The Average Civilian Pistol Permit Holder is Better with Their Weapon Than Most Cops

This is something I have known for some time, but it is good to see a Sheriff finally saying it. Maybe this will prompt some of the “Dunkin Donut share holders” in Police and Sheriff Depts. across the nation to sell off their shares and hit the range more than once a year. -SF


New York State, with its liberal politics and highly restrictive gun laws, might be the last place you’d expect to have a sheriff who actively encourages private citizens to get trained, licensed, and armed in order to help counter the nation-wide rash of mass shootings.  However, that’s exactly what happened.

Paul Van Blarcum is the Sheriff of Ulster County, New York.    Back in December, The New York Times quoted Sheriff Blarcum as stating,

“In light of recent events that have occurred in the United States and around the world I want to encourage citizens of Ulster County who are licensed to carry a firearm to PLEASE DO SO.”

As one might expect, this common-sense approach to responsible gun ownership generated nation-wide outrage.  How DARE competent and law-abiding citizens assume responsibility for their own lives and safety! Something must be done about Sheriff Blarcum and his outrageous, and dangerous ideas!  …or something.  His advice seemed pretty reasonable to me.

Now Sheriff Blarcum is taking heat yet again for something that he said, but this time it’s related to quotes attributed to him in an article posted in the National Rifle Association’s online magazine, America’s First Freedom.  This is what he had to say:

“I think the people that are out there who do carry concealed right now are at least as proficient with their weapons as police officers are. Actually, my deputies have to qualify with their pistols twice a year and for many of them that’s all the shooting they do; whereas, people who chose to carry are typically into guns, so they shoot more and are probably even better with their weapons than most cops are.”

While a lot of people, especially our readers in the Law Enforcement community, will take issue with Sheriff Blarcum’s statement, I think there is some truth in it.  Police officers have many, many responsibilities, of which firearms proficiency is but one.  The average officer, in a low-crime area, might never have to use his or her weapon, so they spend their time training for the types of activities that they are more likely to encounter during their day to day police work.  In these types of situations, I can envision firearms proficiency becoming, at best, merely a semi-annual requirement.  So, I think that the good sheriff is right.

Well, partially right, anyway.

I think it would be more accurate to say that the average handgun enthusiast is better with a handgun that the average police officer.  While many of my pistol-toting friends are quite good shots, I’ve known many people who have gone out and gotten handgun permits, and did very little with an actual weapon.  In these cases, even if the gun ends up getting carried and doesn’t in up relegated to a dark safe or a tall closet shelf, the only trigger time its owner ever had was in the training course required for the permit.   Even an average police officer shoots more times a year than “never.”

The same thinking holds when it comes to the average member of the military.  Even combat arms troops rarely train with handguns, because to most members of the military, a handgun is just something you use until you can fight your way to a long gun.  I (thankfully) never fired a handgun in combat; that’s what the rifle was for.  In fact the only thing I ever saw get shot with a handgun, in any of my deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, was the clearing barrel outside of one of the mess halls at Balad Airfield.  Yes, I know a handful of veterans who used handguns at some point, but they were the exception that proved the rule.

I also know plenty of police officers and members of the military who train extensively with handguns and are quite good with them.  But when we’re considering the average non-tactical police officer, or the average non-specialized member of the military, what Sheriff Blarcum says about handgun proficiency is probably true.  What do you think?

Read the Original Article at The Havok Journal

John Farnam Quips Compilation

I decided to post a few of John Farnams recent February Quips for your reading pleasure. As Always you can find Mr. Farnam at Defense Training International.




When are you ever “off duty?”

20 Feb 16

“Off” Duty?

A man with a dual (USA/Israeli) citizenship was stabbed to death at a Jerusalem supermarket last week. A devoted husband and father, he responded to screaming as two knife-wielding Palestinian teenagers were randomly attacking shoppers. Such racially/religiously inspired lethal attacks are now a daily occurrence in Israel, and in many metro areas here!

In the process of confronting the youthful murderers, the man was fatally wounded. Several other innocent shoppers were also injured, but none fatally.

Another shopper, armed with a pistol, responded by shooting both teenage thugs, instantly ending their rampage. Both criminals were subsequently reported hospitalized.

