These weapons are not “reactive” and thus are not particularly suitable for dealing with unknown and unlocated threats, be they expected or unexpected. These are temperamental, sniper rifles, requiring anal maintenance and gentle treatment. They do have their place, just not in domestic, defensive, reactive shooting. People bring them to Urban Rifle courses, not because they’re suitable, but because their owners want to show them off and look good. Tiny shot groups are always impressive, at any range, providing that impressing people is all you want to do.

If you’re serious about defensive shooting, stay away from any rifle (or pistol) that is marked “Target” or “Match.” Accept the fact that, to stay alive long enough to finish the fight, you’re going to have to deploy your weapon quickly and shoot decisively, perhaps at multiple targets at various ranges, with sufficient accuracy to stop the fight and sufficient speed to allow you to seize and hold the agenda.

We have to equip ourselves to fight, not play games!



17 Oct 03

Sage readiness comments from overseas friends, one in the Philippines and one in SA:

From SA:

“As you know, we live on a farm and must be able to keep multiple attackers occupied, perhaps for as long as a day, before any kind of help is likely to arrive. I would love to carry a pistol chambered for 40S&W or 357SIG, but we’re pretty much stuck with 9mm over here.

We now fit the red Glock firing pin Springs (twenty-eight Newtons, not quite sure of the pound equivalent) and maritime/amphibious firing pin spring cups to all our Glocks. We found these Glock-approved modifications significantly improve detonation of the hard primers that are so common here. Combine this with a NY1 Trigger, and the Glock pistol is unbeatably reliable. I carry a G17, loaded with WW147gr Black Talons (Cor-Bon when I can find them). Gwen carries a G19. At the house, we have several G18 (33rnd) magazines lying about. With accurate shooting, we should be able to destroy a dozen or so and hold off the rest. I’m acutely hoping I don’t get the chance to test my theory!”

From the Philippines:

“The legal climate is strict over here, and we are only allowed to own one rifle. The predictable tendency is to find one that fits all tasks. Naive people are still insistent on having a single rifle that is simultaneously suitable for both CQB and long-range sniping. As you noted, such a creature does not exist. As in the States, most of the people here insisting on owning a rifle that will ‘drive tacks at six hundred meters,’ lack the personal competence to hit any kind of target at one hundred! If your rifle will consistently group into a twenty-five centimeter (ten-inch) circle (under field conditions) at two hundred meters, it is sufficient for any challenge you are likely to encounter here.

In addition, our experience is that the first guy taken out by the bad guys is always the one with the shiny, gimmick-laden gear. Guys with ‘high-speed gear’ are perceived to be the more affluent and thus the ‘alpha members’ of the pack. Get rid of them first, and the entire group will fall into disordered chaos, or so goes the theory.
Civilian gun owners have had to defend their homes and villages from raiding insurgents. Sieges are typically fourteen hours, or longer, before government forces arrive. Some in remote areas have lasted for days, even weeks. Neighborhood skyline is typically composed of two-story houses and shops, surrounded by open fields. Most engagement distances are within two hundred meters, and fighting usually carries over into the night. Most shots are on moving targets.

Guns that see the most action include the ubiquitous M16, but also much ‘obsolete’ weaponry, including 30-06 Garands, 308 M14s, and M1 Carbines. Carbines are especially popular among women and teenagers. In these town raids, the carbine proved its worth more than once! Bad guys are particularly scared of the Garand, because it shoots through nearly anything, and it is effective at very long range. More than one surprised insurgent has been killed by a 30-06 bullet, when he thought he was far enough distant to be safe!

The foregoing stands in stark contrast to the manicured lawns and perfect target presentations typical of static rifle ranges, where increased difficulty is always created by increased distances and/or smaller targets (that still remain distinct in color against the greenery).

As you say, it’s not a ‘game’ over here. Insurgents may not be competent riflemen, but they mean to take over this country, and, if you get in their way, plan on a desperate and prolonged fight!”

Comments: My esteemed colleague, Louis Awerbuck, makes a good point when he suggests that we complicate training challenges, not by increasing target distance, but by reducing contrast and adding movement. At any such suggestion, of course, all the target shooting kiddies shriek in horror!

While, in this country, we make casual and quaint games out of critical shooting skills, good and decent people in other parts of the world are literally fighting for their lives, as we can see. We may face the same situation here, and maybe a lot sooner than any of us think!



21 Oct 03

A success story from one of my students who is the training officer with a Midwest police department:

“Last night, one of my officers responded to a violent domestic, reported by a neighbor. When my officer arrived, he heard loud, female screams from inside the house. When he entered, he was immediately confronted by a large man who had a knife in his hand. The suspect slashed his own arm, then turned to my officer.

