Active Shooter…School |Part 4|

Active Shooter

Man with Gun and Gun Battle

ME: Ok Chris, the criminal with a gun has been located and gun fire is being exchanged between the civilian and the criminal. Now the police come inside and encounter us both. What should I expect?

Chris: Quite frankly, the civilian involved in the gunfire should expect to get shot if that’s what LE sees upon entering. Unfortunate, but true. If we are being honest, when LE shows up and you have a visible firearm, and you are clearly pulling the trigger, we are going to eliminate the perceived “threat”.

ME: (with a half-smile) I hope the LEO is not you (Chris is a very good shot. He was one of the SWAT snipers and has proved his abilities through training and real-life incidents).

ME: Alright, you have your gun drawn and are just standing over the criminal you have shot, when the police round the corner. Again, should we expect to be shot?

Chris: Yes. Unless, at that point, you can drop the gun as quickly as possible, keeping your hands clearly visible, while announcing “not a threat”. Visible hands and compliance are so important. What LE looks for is your hands, your hands, your hands. Because, hands kill people. Guns don’t shoot people, knives don’t stab people, and other weapons don’t harm people. People shoot people, people stab people and people harm people and they use their hands. The other things are inanimate objects simply possessed in the hands of those seeking to use them. Good or bad ways.

So when we enter in a room and encounter you, we are going to look at your hands, your waistband/immediate reach and your compliance. So if we see no threat in your hands we are going to check your surroundings and see if you have quick accessibility to a threat. If you are standing over the criminal and you have just shot that male/female and they are dead, secure your firearm when you realize we are moving up and then stand there in compliance with your hands clear, visible and away from your waist.

ME: What if the threat is not dead but shot and just lying on the ground? Still has his gun.

Chris: At that point you will want to do the best you can to announce to us that you have the threat and you are not going to turn toward LE. So essentially you are standing there, you are above the criminal and you hear the police enter in from the hallway. You are going to stand there and you are going to yell, “I am in here with the threat. I am not a threat, I am not a threat, I am not a threat.”

You have to remember, we are going to have some audible exclusions, as well. We are going to have an adrenaline dump. We are going to have some tunnel vision. So we need you to loudly and slowly repeat yourself because when we come in, we need to know you are not going to pull the trigger, that you do have a gun, but that you are not going to make evasive moves towards us. If the person is still too much of a threat then at least attempt to hold the firearm away from us, even if you are extended out but you push away so we can see you. You need to help us know that you’re not the threat. You’ll be giving yourself the best chance for survival when we enter if you do this, but remember, our mindset is going to be the shots we just heard fired, the body we see on the ground (criminal subject) and the person with a gun standing in front of us. We don’t have a crystal ball that can tell of the unknown information and we know that if you’re not a good guy, then you’re a threat. We have split seconds to decipher this and act accordingly. We are human too.

ME: Twist in the scenario: The person who is on the ground, that you have shot, is not dead and is still holding the gun; what would you suggest? What should we do? I guess we are still covering him, do we shoot him again?

Chris: You must protect others, then yourself – in that order. Are police on scene that you’re aware of?

ME: No, Not yet.

Chris: If there is a deadly threat, then you shoot to kill. The pulling of your trigger has constituted the use of deadly force, and that is what you should expect to accomplish.


Chris: As a civilian, and as a LEO, if you pull the trigger, the only expectation is that someone dies. It is unfortunate, but we don’t shoot to wound and if there is a threat and they still have the firearm they could still potentially kill people. The decision made by a criminal to enter an area, terrorize innocent victims and potentially murder people is a wicked and horrific one. We should never feel bad by stopping that poor choice and saving innocent and defenseless people from victimization of evil hands.

ME: Ok, the crisis is over, you may or may not have shot the threat. The good news is the police haven’t shot you, what can we expect to happen from the policemen?

Chris: LE is going to take you into custody, you may get handcuffed, you are most likely going to get escorted out by two officers and you will get separated from the scene.

ME: I guess they have my gun?

Chris: Yes. The gun will be secured at that point. We are going to temporarily detain you in many cases and escort you to a safe haven as said before. It is not because you have done anything wrong and in fact, you did everything right. Think about it, you are still alive, the threat has been eliminated and you have saved lives…that is phenomenal. But as LE what we know that you are about to go through emotional meltdown most likely and that’s to be expected. The adrenalin will lower in your body. You are about to feel different because you are about to react to everything you just saw and everything you just did. It is not because we feel threatened by you. It is because we need to get you mentally and medically evaluated, calmed down and refreshed. The handcuffs are going to come off – if they were on – and we are going to start mildly discussing the incident with you.