The decedent was an active member of a local police/security unit. However, on the day in question, as it was reported in the media, “… he was ‘off duty,’ and thus unarmed”

Lesson: The courageous citizen who was armed and effectively and decisively stopped the attack, and for whom the terms, “off duty” and “on duty” apparently have little meaning, doubtless prevented additional injury and probably saved several innocent lives, including his own.

The point is this:

There is no such status as “off duty.” That is just a careless term we’ve invented to cynically justify being personally unprepared.

Either go armed or don’t, but don’t insult my intelligence by claiming the ability to predict when and where lethal threats will present themselves, and thus arbitrarily dividing your life into “safe” and “dangerous” segments.

Going armed is analogous to wearing a seatbelt when in a moving vehicle. We just do it, every time! We don’t con ourselves by capriciously labeling this particular stretch of road “safe,” or “dangerous.”

Our disintegrating world is waxing more dangerous by the day, no matter where you live. Be personally prepared, or naively ignore the evidence and go merrily on your way. Either way, there is no predicting the future. Who claim the ability to do so with any degree of precision are (1) fools, or (2) charlatans!

“Every saint has a past. Every sinner has a future!”

Oscar Wilde



Nervous Jews in Europe!

17 Feb 16

European Jews are nervous, once again. This time, Christians too!

From Jewish friends in Europe:

“While our European politicians publically, piously declare, ad nauseam, that they will extend protection to all citizens, those of us who have been around for a while know full well that all such promises are dubious and hollow.

The fact is, our police and security forces, of all kinds, are already hopelessly overstretched here. ‘Protection’ is mostly myth!

Of course, as in the USA, politicians and bureaucrats here spare no expense, nor effort, in protecting themselves! The rest of us are, as you say, ‘on our own,’ despite interminable, fictitious, self-serving rhetoric to the contrary.”


Even professing liberal, Jesse Hughes, with the “Eagles of Death Metal,” the band that performed during the Islamic terrorist attack in Paris last November, weepingly confessed recently that his former anti-gun position was changing due to this terrible experience.

Yes Jesse: How do you do?

Violent criminality is just casual conversation among liberals, until it happens to them!

Even in Israel, Public Security Minister, Gilad Erdan, conceded on Monday that “… citizens, skilled in the use of guns, are needed… in the fight against terrorism.”

He continued, “There is no way to stop every terrorist attack, because terrorists do not need an explosives laboratory… a knife is enough for them.”

The inescapable conclusion is that modern politicians, here and there, will continue to spend most of their time worrying only about themselves, as all of Western Civilization cluelessly spirals into the dustbin of history. In the interim, the rest of us, dismissing what they say, need to take firm control of our own lives, providing our own protection, and steadfastly managing our own destinies, never waiting around for someone else, some mythical governmental agency, that “really cares” to “solve our problems.”

Expecting to be “protected” from evils and dangers that lurk everywhere has always been naive and foolish.

Today, it is suicidal!

“Justice has been rerouted
From present to future tense;
The law is so in love with the law
It’s forgotten common sense.

Does man now serve the law, I ask,
When law was made by man?
Or, law still serve its rightful task
protecting men from Man?”

Ogden Nash



Exposed Guns!

5 Feb 16

“Open” Carry

The State of TX has recently authorized “open” (exposed) carry of guns within the state. Lots of details yet to be worked-out, but the legislation has gone through. AZ and some other states have technically permitted the practice for some time. And, even in states where there is no specific legislation, the practice is commonly noted in some areas.

My advice to students is not to carry openly. When open carry becomes common, even expected, I may join in. Until then, I’ll leave the practice to those far more in need of fame and recognition than me!

To me, it is similar to wearing a T-shirt proclaiming your particular political party. Why do you think everyone who sees you needs to know that? How does that benefit you?

My personal philosophy of appearing in public revolves around always projecting a low profile. I don’t think it is in my best interests for me to inadvertently, nor intentionally, broadcast important information about myself, information that is no one else’s business!

So, I discretely carry concealed. I am always heavily armed, to be sure, but you can’t tell by looking, nor do I talk about guns, politics, travel plans, et al with people I don’t know. Precious few people have a legitimate need to know any of that!

