Training

KDWB’s Dave Ryan Attends Permit Class!

Listen to Dave talk about his experience in the Permit to Carry class here:

Blue Line Defense has had the honor of training individuals of all backgrounds from first time shooters to seasoned veterans and even local celebrities. Dave Ryan from the Dave Ryan in the Morning Show joined Blue Line Defense in the classroom today to complete a permit to carry course. Although Dave has been shooting since he was just a kid, he was excited for the opportunity for further hone his skills and complete training for his Minnesota permit to carry.

Dave has been shooting handguns since he was five years old. He reminisced about his fond childhood memories growing up when his dad would take Dave and his brother out to shoot .22 handguns in Colorado. These memories are some that Dave will never forget and he looks forward to creating and sharing similar memories with his son, Carson.

His father carried a 45-caliber pistol as his sidearm when he served in World War II and the pistol was handed down to Dave; he brought it with him today to show us! It has custom grips that his dad added; one that features a photo of Dave’s mother at age 19, and the other grip has his dad’s signature carved into it. Dave holds the same grips that were with his father through countless places that he traveled to while in the military. The gun is a great heirloom that will be passed down and treasured by members of his family.

Joining twenty other students in the class, Dave learned about critical firearm incidents, legal implications for permit holders, how to develop a personal protection plan and many more topics that were led by instructors Matt Wyatt and Terry Pretzloff. After the completion of the classroom instruction, Dave and the other students got some quality time on the gun range practicing handgun fundamentals. Dave enjoys spending time at the shooting range and although he doesn’t get the opportunity to go as often as he’d like, he was a great shot! Students also got to see several different types of ammunition misfires and how to properly clear these malfunctions.

Even though he has been shooting for decades, Dave mentioned that he learned an incredible amount in the classroom. He said it was surprising how much he thought he knew about handguns, but in reality how little he actually knew prior to the class. The knowledge he took in about different stances and grips, Minnesota firearm laws and other handgun tactics will enable him to be a better shot and a responsible permit holder. Dave left excited and looks forward to taking future firearm training courses with Blue Line Defense.

We were honored to have Dave join us today especially because we’re big fans of KDWB’s Dave Ryan in the Morning Show and several members of our staff have been lifelong listeners. After over 25 years in the spotlight and creating one of the most listened to radio shows in the country, Dave Ryan is a true professional and one of the nicest guys we’ve ever met. In the midst of all of the negative media hype around firearms, it’s good to have a firearm advocate like Dave Ryan.

You can listen to Dave’s show every morning from 6-10am on 101.3 KDWB and see more photos from Dave Ryan’s Permit to Carry class here.

Author: Jayme Pretzloff

Dry Fire Practice

So you want to improve your shooting?

As with anything, firing your handgun requires regular practice develop and maintain an acceptable level of proficiency. For most, it’s not something that comes naturally with little practice. An important part of building your skills is dry fire practice. Dry fire practice is the process of manipulating, aiming and triggering your handgun without ammunition. If done on a regular basis, dry fire practice will improve your shooting.

Why dry fire and not live fire?

Dry fire can be done in different environments and does not require you to spend hours upon hours at a range. We know that developing proficiency with motor skills requires a large number of repetitions to build muscle memory. Let’s face it, shooting live rounds can quickly become expensive and cost prohibitive for many people. Additionally with live fire, it is often difficult to detect bad habits in yourself such as anticipation, eye blinking and the lack of follow-through. With dry fire practice you are able to detect and correct these bad habits without the help of a firearms instructor standing over your shoulder. Now, that’s not to say that attending a class with an instructor is a bad idea. Dry fire practice is just another method to build skill when you are not on the range.

How often should I practice dry firing?

That depends on how serious you are about being a proficient marksman and how seriously you take your firearm as a defensive weapon. If you are the type of person that rarely goes to the range to practice live fire, then dry fire won’t help you much. Dry fire and live fire go hand in hand. As an instructor, I encourage my students to practice dry firing their firearm on a weekly basis for about 5-10 minutes each practice session. The goal of dry practice is to get as many quality repetitions as possible. Don’t get sloppy! Many of us at Blue Line Defense practice this regularly and follow it up with live fire exercises on the range.

Isn’t it bad to dry fire my firearm?

Most modern center fire firearms will not see any negative affect. Dry fire is only bad on rim fire style firearms, such as a 22LR.

