My Thoughts on Terror Watch Lists

Shortly after the tragic mass-murder in Orlando, information came out that the killer had previously been investigated by the FBI and was on the terror watch list. In light of this, there has been a lot of discussion around why people who have been investigated by the FBI or are on the terrorist watch list are able to buy a firearm. Lots of people are pushing for new gun control laws that would prevent these individuals from getting their hands on a weapon. At first glance, this seems like a reasonable idea. Nobody wants criminals or terrorists to be able to get their hands on firearms that may be used to harm innocent people. However, the more that I think about this concept, the more hesitant I become about it. I want to take a moment to explain why.

In America, our criminal justice system favors the innocent. You cannot be arrested for a crime until you actually commit a crime. You are to be assumed innocent until you are proven guilty. This is in place to make sure that innocent people cannot have their rights infringed upon. If we had a system that assumed that people were guilty just because we thought that they might do something in the future or because we think that they did something, there is a good chance that an innocent person would have their rights taken away and go to prison (or worse) for a crime they did not commit. Some may say that our justice system favors the guilty, because it sometimes allows those who have committed a crime to get off because there was not enough evidence to PROVE that they are guilty. While this does happen sometimes, this is a better outcome than having innocent people locked up for crimes that they did not commit. Maintaining the rights of the innocent is more important than locking up the guilty every time (Not to say that this is not important).

At this point you may be asking what in the world out justice system has to do with terror watch lists and buying firearms. My answer is “everything”. While it sounds good to keep people on the watch list from having firearms, it goes against how our laws work. People who are on the watch list are just people who the government thinks might take some kind of terrorist action in the future. The have not actually done anything wrong yet and therefore are innocent in the eyes of the law, entitled to every right that any other innocent person has (including firearms). Let’s say that a law was put in place and a person with no terrorist ties was put on the list (which has happened). All of a sudden they cannot buy a firearm anymore because the government thinks that the person MIGHT at some point in the future commit a crime. This would create a system in which the innocent is no longer viewed as innocent, but is view as (and treated as) guilty, despite the fact that they have not yet done anything wrong. This is a huge problem and it is not a situation that we want to find ourselves in. If I thought that the government could guarantee that the only people on that list were people who were going to commit a crime in the future, I would feel differently about this whole thing, but frankly I don’t trust the abilities of any human institution that much. Only God knows the hearts of men and what they will do in the future, therefore man is completely unable to accurately put people on that kind of list. While this system may not prevent future terrorists from getting ahold of weapons, it will insure that the innocent have the right to keep and bear arms without interference.  Maintaining the rights and freedom of the innocent is more important than preventing the future terrorists every time (which is an impossible task). While it would be fantastic to keep people like the Orlando killer from getting their hands on weapons by prohibiting future terrorists from getting weapons, it is not worth having innocent people treated like criminals when they had not done anything wrong. Having a government that punished people who had done nothing wrong is just as bad (and probably worse) than allowing the wrong person to get their hands on a gun.


QSI: Basic Defensive Handgun

This last weekend, my wife and I attended a Basic Defensive Handgun class with Quorum Security International. I wanted to take a moment to talk about the class, the instructors, and some lessons that I walked away with.

The Class

We arrived at the range at about 8:30. We unloaded our stuff and got set up. At about 9, Erik, the main instructor, kicked things off with a speech about the safety rules as well as information of what we would do if there was an accident during the day.

After the safety brief, Erik moved on to the 3 fundamentals of pistol shooting: trigger control, grip, and stance. This started off in lecture format before we moved to the range and applied the principles that he taught us via dry fire. After the time of dry fire was complete, we loaded up and fired our first shots of the day just before lunch with a simple 4 shot drill. While it may seem strange that we did not fire a shot for the first 2-3 hours of the class, it gave us as students the opportunity to make sure that we had a solid understanding of the core skills before we moved on to anything more complicated.

After lunch, we picked up where we left off, with a 4 shot drill. This drill served as the base for what we would do for the remainder of the class, with more layers being added on each time.

After a few times through the drill, Erik talked about reloads. He demonstrated the 2 common types of reloads: speed/emergency reload and the tactical reload and listed off the pros and cons of each method. Immediately after he was done, got the opportunity to try each method out for ourselves. We would fire the base 4 shot drill until it was time to reload (either because we ran out or because an instructor gave a reload command) and then fire 4 shots again. This ensured that everybody had to perform a reload (in some cases 2 reloads) eventually.

