Author Archive: tacticalprofessor

Carjacking update

The POlice have apprehended one of the individuals involved in the carjacking and murder near my home.

I’m particularly interested in this one because of the possibility that he was targeted and followed. Surveillance Detection is a useful skill in Personal Protection and I wonder if it could have saved the victim’s life. The incident could have been locationally opportunistic and the targeted hypothesis completely wrong, though.

When an individual has a bayonet tattooed between his eyes, the FBI calls that ‘a clue.’

Photo credit: Gwinnett Daily Post

Incidents that take place in Social Space like this are why I am less concerned about having a Roland Special as opposed to just having some tool to protect myself. We’ll be discussing that on the Primary and Secondary Podcast tonight.

VP 40 In the News

Don’t hang your gun on the hook when you’re using the facilities. This story is a good illustration as to why. Pictures this detailed are seldom available.

Imagine if you were changing your baby’s diaper at the Koala Kare station when his gun went off. Your baby might not be the only one who needed changing.

Troopers say a report has been filed with the prosecutor’s office for review.
Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make (the book)

Using Negative Targets

Anatomy of a Carjacking and Murder

A sad story that hits close to home. The incident occurred near my home and I have topped off my tires at this pump many times.

A man went into a QuikTrip gas station on Sunday afternoon at 12:30PM. This is a large busy gas station in an upscale area. It is just across the street from two high end shopping malls.

He pulled up to the air pump with his passenger side next to the pump and proceeded to top off the tires on that side. A black sedan with three men in it backed into the space next to him. One of the men then got into the driver’s seat of the victim’s car. This is a crime known as ‘sliding,’ which is technically not a carjacking in the State of Georgia but is close enough for our purpose of analysis.

In retrospect the ‘Safe Place’ sign was incorrect.

When the man noticed the hijacker in his driver’s seat, he came around the car and got into an ‘altercation’ with the hijacker. A second man then got out of the black sedan and entered the fray, making it a two on one affair between the two cars.

A clueless bystander, oblivious to the altercation, pulled up behind the victim’s car. She thereby unintentionally blocked it in. When the initial hijacker attempted to pull the victim’s car out, he collided with the bystander’s vehicle.

At this point, the hijacker got out of the victim’s car. One of the two hijackers involved in the ‘altercation’ then shot and killed the victim. Both of them returned to their vehicle and all three sped off.

“The identity of the suspects and their vehicle is unknown at this time” according to the POlice.

The deceased has a lot of cred as a really decent guy and it’s very sad to see his life cut short.

Lock your doors and take the keys with you whenever you leave your vehicle. Tire maintenance always puts you in a head down posture. Do your best to maintain your awareness of the area around you. Cars that pull up next to mine always give me the willies from the old days. At an air pump, it’s common and almost always benign but obviously not 100% safe.

“As long as we can both get out of the car, just let them have it. I have insurance and the car isn’t worth either of our lives anyway.”

–my instructions about potential carjacking to a former girlfriend who lived in a sketchy area

The Top 5 Missed Shots in Handgun Shooting

  1. The first shot.
  2. The last shot.
  3. The first shot after reducing a stoppage (which includes a reload).
  4. The shot after an Unintentional Discharge (it’s missed because it’s not fired).
  5. The first shot after the transition to another target.

The first shot is easily the most missed shot of all. Walking rounds into the target is a very common exercise. However, as Theodore Roosevelt wrote in his 1893 book Ranch Life and the Hunting Trail :

No possible rapidity of fire can atone for habitual carelessness of aim with the first shot.

If the gun isn’t indexed into the eye-target line with adequate precision, relative to the distance involved, the first shot is likely to miss. Brian Enos called the necessary personal characteristic “visual patience.” Get the gun adequately aligned prior to pressing the trigger.

The last shot is often missed due to lack of follow-through. There always needs to be one more sight picture than rounds fired. Follow-through may be the least understood of all the Fundamentals of Pistol Shooting.

A stoppage is any unintended interruption in the cycle of operation. Whether that’s a malfunction or simply running out of ammo is irrelevant. Any stoppage reduction is a complex motor skill. That means a combination of gross and fine motor skills. Once the stoppage is reduced, we need to transition back into the fine motor skill only (trigger manipulation) mode before we fire the next shot.

After an Unintentional Discharge, the next shot is frequently not fired at all, which is why it’s missed. Periodically, a POlice dashcam or badgecam will record an officer firing one shot, then clearly displaying some type of startle response, and then immediately reholstering. That means it was an Unintentional Discharge, even if shooting was Justifiable under the circumstances. In competition, shooters will occasionally have a UD and then look at the pistol in a dumbfounded way. If they’re not Disqualified by the Range Officer, they will eventually get back to shooting but it’s often several seconds later.

Transitioning from one target to another and then making a good hit with the first shot is difficult. Very few people ever practice it, which increases the difficulty. It’s a sacrilegious view, but my observation is that when someone who isn’t a highly experienced and capable shooter (GM, M, A, Expert) moves their eyes to another target ahead of the sights, the first shot is going to be a miss. If the target is in an unexpected location, this is even more true.

Understanding the Top 5 Missed Shots makes them easier to avoid and shoot gooder.

The following isn’t related to the 5, but it’s an interesting comment from a previous post on my blog.

If you can’t be bothered to expend fifteen minutes a week in dry practice, two extra magazines on your person are most likely meaningless.

SSS Summit Roundup from Active Response

Greg Ellifritz wrote an excellent article about the Summit. I’ll just link it here for those who are interested.