All this with you, and we still have a lot to do. We need to finish clearing buildings, we need to finish checking for other victims. Are there more people who were harmed, do we have everything secured, what was the reasoning, are there more scenes – like the threats home and so forth. The conversations we will have with you immediately afterward is to accomplish those goals, not to “interrogate” you as some perceive.

ME: What would you suggest that we say? Police will ask us questions, what do you suggest that would be helpful to you?

Chris: Say nothing more than what you absolutely have to say for pertinent information until you can fully calm down. Even ask for legal representation if you’d like. Calming down for some people is thirty minutes to an hour. For other people it is two or three days. Don’t be ashamed to ask for time or help.

So here is what I would recommend further: When you are outside with me- if I am the deputy who escorted you out – I am going to be asking you a bunch of questions. I want information to know if there are more threats and how did this occur, as explained above. Be short, sweet, to the point…that’s it. Don’t talk too much. We want to know the immediate, pertinent information.

It is proven, people under pressure and under duress will unintentionally say things that are not completely accurate. This is based on their “perception” of what occurred during high intensity pressure. Sometimes details can be unintentionally misconstrued until your body is back in a normal state. Once that occurs, your mind begins to reflect on facts rather than the “fight” mode you were in as you pushed forward.

ME: The police are still trying to understand what is going on, regardless how they feel or what they think about us. Will we be treated professionally? Should we expect that from all departments?

Chris: You should always expect to be treated professionally and respectfully from LE.

ME: I know you need information, you made that clear, in order to help you and keep the place safe but should we expect policemen to try and trap us or at this point are they still fact finding?

Chris: It is going to be fact finding with us. Remember, we are human beings too and even possibly have children who attend the school you just protected. Sometimes people think we are robots, created in a government factory, but we are not. We are spouses, parents and even children of people who live in the same community as you. You should expect to be honored for your heroic decision.

We have no reason to try and back you into a corner or anything like that. You have to remember, at the end of the day we are supportive of people who help eliminate threats. We support good people with firearms and we are a team with our community.

See you at the range


Active Shooter… School |Part 3|

Active Shooting…School

Police on site and man with a gun

ME: Ok, I am going to jump around a little bit. Now you have gone in and the police are now there but they haven’t found you yet, what should you do?

Chris: Once law enforcement arrives on scene; especially if you know law enforcement is on scene, they have probably already been there. Once you realize the cops are there they have probably been there for thirty or forty seconds, maybe a minute. You’re in a tough situation as a civilian now.

ME: You are going to be amped and in a place where something very bad could happen to you?

Chris: Not only are you going to have audible exclusion and tunnel vision, things of that nature and so forth, but law enforcement is pushing up somewhat covertly to enter the campus quietly without the threat knowing. Once you know that they are there they have probably closed a big gap to you. At that point we recommend putting away your firearm from visibility and putting yourself in a safe concealed position until they can come and find you.

ME: Chris, let’s assume you have your rifle or pistol and they spot you but you don’t see them. They see you are armed, what should we do and what should we expect?

Chris: (very matter of factly) You should expect to get shot. There are no if ands or buts about it. As a law enforcement officer, if I enter into an active shooter situation and I push in and see a person with a firearm who is moving forward, I am going to most likely shoot them if they are not clearly known to me as an officer. Fact of the matter is that LE has been told of an active shooter on a school campus, LE arrives, enters and then encounters a “gunman” proceeding toward potential victims. It’s not likely to go well for you, because imagine if it wasn’t you I encountered and I hesitate, giving a gunman time to murder more children and teachers. This is a school, you are seen with a gun and LE has to take action.

ME: What do you think the dispatcher may have told them, is there a chance the dispatcher could have told them or are we on the broad assumption any officer coming in may not know and the good guy is going to get fired upon?

Chris: You should always assume the officer coming in does not know you are there. Nor, would that officer remember your description even if he does know in most cases. Dispatch probably told us about you, but probably came at the start of the incident and way too much progresses in these cases. New info is being told by the second and it’s truly overwhelming. Humanly impossible to retain in many cases; therefore, LE has to prioritize information and retain hard facts. 1) Gunman 2) Location 3) Active or Not. That’s what I’m retaining, because in an active shooter situation we have one mission. Stop the threat from harming the innocent.

ME: Ok, so we have come upon the bad guy, he has not seen you, what should we do?

Chris: Is the bad guy armed?

ME: Let’s look at it both ways.

Chris: You enter into the building and you find a subject matching the description of the man said to have had a gun but you see no gun in his hand. I am going to draw down on him and give him loud verbal commands to comply to me and even as a civilian, if he is resistant, I am going to explain to him that he matches the description of an active shooter and to get down on the ground. I am going to continue to repeat and give loud, clear precise verbal commands; don’t talk too much. You put the gun on him and tell him to “get down on the ground and let me see your hands.” (loudly now) “Get down on the ground and let me see your hands!” “DOWN ON THE GROUND! HANDS!” I am going to say that verbiage repeatedly.