Once we understood reloads, Erik talked about and demonstrated malfunction clearing. As you might guess, we got to practice this right away. We would each hand our magazine to a partner who would then hide a dummy round somewhere in the mag. Somewhere along the line, we would get a malfunction that we had to deal with.

After malfunctions, we learned the basics of movement.

The last (and most important) thing that Erik gave us instruction on is conflict avoidance and deescalation. This class really is built around concealed carry, so while being able to shoot is an important skill, being able to recognize and avoid the need to shoot is much more important. Erik talked about situational awareness and how you should respond to a sketchy character who approaches you on the street, but has not yet become a threat to you. Here we also learned about what to say to citizens who may approach you immediately after a violent encounter and what to say (and what NOT to say) to the police when they arrive.

Before our day was done, we had on last drill to do. The drill took everything that we had learned and forced us to do all of it in a short period of time. This drill was really helpful because it helped us to see the big picture of how all the skills work together in a violent encounter.

The Instructors

The 3 instructors were top notch. All of them were very knowledgeable and knew how to teach the things that they knew. I was especially impressed with how they treated my wife, who is a new shooter. They gave her a lot of good tips and helped her to learn how to do the things that she was doing incorrectly. What is really impressive is how they did it without sending a subliminal message of “you are stupid” or “you are wrong”. It was always very positive and they gave lots of encouragement. After her and I had finished the last drill, Erik pulled us to a separate range to help her 1 on 1 with trigger control. In those few minutes her skill level (not to mention her confidence) went through the roof. I cannot stress highly enough how awesome it was for me as a husband to see my wife treated with that kind of respect and care. It was evident that they really were interested in seeing their students improve.

Lessons Learned

The biggest lesson that I learned was the conflict avoidance/deescalation techniques. This is hugely important, because the things that I learned in this section of the class could help to keep me out of a scenario where I was forced to draw my gun. This skill set is something that is talked about in concealed carry classes, but is not taught in concealed carry classes (mostly because there isn’t time). This part of the class alone would have been worth what I paid for the class


This class was a really great experience for my wife and I.  For me it was an opportunity to refine my current skills and learn some new ones. For my wife, her skills went up, but not as much as her self-confidence went up. While I wouldn’t say that she was afraid of guns before, she was mostly indifferent about shooting. Since we took the class, her interest has gone through the roof and she is much more confident in her ability to handle a handgun on her own.

I cannot recommend this class highly enough. This class is a must-have for those of us who have a carry permit. And with a pricetag of $120 (which is cheap for what you get) you really have nothing to lose. Check out the class schedule at




Be Tactical:Don’t Dress Tactically

Anybody who has been carrying a gun for long will tell you how much the clothes that you wear affect how well you can conceal your weapon. For example, some shirts that I have are smaller on me (I am sure that they just shrunk over time….😉 ) or are shorter and make it difficult to hide a gun. As a result, I have to wear longer shirts. While wearing clothes that hide your gun is important, wearing clothes that hide you as a concealed carrier is just as important (if not more so).

Often times, guys who get into guns also have special clothes that are meant for tactical use (such as police/military use, competition use, or for a shooting class). For example, lot’s of gun guys have 5.11 pants. These pants are set up for tactical use because they are made of tough materials and have lots of pockets for things like extra mags, radios, and tactical lights. As a result, the have a very “tactical” look about them. Which is well and good in scenarios where that is your goal. However, when you are carrying concealed and trying to blend in to the crowd, the last thing you want to do is appear to be “tactical”. The whole point of concealing your weapon is to keep people from knowing that it is there, so I don’t get why you would wear this type of garment for concealment.

Let me give you an example of a story that I heard where 5.11 style pants blew somebody’s cover. There were 2 bounty hunters out to find a bad guy. The first one (who I will call Bob) was wearing 5.11 style pants. The second one (who I will call Jim) was not. Bob and Jim located where the building where their target was. They decided to split up, with Bob going in the front and Jim coming in the back. As Jim was moving through the building, a stranger came up to him and said “hey, there is an undercover cop in the front” and pointed to Bob. The tactical pants that Bob had on gave him away as somebody who was probably armed. No good.

