So what will it take?  A tragedy is what it looks like it will take.  Why is it we always have to bury innocent people before we look at a problem for what it is?  If a person enters a facility armed and intent on doing harm, we know by looking at past events involving active killers the police will not arrive in time to do anything except process a crime scene.  They cannot arrive in time to do anything else because there is no warning and unless an officer is on the scene, he or she is already too late.  How many 911 calls do we have to hear from someone huddling under a desk crying with screams in the background to the steady ‘pop, pop, pop’ of people being picked off one by one getting closer and closer?  Once the call “shots fired” goes out and law enforcement officers race to get to the scene to put themselves at risk also, the damage is done.  Lives, innocence and the peace of mind that helps us all get through our days believing that ‘everything is going to be ok’ is again shattered for many by one or two crazies who decided to punish others for their own lousy lives.

There is one solution to a criminal with a gun: a competent, armed, non-criminal person or persons.  The invention of the gun did not precede violence or murder.  Guns can and are used by people wanting to terrorize and kill, but they are not the cause and simply closing our eyes, plugging our ears and screaming “No Guns, No Guns, No Guns” over and over will not solve the problem.  Guns are a part of our knowledge and that knowledge cannot be erased.  If we legislate away the rights of law-abiding people to keep and bear arms then only criminals will have access to this knowledge.  Laws that restrict the rights of law-abiding citizens do nothing more than give criminals the edge and all reliable statistics bear that out.  Guns in the hands of law-abiding people deter violence and protect the innocent.

What the anti-gun community does not want to admit is there is only one way to deal with a maniac with a gun, and that is a sane, competent person with his/her own gun.  In my community, we have a police officer who works at a school, as a DARE officer.  This officer is not permitted to carry a firearm!  Why have we not learned by now that “No Gun Zones” are prime targets for criminals?  We have all heard of the ‘path of least resistance’ and most of us try to follow it and so do maniacs trying to go out in a blaze of glory.  While some of them will opt for the mall or the military base where it’s possible someone else will have a gun and resist,  most of them will choose something like the school with the “No Gun” sign full of law-abiding unarmed people.  As it turns out, active killers are not concerned about being arrested for carrying a gun into a school but they know everyone else is and they count on it.

Despite what the ‘head in the sand’ set would like to believe, putting buzzers on doors and having a receptionist or janitor oversee who comes in and when is not that much of a safety plan.  There is no school that cannot be entered by an armed individual intent upon doing harm and the fact that someone sees him or knows he’s there will not change the outcome unless that someone also has an efficient weapon at his/her disposal. It is sad that people will gamble the lives of children because they have a political view that opposes firearms.  It is not protecting children to pretend that there is no evil in the world and that enough rules will keep the evil out. 

Children don’t need protection from the truth that evil exists; they merely need to feel protected from that evil to feel safe and happy.  The signs probably do that for most children.  They hear that bad people have come into schools and killed people but they see that their school has rules against guns and locks the doors and they feel safe.  But I’m not talking about making children feel safe, I’m talking about actually protecting them.  We do not have to have an Uzi strapped to every teacher’s side, but we do need to equip our schools and the people in them well enough to keep them from being the path of least resistance for the next wacko that wakes up one morning feeling unloved and ready to end it all and get his name on t.v. 

Do you know how your kid’s school has decided to handle such an event?  Do they have armed police on site all the time?  If not, do they have armed, trained and competent faculty?  Anything else and the school and you as a parent are just creating a feeling of security for yourselves and any would-be active killer.  CALL!  ASK! INSIST!  Your children are depending on you!  We cannot control how evil people will act, but we can take reasonable steps to decrease the likelihood of unspeakable tragedy.  Armed schools may not prevent every would-be active killer from going after our children at school; but armed schools can present a less desirable target and, limit the scope of the destruction if one of them tries.

In the end, if we go to this extent and make sure there are competent armed people in our schools “What will our children think?”  They’ll think that the grown-ups are taking steps to protect them, just like they do now.  The difference is they’ll finally be right.