ME: What if he turns and runs.

Chris: At that point I am not going to run after him, because I have not seen a firearm, though I am going to pursue his direction, but still in a methodical type of manner. What I don’t want is him to look like he ran way down the hallway when he cut a corner and is waiting to ambush me.

ME: We are now talking about tactics, most won’t know what you are talking about.

Chris: Some civilians do, we do have prior military members, we do have people who have gone through training courses and have more than the average understanding of tactics.

ME: More than likely those are the people we are talking about now, don’t you think?

Chris: Sure, at that point we are. So, let’s just back up and let’s just say that it is your good wholesome mom, she has a firearm, she is very comfortable shooting a firearm and she heard there was a shooter inside and she went in. This isn’t just men, not just middle age people or young people, this could be anybody who has a warrior’s mentality and won’t evade confrontation. Say this woman goes in but has no training, military background or tactical awareness. At that point you are still going to stay methodical; you have not seen a gun and you don’t have active shooting. This bad guy ran off, you do not want to being moving so fast that you over penetrate or do something where now they can harm you.

Chris: Shots fired and seeing a firearm changes everything on these scenarios.

ME: We are back inside, no shots fired, but we have come across, unlike last time, a man with a gun. What should we do?

Chris: The man matches the description of the person we have been told is walking the hallways, if we have clear confirmation, based on the information we gathered moving up, that this person should not have a gun on school campus, I am taking shots.

ME: Would you order him, or say anything or would you fire on him?

Chris: As a civilian I am pushing up and I am taking shots.

Chris: I can explain why if you need it.

ME: Yes, please elaborate.

Chris: This is a school campus, we have victims and potential victims everywhere; thousands of them at a large school. Essentially, firearms are not allowed on school property usually. You have school resource officers, school safety officers, guardians and ones who would have firearms. These are the people who should be clearly identifiable on the campus and they are not going to be the ones school students, faculty and staff get scared over having a gun, right? So, If a person has already made an illegal decision to enter the campus, to pull out a firearm and then walk the hallways terrorizing people, he has given enough thought and action to this that a reasonable, prudent person would perceive him as a deadly threat and as a civilian I am pushing to him and I will take shots on him.

ME: You are in the hallway and you hear gun fire in a classroom?

Chris: At that point I am entering the classroom, quickly. I am going to be like a stick of dynamite. I am going to be explosive and fast and ready to take a shot.

Part 4 …in our next post… “Man with a Gun”

See you at the range


Active Shooter…School |Part 2|

Active Shooter…SCHOOL!


Part 2

Interview with Clay County Sheriff Deputy Chris Padgett

Entering the Building…shots fired!

ME: Chris, we are on the school grounds but now we hear gunshots.

Chris: Ok, people will be running out of the school while you are observing them. Someone tells you there is a man inside with a firearm. You immediately dial 911 and tell dispatch of the situation that is unfolding and explained to them what you are wearing and what your intent is and you retrieve your firearm from inside your vehicle. Your firearm is still secure and it is covered. You are moving up to the building and as you are approaching you hear shots fired from inside. Now your slow methodical information gathering approach is over with; now it is time to move. So we go from a deliberate style entry to a dynamic style entry. The average civilian is not trained for that. There are still people running out, still people screaming, mass chaos everywhere; you are trying to push to the threat as people are running you over, bumping into you and knocking you down potentially. They don’t know that you are a good guy, you look like them and you may look like the threat most likely. The scary part of this is once you decide to pull your firearm out these people don’t necessarily know that you are not with the bad guy.

ME: So, the only reason we would now present our gun is that we have heard gunfire.

Chris: At the point of hearing gun fire you potentially are in a situation that you have no choice but to pull out your firearm and to be prepared to pull the trigger.

ME: So, if we are just told there is a man with a gun would we stay concealed or if, once we have entered the building, would you suggest we draw our weapon?

Chris: As a civilian, once you have made the decision to close the gap between you and the threat and you have pushed up, and you have now heard shots being fired, you pretty much don’t have a choice but to pull your firearm.

ME: What if you haven’t heard shots fired?

Chris: At that point I am still going to stay concealed and I am going to try and move forward the best I can as a civilian and gather information until the crowd has dispersed and the hallways have emptied and there is no one else around, then I will remove my firearm in a safe manner and still keep it concealed on my person, maybe keeping the gun on the side next to my body, slightly behind my back, as I push forward while I try to determine what is going on. What you have to think about is what if there is a teacher who has gone through active shooter training, they have heard that there is a bad guy inside, they have barricaded in and they have a fire extinguisher or they have a pair of scissors or they have some other improv weapon that they are waiting to take a threat out with. Remember, we are not the only warriors here. Warriors can be teenagers, children, moms and dads and grandparents. So if you are proceeding with your firearm in open view, and that teacher sees you as a threat, there is a potential that that teacher could stab you with a pair of scissors or knock you in the head with the fire extinguisher. You could be sliced open or knocked out and now you are no good and that person thinks they have done a good deed, perceiving you as a threat yourself.