Dry Fire Safety

Before we discuss some dry fire drills, we need to address safety. It is imperative that you ensure that your firearm is UNLOADED and that there is absolutely NO live ammunition near you when you are practicing dry fire drills. You need to pick a location that will allow us to safely practice. Preferably some sort of backstop that is capable of containing a round. Yes, I know we are using an unloaded firearm for dry practice, but it doesn’t matter… have a backstop!  When you are running through your dry fire drills, be sure that your firearm is not pointed at anything that you would not want to destroy even if the gun were to discharge. I would also suggest having some type of dummy rounds. You can purchase dummy rounds at an affordable price from Law Enforcement Targets.

1.    UNLOAD and clear your firearm. As mentioned above, place all live rounds far away from the location you have chosen for dry fire practice.
2.    Place a target in a safe place, preferably in front of your chosen backstop.
3.    Visually and manually inspect your firearm, magazines or speed loaders, and dummy rounds to ensure there are no live rounds present.
4.    Conduct your inspection again.
5.    Conduct your inspection again for live rounds. CHECK, DOUBLE CHECK, TRIPLE CHECK!

Dry Fire Drills

Draw and Present
From the ready position, with your firearm in the holster, draw and present the firearm to the target. Do not press the trigger. Re-holster your firearm. Repeat this five times.

Draw, Present and Dry Fire
From the ready position, with your firearm in the holster, draw and present the firearm to the target. Press the trigger to the rear. Scan and assess for additional threats.  Re-holster your firearm. Repeat this five  times.

Dry Fire, Dry Fire, Dry Fire
Step 1: From the ready position, with your firearm in the holster, draw and present the firearm to the target.

Step 2: Press the trigger to the rear. Keeping your finger on the trigger, take your reaction hand and cycle the slide.

Step 3: Re-gain your grip with both hands. Slowly let your trigger finger forward until you feel the trigger reset, and press the trigger again.

Repeat steps 2 and 3 five times.

After repeating steps 2 and 3, be sure to scan and assess for additional threats.  Re-holster your firearm.

If you practice these simple drills you are sure to sharpen your skills the next time you hit the range!

When Should I Carry My Gun?

This article speaks about carrying your firearm, if you’re looking for a course to obtain your permit to carry, click here: Minnesota Permit to Carry.

It seems like a simple enough question but it’s one that we routinely hear discussed among our students and others in the “carry community”. In my opinion the answer is simple. You should carry your firearm, for personal protection, everywhere that you’re legally able to, without exception.

That being said, sometimes it’s difficult to do, or it’s simply easier to leave your carry gun at home. Let’s face it; carrying a gun can be a real pain! They are big, heavy, and uncomfortable. Additionally, carrying a gun requires additional planning. You have to select a holster and gear that accommodates your carry and concealment needs. You may need to wear specific clothing to adequately cover your gun. Finally, you may have to plan ahead in case you’re going somewhere that you legally can’t carry a firearm.

It’s easy to become complacent and just leave it at home. But as the old saying goes, ‘complacency kills,’ and even the best of us can become complacent.

Let me share a recent story. The day before the tragic shootings at the Aurora, Colorado movie theater, I spent the afternoon with my son. Doing what?  We were watching a matinee movie at a local theater.  As I sat there with my Glock 17 neatly concealed in a Comp-Tac Minotaur holster, I had a passing thought. I asked myself: Do I really need to carry a gun as often as I do? After all, I was only at the movie theater. What’s the likelihood of needing to defend against a deadly threat there, right?

The next morning the nation awoke to discover that several people were killed and dozens more wounded in a shooting spree at a movie theater. Needless to say, that solidified my belief that we should be prepared to not only exercise our right to defend ourselves but also our duty to protect the ones that we love.

 Since the tragic shooting numerous discussions have taken place.  A common thread that runs through many discussions centers on the question as to whether a legally armed citizen could have changed the outcome in Aurora. That’s a discussion for another time, in a different setting. What’s important to take away from this example is the reminder that violent crimes can, and do, take place anywhere.

Too often, you’ll hear people say that they only carry when they think they need it. People often have the mentality that their neighborhood is safe, and crime happens in the ‘bad areas’. In this ever-changing world, the reality is that there are no ‘safe’ areas. More frequently we’re seeing serious acts of violence happening in supposedly ‘safe’ areas.

Four people were killed at an IHOP in Nevada. Nine were killed and four were wounded at a mall in Nebraska. Two people were killed and several wounded at a bar in Alabama. Seven killed and 29 wounded at a college in California. Five dead and two wounded at a café in Washington. Unfortunately, the list goes on.  However, the point remains.  Most likely the victims felt that these were ‘safe’ locations.  After all, if they felt that their lives were in danger it is unlikely that they would have gone to that venue.  I’m reminded of a co-worker who, in his youth, was shot during two separate incidences at a mall.  In both instances he was an innocent bystander who was caught in the crossfire.