As concealed carriers, it is in our best interest to remain undetected by potential attackers. We need to use tactics to blend in. A really good tactic, is to not dress in a tactical manner, which could blow our cover (as it did for Bob). I see so many guys on the street who are wearing tactical pants and will say to my wife “that guy is carrying” and if I look at them more closely, other indicators of a concealed weapons (like a holster clip showing on their belt) become apparent. If these guys weren’t wearing those kind of pants, I probably would not have taken a second look at them and picked up on the fact that they had a weapon. They would have blended into the crowd (as they should be doing). While tactical apparel has its place (such as police, military, competition, or training uses) concealed carry is not it. If you really want to blend into the crowd, you have to dress like the crowd.


Lessons Learned: IDPA 4/2/16

This past weekend, I shot an IDPA match with Twin Cities Action Shooting. Within my division, I finished 12/19. While I am fairly satisfied with my placement, there are some things that I wish that I had done differently which would have improved my final match score (and thus my placement). I want to take a look at each stage and identify what I did well, what I could have done differently, and how those things apply to concealed carry.

For those of you who do not have any experience with IDPA, you will need to know a few things:

  1. The final score for a stage is calculated by taking your raw time (how long it took you from the buzzer to your final shot), adding a half-second (this will be changing to a full second in the future) for each point down (0 down for an center mass hit or headshot, 1 down for a shot just outside center mass, 3 down for a hit on the edge of the target, 5 down for a miss) + any penalties that you received
  2. On each target only your best X hits are counted (where X equals the number of shots required on the target).
    1. For example, if a stage requires 2 hits on a target and I shoot it 3 times (1 down 0, 1 down 1, and 1 down 3) my total for the target is down 1.
  3. There are 2 types of scoring: Limited and Unlimited.
    1. In unlimited, you can shoot each target as many times as you wish. In which case, the “best shot rule” (described above) applies.
    2. In limited, you are only allowed to shoot at each target as many times as is required for the stage.

Stage 1

The Stage: On stage 1 you stand behind a vision barrier with targets staggered on each side of the barrier, progressively getting further away (with the last target being a swinger). On the buzzer you lean to shoot the nearest target on the left 3 times, then shoot the nearest target on the right 3 times, and continue to alternate until all of the targets have at least 3 hits.

My Raw Time: 17.74

My Points Down: 18

My Total Time: 26.74

Winner’s Raw Time: 10.14

Winner’s Points Down: 8

Winner’s Total Time: 14.14

What I Did Well

On this stage, I was really happy with my first 3 targets. On each of these I had an average of down 1. While it not ideal, all of the hits were just barely outside of the down 0 zone, so I was satisfied.

I was also happy with my the time that I spent on each of the first 3 targets. I spent enough time there to get accurate hits without having much time where I was just looking at the target.

What I Could Have Done Better

As you may have gathered from what I did well, my last 2 targets did not go so well. On target 4 I was down 7 and on target 5 (the swinger) I was down 8. On target 4 I could have done better by simply slowing down a little more. Since the target was a little farther away, it should have gotten more attention than the up close targets.Target 5 presented a real challenge for me, because it was moving. Additionally, it was far enough away so that you could not tell exactly where your hits were. I need to improve when it comes to shooting moving targets, because they will appear frequently in IDPA

How It Applies to Concealed Carry

The main lesson from this match was that it is really hard to shoot moving targets at distance. In a violent encounter, odds are that the attacker will be moving, so being able to successfully engage targets that are doing just that becomes very important.

Stage 2

The Stage: There are 6 targets in a line. Each target has about half of the body behind cover, but the entire head is clear. On the buzzer you will engage each target with one shot strong hand only, reload, engage each target with one shot weak hand only, reload, engage each target with one shot using both hands. This is a limited scoring stage.

My Raw Time: 41.11

My Points Down: 40

My Total Time: 61.11

Winner’s Raw Time: 33.03

Winner’s Points Down: 0

Winner’s Total Time:  33.03

What I Did Well

The only thing that I did well was identify the best way to shoot the stage. Since a large portion of the body was behind cover, the only way to engage each target without getting a penalty is to get all head-shots. This is what the winner did.

What I Could Have Done Better

The first thing that I need to improve on is one handed-shooting. While I was able to make some of the hits, there were others that I missed (especially weak hand only). Shooting one-handed is an entirely different experience than two-handed shooting, because the recoil is more severe (due to there being one less hand to resist the recoil) and trigger control is much more difficult.

The second thing that I needed to do better is have a realistic view of my skill level. While shooting all head-shots WAS the best way to shoot that stage, I should have known that I was unable to reliably make the shot and opt for the down 1 or down 3 rather than take the down 5 that comes for a complete miss.

