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Friday, November 18, 2016

To support or to not support, that is the question.

Interesting times in the US to be sure. After one of the most bitter and dare I say it, bizarre elections I have ever seen, there is now increased focus on law enforcement as riots seem to be cropping up everywhere.

Now to begin with, lets leave politics out of this piece, and simply talk about law enforcement. The cops out there up and down the country undoubtedly have a very difficult job to do. Over the last couple of years their conduct has been placed in very narrow focus by the news media and various groups, with every move they make, and every mistake they make minutely examined, often with the benefit of HD TV coverage, and 20/20 hindsight.

There was a saying that became a often (over)used cliche at home, altered a little to fit this subject, the police have to get it right every time every day, if they don't, it could mean their lives or a very long prison sentence.

What about doctors I hear you ask. I would agree, they also have a huge amount of responsibility, and of course as the cost of their liability insurance demonstrates, people aren't afraid to dissect every move they make several months later with a known outcome either. But there is a huge difference, that makes the police unique. Every interaction they have with a member of the public could be their last.

Do they know when they approach a motorist they have stopped that they won't be gunned down for no apparent reason? Does a person with that intent somehow look different from the rest of us? Of course not. The doctor in general is greeted as a friend, as someone looking to help. A policeman enforces the law, and by that very definition they interactions they have with the public start on a confrontational footing.

I have found through many years of dealing with the public in many different industries, that you tend to get the reaction that your actions dictate. If I am nice, people are nice to me, if I choose to be confrontational, I will normally get the same response. When dealing with the police, and calm, receptive and co operative attitude will rarely be unwelcome, and will nearly always lead to if not a wholly satisfactory outcome (is a citation ever satisfactory..) then an outcome that both can look back on as at least one from which everyone walked away.

The story from Florida of the motorist that stopped to help the cop that was pinned to the ground, being beaten, is actually quite uplifting after so many months of hard fought election. The fact that someone died is of course a tragedy, but the fact that someone sprang to the defense on the embattled police department is a cause for if not celebration, then at least an indication that the forces of law and order are not always seen as the enemy.

Ask yourself this, if you were in that motorist's position, bearing in mind the inevitable civil suit that will no doubt ensue would you do the same, or would you drive on by, hoping someone else will stop to help.

Interesting question, would love to hear your thoughts.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Can your method of self defence be a hobby?

Just last week, I had the pleasure of meeting a couple here at Caswells who I think it's fair to say are one of our most senior customers. I shall not name them for fear of making them blush, but they were 2 of the nicest people I have had the good fortune to meet in the store. They had done a little research, and wanted to buy a gun that they could both use, that wasn't a cannon, but would still be of use if they had to defend themselves.

We spent a great deal of time together, going through options and ideas, until we kept returning to the same gun, a Sig Sauer P238, in my opinion one of, if not the best concealed firearm currently available (if you disagree, please do post and let me know), which is eventually what the happy couple purchased, and are overjoyed with.

"Why were they such a joy to deal with" I hear you ask. Because they got the balance just right. They had done enough research to get them into the correct ballpark, and now, simply needed a little assistance to get them to where they needed to be. They hadn't made their mind up simply from online reviews, nor were their "wants" hard and fast, they were happy to think along different lines, and different ideas, until they found something that works for them.

Not only that, they have realized that they now have a very powerful weapon at their disposal. A 380ACP round is not to be ignored nor taken lightly. Again, they knew a little but were more than willing to learn, and signed up for a CCW, and took a lesson with one of our RO's a couple of days later. All the above is to me, responsible ownership, understanding what you have, how to use it, and how to keep yourself and others safe around it.

Contrast that story with the latest unnecessary tragedy in Phoenix a few weeks ago. A 5 year old tragically found his dads loaded gun, and ended up fatally shot. The family are devastated, of course and our heart goes out to them, but this happens far far to often. You wouldn't drive a car without training, so why is OK to own a gun, and not think that up to date training is essential? Did you take your CCW  years ago? Great, no class to take to renew, but don't you think that you should know all you can about about current legislation and practises?

Don't hand those that have a negative view of guns the ball and watch them run it in for a touchdown, don't give them them anything they can use us, because you can be certain that if you do, they WILL use it.