You never know when and where a random act of violence may occur. The police may be there to protect you. However, speaking from personal experience as a police officer, more often than not they are not in the right place at the right time. There are a lot more bad guys in the world than cops.  As a result, the police spend more time taking reports of crimes instead of catching the criminals red-handed.

I encourage all of you who have accepted the responsibility to carry a firearm for protection to carry whenever you’re legally able to. Familiarize yourself with your personal protection firearm and the gear you carry. If a deadly force threat presents itself, you have only seconds to decide how to defend yourself and put a plan into action. Practice regularly. Take as many training classes as you can.

Remember: your attitude, awareness, actions, planning, and preparation might be difference between surviving a lethal encounter and not.

Train to survive!

Cold Weather Training Tips

Let’s face it, about 6 months of the year Minnesota is cold, so why not train and prepare for a defense situation in the cold? A lot of people complain and don’t take this seriously and will only go to the range when the weather is nice. Firing a round may determine life or death. Get out to the range and train! Here are some tips to make your cold weather training successful.

Clothing:
When you are selecting clothing, make sure that you dress in layers. You want to keep your clothing slim and tight, but not so tight that you will restrict your movement. Choose clothing that is slim and tight enough so you can manipulate your gun efficiently with no restrictions.

How about gloves? Gloves are an important piece of clothing when training in cold weather. The same applies with gloves, select gloves that will be warm, yet slim. The last thing you want are gloves that won’t allow you to manipulate your firearm.

It is important to keep blood flowing when you are in the cold. Don’t stand around, keep moving, and keep the blood flowing to your extremities. If you have to, do some push-ups, burpees, or jumping jacks. If you find it necessary to do one of those activities to warm up, make sure that you don’t exert yourself too much. You don’t want to start sweating. Sweat mixed with cold weather is bad and can cause discomfort and even hypothermia.

Eating:
You need to fuel your body properly in order to be comfortable and function. It is important to eat something solid, a well-balanced meal with carbohydrates, fats and protein before you go out to the range. This will help you sustain out in the cold. About mid-morning, make sure you eat a snack that will keep you going until it is lunch time. Lastly, stay hydrated. Although it is cold out, don’t fill your belly with warm coffee, that doesn’t count! Make sure you are drinking plenty of water, especially if you are moving a lot.

Mindset:
We stress mindset, because mindset is extremely important in shooting. Stay positive and have fun! If you go to train in the cold and think “It’s cold out, this is going to be miserable,” well then you just set the bar for a miserable time at the range. Prepare yourself for a cold day at the range mentally. Know that it may be cold, but you will have the proper cold weather gear and mindset to stay positive and have a productive training session.

Author: Terry Pretzloff

Mental Exercises

I can’t stress enough the importance of mental exercises. They are extremely important for everyone, they are not just for those of you who have your permit to carry. Mental exercises help bridge the gap between what you practice on the range and the type of situation you might find yourself in. You can run through them anytime, when you are driving, at work, or going about your daily life.

Mental exercises are not a form of paranoia or a desire to engage in a lethal encounter, they are a form of preparedness. If you look at the statistics, there were over 1.3 million violent crimes in the United States in 2010. Unfortunately, violence is not going away, which is why we train and have a plan in place to keep us safe.

If you prepare mentally for a given situation, you will increase your chances of reacting accordingly without panicking or freezing like a deer looking into headlights. There is no time to freeze or panic during an encounter, seconds count!

A person needs 3-5 seconds of warning time to defend themselves, that is not much time.

With that being said, lets get back to mental exercises. Here are some examples:

What if you are in a restaurant eating and an armed robbery occurs and your young child says “Mom/Dad get your gun.”?
What if you hear someone in your house in the middle of the night?
What if you see someone else being attacked?
What if you come home after work and find your house unsecured (garage door open, front or back door open, etc)?
What if you’re doorbell rings and the solicitor at the door forces their way into your home?
What if someone is following you in public?

You will also need to think about your options if you find yourself in a situation. Do you have enough warning time to avoid, escape, or are you faced with defending yourself. Are you going to deploy a weapon? What type of force is reasonable for the circumstances? Are family and / or friends present? What are your escape routes? What are you going to do in the aftermath?

Do you remember what to do in the aftermath? Check out our resources section on the Use of Deadly Force http://www.bluelinedefense.com/resources/use-of-force-in-minnesota

Those are just some examples. Use your imagination and think about the places you go on a daily basis. Are you mentally prepared for something bad to happen to you? Do you feel comfortable with how you may react?

Have you ever thought about expanding your training more beyond a Permit to Carry? Blue Line Defense offeres some follow up classes that will sharpen your handgun skills. Check out our Defensive Handgun 1 and Defensive Handgun 2.

Author: Terry Pretzloff