The debate between 9mm and .45 has raged for years, and I am not foolish enough to think that I can settle it for everyone, but I would like to weigh in. Some of you may be complaining already ‘Not this again,’ but from the point of view of a former .45acp-only guy, let me tell you where my experiences have led me and why I’ve changed my opinion on the matter completely.

 I carried full size Colt 1911 .45acp pistols exclusively for most of my armed history.  That was the round my Dad said was the best, so that was that for me.  Over the years whenever the 9mm was mentioned as a defensive round, my position was always: “If you have nothing else, a 9mm is better than nothing.  However, 9mm is the weakest round I recommend for self- defense.”  This was based mostly upon what I’d always believed and the stories from GI’s reporting multiple shots needed to bring down an enemy combatant when using the Beretta M9 9mm pistol.  What more do you need?  Actual battlefield reports brought the matter to a close as far as I was concerned.

When Trigger Time with Joe Barrett was born I began working on a list topics of conversation for the show.  I thought the 9mm debate would be a good one.  However, since I knew I would actually be talking on air and not just at my kitchen table, I wanted to do some up to date research to support my .45 acp superiority,  just in case I met with any opposition.  And, I did just that, I researched and right about the time this research was all but complete I enrolled in Handgun 1-5 at Tactical Defense Institute in West Union Ohio.  There I was able to use my 1911 .45’s and Glock .40 cals in actual real-world shooting scenarios to see how they would perform for me when and if I ever needed them.

One thing I learned quickly is that when you are under stress and shooting, you tend to fire more rounds.  In fact, many people forced to defend themselves with a gun empty their first mag in the initial exchange. My 8 round 1911 had me making mag changes nearly 3 times as often as others shooting alongside me.  I didn’t like that at all, so I switched to my .40 caliber glock for the next two days of class.  That took care of the frequent reloading, but I noticed a difficulty in staying on target with rapid follow-up shots.  I found that most .40 cal pistols are just frames for a 9mm with a barrel that allows for the larger round.  So, unlike the heavy 1911, you have less weight to absorb the added recoil you get with a .40 over a 9mm. 

This training taught me that you need to shoot fast and accurate under less than perfect conditions, such as moving, with a flashlight in hand to see, and with people shooting back. They don’t call them “desperate circumstances” for nothing.  A well lit firing range is probably not where you’re really going to need your pistol skills and the training I took foccused on  preparing me for things like moving through my house at night and dealing with armed intruders. My goal during these exercises was to get as many rounds into vital areas as I could.  When you consider that the average gunfight is over in less than 3 seconds, how many ½ seconds can you to lose to re-acquiring your sight picture?  More recoil means more time re-acquiring your sight picture.  Math has never been my strong suit but it didn’t take me long to realize that fast and accurate is easier with less recoil.  So, when I finished Handgun 1-3 and returned a couple of weeks later for Handgun 4 and 5, I brought a 9mm. 

 My eyes were opened.  I found I could fire faster and keep all my rounds in a very confined space much better with the 9mm than I could the .40 or the .45.  No doubt, as far as performance went, the 9mm was the gun for me.  The only problem was that voice in the back of my mind, my voice saying, “But what about the weaker stopping power of the 9mm?” I spent a lot of years listening to that voice and shooting .40 & .45 almost exclusively.  I was a firm believer in the notions that “With a .45 or .40 you only need to hit once,” and “You want to stop an aggressor, not just make him angry.”  Besides, would Harry Callahan’s words “Go ahead, make my day” have had the same impact if he had been holding a 9mm?  If you’re a .45 or .40 cal person you probably have a similar voice that’s been keeping your hands off the 9mm for protection. 

Well, I decided to do a strange thing; I decided to ignore that voice for long enough to listen to the men who actually rely upon their guns to stay alive.  SWAT operatives and Police trainers had actually done a considerable amount of research.  I took advantage of their research based upon hundreds of autopsies attended, hundreds of interviews with persons who’ve actually been involved in shootings, and studies done where various rounds were fired into animals with similar tissue and bone density to humans. It was more than talk, it was real-life experience, I just needed to listen. 