I do my best to be courteous, polite, and pleasant with everyone, but never chatty with people I don’t know. I don’t want to appear “interesting” nor “beauteous” while in public. I just quietly go my way and conduct my business without fanfare. I believe that philosophy adequately represents my best interests.

Be a “stand-out” when you are so inclined. Just be prepared to garner far more “attention” than you ever wanted!




The Armed Citizens Duty to Train


“For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required”

Luke 12:48


There has been a lot of debate as of late about “Constitutional Carry” and how it is the solution nationwide for both returning this country to it’s TRUE Constitutional rights as far as the 2nd Amendment is concerned and solving the confusing legal “quagmire” of carry reciprocity laws which exist state-to-state.

So often we Americans get so passionate about a topic, most especially gun rights, that we lose the broad perspective. For example, it is currently being argued that neither the Federal nor State Governments have any right to demand of a person that they obtain a permit to carry a legally purchased firearm openly or concealed on their person. This by extension, also implies that the Federal or State Government has no right to demand that a person complete a mandated training course before the permit gets issued. Now on the surface, it may appear that the debate on this issue is solely about GOVERNMENT CONTROL; that no Government has the RIGHT to implement such laws on a citizen, since it obviously infringes their constitutionally protected 2nd Amendment rights. And although that is the most POPULAR argument on the surface of the debate, the polarizing issue that is really at hand has to deal more with a citizen’s DUTY and RESPONSIBILITY than it has to do with CONSTITUTIONALLY PROTECTED RIGHTS. Our Founding Fathers understood  you cannot divorce these two principles; a citizens rights can only be guaranteed by the degree of the citizen’s Duty to see those Rights exercised responsibly.

When a man arms himself and goes into public, he takes upon himself a certain amount of implied SOCIAL and CIVIC responsibility. He has to come to terms with the fact that the decisions he makes while armed could ultimately end or save a person’s life; including his own, therefore, he has a DUTY to be as fully TRAINED and PREPARED as he possibly can be. Now, one could argue that this RESPONSIBILITY is the individuals, and it is up to him to go out and get that training; it is not up to the STATE to mandate it. But if that is true, how do we hold that person accountable to that standard? If we wait until he has screwed up, made the wrong decision and killed an innocent person, have we not waited too long? No. The short answer is there HAS to be some accountable standard.

Now, as an example, if we look at the current Concealed Carry mandated Training in Texas, which is a meager 8 hour course that could be passed by my 11-year-old blindfolded, This IS NOT that accountable standard! We have to go farther and deeper than that as a SOCIETY if we fully intend to be morally and socially responsible. Can you train the average person for EVERY possible situation? Of course not, but you can train them for the most APPLICABLE and LIKELY TO HAPPEN.


For example, with Open Carry about to be passed here in Texas, how about some mandated advanced training on weapon retention? I know, I know, most gun right advocates HATE when you talk about an armed citizen having their gun taken away from them and killed with it, but guess what? It is a REALITY, it HAPPENS and it needs to be addressed in training. This stupid trend where trainers and citizens alike ignore or fail to address facts like these IN TRAINING or CONVERSATION simply because the topic is “unpopular” in the pro-gun community, needs to STOP.  Just ask a cop how much training he has had on weapon retention. I know, I know, an armed citizen and a Law Enforcement officer do not have the same responsibilities or authority, and definitely are not expected to behave the same when they witness a crime; that is not what I am talking about. What people have to wrap their head around is that with open carry comes serious responsibility. Every citizen that decides to carry openly will face the same danger uniformed law enforcement does on a daily basis. Consider: At every confrontation you get in, there will always be one loaded gun present:  YOURS. Ask yourself: Are you prepared to fight for your gun if some goon tries to snatch it? Are you in good enough PHYSICAL SHAPE to even do that? Do you have the tools in your toolbox RIGHT NOW to deal with that type of threat effectively? If the answer is No to any of these, then I have proved my point on people planning to Open Carry needing more Advanced Training than an 8 hour remedial gun course.