Be careful and look after your firearm, so if the time comes, it will look after you,

Friday, October 28, 2016

Is preparing wrong?

This little gem popped up in my Facebook feed during the week, interesting reading.

"Here's a question: Why is it such a bad thing to think if men need to "change so that they're not objectifying women" that women learn self defense, both mental and physical, for all the bad shit that will happen to them and the guys that managed to skip the "change societal norms" class? "

It got me to thinking a great deal about being prepared for eventualities which are not theoretical risks, but things that happen to people around us every day. For example, I have a very good friend, an older lady, who doesn't agree with guns, and thinks they should all be banned. Now leaving aside the rights and wrongs of banning guns, the fact is they exist, and will continue to exist no matter what legislation was passed. Now in that circumstance is it wise to stick to your views, and ignore the rest of the world where guns exist and and bad people have guns?

Now let's get something straight, I am not blaming the victim not excusing the criminal here. What I am suggesting is that it must make sense to take actions and take necessary precautions to protect yourself from people to whom what's right would depend on how attractive your pocket book looked.

An example I was given years ago would seem to be relevant. When I was teaching people to to ride motorbikes in the UK, a very old and wise instructor took me aside, whilst trying to calm one of my wilder streaks, and gave me this little thought. When you are at a set of traffic lights, and your light goes green, do you simply dive straight out into the junction, or do you check that the road is clear? After some discussion about breaking the law etc etc etc, he made me realize that if I pull straight out, without taking adequate precautions, and got flattened by a 44 truck, I would indeed be in right and the truck driver totally in the wrong.

However, no matter how in the wrong he was, and how in the right I was, I still suffer the appalling consequences. Is that fair, of course not, I should walk away uninjured, and the truck driver should go to prison for 20 years, but life doesn't work like that does it. Could I have helped myself, and taken some precautions, yes, I could, that doesn't make me any less right, but it does mean that I can deal with, and avoid the actions of others to whom the law and what's "right" is far less important.

Going back to my friend, if she were to be confronted by a person who wants to cause her harm, she can do very little to defend herself beyond shouting if she can. If I were to drive to a particularly sketchy part of the valley, wearing my nice new Rolex, there's a good chance that I could well be relieved of it, perhaps better not to have it on display. Is that right, or fair, no, but is it a realistic attitude that avoids me possibly losing my goods, and maybe my life, yes, and that's the point.

Life isn't fair, we have to realize that, and live our lives accordingly. There's is little point taking the moral high ground from a hospital bed, when by simply using a little common sense, we can do all that we could ever want to, just by taking a few simple precautions

Just ask yourself this simple question, would you fry bacon naked..

Some sources to make you think a little;

Trying to take the cell phone of an MMA fighter is never usually a good plan

Video of someone trying to take an MMA fighters cell phone

Friday, September 23, 2016

Is there a perfect gun?

I get asked on a regular basis "what gun should I buy?" What an interesting question. As you know, guns come in many forms, types, calibers and sizes. Lets start at the beginning.

1. What purpose do I want to put the gun to?
The 1st and most obvious question is "what do I want to do with my gun". The answer often tends to be "I want to protect myself/family". Perfect, and the most common reason for gun ownership. But we need to think a little harder. If you are simply looking for a device to keep you and your family safe at home, like having locks and alarms then your choice of guns is very large. From a Desert Eagle to a Derringer, pretty much any gun would fulfill that role. The question would be what's ideal?

If however, someone wants to widen the scope a little, and suggest that they also want to be safe outside the home, then a little more thought needs to go into the decision. Can that gun be carried comfortably and conveniently, and can I use it efficiently if there is a "situation"?

A S&W C.O.R.E. is a fantastic range gun, accurate, large magazine, and able to take all sorts of extra sights and enhancements. Excellent if you intend to take part in a shooting competition here at Caswells, but if you want to carry it concealed when you go shopping at Walmart, not an ideal choice. Conversely, if you have a shiny new Sig P238, probably not the best choice for the next IDPA match!