How It Applies To Concealed Carry

One-handed shooting is something that you might need to do in a defensive shooting. It could be because you are holding a child in the other arm, keeping a loved one behind you, or because you are pushing the attacker away until you can get your gun into the fight. Needless to say, it is something that I will be working on in the future.

Knowing your own ability is very important in a defensive situation. Let’s say that you find yourself in the middle of an active shooter situation. If the shooter is a ways away or there are lots of innocents between you and the shooter, you need to have a realistic idea about your ability to make that shot. If you don’t know 100% that you are able to hit the shooter without hurting a bystander, that you shouldn’t take the shot. You should move to a location where you are able to hit the shooter from and then take the shot.

Stage 3

The Stage: You begin seated behind a table, with your firearm in a closed box and your extra mags on the table. On the buzzer, you drop to a knee, withdraw your weapon from the box. In front of you are 7 targets: 4 on the left and 3 on the right. The two sets of targets are divided by a wall. You engage all of the targets on the left with 2 shots in tactical priority (near to far) and then engage the targets on the right with 2 shots in tactical priority (near to far). This is an unlimited scoring stage.

My Raw Time: 16.28

My Points Down: 4

My Total Time: 18.28

Winner’s Raw Time: 11.42

Winner’s Points Down: 0

Winner’s Total Time: 11.42

What I Did Well

I was very satisfied with my performance on this stage. Of course it would have been awesome to do it without points down and in a better time, but for where I am in my shooting career I am very happy with how I did. I got onto the ground and retrieved my weapon quickly, my shots were all good (the points that I was down were close to the down 0 zone, which means nothing for scoring, but a whole lot for my confidence), my reload was good, and satisfactory amount of time addressing each target.

What I Could Have Done Better

The main thing that I would change on this stage is that I did not take advantage on the fact that it was an unlimited scoring stage. I recognized at the last second that I had a shot in the down 1 on the final target, but I did not re-engage. Now, it could be said that shooting that target would take more than the half-second that I would have gotten back by having that shot in the down 0, but that is hard to say.

How It Applies To Concealed Carry

This stage is hard to apply to concealed carry. The only thing that comes my mind is that we need to remember to shoot until the threat stops what they are doing. If this had been a real scenario and my second shot on the last target did not stop them, I should continue to engage until they are no longer a threat.


Overall, I am happy with how I did at this match. I wish that I could change how I did on the 2nd stage, but that is life sometimes. We have to live with how we performed and learn from it so that we can do better the next time.


Responding to an Active Shooter

I have mentioned before that I am a team leader of a children’s Sunday School class at my church. Just recently, we had a meeting for team leaders and teachers to discuss our plan should an active shooter come into our building and begin shooting. The plan was fairly similar to what you would expect from a school: lock the doors and stay out of sight. For people who do not carry weapons for self defense, this probably is the best plan. But for those of us who carry weapons for self-defense, it puts us in a dilemma: do we stay where we are and only use our weapon if the shooter comes to us? Or do we leave the room (after locking the door for the safety of those inside) and actively seek to stop the shooter?

This is a topic that divides people within the concealed carry community. Both sides have strong arguments that must be considered. I want to take a look at some of these points to help you think through what you would do if you are ever unfortunate enough to find yourself in an active shooter situation.

Notice: Everything below is my opinion. This is not legal advice. You and you alone are responsible for the choices that you would make in this kind of situation. 

Staying in the Room

One view is that you should stay where you are and not actively seek out the shooter. Youtube user VuurwapenBlog makes a good argument for this view in his video “I am not a sheepdog“. In his video, he makes some good points. I want to focus in on 2 of them and add two of my own: (1) You do not know what is going on, (2) you are leaving those around you to fend for yourself, and (3) if you are killed, your loved ones must go on without you.

You do not know what is going on

One point that VuurwapenBlog brings up is that you do not know exactly what is going on. All you know is that shots are going off. Let’s apply this to the church scenario. I know for a fact that there are other people in my church who carry guns, but I do not know who they all are. Let’s say that I go charging into the room where I think the shooter is and I have a gun in my hand. Just after that, another concealed-carrier (or a cop) comes in and sees me (a guy he doesn’t know) with a gun in my hand. What do you think is going to happen? Unless this other guy is very perceptive, there is a pretty good chance that he would assume that I am the shooter and shoot me. Unless you witness the shooting, you have no way of knowing for sure who the shooter is and who your friends are.

