NRA Carry Guard Presentation!

In late August I travelled to the thriving metropolis of Milwaukee and presented a synopsis of "Concealed Carry:  Skills Beyond the Gun" to NRA members.  The last class was taped and here it is!  (Start at 1:23 on part one to avoid some mindless blather.)

Part One:

Part Two:


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Concealed Carry in the Era of Terror: Part One

(He is 100% committed. Are you?)

It is only a matter of time before Islamic terrorists execute a Mumbai or Westgate Mall (or, since I wrote this a week ago, a Garissa University College) style attack in the United States. Consequently, citizens armed against a criminal threat may find themselves drafted in the war for civilization by being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Carrying a concealed pistol to protect against garden variety thugs is a vastly different proposition than confronting terrorists bent on committing murder and mayhem. Here are some planning considerations for this dire eventuality.

Get your mind right, right now

Get this straight in your head. Terrorists are not criminals out to support their drug habit, or a drunken bully looking to throw you a beat down. They are ideologically committed killers determined to use violence to achieve political change. Killing as many as they can in order to maximize the terror impact of their acts is their goal. Do NOT underestimate these people. Take careful note not of just the mass beheadings which are currently in vogue overseas, but the artful manner in which they are now staged and recorded, with high production values throughout. That is highly evolved messaging leveraging modern technology with ancient terror tactics. Remember that dying for their cause is considered a bonus. They won’t be dissuaded, and they won’t be bargained with. They will be heavily armed and adequately trained for their task, which is to slaughter unarmed innocents. Unlike your typical criminal crew, a few shots won’t send them into flight.

So, with that in mind, back shoot them without hesitation. The cheaper the shot, the better. As you pass their bodies, “anchor” shoot them, preferably through the brain and from a position of advantage, to ensure there’s not a threat behind you as you move on. While these methods of engagement are illegal and inappropriate for a criminal encounter and would likely see you charged with murder in that context, I suspect a citizen acting this way against a terrorist threat will be given a pass. (Differentiating between the two at that time could be difficult. Choose wisely…)

Prepare yourself for mass chaos and carnage. Look at pictures from terrorist attacks and watch video of the bombing of the Boston Marathon. Watch the HBO specials on the first two incidents I mentioned above. That will be the reality confronting you at that time. This brutality cannot shock you into inaction. Be prepared to step over bleeding children, screaming for help, and having to leave them in that condition, possibly to die, as you press ahead to stop the attack, or fight your way out. Consider that terrorists will deliberately strike at our most vulnerable points, such as schools, malls, hotels, air ports, or in a rural area with limited capacity to respond. They will employ ruse and deception, and they will be ruthless and cunning.

(This is what success looks like to them.)

Finally, and most importantly, decide right now what your purpose is going to be. Are you going to intervene with the goal of thwarting the attack, or are you going to fight your way out of the hot zone and escape? The “Die Hard” series of movies featuring Bruce Willis as a hardcore cop gunning down dozens of terrorists with a Beretta and a spare magazine are entertaining, but the hard cold reality is that about the best you can hope for is to “die well” in that situation.

“Hard Skills” and Some Random Considerations

Can you shoot on the move? How about engage multiple targets while on the move in an environment where a miss means you hit an innocent? These are skills that are hard to attain and difficult to maintain on the square range with the resources most citizens have available to them, but would prove crucial in this sort of confrontation. (Imagine navigating through a panic stricken crowd with your pistol in hand…)

Can you operate an AK? That simple rifle is likely what the enemy will bring, and the ability to reload and HIT with it could be crucial if you execute a battlefield pick up. Do you know the difference between cover and concealment, and how rifles EXCEL at turning what you thought was cover into concealment? (Rifle bullets can penetrate a lot of material that would stop a pistol round, and still be lethal.) Can you apply a tourniquet, pack a wound or strap on a pressure dressing? Do you even have the stuff to perform these tasks in your car? A good first aid class and some kit might be a better investment than yet another shooting course.


(An AK-47 pickup drill, waiting to happen, or your worst nightmare? Both?)

What is your maximum effective range with your carry pistol? The ability to reliably hit a man-sized target at 50+ yards, from behind cover, would be a useful skill in being able to intervene from a distance. This is one area where I see the trend toward red dots sights (RDS) on pistols as offering a real advantage for most people. Still, at around $800 for a complete set up (not including the gun), plus the retraining, is the cost worth the capability? Maybe I’m just a slow adopter? The evidence is piling up before me, but I still question the utility of an expensive RDS on a daily carry, CCW sort of pistol.