In closing, let me say that for far too long, the Pro-Gun, 2nd Amendment Movement has been all about advocating “Inherent Constitutional Rights” without, at the same time, advocating the “Inherent Constitutional Responsibility” that comes with those rights. We must understand that the very “under-pinning” or Foundation of a Democratic Society rest in the notion that these two ideals have always historically been held as mutually exclusive; they were never intended to be divorced from each other as they currently are in Obama’s socialist republic. In other words, the Founding Fathers of this Great Nation always had the expectation that a citizen must never expect to be given ANY RIGHT without first taking ownership of that right by being RESPONSIBLE in how it is administered and practiced.

This mindset has to change, if we intend to FIRST, function as a TRUE Democratic society and SECONDLY, to RETAIN our RIGHTS as FREE, ARMED MEN. Because only when we, as armed citizens, accept the SERIOUS RESPONSIBILITY and BURDEN that we carry, and in turn, let that responsibility produce WORTHWHILE PREPARATION, can we truly be worthy to inherit the rights laid out to us by the Founding Fathers and understand the blood that has been shed over the many centuries to keep those rights intact, were, in fact, shed for those responsible enough to realize it is their duty to do the same if the situation should ever call for it. And I think it will, very soon.

Stay Responsible, Stay Alert, Stay Armed and Stay Dangerous!

The Garland Attack: Re-Evaluating the CO’s Training Focus


The CO must constantly re-evaluate his training to see that it is RELEVANT and REALISTIC to the current threat. Right now, the most pressing CURRENT threat to the Civilian Operator is without a doubt, MULTIPLE ACTIVE SHOOTERS  as was seen in Garland, TX this past Sunday.

First of all, before I get too deep into this subject, let me be clear: Kudos to the LE officer who was working security for the event who put these two POS down. Awesome job. Also to the other man working security who was wounded in the ankle; our prayers go out to you and your family at this time, hoping you make a full and speedy recovery.

Please understand, What I am about to say has nothing to do with the job these brave men did in any way, it is simply about CIVILIANS being realistically prepared for the next attack.

The Attack that Happened this past Sunday in Garland, TX has to be seen simply as a fluke. Now I am not saying that to demean anything related to how the LE reacted and performed, that was flawless. No, what I am talking about is if we look at the Modus Operandi of ISIS and study the Paris Hebdo Massacre  from January of this year, we can quickly deduce that these two shooters that were killed were in no way “trained” like the Paris shooters were. Even though they were outfitted in much the same manner: Body Armour and AK-47’s; what they were lacking was everything else necessary to be successful, such as tactical training, prior planning and battlefield no-how. Simply put: it was amateur hour in Dallas that day for these so-called “terrorist.” They were stupid, and that brave LEO took advantage of it. We cannot count on that scenario happening again, in fact, I can almost guarantee it won’t because ISIS has shown it does learn from its failures quickly.

“If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant.” -(Sun Tzu, The Art of War)

In a prior post, I wrote about something called Guerilla Terrorism. Simply put, and without going into all the lengthy history, Guerilla Terrorism uses the same principles of Guerilla Warfare: Just like any insurgency, the first and foremost battle ISIS wants to win is the “Hearts and minds” publicity war. In the age of 24 hours news services and “instant information” the rule of thumb is to Get Headlines; Make News; irregardless if the operation was successful, just get some type of world news headline out there to keep ISIS and TERRORISM at the forefront of Americans minds. (Plus give ISIS something to put on continuous loop on their websites and to celebrate back home) That is why I feel these small operations like the one in Garland are but sideshows meant not to really be successful as much as they are to be a distraction and a feint maneuver to get U.S. Law Enforcement Authorities off the real objective. This mirrors another tactic used extensively by insurgents for centuries in the annals of Guerilla Warfare:  when your foe is a big, powerful nation with millions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of soldiers or officers; make them STRETCH and WASTE their resources. Make them frivolously  pursue useless investigations, spend money and man hours finding out WHO this person was and who he knew, what training he had, etc. All the while another cell, totally off anybody’s radar, is setting up for the next attack, the REAL attack without any LE being the wiser.

garland 2

Training Broad Strokes

For the CO to train realistically for this type of Active Shooter scenario, he is going to have to realize that most likely, a handgun will be woefully inadequate for the task. As I said before, in using prior attacks like Paris and Garland as a blueprint, most likely the terrorist will be:

  • Multiple in Number (Paris Hebdo Attack had 3, Garland had 2)
  • Armed with high power Assault Rifles
  • Wearing Body Armour
  • Using Small Unit Tactics

That being said however, we cannot discount the handgun, since it will be the FIRST and most ACCESSIBLE TOOL the CO can get to in a pinch once the shooting starts. At present, there are over 11 Million Americans with Concealed Carry Permits in the United States according to the Crime Prevention Research Center. That at first glance may seem like an impressive number, but since the majority of license holders DO NOT seek any more advanced training beyond the 8 hour state mandated course, Yeah, you may have an armed civilian present but you may not have a skilled one. Simply HAVING a gun in this situation will not cut it.

There is also the issue of ammo. The average CCL carries only (1) spare magazine with them. Even with a high capacity magazine such as the G19 (17+1) rounds, 35 rounds of 9mm versus just 1 magazine of 30 rounds of 7.62×39 AK-47 Ammo is piss poor odds.Up your odds and carry more mags, up to (3) if possible.


  • Headshots at distances over 25 yds to defeat body armor
  • Firing while moving to cover
  • Shooting one-handed
  • Pick Your Shots, NO Fire Superiority with a Pistol vs Rifle!


  • Using LUP’s (Lay Up Positions)
  • Using Cover
  • Fighting around vehicles
  • Exploiting lulls in the fight, such as the enemies mag changes
  • Ability to Self-Treat and Apply First Aid to Gunshot Wounds


What about a Long Gun?

The primary challenge with the CO having a long gun (maybe some type of rifle caliber AK or AR pistol) available is (1) Keeping it somewhere accessible, such as a vehicle, which is legal in Texas, but the CO may run into some bullshit safety issues with their employer, depending. Of course the issue of theft prevention would have to be addressed by some type of bio metric or key lock box welded to the vehicle’s frame. Beyond that, let’s say you do have some type of long arm in your vehicle and a situation like the one in Garland happens. Now What? Now you have to go retrieve the weapon with shooters firing at anything that moves. Not a realistic or a GOOD scenario. Bottom line guys: Whatever you have ON YOUR PERSON (Concealed Carry Permit Holders) is what you are MOST LIKELY going to fight with.

Mistaken Identity? 

Civilians being armed with either handguns or long arms during an Active Shooter event also present another potentially deadly problem: Law Enforcement mistaking you for one of the bad guy’s and opening fire on you when they get on scene. This is a tricky issue to navigate because on one hand you don’t want to be shot by the cops, but on the other hand you don’t want to be shot by the terrorist either. Most all of us train to NEVER HOLSTER or DROP our weapon until we are CERTAIN no more THREATS EXIST, so what is the sensible solution? The only wise thing to do when you know SWAT or HRE are making entry is drop your weapon and get on the floor with your hands behind your head. IMMEDIATELY identify yourself and the shooters location if possible. Another option is if 911 is on the line, is be sure and tell them to pass on to SWAT that there are LEGALLY ARMED CITIZENS engaged with the TERRORIST and IDENTIFY the CITIZENS and the TERRORIST by Shirt Color, build, race, etc., if possible. Of course all this advice is precipitated on the fact no POS terrorist is trying to kill you at the same time all this is happening!

In closing, ISIS has boasted online they have 71 trained soldiers in 15 States. Now whether this is hubris or the truth, who knows, but to err on the side of caution, I urge all CO’s to “batten down the hatches”; keep your loved ones close and choose your trips and destinations with care. We can never let FEAR rule our lives, but we can have discretion and common sense in ALL that we do.

Continue to train, focus on the things we have discussed, and always Keep your Powder Dry!

Stay Alert, Stay Armed and Stay Dangerous!

Dealing with Stalkers


When a student signs up with me for training, before they ever set foot on the range, I like to do what I call a “Why” Interview. Without prying, I try to get to the “real” reason why they are there. Often, I can tell by the first sentence or the expression on their face what is driving them. For most of my students the need to be prepared to defend themselves just seems prudent. “It is like buying Life Insurance” one of my students commented. “You hope you never need it anytime soon, but every month you pay that premium, just in case, so that your family is not left out in the cold.”