You leave those around you to fend for themselves

A second point that VuurwapenBlog brings up is that, by leaving your current position in order to seek out the shooter, you are also leaving those who are with you without your protection. In the example of the classroom, I would be leaving the kids (and my volunteers) with nothing to defend them except a locked door. This could be a big deal, especially since I probably wouldn’t know for sure where the shooter is. I could end up going in the wrong direction and having the shooter break through the door and walk into the room with unprotected kids. It is quite possible that the people in my room were killed because I was off trying to stop the shooter.

If you are killed, your loved ones are forced to go on without you

VuurwapenBlog doesn’t bring up this point, but it is one that hit me hard as I thought about what I would do. Until recently, I was of the opinion that this point was irrelevant because my loved ones were independent. None of them depended upon me for support. So what changed? I got married. Now I have a wife who depends on me for support (be it financial, emotional, spiritual, etc). If I ran off and was killed by the shooter, she would be left (assuming that she survived) to lead her life without me. While I have no doubt that our families would take care of her to the best of their ability, it would leave her with something missing. The impact on her would be unimaginable. This is not something that is to be taken lightly.

Leave the room, stop the shooter

A second view (which is probably the more prominent of the two) is that if a shooter starts killing people, you as a concealed carrier ought to run towards the gunfire and stop the shooter. This view is discussed by Youtube users like Nutnfancy in his video “Close to Engage” and James Yeager in episode 1 and episode 2 of his active shooter series (warning: Yeager likes to use a lot of vulgarity in his videos and holds different views than I do about carrying in places where you are not allowed to).

The main argument for this view is that for every second that you are not acting to stop the shooter, people are being killed. Advocates of this view urge you to ask yourself if you could live with yourself knowing that you could have done something to stop the shooter, but decided to not do it. To emphasize the weight of this point, Yeager asks his viewers to imagine that the people who were being killed were your family members and he was the one on sight with a gun. How would you feel if he stayed where he was and allowed the shooter to kill your family? On the flip side, how would you feel if he stopped the shooter from killing your family? In this case, you would want him to do everything in his power to save your family. He charges his viewers to do for other’s families what they would want him to do for their family, even they have to die as a hero.


Both views have a lot of really good points that we as individuals who carry guns need to wrestle with. Both actions have consequences. If you stay where you are, you don’t risk shooting the wrong person (although you still could be killed by the wrong person), you don’t leave the other people in the room unprotected, and you give your loved ones a better chance of getting to have you for the rest of their lives, but you have to live with the fact that people died because of your lack of action. If you leave and attempt to stop the shooter, you have a higher risk of being killed, either by the shooter or by an ally, you leave those that were around you virtually unprotected, and you could potentially force your loved ones to live their lives without you. But if you succeed (even if you are killed) you probably saved multiple lives. These are lives of people who are loved by others, these are the lives of fathers, mothers, spouses, or any number of other things. Those people could get to live because of your action.

So what should you do? Well…I am not going to tell you that. I will tell you that both views have serious consequences. You as an individual must decide which set of consequences you would rather deal with.


Racism, Profiling, and The Carrying Christian

Racism is a hot topic today. People across America are talking about racism again because of a number of officer involved shootings that have taken place across the country. Groups such as Black Lives Matter claim that these shootings happened because of the skin color of the individual who was killed rather than any actions that the individual took leading up to the shooting. They say that these shootings are evidence of discriminatory profiling that is done by police officers and that officers are more likely to suspect an individual who has black skin than a person with white skin.  I want to take a quick look at how scripture should inform out thinking about race and then apply that thinking to concealed carry.

What Does the Bible Say About Race?

The Bible has a lot to say about race, but I want to look at 3 different texts. I want to look at what creation teaches us about race, what Christ’s redemptive work teaches us about race, and what the end of time teaches us about race.

Race in Creation

26 Then God said, “Let us make man[h] in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

27 So God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God he created him;
    male and female he created them.

28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Genesis 1:26-28

In the beginning of time, God made mankind. Notice that it does not say “God made men of this race in his own image” or “God made men of that race in his own image”. God made man in his image. At the beginning of time, there was one race. Men and women of every race come from this one person. Since every race came from the same place, there is nothing that makes one race superior to the other. Because God made ONE man, all races are equal.