Can you “pie a corner” in basic structure clearing? Move stealthily? Employ a flashlight? These also would highly useful skills that won’t magically just happen appear you need them.

And let’s talk about you for a minute. Can you run 200 yards nonstop in a time that doesn’t need a calendar to measure? If you can’t, maybe a gym membership and losing 20lbs or so would be a better investment of your time and money than another carbine course. (Are you seeing a theme here? ☺ Shooting is fun, but it is nowhere near the whole game.)


Concealed Carry in the Era of Terror: Part Two

Tactics, Assumptions & Decisions


Surprise, speed and violence of action. Destroy whatever security forces are local, and gain control of the guard shack where the CCTV feeds terminate in order to gather intelligence and maintain surveillance of the objective. Use knowledge of the layout of the venue and a means to communicate within the team to coordinate action and maximize impact.

Ambush first responders with small arms fire or explosives, slowing their response and forcing law enforcement to marshal and deploy from a distance. Communicate with offsite command and control that are monitoring live feed TV, like the Mumbai attackers, who were directed by sat phone from their handlers watching the event on BBC in Pakistan, in order to respond to a law enforcement entry.

Employ ruthless murder to shock people and drive them into zones of control for immediate slaughter, or use as pawns in the media game, and then slaughter, such as the Moscow Theater or the Beslan school attacks. Negotiate the mass surrender of your victims, then kill them without mercy once they’ve gathered. Perform these acts with joy in your heart and without a second of hesitation. You were born for slaughtering the infidel.


Accept what is happening at the first sight of an AK, or upon hearing shots, explosions and screams. Act immediately and decisively to determine the zone of immediate action and move away from it, fighting your way out if necessary. (Notice the shocked disbelief on the faces of the people in this video, and the time lag between what was obviously an abnormal event and the herd movement to an exit.  Also, regarding explosions, be mindful that a long used tactic is to detonate a small bomb in order to drive people toward a larger device. A variation on this theme is one explosion to draw attention, and then a secondary device targeting first responders.)

There may be just a lone shooter, and in that case, it is likely he’s a disaffected domestic convert that has been “Inspired”  by the decline of faith in Western values and the Jihad’s excellent media campaign. (Alternatively, he could be just a plain nut. We have plenty of those, too.) If there is more than one, they are probably trained at only a basic level with their weapons and are able operate loosely as a team with bounding over watch and room clearing techniques. They don’t need to be Delta force, or even highly trained infantry. Being willing and armed is more than sufficient for their task of mayhem.

Once away, you can escape, lay in fixed ambush or move through the structure and engage at the times and places of your choosing in a roving sort of ambush/meeting engagement. The latter is a very high risk undertaking but will serve to buy time for other citizens to escape. You will likely be significantly outgunned.

Do NOT expect an immediate and effective law enforcement response. This event would severely strain even a resource rich department like the NYPD. So a citizen inside, say, a store in the suburbs, can’t expect the cavalry to arrive soon, if at all. Bottom line: You’re on your own.

(LE response may not be everything you want. Note reversed magazine and optic)

This will likely be a “come as you are” affair, and what you have on or near you will be what you’ll be fighting with, unless you’re able to upgrade with a weapon the terrorists brought to the fight. Consequently, the magazine capacity of the pistol you’re carrying becomes a concern. (Not to mention having a spare magazine or two in your everyday carry.) And while I think a “truck gun”, meaning a long arm in the vehicle, is useful, employing one under these circumstances is unrealistic. Would you run out to the safety of your vehicle, secure an AR, and then run back in? Here’s a question: How do you think you’re going to look to responding law enforcement running around with a rifle in “Die Hard” fashion, be they local PD, FBI HRT, or, if things get really bad, the professionals from Virginia Beach or Fort Bragg? As amped up as they’re going to be, well, that would be a lot different than talking your way out of a traffic ticket.

Expect mass panic on the part of people who have never before considered this possibility and are suddenly confronted with imminent, violent death. Also expect to have to make instant decisions on who is a like-minded individual that is also carrying a pistol and is on your side, and a terrorist actor that needs shot repeatedly. There are millions of lawfully armed citizens in this country, and an unknown brother in arms could easily be on the scene. (Think of it as a pickup basketball game…in hell.) Communicating with that stranger, who will probably have plans and different skills than your own, could be problematic.