My officer, pistol (G22, with 165gr Gold Dot) in hand, ordered him to drop the knife several times. The suspect not only refused but moved aggressively toward my officer. My officer responded by retreating and repeating his command to drop the knife. The suspect was quickly overtaking my officer when my officer decided to fire. He fired a single shot, which struck the suspect in the center of his abdomen.

The effect was dramatic and immediate! The suspect fell backwards, landing on his backside. In the process, he dropped the knife and pleaded with the officer not to shoot him any more. Backup arrived shortly, and the suspect was arrested and transported to the local hospital. He is expected to survive. My officer was unhurt, and no one else in the house was hurt.

The single round fired by my officer penetrated the suspect’s abdomen, ricocheted off of the pelvis, and then exited out his side. It then (fully expanded) reentered his right arm and finally came to rest just under the skin on the opposite side of the arm. It performed as advertised! I quickly went to the location myself and personally took the officer to the PD in order to get him away from the scene. The involved officer was, of course, suspended (with pay) pending the completion of the investigation, but none of us see any problem with it.

The important thing was that we have an enlightened policy here, so that this officer was not forced to make any statement in the immediate aftermath of the incident. He was taken home with his pistol and his patrol car and was not demeaned by having these two items taken from him in public.

I now understand how you feel when one of the students you have taught is victorious in a deadly encounter. As one of your students, I have passed on what I have learned to my guys. I can’t tell you how good it feels to know that all my (and your) hard work has paid off last night.”

Lesson: No deadly-force episode, no matter what the circumstances, will ever be exactly duplicated, before or since. And, no matter how restrained and righteous the officer’s actions, someone will always point out where he could have done it better. Happily, the law doesn’t require any of us to be saints. The law requires us to be reasonable.

An enlightened department will thoroughly, and with no bias, investigate all deadly-force incidents involving its officers. However, enlightened departments also don’t reflexively treat their officers like criminals every time those officers are obligated to make difficult decisions quickly.

Good show, both of you!



28 Oct 03

The Critical Combination:

At a pistol course in Texas last weekend, I had a female shooter with a G19 who was experiencing one stoppage after another. Most involved the slide failing to go completely into battery. Lubrication helped, but the problem returned within an hour.

The woman was small statured, even for a female, and she indicated that her pistol normally works flawlessly and that she could not understand why it was not working well this particular day. When she shot a G32 and a G23, no functional issues manifested themselves. Both worked perfectly in her hands. It was only her G19 that experienced the problem.

I explained to here that she had encountered the “Critical Combination:”

(1) a G19,
(2) in the hands of a small-statured person,
(3) shooting wimpy ammunition.

The 9mm hardball ammunition she was using at our course was foreign made and wimpy. When she shot high-performance, service ammunition she had, of course, not encountered the problem.

The G19 is a fine carry gun, but it needs to be fed full-power ammunition. It will usually still work, even with wimpy ammunition, in the hands of an average-to-large-sized male. But small-statured shooters will invariably experience problems when they attempt to shoot weak ammunition through it.



28 Oct 03

Local police are under attack not only in Iraq. This is from a friend in SA:

“Last week, Mr Selebe, our Minister of Police, requested the public to come forward to assist investigators with information on criminals who target police officers. We’re suffered a rash of attacks lately. Most have been fatal to the targeted police officer(s).

As if to answer his plea, the next day two men walked into a police station here in Capetown asking for directions. Without warning, one pulled a pistol (type and caliber unknown) and shot the constable who was trying to assist them. He died at the scene. Two other constables in the station at the time returned fire, but to no effect. The two suspects fled on foot, apparently uninjured. They are still at large.

I do not wish to run our guys down, but they are inexcusably undertrained and thus routinely panic and default to ‘spray and pray.’ The average constable attends a range exercise only once a year and fires fewer than a dozen rounds.”

Lesson: Resources expended on intensive and frequent training sessions pay big dividends at those times described above. Isn’t it curious how we never seem to be able to find the money to train, but we always seem to be able to find the money for elaborate funerals?

My friend and colleague, Tom Givens, recently noted that crime statistics are all rubbish. In fact, “security” is merely a word we’ve invented for the sole purpose of deceiving ourselves. It is used to describe a circumstance that doesn’t exist! There is no such thing as “high crime” or “low crime.” Those terms have meaning only to statisticians. For each of us individually, crime is either 100% (when we’re in the middle of incident such as this one), or it is zero (for the time being). In the face of daily news, only naive fools remain unprepared and unequipped. Sage officers (and others) will seek out training rather that wait for it to be provided. At the moment of truth, you’ll be on your own, and there are no “degrees of dead.”