Greg asked me to open the links to my Patreon articles about the Summit and those are now public. The links are available in his article.

SSS Summit – Mindset


The Surgical Speed Shooting Summit Surgical Speed Shooting Summit 2022 – An Overview was largely about pistol shooting technique. Nonetheless, the first thing Andy spoke about on Thursday was mindset. Several items he mentioned are like leadership and land navigation, they bear regular study and periodic review.

  • Ayoob’s Priorities
    • Mindset
    • Tactics
    • Skill
    • Equipment
  • Cooper’s key contributions
    • Fundamental safety rules
    • Private sector combat competition and shooting schools
    • The Modern Technique
  • Stanford’s Strategy
    • “Private citizens have no law enforcement duty to control and arrest criminals nor military objectives such as killing people and breaking things.”
    • Your number one option for personal security is a commitment to:
      • Avoidance
      • Deterrence
      • De-escalation
      • Disengagement

Keeping those in mind at all times is a good formula for avoiding Serious Mistakes and Negative Outcomes.

Surgical Speed Shooting Summit 2022 – An Overview

Twenty-one years ago, Andy Stanford researched and wrote the book Surgical Speed Shooting about combat shooting technique. He began teaching classes based on what his research had found. A number of people in the industry, myself included, became part of a group Andy formed to spread his knowledge.

Fast forward to June 2022. Andy organized a four day event, the Surgical Speed Shooting Summit, to further update what he learned subsequent to writing his book. The event was held at the classroom and range of Tactical Response in Western Tennessee. The purpose of the Summit was not only to update Surgical Speed Shooting but also to bring together a group of some of the top trainers in the industry, many of whom were not SSS related, to add their expertise to the knowledgebase. The final group of instructors was:

  • John Holschen
  • John Hearne
  • Greg Ellifritz
  • Michael Green
  • Claude Werner
  • Michael DeBethencourt
  • Allan McBee
  • John Johnston
  • Karl Rehn
  • Don Redl
  • Lee Weems
  • Melody Lauer

The first day started with a half day update of what Andy has gleaned about combat pistol shooting since the book’s publication. For the second half of the day, the group went to the range to shoot a few drills and see some targets Andy has developed for Surefire

Day Two was spent at the Tactical Response classroom with each trainer giving a presentation of his or her own choosing. The topics all related to personal defense but did not have to be specifically on Surgical Speed Shooting.

On the third day, 47 students arrived at the Tactical Response range to begin training with the 12 instructors who had been divided into three different groups of four instructors each. The students were divided into equal sized groups based on an initial skill evaluation by shooting one of the Surefire drills. The student groups received 2 hours of training each by each instructor group. The instructors divided their two hour time frames among themselves to that the students received 12 total short blocks of instruction.

The final day’s range activities for the students were similar to the third day’s but the instructor groups were reorganized and the instructors had the option to present different material than they had on the previous day.

Finally, everyone returned to the Tactical Response classroom for a wrap-up of the Summit’s events. The instructors and students invidually gave examples of two things that they had personally taken away from the Summit’s training and presentations. As each person gave their take-aways, they were presented with a certificate testifying to their attendance at this historic event.

More about each day’s activities in the next few posts.

When things go wrong

This post is a little different because the subject is a submarine, specifically the USS Connecticut, a US Navy nukuler attack submarine. The Connecticut had an incident in the South China Sea on Oct 2, 2021. Initially, there was speculation on the internetz that it had collided with a Chinese submarine. However, it turns out that the boat simply crashed into an underwater terrain feature, which the Navy calls an “uncharted bathymetric feature.”

The Sub Brief YouTube channel has an excellent video on what happened and what went wrong.

What does a submarine running aground have to do with Personal Protection? The stack up of numerous problems, some of which had been going on for quite a while, and others that were immediate, caused the grounding.

Just one thing after another and this is how casualties happen. Casualties are very rarely isolated incidents, they cascade. This casualty, this collision cascaded all over the boat from the sonar being destroyed forward to the engine room believing they had lost propulsion to the machinery room catching on fire. Everybody’s having a bad time all of a sudden because casualties will cascade and that’s what’s happening here. Immediate actions of this crew is outstanding and probably is what saved the ship because whenever they were losing … buoyancy, sinking past 74 feet without propulsion, they were screwed. That is a dying submarine. Whenever you do the emergency blow and you still have negative buoyancy and you don’t have propulsion, well guess what, you know you better start making plans for the next life because you’re almost done with this one.

Laxity, failure to pay attention to detail, and poor or absent communication all contributed to what could have been a tragic loss of a submarine and its entire crew.

Executive Summary [from the Final Investigative Report]

14. (U) On 2 October 2021, CONNECTICUT grounded on an uncharted bathymetric feature while operating submerged in a poorly surveyed area in international waters. This mishap was preventable. It resulted from an accumulation of errors and omissions in navigation planning, watchteam execution, and risk management that fell far below U.S. Navy standards. Prudent decision-making and adherence to required procedures in any of these three areas could have prevented the grounding.

Here is a short summary of the incident and findings of the investigation.

The link to the full redacted investigation report is here.

Consider how many things can stack up to cause additional problems in a Personal Protection incident as you watch the video.

Revolver History – Merwin & Hulbert


The Merwin & Hulbert revolvers of the Old West period aren’t very well known today. Forgotten Weapons has an excellent video about them.

The innovative engraving style and extensive use of nickel plating were unique features of their revolvers. Being able to eject the empty cases while keeping unfired rounds to do a tactical reload made them an excellent choice for gunfighting.