Race in Christ’s Redemptive Work

As you read on through scripture, you see that in Jesus’ day, there was a huge racial barrier. God had chosen the Jews to be his covenant people which led the Jews to look down on other races (known as the Gentiles) only because they were not Jewish. Now, before I go any farther,  I want to make it clear that in choosing the Jews to be his people, God was not being racist and only giving his love to one race. In fact, even in the old covenant there was a way for foreigners to enter into the covenant people of God. People of every race had a way to come under God’s covenant love. However, it was the the Jews themselves who became racist and looked down on other races (even on the individuals who had gone through the process to join with them). But when Christ died, he broke down the dividing wall between races. Take a look at Ephesians 2:11-22:

11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

Ephesians 2:11-22 ESV

Paul’s letter to the Ephesians was written to Gentiles, those who were outside of the covenant people of God. In verses 11-12 Paul talks about how for a long time these people were outside of God’s people. In verse 13-14 he says that now, because of Christ’s work, the dividing wall of race has been broken down. Christ’s work has made believers one people, united by the Holy Spirit rather than by ethnicity.

Race in Revelation

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice,“Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

Revelation 7:9-10 ESV

Revelation is the final book of the Bible, which tells of what the last days will look like. In chapter 7, the people of God are shown in Heaven. The chapter starts by numbering how many people from each tribe of Israel are numbered, and then we see a second group of people, the Gentiles, from every tribe and tongue and nation. All of these people, both Jew and Gentile, make up the people of God. On the last day, there will be one people of God, made up of individuals from every race.

Summary of Race in Scripture

What I want you to see in these 3 texts, is that God does not place special value on one race. At creation he made one race, in Christ’s death he united people from all races, and in the end he will have one people. According to scripture, there is no ground to view a person of a given race as better (or worse) than a person of a different race.

Race, Profiling, and Concealed Carry

So, what does all of that have to do with concealed carry? The short answer is that it means we need to re-think profiling. When I say “profiling” I mean paying special attention to somebody as a possible threat (or in the case of a police officer as a suspect) because of certain factors. Often times, people are profiled for their race. A lot of people who push back against groups like Black Lives Matter way that the reason that so many black people get killed in police shootings is because black people are more likely to commit crimes. It is my opinion that even if that statement is true, race should not be a factor in how we determine if somebody is a criminal or not. Just because somebody is black (or any other color) does not mean that they are a criminal. Performing a crime is what makes somebody a criminal. Therefore instead of jumping to conclusions about somebody because of their skin color, shouldn’t we ignore their skin altogether and only suspect somebody based on their behavior? All people (regardless of race) are prone to sin. Race has nothing to do with it.

As concealed carriers (especially those who hold a Biblical view of race) should not automatically suspect somebody based on the color of their skin. Rather, we should suspect somebody based on behavior that might suggest that they are about to do something violent.




Some Trust In Chariots…

In the past weeks, I have been thinking about what I am ultimately trusting in to keep myself and those I love safe. For many concealed-carriers, the main reason that we carry guns is to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. However, it struck me that a gun is not a 100% guarantee that I will survive a violent encounter. I could have a gun and still be killed in an encounter. This harsh reality brought my mind to Psalm 20:7-9:

7  Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
8  They collapse and fall,
but we rise and stand upright.

9  O LORD, save the king!
May he answer us when we call.

Psalm 20:7-9

In verse 7-8, David identifies two types of people: those who trust in worldly protection (horses and chariots) and those who trust in the name of Yahweh. The former group falls and (by implication) dies. The object of their faith(horses and chariots) failed them. The latter group rises and stands tall. The object of their faith (Yahweh) delivered them. The point is simple, trust Yahweh, because the things that the world claims will keep you safe can fail you.

Does this mean that we shouldn’t carry guns, but “just” trust God to miraculously deliver us from dangerous situations? It could mean that, but I don’t think that it has to. If you know anything about David, you know that he was a powerful warrior. He fought many battles and as king, he probably rode a horse or a chariot. If what David was attempting to say that those who trust in Yahweh do not use horses or chariots, then he would be excluding himself from the group that trusts Yahweh (or he would be self-contradicting). The key word is “trust”. What was David trusting in to make him stand tall? He was trusting Yahweh. His final hope was not on horses or chariots that die or break, but in the God who is unshakable.

For us as believing concealed carriers, our final hope should not be in our gun. That is what unbelieving concealed carriers put their final hope in. For them, if their gun or their training fails them, they have nothing further to hope in. This life is all that they have. As for us,we do not put our final hope in our gun or our training, but in Yahweh, who will raise us up to live in his presence forever. For us, death is not the end, so we have nothing to fear if we are killed by our attacker. This does not mean that we shouldn’t carry guns to protect ourselves or those around us, but that our final hope does not reside in this world, but with Yahweh.