29 Oct 03

Comments on the SA shooting from a friend with a large, domestic PD:

“Sounds like our PD! Our only requirement for qualification is thirty rounds annually. After you chase down the stragglers who are actively avoiding qualification, because they are poor shooters and don’t like the associated embarrassment, it can be as long as sixteen months in between qualifications. As a result, our shooting statistics are not a source of joy:

OIS statistics (generated by the FBI) indicate a national average for hit percentages of 18%. Ours is an impressive 6%.

Another statistic you will find depressing relates to lack of weapons preventive maintenance. Last year, during qualifications, five hundred handguns were immediately deadlined by our armorers! They were conspicuously unserviceable upon initial presentation or broke during the thirty-round exercise. These guns were from our patrol officers who came to the range during their tour of duty. Most involved officers had not the foggiest idea how long they had been carrying their pistol in that condition. I wonder what these officers’ partners were thinking when they realized that they had been working with someone who has been carrying a ‘dead man’s gun’ for weeks or even months.

It is scary and discouraging for those of us who are trying to keep these guys and gals trained and ready to go. But, we press on!”

Comment: Unfortunately, what is described above is not unusual for a big police department where officers are considered “expendable” by politicians and bureaucrats alike. Thank heaven for dedicated trainers like my friend here, who daily fight apathy from both directions. They do more good than they know!



30 Oct 03

Quik Clot

A glitzy new product called Quik Clot is currently being marketed to physicians and emergency medical personnel. Application of it to a wound is supposed to control bleeding. My physician students warn against its use. At best, it is superfluous. Direct pressure will still be necessary to get bleeding under control, and Quik Clot contributes little or nothing to the process.

Such products were available to surgeons as a powder to sprinkle onto oozing wounds several decades ago. It was a marketing flop. Few used it. Now, it is being resurrected and remarketed.

Just another dubious “miracle gadget” that, in this case, is supposed to substitute for direct pressure and a pressure dressing. Don’t waste your time and don’t let it take up valuable space in your field kit.



31 Oct 03

In 2004, my good friend and colleague, Dr Tony Barrera, and I are scheduling several one-day Treatment of Gunshot Wounds courses. The first will be in Memphis, TN on 1 Mar 04. This is a critical subject, at “treatment under fire” is often not addressed. Anyone interested contact me directly at jsfarnam@aol.com.

I’ve included below our entire 2004 schedule (so far). Again, contact me directly for details.


8-9 Nov 03 Advanced Defensive Handgun, Florence, SC
15-16 Nov 03 Advanced Defensive Handgun, Houston, TX
6-7 Dec 03 Basic/Intermediate Defensive Handgun, San Antonio, TX
17-18 Jan 04 Advanced Defensive Handgun, Ventura, CA
17-18 Jan 04 Women’s Defensive Handgun, Ventura, CA
1 Mar 04 (Mon) Treatment of Gunshot Wounds, Memphis, TN
6-7 Mar 04 Basic/Intermediate Defensive Handgun, Victoria, TX
6-7 Mar 04 Advanced Defensive Handgun, Defensive Urban Rifle and Shotgun, Victoria, TX
13-14 Mar 04 Basic/Intermediate Defensive Handgun, Los Angeles, CA
19-20 Mar 04 (Fri-Sat) Defensive Urban Rifle, Sandy, UT
17-18 Apr 04 Basic/Intermediate Defensive Handgun, Pittsburgh, PA
23-25 Apr 04 Women’s Defensive Handgun, Winamac, IN
23-25 Apr 04 Basic/Intermediate Defensive Handgun, Winamac, IN
26-27 Apr 04 (Mon-Tues) Police Defensive Handgun, Portland, ME
14-16 May 04 Basic/Intermediate Defensive Handgun, Benzonia, MI
21-23 May 04 Basic/Intermediate Defensive Handgun, Sturgis, MI
24-25 May 04 (Mon-Tues) Police Patrol Rifle, Sturgis, MI
28 May 04 (Fri) Treatment of Gunshot Wounds, Pittsburgh, PA
29-30 May 04 Defensive Urban Rifle and Shotgun, Pittsburgh, PA
31 May 04 (Mon) Women’s Defensive Handgun, Pittsburgh, PA
12-13 June 04 Advanced Defensive Handgun, Quantico, VA
19-20 June 04 DTI Instructor’s Course, Sturgis, MI
23-25 June 04 (Wed-Fri) Basic/Intermediate Defensive Handgun, Casper, WY
23-25 June 04 (Wed-Fri) Advanced Defensive Handgun, Casper, WY
29 June-1 July 04 (Tues-Thurs) Defensive Urban Rifle and Shotgun, Buena Vista, CO
10-11 July 04 Advanced Defensive Handgun, Laramie, WY
17-18 July 04 Basic/Intermediate Defensive Handgun, Santa Fe, NM
24-25 July 04 Basic/Intermediate Defensive Handgun, Bloomington, IL
10 Sept 04 (Fri) One-Handed Defensive Shooting, Nelsonville, OH
11-12 Sept 04 Basic/Intermediate Defensive Handgun, Nelsonville, OH
14-16 Sept 04(Tues-Thurs), Basic/Intermediate Defensive Handgun, Fairplay, CO
14-16 Sept 04(Tues-Thurs), Advanced Defensive Handgun, Urban Rifle, Shotgun, Fairplay, CO
25-26 Sept 04 Advanced Defensive Handgun, Oklahoma City, OK
31 Oct 03