ME: What about the men who may carry a rifle in their truck, you can’t conceal that. You use a rifle if you are going to fight, you don’t use a pistol so what would you suggest to those people; take it, just leave it? Just take their concealed handgun or take the rifle?

Chris: A rifle is going to be a more practical and accurate tool to utilize in this situation, however it is also going to jeopardize you moving forward as a civilian. It is a decision someone would have to make on scene moving up to the incident.

ME: As a dad, as a policeman, if you had more firepower in the back of your truck, as it relates to where we are now, would you want that private citizen to use the rifle or stay concealed and stay less and go in with his concealed pistol?

Chris: As a father, if there is an active shooter in my child’s school, I want someone to go address the threat. Waiting on law enforcement is not always sufficient or practical. Here is why: LE is coming, we will be there in a hurry, but, the one or two minutes that you can close the gap between the bad guy and the victims may save dozens of lives.

ME: I read an article that said the majority of these shootings were over in three minutes. So if we are not there in three minutes…

Chris: Right.

ME: So, you are leaving it, with rifles, for people to use their best judgment as to what they should do?

Chris: Correct.

Chris: Close quarters combat doesn’t necessarily negate a rifle. Schools have long hallways, that is where rifles are beneficial. They have big rooms that you may have to shoot across and rifles are more beneficial. However, they also have small corners and small classrooms and areas like closets where a pistol is much more practical. So it is a tough decision and a decision based on information we may or may not have; is he in the gymnasium where the rifle will be more beneficial or was it coming from a classroom down a narrow hallway where there are a bunch of other smaller classrooms, a pistol would be more sufficient.

Either way, entering into this type of situation is dangerous with decisions being made in your mind, in the matter of seconds. Not only do you have to consider overwhelming barage of people coming at you, the overwhelming emotional distress you will be functioning through and the overwhelming dangers you will be facing, you must also consider that to the arriving police officers, you will appear to be the criminal. We don’t have a crystal ball, that reveals to us unforeseen knowledge. Just understand, that moving into the school could be a sacrificial decision, but one worth making, in my opinion.

Part 3…in our next post…

See you at the range

Franklin Dickinson

Active Shooter…. Schools Interview |Part 1|

I hope you find the next few days of interviews interesting as I have.

ACTIVE SHOOTER…SCHOOLS! This is part one in a multi-day interview with Deputy Chris Padgett of the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.

With Sheriff Daniels permission I had an opportunity to sit down with Deputy Chris Padgett of the Clay County Sheriff’s Office. Chris was happy to help and give his time.

Chris is a career LEO and his background is very impressive; both tactically trained and in police procedures. He is our sheriff’s spokesman and is the Public Information Officer for the sheriff.

Chris started His career in patrol, advanced to violent crimes, later a detective in burglary, sex crimes and then homicide.

Chris was also a SWAT member for six years and one of their snipers for three years. He has also been on multiple task forces.

Chris has received several commendations including a life-saving award.

Chris has been in several deadly force incidents and unfortunately one where he had to utilize deadly force himself.

Chris is a Christian and a family man with open minded, but conservative and knowledge based views.

ME: Thank you for meeting with me Chris and taking the time to talk about this delicate topic; civilian involvement in a school attack? We are going to talk about active shootings in school. We will not look at it from a legal standpoint, neither of us are attorneys, nor will you teach us tactics; we would be here forever. We will only look at it from a LE side and what you would think; are we a help to you, our community and to our kids. We understand what you tell us may or may not be what you would do as a tactically trained policemen.

ME: I am on the school grounds, I have a concealed weapons license, and my gun is safely stowed in my car; I may or may not be well trained. As I walk toward the school people start running out of the school. I stop a woman and ask what is going on? She says, “someone told me there was a man in the school with a gun.” How should we handle that?

Chris: From a civilian standpoint, you have to ask yourself how comfortable you are in putting yourself in that active shooter incident. Many people have different personality traits and just because you have a firearm doesn’t mean you are the type of person to aggressively confront a problem. That doesn’t make you good or bad and doesn’t mean you are right or wrong. They are just personality traits we all have embedded in us. That said, if your personality trait allows you to go in and you feel comfortable retrieving your firearm and going in to address that bad guy then I would never tell you not to do that because lives are depending on you. So, it all boils down to this, we will look at this from two perspectives. The person is comfortable to grab the firearm and go address the threat or they are not. So, if you are, you call 911 immediately – that’s always step #1. Give all your information including clothing description and your intents. You then get your firearm and you proceed into the school. People are going to be running out past you, people are terrified, people are running for their lives. They may or may not have seen someone shot or killed, they may have seen or heard shots fired from the criminal inside. This is going to overwhelm all your emotions at once. That is what the civilian doesn’t think of.