(These guys were at a practical pistol match near the Westgate mall in Kenya. They ran to the sound of the guns. What will you do, and under what circumstances?)

If I can impart the One Big Goal to obtain in this circumstance it would be, “Don’t get fixed in place.” If you lose freedom of mobility you lose options and the odds stack up even worse than they were before. The mobility issue becomes increasingly problematic if your family is present.  How about a child in a stroller, or a toddler that has a mind of his own and can run like the dickens? This now an absolute nightmare scenario. Speaking of your spouse/ SO, do you train as a team? Do you have a plan where one partner scoops up the kids and everyone moves toward the exit? I’m not talking tactical movement like bounding forward…just plain hauling ass in a designated direction on a pre-arranged signal. Not fun to think about, is it, but that is where we are now. (I need to put a few brain cells on that problem set myself. Others, such as the “Tactical Professor” Claude Werner are tackling the issue as well.)

What I’ve described is very low likelihood, very high impact event. There are only so many hours in a day, and between family, job, and life, there is only so much time left to train for self-defense against criminals, let alone preparing for something so unlikely, regardless the scale. I understand that, but would argue that a little occasional distance shooting, some work from behind cover and some honest talk resulting in “just in case” plans with the people in your immediate circle would go a long way toward filling those first 15 seconds of a terrible situation with some decisive action that may make the difference. Attending a GOOD first aid class imparts skills that are applicable in everyday life. There are bits and pieces of what I have listed as useful skills that can be acquired over time that would be both fun to learn and beneficial in circumstances beyond this.

In the end, like so many other aspects of life, there are many questions that can only be answered by you, and the specific situation you confront will pose unforeseeable circumstances where you may only be able to choose the least bad option. Remember that these people are 1) not stupid and 2) highly motivated. They will have thought several moves ahead into this game, and they are actually HOPING to die for their cause. One weakness they MAY have is cultural ignorance of how many of us are armed and will fight, hard. It’s not much, but it may be enough. That small, fleeting surprise might be all you have.

(This man is reported to have made multiple trips into the Westgate mall, armed with only a pistol, rescuing dozens. Brave or foolish?)

See you on the range!

John R. Murphy
FPF Training, LLC

NUMEROUS excellent articles on this topic and many, many others can be found at Greg’s work is uniformly excellent. Never a minute wasted there.

  4. (Note how long it takes for people to react.)
  6. (Terrorist attack in Paris)


“I’ve decided to start carrying a concealed weapon. What do I need to know?”

People new to the concealed carry lifestyle, and there are hundreds of thousands more every year, can find themselves overwhelmed with the all of the options and are swamped with so much information, good and bad, that they can make poor choices.  Many don’t even know where to start, other than by throwing themselves at the mercy of whoever is behind the counter at the local gun store or, possibly even worse, the Internet.  (As an aside, the words I have come most to fear on the firing line are, “I’ve been shooting all my life”, followed by, “I was in the military.”)   So informed, many buy a gun, holster, cleaning kit, possibly attend a four hour class and think themselves ready to responsibly exercise their right, but they haven’t really examined the issue from the essential foundation.

Know Yourself

The most important thing to know and understand regarding concealed carry is…you.  Are you willing and able to commit mentally, emotionally and financially to armed self-defense?   Distilled, are you capable of inflicting potentially lethal wounds on another human being, and are you prepared to face the consequences of that action?  Internet bravado aside, the answer to that question forms the core of the decision to carry a weapon.

Know Yourself

Can you keep your cool over a parking spot dispute, “road rage” incident or a “what are you looking at” confrontation?  Are you easily offended at the behavior of others, and publicly comment on those actions? Do you seek confrontation?  Do your friends participate in that sort of behavior? If so, I think you should reconsider carrying, or change your approach to life.

Know Yourself

What would you do if you saw a man yelling at a woman, and even striking her?  Would you intervene in an armed robbery?  I’m not saying that you shouldn’t get involved in these circumstances, I am saying that you should consider them before they occur so that you will have a  model to make your decision at that moment.

Know Yourself

Can you afford to purchase a suitable weapon and gear, along with good, relevant training?  Are you responsible enough to own, securely store and if necessary, employ this weapon?  Can you commit to a practice regimen that includes not just drawing and shooting, but of just simply talking to people in contentious circumstances, agreeing to disagree and walking away.  (Yes, I’m saying you need to practice that.)