Some trust in Glock, some trust in Smith & Wesson, but we trust in Yahweh. They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright.


Go Buy A Sword

If you do a search on the internet to find texts that say that Christians can (or should) own/carry guns, people will often refer you to Luke 22:35-37:

35 And he said to them, “When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.” 36 He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. 37 For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.”

-Luke 22:35-37 ESV

A lot of people look at this verse and use it as proof that a Christian can (and in fact SHOULD) own and carry guns. But these people completely miss the point of the text. Jesus is not making a statement that he wants his disciples to carry weapons around everywhere they go. What he is doing (as verse 37 makes abundantly clear) is making a claim to fulfill prophecy.

The prophecy that Jesus quotes in verse 37 comes from Isaiah 53:

Who has believed what he has heard from us?
And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2  For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
3  He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

4  Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
5  But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
6  All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

7  He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
8  By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people?
9  And they made his grave with the wicked
and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.

10  Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
11  Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
12  Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.

Isaiah 53 ESV

Isaiah 53 speaks of the servant of God, who would come to bear the wrath of God in order to make many righteous. The text is consistently repeating that this servant will not be viewed highly by men, but rather will be viewed as  undeserving of attention (v 2, 3),  be burried among the wicked (v 9), and numbered with the transgressors(v 12).

By quoting this Isaiah 53, Jesus is saying that he is the servant of God that Isaiah was writing about. He is saying the he has come to be rejected by men, numbered among criminals (the Greek word that Luke uses is literally translated as “the lawless ones”), and die so that we may have peace with God. That is the point of Luke 22:35-37. That is what we should hear Jesus saying. I fear that many completely miss this striking claim and choose to hear Jesus saying that you should have guns. While his command to his disciples to buy swords could suggest that believers can own guns, we should not be so busy listening to what we want Jesus to be saying that we miss what he is actually saying.



The Day I Thought I Might Need My Gun

About a year ago, I had an experience where I was worried that I would need to draw my gun. I had not experienced anything like that before nor have I experienced anything like it since. I thought that it might be helpful for me to share it. My goal is to help you see how quickly situations unfold and to help you think through how you would handle a similar situation.

The Event

The day that it happened was pretty much just like any other. At some point, I decided to stop by a local gas station to get a slushie to drink. I rolled up to the gas station, got out of my car, and walked towards the door. There was a man who entered just in front of me (who for the sake of this post I will Jim). Just after I got through the door, he bumped into another man (who for the sake of this post I will call Bob). To me it just seemed to be an accident. No big deal. Bob didn’t seem to agree. He took offense at Jim bumping into him. He was saying things like “What the f**k man? Watch where you are going!”. I thought that he was over-reacting and started to fill my slushie cup. Bob and Jim moved apart from each-other and grabbed whatever it was that they each had come in for. I thought that was the end of it. But I was wrong. When they both came to the checkout line, they started yelling at one-another again. They were both very worked up and their body language made it very clear. Despite the manager’s attempts to talk the two gentlemen down, it seemed as if there was little chance of a good outcome. By this time, I was putting the lid on my slushie while keeping an eye on the situation and trying to calmly think about what I should do. The thought came into my head “what if one of these guys pulls a weapon?”. Fortunately, the two gentlemen suddenly stopped their argument, shook hands, and walked out of the store separately.


While the situation turned out okay, there is a lot that can be taken away from my experience:

(1) Confrontations like I experienced happen quickly. From the moment I walked in the door to the moment that the two men walked out the door was 5 minutes at most . While this sounds like a lot, keep in mind that this includes the gap when Bob and Jim were doing their individual shopping. The time that they were arguing was probably about 2 minutes total.

(2) Sometimes it is better to duck out than to stay where you are. After everything was said and done, I thought that if I had needed to shoot Bob or Jim, I might have gone to jail, because I had ample opportunity to get out of there. I wrestle with this point, because if I had left and one of the gentlemen had drawn a weapon, there would have been no defense (to my knowledge) for the other man or for the employees in the store. This is a decision that must be dictated by the situation.