ME: What if we are only told someone saw a person with a gun, would you still recommend us to go in?

Chris: At that point I would recommend taking your firearm, covering it on your person and safely preceding toward the building to try and gather more information.

ME. Now, Chris, the same person says HE saw a person with a gun? Would you give him the same advice?

Chris: You will still proceed to the building slowly, methodically while gathering information as a civilian. Here is why, If there are not active shots being fired and no one is telling us there are people being shot the scenario changes. So if we move back to the fact there is a person with a gun and no active shooting, we want to slow and methodically gather information while closing the gap between us and the threat. The only way to close in the gap is to get closer the incident location. So as a comfortable civilian who feels confident in their ability to approach a threat, then I would never tell you not to go and try and figure out what is going on.

ME: Now, you could do twenty or thirty crisis-oriented things at one time but we have a person with a gun who may or not be tactically trained and well-practiced. Would you encourage them to immediately contact the police as they move forward and before going in?

Chris: As said before, the beginning of everything starts with; no matter what, dialing 911 first…period. When you go back to your vehicle you should already have your cell phone and we are under the assumption that you have already called 911. You have advised 911 that you are at ABC school, you have been advised there is a person in the building with a gun, and you’ve given your description. Tell them you’re arming yourself and where you’re moving up to. Keep your phone on speaker and put it in your pocket or somewhere on your body so dispatch can continue to monitor what you are doing. As you get closer to the school turn the volume down.

ME: Chris, what if the dispatcher tells you not to go in?

Chris: Here is where it boils down to from a civilian standpoint. Removing LE, removing all liabilities, you are a human being and you are looking at protecting more vulnerable human being so you have to make a decision. If you are worried about civil liability you won’t be able to do it. If you are worried about someone telling you not to go in, you won’t be able to do it. If you were worried about dying, you won’t be able to do it. But, If you are worried about lives that are potentially at risk and people who are going to die and you don’t mind going in, then you are going to do it.

ME: We might get shot.

Chris: Absolutely, here is the thing; as a law enforcement officer I understand that every day that I could die. I have measures in place that if something happens to me that day, I have letters left for my family, I have videos left for them, there are good bye messages I have given to my family that hopefully they will never have to watch but every single day I go to work there is a potential I could die. So you have a choice to make and if death scares you, you will never be able to encounter the threat. Because with every threat that is deadly there is potential for death.

Stay up to date and read more on our next blog with Part 2… where we have entered the building in the interview.

See you at the range



Come join David Alred for an amazing Low Light shooting experience!!!

Please call to confirm your attendance. This is a space limited event, there are 8 spaces remaining. If there are spaces available on the day of the event, walk ins are welcome, first come, first served, as this is a 10 person maximum class.


Zombie Shoot 2016

Well we had a great time shooting our 3-stage and 4-stage Zombie Shoots this weekend.  Thanks to all of the people that showed up and helped to make it fun.  Here are the results for the 3 Stage shoot on Friday night.

Entry #Name (Last, First)Total Match ScoreTotal Stage ScoreTotal Stage ScoreTotal Stage Score
1DERBY, CHRIS58.728.098.5642.07
2LEVAN, JEFF60.669.3111.9339.42
3MANGES, MARY191.3716.8860.96113.53
4KELLER, DAVID230.7049.1632.20149.34
5WILKES, LEANN693.71194.83221.00277.88
6BAKER, ADAM *DNF849.8848.0951.79750.00
7BAKER, LAURA *DNF884.7253.7880.94750.00

Here are the results from our 4-Stage shoot on Sunday morning.

Entry #Name (Last, First)Total Match ScoreTotal Stage ScoreTotal Stage ScoreTotal Stage Score
1DERBY, CHRIS42.957.7815.4115.79
2LEVAN, JEFF48.7910.5219.5213.32
3DHAENENS, TIM85.6312.1425.6235.80
4MCNAIR, JOSH97.0923.7735.0230.42
5SHORT, KEN101.5124.9639.1429.20
6DESJARDINS, JEFF114.8025.6439.2544.24
7KELLER, DAVID184.2934.9792.7449.50

The videos from both shoots will be posted within the next few days, so check back then.  We hope you had fun if you shot with us, and if you didn’t, we hope to see you at the next one.  As always, come shoot with us!