2. Come shooting!
There is a fundamental choice to be made before selecting a handgun, revolver or semi auto. They are as different as choosing between a bicycle and a BMW!! One is reliable, small, easy to use and a tried and tested design. The other, easy to use, tried and tested, reliable and tried and tested. Seem similar, that's because they are, not to each other of course, but each have very similar attributes, and whether they fit your requirements or not really depends on which one you can use most comfortably and reliably. It's no good having a $1000 44 Magnum Smith & Wesson, if the recoil makes the gun so uncontrollable for you, the location of your 2nd shot is a mystery! Equally, there's no point in having a Kahr PM9 if you can't pull back the slide.

It doesn't end there of course. You have to consider caliber, size, recoil, “Stopping power”, triggers, ergonomics, controls, ease of slide racking, external safety or no external safety? These are all things that go to making up the "perfect" gun for you, and what use you have for it.

How do you know which works for you, easy, shoot them!! You don't have to shoot every semi auto and every revolver, just 1 or 2 of each so you can make an informed choice as to what suits you best.
3. Don’t get married to your first gun

Sounds easy right? Your 1st gun is like your 1st car. You have done everything you can to make the right choice, taken advice from people who have more experience than you do, shopped around, shot some guns, and now you have your lovely shiny new gun in your hands, as you book up your 1st classes to learn how to get the best from it.

As you learn more, and shoot more, you will realize that just like driving, you are getting better and more confident. You have become familiar with your gun, and are realizing that there maybe other things you'd like from it, perhaps areas where you believe it could be improved, or where your shooting experience can be enhanced in an area where your current gun maybe lacking.

As your shooting experience expands and grows, and as your life changes, your requirements for your guns will change. There is no such thing as the "perfect" gun, merely the gun best suited to a situation. Make sure that as your needs change, so does your equipment.

Read the article this piece is based on here


Friday, September 9, 2016

Is self defense the most important thing you ever invest in?

I am often asked "what is the best gun for my money?" Now there's a subject all of it's own!! Some guns are better at some things than others, for instance, would I conceal carry an 8" SW460? Conversely, If I were camping in bear country, would I pack my P238? There are so many answers to that question it makes my head hurt just thinking about it!

But what is the real answer? If I buy a $1400 Sig Sauer Legion, took it home, and locked it away, and never fired it, is that the best gun? Sure it's a valuable gun, but best? I would think that like classic and exotic cars, expensive guns are only of any use when they are used for what they are good at, and the person using them has trained to get the very best they are capable of from them. Most guns are capable of accuracies that far outweigh the abilities of a person to repeatedly hit the same spot, and I include the cheaper guns in that statement.

So the only difference in accuracy effective use is the ability of the person using that gun. And that is where the lesson is to be found. Having the right equipment is only the 1st stage in a process. It's great having a Ferrari F12, but unless you either possess a HUGE amount of natural talent, you will need training to avoid finding yourself a passenger on the way to the scene of the accident you can't avoid.

As you all know, I preach safety and the fact that I believe you should be prepared for reasonable eventualities at all times till you are all sick of me doing so! There is little point in having very expensive equipment if you have idea how to get the best from it, and don't then make that equipment available to yourself in a situation where you may need it.

There are tragic stories everyday of people being injured and killed in circumstances where even the most basic training would have stopped the tragedies. There was a 2 year old toddler wounded "playing with a gun" only last week.

Take the terrible events last night on the 51. Whilst all the facts are not yet clear, a woman it seems was chased across Phoenix by 3 guys in a truck, and SHOT as she tried to get away on the 51, in a moving car, and all this at 7.30pm! Perhaps some training in self defense and how to deal with being followed in in a vehicle and road rage would have helped?

If you don;t have a plan of how to defend yourself in a variety of situations, now is the time to sit down, and consider making one. Take the classes that we offer, and are out there. There's no need to goto work in a bullet proof vest, with a hand grenade in each pocket, nor do you need a 45 in every room, and steel doors on your house. Just a range of very simple precautions would help you to simply be prepared, and to be able to help yourself until professional help can arrive.

Don't want to waste money on it, because it will never happen to you, do you have a fire extinguisher in your house?

Think about it.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Do I need training?

In the words of a British soccer commentator, "it's a funny ole game". By game, I of course mean the firearms "game. Running a range like Caswells, you soon learn to expect the unexpected. From a customer returning to the store with his receipt from 1996 asking if his special order magazine had come in yet, to people pulling the trigger again in the hope the speeding bullet will clear a squib, we see a great many things that make us smile, gasp and sometimes even wince a little!