(3) Do not be in a rush to draw. Think about it for a moment, if I had drawn my weapon and started giving commands to the two men to show me their hands, lots of bad stuff could have happened to me. They could have both turned and attacked me, I could have taken one of them as an immediate threat to myself and fired in the name of self-defense (which would land me in prison), or I could have been arrested for brandishing a firearm. Keeping a cool head kept me out of some serious trouble.

(4) When you decide to stay rather than leave, put yourself in a place where (1) you are behind cover and (2) there are no civilians in the line of fire. From where I was standing, the manager and a cashier were between me and the two men. If Bob or Jim had pulled a weapon (of any kind) and I needed to draw my gun, I would have needed to move across the store before I could be any help. This would have cost precious seconds and could have resulted in somebody’s death. Additionally, quick movement like that could draw the attacker’s attention to me and to my intentions (especially if I had a gun in my hand) which would put me in unnecessary danger. Looking back, when I saw it escalating, I should have moved to a position where I was behind cover and had a clear line of fire in case things went bad. That way there would be no time lost if a weapon came out.

(5) Be vigilant in practicing situational awareness. If I had been off in la-la land dreaming about my drink and something had gone down, I would have had no idea what was going on. But situational awareness helped my to be prepared for the worst. Keep your head on a swivel, because you never know when a slushie run will take a turn for the worst.



My First IDPA Match

This weekend, I went out to Metro Gun Club in Blaine, MN and shot my first IDPA match with Twin Cities Action Shooting. Because this was my first time shooting IDPA, I was not able to shoot the entire match, but I was able to shoot a simple stage in order to show that (1) I understood how IDPA works and (2) that I could handle a gun without putting anybody in danger. While my time behind the gun was fairly short, I took away a few lessons that directly apply to defensive pistol shooting.

Stress Makes Everything Harder (Especially shooting)

I mentioned in my post about lessons learned from witnessing a car accident,  how difficult it became to do something as simple as dial 911.  Picture taking that same stress, and bringing a weapon into the mix. The first thing I said to another shooter after I took my turn was how much the little “beep” of the buzzer turns your brain to mush and makes simple tasks so much harder. In my course of fire, I felt the impact of this during my draw. During dry-training at home, the draw seems almost effortless. But twice on the stage I fired (the stage called for 3 draws), when I went to draw the gun, I had a really hard time getting it out of the holster. It felt as if the holster had doubled in retention strength. Obviously this was not the case, but I was doing something wrong in my draw. This has implications for self-defense, because if I have difficulty getting the gun out under the stress of a timer, imagine how much more trouble I might have under the stress of an attack. While some would suggest that this means I need a new holster, to me it is a training issue that I need to work past in order to become better.

When you are under stress, you fall back onto your training

During my course of fire, I had a malfunction. I did not have the presence of mind to note what kind of malfunction it was. In fact, looking back I am not sure that I realized that it was a malfunction. However, the limited training that I have kicked in. I dropped the mag onto the ground, loaded a new one, and ran the slide. From what I saw in the moment, my slide was open (this makes me think that I had a failure to feed), so I assumed I was at slide lock and acted as such. While this is not the 100% right thing to do and could result in a penalty in IDPA (that is a rant for a different time) I am satisfied with what I did, I got myself back into the fight. Anybody would tell you that the ideal in that situation is to tap, rack, bang, and if I had been in my normal state of mind that is what I would have done. But because I was under pressure, instinct took over and did what I have spent a lot of my dry-fire practice doing: reloading from slide lock. My point is that I fell back onto what I had trained on. If I had more experience seeing and responding to malfunctions under stress, I would have been able to respond correctly and be back in the fight even faster than I was.  That is something that I hope to improve on in the future.

Front sight, front sight, front sight

A final thing that I took away from my IDPA experience was the importance of seeing the front sight. On my carry gun (which is what I used) I have Trijicon HD Night Sights with the orange front-dot. If you have ever shot a gun that has these sights, you know that the front sight sticks out like a Packers fan at a Viking’s game. This made it VERY easy to see my sights as I shot (despite the stress of the timer) and to get all of my shots onto the cardboard. Until today, I did not fully understand how difficult if can be to see the front sight on your handgun, but now I understand. If I had been shooting a gun using standard sights, I probably would have had a lot more trouble


Overall, I had a really great time shooting IDPA for the first time. I learned a lot about stress, my training, and my gear. It helped me to understand where my current limitations are and where I can improve. While there are some rules that I think are kind of silly or not 100% logical in a real-life firefight, overall it is a positive thing. I will definitely be back for the next match.