But for one of my students, the need to train comes from a place of deep pain and hurt. While she was in college in the early 80’s,  a male acquaintance attempted to rape and then murder her. She had once dated this man about 3 months prior, and after an awkward dinner where he proceeded to make lewd comments about her cleavage, she politely told him to buzz off. Up until the night of the incident, he had been “following” her around campus (stalking was a term which was not in vogue at that time), harassing her with late night phone calls & leaving menacing sexual notes on her dorm door. She complained several times to campus security, even the college dean, with no results. “The college does not get involved in the personal matters of its students.” was the answer she got. After advice from her parents, she finally decided to go to the City Police and file a restraining order, by then, unfortunately, it was too late, the assault happened that night. “The only positive thing that you can hope will come out of something like this” I told her one day during a chat. “Is that you can teach others what you have learned, because you are a SURVIVOR!” She agreed, and is currently writing a book about her experience. She also helps teach rape prevention at HCS.

Stalking by Websters definition is: (1) Pursue or approach stealthily, as in a Cat stalking a bird. (2) Harass or persecute someone with unwanted and obsessive attention. The fan stalked the actor.

Unlike the period of time my student was in during college, we now know much more about stalkers and their Modus Operandi. With all 50 states passing stringent Stalking Laws, and a vast amount of stalking convictions in jail or prison, criminologist and psychologist have been able to work up a definitive personality profile on these creeps. Stalking can be considered an obsessive “pre-behavior” in most cases; a mentality that eventually leads to some other type of crime; like rape, assault and murder, sometimes even leading to serial murders, as was the case with Ted Bundy, Richard Ramirez (the “Night Stalker”) and the still unsolved murders of the “Zodiac Killer”.

The CO needs to know stalking and harassment laws definitively in order to be prepared. A guide to those laws can be found HERE. In Texas, for instance, “Stalking” is a 3rd Degree Felony while “Harassment” only a Class B Misdemeanor. As you read, you will notice that a majority of the “Harassment” statute deals with the use of “electronic communication”(ie, phone, fax, pager, email, private messaging, etc.) While “Stalking”  deals almost exclusively with “the fear” of physical contact and/or bodily injury.

A very large portion of harassment and stalking cases falls under what Law Enforcement Detectives dub “Cyber-Stalking” and/or “Cyber-Bullying”. While we progress forward (supposedly) as a society with social media technology such as Facebook, Twitter and Insta-gram, there are still those backward, warped and cowardly individuals that insist on using these tools to intimidate, annoy, abuse and embarrass people. This is of particular concern for those CO’s out there with kids, in particular, teenagers. With the rash of bullying incidents across this nation, some sadly leading to suicide, the CO parent needs to keep an open line of communication and oversight on all social media/email/chat accounts, making it understood  all passwords will be shared, and “Wall” pages monitored. There is also a plethora of “ghost” apps and software to monitor text and chat logs on phones, tablets and laptops if you so choose. Keep an eye for my upcoming series “Cyber Oversight for the Teenager”.

But getting back to the best “Counter-Stalking” methods, I would say the first and most important thing is to make it known to the stalker verbally (with an accomplice (witness) or Law Enforcement present) or by phone if you prefer, that you disapprove of their behavior and you will be pressing charges. Most all experts agree that the safest and wisest legal action is to start a public record immediately after the first incident occurs, DO NOT WAIT!! Often, after you file charges, the police will want you to file a TRO (Temporary Restraining Order) to give “teeth” to the charges, so if anything does happen, and the stalker does make contact with you, he or she not pass go, they go DIRECTLY to jail.

Secondly, get a CCL, get armed and get some training! No human being should ever have to walk around in fear for their lives. Yes, Law Enforcement is there to help enforce the laws, but your personal safety is always YOUR RESPONSIBILITY! Understand what your state law is in relation to Self-Defense and Use of Deadly Force (for TX see PC 9.31 & 9.32).

As I like to tell all my students after they get a CCL:  Having a Gun is not a “Magic Tailsman”;  It is not going to suddenly and magically make you safer.

You must understand and practice the (as I like to call it) “Big 4”:


So in closing, take charge of your life, fear not and take heed to Jeff Coopers advice:

“Violent crime is feasible only if it’s victims are cowards!”

Stay Dangerous!