 Then I did my own research and found something amazing: A 127 grain Winchester Ranger +P+ fired into bare ballistic gelatin will impact at 1210 feet per second, penetrate 12-14 inches, and expand to right around .70 inches.  My favorite .45 ammo, Federal Hydra-shocks, will impact the same gelatin at a slower 800 feet per second, penetrate 12-14 inches and expand to right around .70 inches.  Wait a minute, it sounds like these two rounds would pretty much cut the same wound path, right?  This information supported what I’d been told by another group that conducted ammo test of pigs:  You cannot tell a decent 9mm wound path from a decent .45 wound path.

 If the rounds are going to do the same damage, why not use the one that affords me 19 pulls of the trigger without a reload instead of 8?  As it turns out, those battlefield reports from ex-military guys using the 9mm in combat actually tell me more about military pistol training than the power of the 9mm.  The Army does not give the soldier nearly the pistol training that they do the rifle, so the problem is that many of these reported hits are not in vital areas and that is the problem, not the size of the ammunition itself.  On top of that, the standard military 9mm ammo is what you and I use for target practice, NOT self-defense.   That’s right, soldiers are issued standard FMJ hardball; now the clouds are really beginning to part! 

 The fact of the matter is that the 9mm vs .45 debate will rage on because we have science battling tradition, and neither will ever give up.  For me, I concluded that it just comes down to a question of ammunition and shot placement.  If you use the right 9mm ammo, you’ll get as much tissue damage as you would from a similar .45acp.  That means my 9mm, if used correctly, will have the same stopping power as my old .40 cal.  In fact, since I now know that I can shoot faster and more accurately with my 9mm, my stopping power is greater with a 9mm and that is what I really care about.  But, if you are most comfortable and can perform to your satisfaction with a .40 or.45, then use them.  Both are a fine round.  For me, I found that I could do better with a 9mm, have more rounds at hand and expect the same results with well-placed shots, so I made the leap. 

 Maybe it’s just that there is no “better” round in the 9mm vs .45 arenas, and we all just love a good debate.  But, one thing we all know for sure is that if you’re ever in a position to have to defend yourself or others you’re going to have seconds to respond and there will be no time for debate.  So, get the training necessary to allow you to get your rounds, whatever they are, on target fast.  Do that and the caliber of your pistol really won’t matter as much as you think.

Herd Mentality

Posted: June 17, 2010 in Right to Bear Arms, Uncategorized

 They’ve had gun bans for years in England. . .

Those committed to disarming Americans and those who, through lack of education and/or inability to do any thinking on their own, often tout this nugget of information as to hush all concerns someone like me might raise over preserving the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.  While my first instinct is usually to point out that restrictions in England and other countries are precisely what gave rise to this country and that if I want to live under those restrictions I, like them can go elsewhere to live where government is ‘over the people’ instead of being ‘of, by and for the people.‘ 

But the argument they are making is not about rights or freedom, it’s about safety.  It’s a very bad argument but I think that is what they are saying “we would be safer without all these guns.”   I disagree.

“Associated Press” June 02, 2010 reported that a UK man, 52-year-old Derrick Bird, drove his cab around Seascale, England shooting people at random.  This man took a leisurely drive popping off his fellow citizens like metal ducks at a carnival shooting gallery.  The shooter managed to hit 37 people, killing 12 and wounding 25, some critically. 

 This happened in a nation with some of the most restrictive gun laws on earth.  There were 30 different crime scenes, and Mr. Bird used either a rifle or shotgun; and due to the kind of restrictions on guns in the UK, the weapon would have been a hunting style weapon; most likely NOT a weapon that is easy or fast to reload.

 This means that, had anyone at any of these 30 crime scenes been free to be armed, there would have been opportunities to stop this psycho before 37 people were killed or wounded.  As it was, people could do little more than wait their turn; thanks to the oppressive and backward gun laws of the UK.

 Studies have proven that “active shooter” events are almost always brought to an abrupt end the moment the shooter is attacked.  These maniacs plan to shoot people as long as they can, and then kill themselves.  The faster someone can fire on them, the more likely it is that the number of killings will be reduced.  There are two ways of dealing with an active shooter….kill him, or wait for him to run out of bullets!