I forgot to include one course:

7-9 May 04 Basic/Intermediate Defensive Handgun, Midvale. OH



31 Oct 03

More sage comments from another physician who is a friend and student:

“One of the points I try to make to people trying to keep someone (maybe themselves) from bleeding to death is, as you say, direct pressure on the bleeding area. We’re talking about major, arterial bleeding here. Bleeding other places (muscle, skin, etc) is certainly wet and messy, but not immediately life threatening. Besides, the fight may still be ongoing, and you will thus have more important things about which to worry!

For bleeding arteries, many like to think of a tourniquet. It is usually a poor choice. However, once applied, it stays undisturbed until arrival at the OR or (at least) the ER. None of this BS about ‘loosen it every ten minutes to allow blood flow to the extremity below the tourniquet.’ The third time you loosen it, it will be a moot point, because there won’t be any more movement of blood. When blood isn’t moving, it does what it is designed to do: clot. By applying a tourniquet, you have made the decision to sacrifice the limb distal to it. At least you should believe that’s what you’re doing.

Far better that you stick your hand directly into the wound and feel for the major pumper. Each spurt feels like a ‘buzz.’ Then, follow that sensation, until pushing somewhere makes the buzz stop. And, if your hand is covered with moose shit at the time? So what! Get to the task immediately. We’re talking about saving a life here. Don’t worry about germs. He surely won’t die of infection during the next ten minutes, and, after all, we do live in the ‘age of antibiotics.’ Infection we can worry about later, much later.

The advantage to this kind of direct, digital pressure on the buzzing artery is that the surrounding, uninjured vessels will then do what that deadly ‘loosen-it-every-ten-minutes’ technique is supposed to do, ie: provide a continuous (albeit marginal) moving blood supply to the limb distal (downstream) to the injury. As long as blood doesn’t become stagnant and subsequently clot in the vessels, the distal portion of the limb will be fine. Applying, for example, a tourniquet around the neck in an effort to deal with a severed carotid artery would be absurd . Instead, you feel for that carotid injury and push on it, and you get to stay that way all the way to the hospital, even if it’s six hours away.

My brother-in-law, a gentle internist and one-time ice-dancer, once found himself on the scene of a skating accident in which the back end of a skate blade passed behind the collar bone of another skater during a collision and injured the subclavian artery. It produced a one-inch laceration, but Ray could do nothing to stop the bleeding. The kid was DRT within a minute. Now, would I, as a hotshot surgeon, have whipped out my trusty Cold Steel, slashed open the kid’s chest, shoved a hand in, and controlled that huge vessel? Not bloody likely, I’m ashamed to say. I think only a heroic, practicing thoracic surgeon might have tried it. And, once the hand is on the artery, what are we going to do about the rapidly developing tension pneumothorax that’s also going to kill this kid if the bleeding doesn’t kill him first?”

Lesson: Farnam’s First Rule of Tactics: Do the best you can. We teach sound doctrine and techniques, but we’re not going to “win” every gunfight, and we’re not going to save every life. We’re warriors, and we go forward boldly, but this life offers no guarantees.

Tourniquets are appropriate mostly in cases of traumatic amputation, where all you are presented with is a stump, as the distal portion of the limb is toast anyway. The pressure technique described above is superior in most other cases of arterial bleeding, and it is the one to which we should default.

Keep in mind that all this will probably have to be done during or shortly after the gunfight. No matter how severe the injury to yourself and/or others, the source(s) of danger still must be neutralized as quickly as possible.