But, what is always a shock is the difference in views to training. We have all types of people that come here, but with training there tend to be 2 camps which most people fall into, namely "all" or "nothing" with little in between.

There is no compunction to take training, apart from basic training for the CCW, but is it a great idea to take no training? Lets see, if you were lucky enough to be given a McClaren P1, and were offered training at a fraction of the cost of the car, but that would mean you could actually get the best from it, would you do the training? I suspect you would.

Now think about a nice new Sig Sauer, best part of $1000, would you spend $100 on some training so YOU can get the best from your new and shiney Sig? I know I did when I first started to get involved in firearms.

But, even more important that getting the best out of your gun, safety. There are SO many tragic stories in the press of injuries and deaths from negligent discharge situations. A 2 year old toddler was wounded when a gun that HE WAS PLAYING WITH went off and wounded him in the leg. A man was shot in the neck a few weeks ago by his friend who was cleaning his gun in another room!

On the range, we are often critised for asking people to unload thier guns outside the store. But the case of a gunshop owner in Ohio who was killed by a customer taking in a class in another room, who suffered a negligent discharge with a gun that should not have been loaded serves as a warning and an explanation of why following such rules is essential for both customer and staff safety, we don't just make them up for fun.

What's the answer, ban guns, universal background checks, AR bans, ammo bans? Of course not. Training and good sense are the key. Guns do not simply leap up and shoot people of their own accord when they are bored on a Thursday afternoon, they have to be manipulated to make that happen. Children access bleach left in cupboards they can reach an drink it, with obvious consequences. Do we seek to ban bleach, no we try and educate people to store it safely. Would I be any more appalled to find a child playing with bleach or a gun I wonder..

Both are the result of poor decisions made by those responsible for keeping the child safe, and failing to do so. The guy cleaning the gun didn't follow the golden rules, clear any firearm you pickup, treat every gun as loaded. The student in the classroom broke the golden rule, no ammunition in a classroom

When we see attacks daily on guns and the shooting sports, don't give them an open goal to shoot at. Every one of the incidents I describe would have been avoided by following the most simple and basic gun handling routines, taught in in every class. Caswells runs classes from Family safety classes to the P300 class, and many in between, all of which can be found here on

Lets be safe and responsible, and don't give those who would ban your sport and your means of defending yourself and loved ones anything to throw at us. Lets see an end to 2 year old playing with loaded guns hurting themselves. The answer is in our hands!

Toddler shoots himself
Man shoots freind
Gunstore owner dies

Friday, July 15, 2016

Why France?

It seems to happen almost every week. An extremist attacks innocent women and children and their families in the places they go to enjoy their time off, and time together. What appalling and horrific acts, Paris, Belgium, Florida, Dallas and now Nice. No matter who the perpetrator, no matter what their ridiculous reasons, I simply cannot fathom the mind that thinks their cause will be furthered, their hatred as-waged, or their "god" pleased by such wanton slaughter of people just going about their lives.

And of course, after the Dallas massacre, the same tired and discredited people crawled from the woodwork to try and push their tawdry anti gun agenda while the media shines the spotlight once more on a tragic event.

Thing is, as you watch the coverage of Nice - an event I have to say that bought me to tears, a VERY rare occurrence - and the previous coverage of Paris and Belgium, the one thing that categorically links those appalling attacks is one very simple but obvious fact, guns are not available to the public in either country.

This one simple plain fact is, broadly speaking, left out of pretty much every newsfeed I have watched thus far. Why is this, why are people allowed on TV saying that gun control is the issue that must be tackled? As the POS in Nice has proved with appalling obviousness, you can do a LOT more damage and hurt a LOT more innocent people with a truck or as in Boston, with a pressure cooker.

But there are no calls to ban trucks or cooking implements, why, because it doesn't fit the gun control agenda. Twist it as they may, they simply have to concede that in the face of terrorism the like of which the US has never known, and on a scale even Europe has never seen, the answer is not what they would like it to be.

The answer is that the people perpetrating the act are what need dealing with, their motivations examined, and ways found to prevent their "success's" in the future. Unpalatable though it maybe, we simply have to profile the people likely to carry out these attacks as best we can, and take steps to ensure our safety.

RIP those killed in Nice, and the injured are in our thoughts.