American Marksman Southeast Regionals 2016

As some of you may know, I had the privilege of attending the southeast regional qualifying events for the new American Marksman competition and television show.  It was held this past weekend at the Civilian Marksmanship Program’s Marksmanship Park in Talladega, AL.  Shooters from Florida, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee showed up to determine the best amature marksman in the 5 state area.

I can humbly state that it was not me.  I finished well in 2 events, but turned in poorer than expected results in the 3 remaining events.  Every time I attend a new event I learn tons of new things, and this event was no different.  Some of the things I learned were as follows: my body does not perform the same way it did 20 years ago, accuracy very often trumps speed, I need to practice outdoors more, and you can’t expect to do well if you don’t practice.  Most importantly, I reaffirmed that the shooting community and the shooting culture are made up of some of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet.

Our squad met on Saturday morning as 10 strangers who were all competing for the same goal.  By the last stage on Sunday afternoon, we had more friends than we showed up with.  We ended up cheering each other’s victories, and sharing the pain of a poor performance.  We gave each other tips and encouragement as we tried to plan the best way to shoot a stage.  While the anti-gunners tell us that we’re social outcasts and dangerous loners, I saw families and strangers gathered under shade tents smiling and joking.  I saw experienced shooters helping inexperienced shooters work on skills to help them be more competitive.  I also saw a lot of people volunteer their time on a hot July weekend in Alabama to help make this event fun and safe for the participants.

The shining star at this event, by far, was the facility.  The CMPs new Marksmanship Park is amazing in its design, and technology.  The 500-acre facility, located two miles from the world-famous Talladega Superspeedway, features a 600 yard rifle range with targets at 200, 300 and 600 yards, a 100 yard multi-purpose range and a 50 yard pistol range. It also includes 15 action pistol bays and a trap field, 5-stand field and a 15-station sporting clays field, all with automated trap machines.  State of the art scoring systems mean no walking downrange to score or reset targets, or having to work in the butts at the 600 yard range.  Golf carts are available for rent to travel between ranges, and a beautifully designed and appointed clubhouse with training rooms and a pro shop looks out over the 600 yard rifle range.

The American Marksman Regional Qualifying consisted of 5 separate events, the .22 Rimfire Pistol, the .22 Rimfire Rifle, the .223 Gong, the Crimson Trace Dark House, and the 9mm Peek-A-Boo.  Shooters best times were taken from each event to provide a total score and determine the overall winner for each of the four divisions.  I competed in the Men’s Open Division.  There were other divisions for Military/Law Enforcement, Women shooters, and Junior shooters.

We started Day 1 at the .22 Rimfire Pistol range.  The course of fire was simple.  String 1 was shoot 2 rounds into each of 5 bullseyes at 10 yards using a 2 handed hold.  String 2 was firing 1 round into each of the 5 bullseyes at 10 yards using only your strong hand.  String 3 was a repeat of String 1.  Then we shot all three strings a second time on a fresh target.  The pistol used was a Tactical Solutions Pac-Lite Pistol using Eley Force ammo.  We were the first squad to shoot these pistols and aside from the first shooter having a malfunction after 2 rounds, the guns performed well.  They are, however, very lightweight and can be very off-putting for someone used to shooting heavier target pistols.

After the handgun range, we moved to the .223 Gong event.  Using a Ruger American Rifle chambered in .223 Remington, shooters had to strike an 8″ diameter steel gong at 100 yards.  Shooters had a total of 10 rounds to shoot the gong once from each of 3 positions, off-hand, seated, and prone.  Shooters were further challenged by having a 20 second time limit for each position.  This stage was challenging, but was made easier by the use of a Burris FF E-1 2-7X scope.  The ammunition was provided by Aguila and was standard 55gr FMJ.  None of the shooters in our squad had any issues hitting the gong or using the rifle provided.

The last event on day 1 was the Crimson Trace Dark House.  This was a stage rooted in action pistol competition, especially USPSA.  Competitors fired the CZ P-09 9mm pistol.  Targets were arrayed 5 yards in front of a barricade.  String 1 consisted of 3 targets directly in front of the barricade, and 2 targets located on either side of the barricade, down a “darkened” hallway/tunnel.  The shooter started at the low ready behind the barricade, and at the buzzer, fired 2 rounds on each of the center targets, and 2 rounds on either the left or the right targets through a hole in the center of the barricade.  For String 2,  the shooter started at the low ready behind the barricade.  At the buzzer, the shooter fired 2 rounds on each of the targets on the side that had not been shot at previously.  The shooter had to shoot the gun from the side of the barricade, while looking through the center port in the barricade.  In other words, the shooters had to use the Crimson Trace laser mounted on the gun to get a sight picture and could not use the sights on the gun.  Needless to say, this slowed a lot of the shooters down quite a bit.