 Now, if I had a herd of sheep and I wanted to protect them, I would huddle them together and I would keep watch over them.  I wouldn’t arm any of them for fear that they might hurt one another.  I would likely surmise that I could do a better job of protecting them than they could themselves and the loss of a few sheep here and there to wolves wouldn’t bother me as much as a bunch of armed sheep running around.

 This country has never been a country of sheep, but that is precisely the future anti-gunners seem to dream of for the USA.  I don’t believe it is because they hate America or even guns, I believe it is because they are afraid that we are, for the most part, sheep and that we cannot and should not be trusted to defend ourselves and those around us.  They believe that such things should be left to the government, or shepherd I suppose. 

 I say they are wrong and our past and present history of arming American citizens bears witness to the fact that they are wrong.  Accidents happen with guns, and those accidents can be deadly, that is why I advocate for education and training on an ongoing basis for anyone who decides to arm him or herself.  Guns provide deterrence and safety.  Many things are dangerous but we do not ban them outright because the risks of not having those things are worse than having them.  Cars are dangerous, alcohol is dangerous, contact sports are dangerous, gasoline is dangerous, and even peanut butter has its dangers to the individual and the public.  The list goes on and on of the scary things we have in our lives, things that could not be trusted to sheep or other herds of protected beings.

 Even if you  ignore the fact that we have a Second Amendment Right to Bear Arms and that our rights should be protected for the sake of liberty if nothing else, banning guns, as the recent example in England shows, creates risks of its own.  Those 37 people were killed or injured because of a lack of freedom, a freedom that our founders preserved for us and one that we must continue to defend or we’ll lose it. 

Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God!  I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”                               -Patrick Henry

Freedom is not cheap and it is not always the safest road to travel, but it allows each of us the opportunity to choose his/her own path and take responsibility for his/her own successes and failures.   The Right to Bear Arms is one of the  freedoms that others fought and died for, the least we can do is have the courage to live free and exercise that right along with the rest of our rights and freedoms so that those that follow us will at least have the same opportunity.

Carry a firearm at all times legal for you to do so, advocate for this practice to every one you know, train and practice regularly and . . . JOIN THE NRA TODAY!

Imagine that it is Sunday, your only real day off each week and you’re working around the house with your family.  You realize you need some line for the weed eater.    No problem, there is a huge hardware store just a mile away.  You hop in the car and off you go.  You find the line and begin down the aisle when you hear screams.  As you round the end cap you see a man walking towards you with a handgun….he’s shooting at everything that moves.  Instinctively you crouch behind a display. Just behind you is a woman with several children, including an infant.  She is struggling to un-strap the baby from the cart as the shots and screams get closer and closer.  You know he’ll be upon you all in seconds.  You can leave the woman and children behind and run, hopeful you won’t get shot in the back.  You can try to hide or play dead and hope he simply spares you.  You think of your wife or husband, awaiting your return and planting flowers….and you think of your pistol, which you didn’t bother to bring because you were “Just going right up the street.” 

I agree that what I have just described is less likely to happen than an uneventful trip to the hardware store.  But many things that we either plan for or take precautions against are out of the ordinary.   It’s also unlikely that you will get in an automobile accident, but we wear seat belts and buy cars with air bags.  It’s really unlikely that we’ll win the lottery but many wouldn’t think of going a week without investing their hard earned money into the chance, no matter how slight.

 The reason we do these things is that we know that even though these things are unlikely, they can happen.  And, either we don’t want to take or miss the chance no matter how slight that they will happen.  So we measure the ‘if’ for ourselves and our families and we decide if we believe the likelihood and the consequences tied to it happening are enough to make us act.  I’ve decided that the ‘if’ for getting in an accident and the potential consequences for that are enough for me to wear a seatbelt even though I don’t like doing it.  I’ve also decided that the ‘if’ for some nut deciding he’s going down in a blaze of glory at the local hardware store because his mother didn’t hug him enough or his boss was unkind and the consequences of that for me and my family if I happen to be in the hardware store at the time are enough for me to carry my gun any time I can legally carry it.