 Know Yourself

Are you physically capable of carrying the weight incurred by an effective pistol in a manner in which it could be accessed quickly and used decisively?  If your equipment isn’t comfortable, you won’t carry, so what’s the point?

The Bottom Line is that the right of self-defense is inherent for all free men and women, but carries with it immense responsibilities and forces questions that only YOU can can answer.


Just announced: “UNTHINKABLE” Class – September 10-11, 2016

This class is all about “worst case scenarios.”  It covers all the topics that you haven’t been able to find in the other open-enrollment classes you have seen.  The two day class covers the following subjects:

  • Hostage Survival Techniques- What to do in the event you are taken hostage, how to psychologically defeat the hostage taker, escape of common restraints: how to pick and shim handcuffs, how to break zip ties, and how to escape flex cuffs.
  • The Psychology of Violent Criminals and How They Choose Their Victims
  • Tactical First Aid for Gunshot wounds
  • Constructing an Effective Defense Paradigm– This presentation will review common mental and philosophical errors made by practitioners as they undertake preparation for effective defense against violent aggression. Practical pitfalls and limitations in thinking about lawful violence will also be reviewed in depth.
  • Armed Citizen Response to Terrorist Bombing Incidents
  • Weapon Retention and Disarming- This class will provide students with  simple and effective techniques to defend a holstered firearm and disarm a criminal holding you at gunpoint.

Instructors are Greg Ellifritz and William April

Elite Shooting Sports
7751 Doane Drive
Gainesville,VA 20109

Past Review:

Cost: $450.00

Purchase & Enroll  



New Classes Coming Soon!!!

Concealed Carry: Questions & Choices (Dates to be Determined)

This four hour lecture presents and answers the questions, organizes information and makes sense of the confusing choices and options people entering the concealed carry lifestyle face. Covering the big and small details of equipping for armed self-defense, this course charts the path for the novice to follow to enable informed decisions. (There is no firearms training or range time in this course. Technically it meets the training requirement to apply for a concealed pistol permit in Virginia, but this is NOT recommended!)`

  • The Decision to Arm
  • Rights and Responsibilities:
  • Mindset
  • Legal Considerations
  • Equipping for concealed carry
  • Safe Storage
  • Skill Acquisition

Cost: $50.00

No prerequisites

Concealed Carry: Force on Force (Dates to be determined)

This laboratory will put into practice every day concealed carry skills in controlled force on force exercises representing realistic scenarios. Techniques and tactics will be trained and rehearsed under the crucible of pressure from an acting, thinking and TRAINED opponent.

Cost: $175.00

Prerequisites: Concealed Carry: Foundation Skills or equivalent. Contact to discuss.



Just announced: Concealed Carry: Two Person Tactics


People who are serious about self-defense tend to associate with like-minded individuals. Consequently they may encounter situations where working a problem together can exponentially increase their chances for a successful outcome. This ten hour course develops the skills and tactics required for individuals that possess self-defense skills to function as a team across the spectrum of street situations they are likely to encounter with techniques for cooperative communication, movement and the application of appropriate force.

Alternatively, some spouses/significant others decline to prepare for violence, yet may still be present during an event. This course will provide them basic pepper spray and 1st aid skills, as well as enable them to act in concert with their partner

(Inert pepper spray, along with controlled force on force exercises, will be used in this course)

200 rounds, plus the usual

$200 per person

September 19, 2015
October 11, 2015
November 21, 2015

View Schedule & Enroll

Prerequisite: Concealed Carry: Foundation Skills or equivalent, Concealed Carry: Street Encounter Skills.

Contact to discuss if other past training will suffice.



FPF Training is pleased to be hosting Massad Ayoob’s MAG 20 “Armed Citizen’s Rules of Engagement”

FPF Training is pleased to be hosting Massad Ayoob’s MAG 20 “Armed Citizen’s Rules of Engagement 4-5 February at the Holiday Inn Express in Springfield, Virginia

This two-day, 20-hour immersion course in rules of engagement for armed law-abiding private citizens, emphasizing legal issues, tactical issues, and aftermath management. Topics will include interacting with suspects, witnesses, responding police officers…threat recognition and mind-set…management of social and psychological aftermath after having had to use lethal force in defense of self or others…and preparing beforehand for legal repercussions and minimizing exposure to them. Situations in the home, at the place of business, or “on the street” will all be covered. Prerequisite: none. Email with questions.

Cost: $400


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