Day 2 began on the 9mm Peek-A-Boo stage at 11:30am.  This was a simple stage.  The competitors used a Kel-Tec Sub-2000 rifle chambered in 9mm to shoot 5 8″ steel plates.  We started String 1 behind a barricade 15 yards from the targets.  At the buzzer, we had to shoot 1 round into each steel plate.  We were not given extra ammo to make up our misses.  String 2 was identical, except that we had to shoot from our weak shoulder.  String 3 was a repeat of String 1.  Shooting a rifle from your weak side shoulder around a barricade is not as easy as it sounds.  Especially if you’ve never practiced it.  Many competitors failed to ring the plates 15 times that weekend.

We finished Day 2, and the competition, on the .22 Rimfire Rifle range.  The rifle event was essentially the same as the pistol event and the rifle event during the local qualifying, with 1 small exception.  During the 5 round string, shooters had to again use their weak side shoulder to fire the rifle.  The rifle used was the Tactical Solutions X-Ring 10/22.  This is the range where most shooters had the hardest time.  It was not a particularly difficult course of fire, but the rifle turned out to be very unreliable.  This in turn lead to shooters incurring misses due to ammo loss after clearing malfunctions.  It is unclear whether a different ammo would have performed better in the rifle, or if the rifle’s precision tolerances were simply the cause.  What is clear is that many competitors came off that range with a look of despair on their faces.

My final thoughts on the American Marksman competition are simple to state.  A lot of people in the shooting community thought it was unfair to exclude high ranking shooters from the different organized shooting disciplines.  I say it was refreshing to come out and compete against people who may not shoot on a regular basis.  I also think that more people are likely to participate since they are not going up against the Rob Leathams of the world, and more people participating means more people enjoying the shooting sports, and that’s never a bad thing.  That being said, to do well at this competition, you have to practice.  A lot!  I, for one, will be practicing hard for next year.  Below is a video of me shooting all the stages, and you can follow the link to see the overall standings for the Men’s Open Division of the Southeast Regionals.

-Jeff Levan

Men’s Open Division Results



Your Gun rights under attack

Your Gun Rights under attack

I have been grieved by the turnout after the coward Muslim terrorists murdered innocent Americans in California. There seemed to be a mad rush to get a gun. The reality is that the evil around you everyday is much more menacing. Fear not! We are responsible…not fearful!!!

Likewise, our current administration is determined to take our guns and rights away…not to worry…yet.

Do you know what the NRA really is? It is the most powerful lobby group in the United States. Why…because over 100,000,000 Americans own guns and support them. These 100,000,000 people are also the backbone of this great country.

Heck, since we opened we have bought a table at the Clay County Friends of the NRA and spend almost $2,000 a year on that table. Though it is great fun…I am trying to make a point!

Put into perspective, if each gun owning American gave the NRA just $10 a year, the NRA’s annual working budget would be a $1,000,000,000 a year (yep, ONE BILLION DOLLARS!). The NRA is powerful!

Politicians run when the NRA shows up.

This current gun grab by our president has no teeth. The only thing he was able to do was once again grow the government…which we will have to pay for…

The below article by USA Today (know telling us about this toothless attack made them cry) defines what the current attack really means…nothing; it is just dust in the wind…


If you like to collect and shoot guns, buy and shoot them. If you feel it important to protect yourself and your family, buy a gun and practice. If you feel you are the person standing in the gap (you are), act on it, get a gun, practice and be prepared. BUT don’t buy a gun out of fear!

I used to think the politicians were the sickness. I have decided they are the symptom…we are the sickness. As a country, we voted them into office, sheesh. At the last election the congress approval rating was in the teens yet 93% were re elected.

Get involved, teach your kids, be active and MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

The Lord Bless You and see you at the range.


The Thin Blue Line Bumper Sticker

The Thin Blue Line Bumper Stickers.

FOR SALE for $3 a piece. 100% of the proceeds will go to C.O.P.S. (see below).

The Thin Blue Line Bumper Sticker

As most of you know our Law Enforcement is under attack. Sadly, you and I make up our country; we are its back bone…BUT, we live busy productive lives and little is heard from us. The small percentage of anti are LOUD! If our officers are thinking about repercussions (media, vocal anti citizens, etc.), they are less apt to respond as quickly or adequately…this places them in unnecessary risk. WE NEED TO LET THEM KNOW WE ARE OUT THERE AND THAT WE SUPPORT THEM!

Continue Reading →





The below is a wonderful article and video about carrying a semi-automatic with a round in the chamber.


Before we talk about that I would like to talk in more detail about other topics the author briefly hits on.


Situational awareness:  We speak of this often but it is critical.  The more aware we are of our surroundings and environment, the earlier we can spot trouble.  Situational awareness is key.  Situational awareness is defined as a state of general awareness that allows you to take the element of surprise away from a threat to your personal security.

The bad guy needs to get close to you to attack you, situational awareness is paramount and will allow you to maintain distance.  Guns are standoff tools and if someone can get close to you, you have probably lost.



With Situational Awareness you will be able to spot other cues of an eminent attack.


Cues on an eminent attack.


A potential attack will probably will start with the interview. This is the time to stop the attack.  The best attack is the one that didn’t take place!  It may now be time to bring out “Mr. Ugly”.  Remember…VERY IMPORTANT; if you carry a gun you must reconcile with yourself that under the right circumstance, you would be willing to fire on another human being.  This is not a natural act for us, law abiding citizens, and it must be front, center and predetermined.


During the interview you may see other signs.

Target Glancing.

Weight shift.


Hands through the hair or rubbing the face or mouth.

Looking at his nine or three o’clock.

Tugging at cover garment.

Movement to the waist band.

Continuing to approach.


Watch the attached video. What you’re seeing is called the interview. The best fight is the one you are not in. You should already be at a heightened sense of awareness as the bad guy is trespassing and suspiciously looking at your truck. You will notice when the bad guy first turns, he tugs at his garment. This is a HUGE telltale and one we speak of during our concealed weapons course…that said, it is now time to react as it is probable that the bad guy is carrying a weapon!


Both Jeff and David are twice as fast as I am getting to their guns. David carries appendix at between 10 and 11 o’clock; David is left-handed. Jeff carries at 3 o’clock; Jeff is right handed.  Both ways to carry are fast to draw. I carried at 7 o’clock…I am left handed. I carry here because I find it very comfortable and most concealable; but it also makes me much slower in presentation. From the time of threat to the first shot fired both Jeff and David have fired in under one second. It takes me almost 2 seconds. That said I would lose in a fair fight…but we should not be in a fair fight! In the incident regarding the video, when he first tugged on his shirt, it is time to act. Put your hand on your gun. By doing this you have done several things; you have upped the possibility that you are going to be in a gunfight but you have also made it clear you are armed and you are not going to be a victim, by leaving the gun in the holster, you have also not brandished your weapon and pointed you deadly weapon at another person…BUT, you have shaved two seconds off the time it takes the average concealed carrier to get to their gun!


Remember, most bad guys are not heroes and don’t want to be in a gunfight; they are looking for a victim.  You have made it clear you are not going to be a victim. You will also notice when he goes to his firearm it takes him about two seconds to get the gun out. With your hand already on your weapon you should be able to get your first shot off in under one second, well ahead of his draw.  Remember, it is hard to out draw a drawn gun and if you are practiced, more than likely this bad guy will lose…if you are mentally prepared and act!


Now what you’ve done is threatening and when the crisis is over you will call the police. You will tell them what happened and why you did what you did. Watch the video several times.


We do not want to be attacked or injured and sadly, the threat of force may be what is needed.  But that threat may keep you from shooting someone or more importantly, being shot!  If needed, act with aggression.  DO NOT BE PASSIVE!


Now, to the empty chamber.


I carry my firearm hot, ready to fire. If you know any policeman, I know many, ask them how they carry their weapon; it is hot ready to fire.  IF it is good enough for our LEO’s it is definitely good enough for me! Now it may take time to build up to this point but when you’re ready, carry weapon ready to fire.


I had bought two semi-automatic pistols for my mother. She would not carry them hot nor would she let me teach her how to clear jams. I bought her revolver, which solved both problems, which she loves. The cylinder is full and the gun is hot ready to fire. Nothing has changed except her minds idea. It is all in our mind. Guns cannot go off by themselves excluding pre 1986 manufactured guns. The gun in a holster is a very safe place as a trigger is 100% protected, if you have a quality holster. Finger discipline is very important and must be learned.


Statistically if you need your weapon, it will be up close. Learn to draw your gun using your strong hand only. Curl your fingers and scoop; use your fingers and your thumb. Statistically you will need your weak hand to push off the threat. Do not practice by reaching across to pull up your garment with your weak hand. With a little practice you can draw very quickly.


The author talks about force on force events. We have one coming in October and it is a must! I have been involved in many Force on Force events and what the author said I agree with; you will never use two hands, you will not use your sights, you will shoot from the hip, half hip and sometime shoulder point. The gunfight will be over in less than three seconds. And you will move!


We teach practical shooting every other Saturday. We will learn to shoot from the hip, half hip and shoulder point, you will practice drawing from concealment, moving and using cover. You will learn to thread focus shoot; point shoot. It is very fast, all can do it. You will be able to shoot on the move and if you can see the threat you can hit threat.


Enjoy the article and watch the video…twice!


See you at the range.


Remember, we are not talking about fear but responsibility.  We are parents and our wives and children need us.


Nehemiah 4:14…read it!