 In order for wearing my seatbelt to help me beat the odds, no matter how small, I still have to wear it all the time.  Most of us don’t have a working crystal ball; we must rely upon preparedness instead of prediction. So, if you can legally carry a firearm, and you walk out without it, then you’ve decided to take the chance and place yourself at the mercy of every potential homicidal and/or suicidal crazy walking the streets and or aisles of the hardware store.

Now I can hear the anti gunners crying out “But guns are the problem.  It’s this kind of thinking that leads to crazy people being able to go into hardware stores and gun down mothers and children.”  And they could not be more wrong.  Crazies in hardware stores, restaurants, schools, post offices and business places are NOT the product of this kind of thinking.  Crazies bent on destroying themselves and others don’t obey gun laws, or gun signs.  They find weapons any time they need them regardless of what legislators say and when they can’t find guns they use swords or build bombs out of things like fertilizer.  You see, crazy finds a way to create havoc while the rest of us sit back and try to survive following the law.

It’s really all about weighing the risks.  I’ve talked about my experiences as a paramedic before and I remember lecturing people about wearing a seatbelt.  If you ever talk with someone who doesn’t want to wear a seatbelt he’ll tell you that he had an uncle who either died because he was strapped in a burning car by a seatbelt or would have died if he had been strapped in  and hadn’t been thrown from a car that hit a tree after he flew out of the windshield.  I have helped remove a lot of people living and dead from wrecked cars, but I never unbuckled a dead person. People who stay in their seats tend to be able to steer cars away from trees and they tend to be able to survive crashes well enough to unbuckle themselves and get out before cars burst into flames.

Yes, there are thousands of people killed by guns every year, but they are not killed by law abiding citizens carrying guns for their own protection.  Guns in the hands of law abiding trained individuals can and do save lives; that’s why we arm our police force.   Get trained, stay practiced, follow the laws and carry your firearm at all times it is legal to do so.  The police are here to protect you, but they rarely if ever face a threat that you don’t face first and most likely face alone.  Don’t be sorry, be ready!

Join us this Sunday, May 30th as we welcome a very special guest, John Benner of Tactical Defense Institute.

President and chief instructor of Tactical Defense Institute, John Benner is a 37-year veteran police Lieutenant and Vietnam Veteran. John recently retired as Coordinator of the Drug Abuse Reduction Task Force.

John spent 25 years with the Hamilton County Police Association Regional SWAT Team. During 20 years as Commander, John received several prestigious awards including Contribution to Law Enforcement, Police Leadership and Officer of the Year.

John is certified to instruct and a guest instructor for the Ohio Peace Officer’s Training Council (OPOTA).  John is a member of and presenter for the International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors (IALEFI).  John is the co-author of the nationally used CQPC Program.

For more information, check out TDI’s website at

I went to an office building not long ago and was informed that they have a policy prohibiting firearms inside. I said, “But, you have no detectors in place to actually prevent them coming in, right?” They confirmed my suspicions, they had no detectors in place and they were relying upon people like me to simply obey the sign. “So, what you’ve done is to make absolutely certain that if an angry person comes here to ‘go postal,’ everyone inside who obeyed the signs will have about the same options as fish in a barrel, right?” No one really liked my analogy but no one argued with my reasoning either.

My point is that if you are going to deny your employees and patrons their right to personal defense, you are responsible for it. You must make certain no one can get in with a firearm. Personally I am not wholly comforted with statements like “The police are only minutes away!” What a relief! The criminal probably won’t get through more than half the people there before they arrive. For myself and my loved ones, I would prefer better odds.

What passes for good sense when making rules like these amazes me. Anyone who feels this kind of policy makes sense is either living in denial or working behind bullet proof glass. Gun RULES, like Gun LAWS, are only followed by those who follow rules and laws. We already have laws against shooting up office buildings and schools but people keep doing it anyway. Is there anyone who actually believes that people who do this kind of thing will change their minds if they see a sign saying “No Guns?”

Actually, I think it’s the opposite. I think a whacko hoping to shoot up a building full of innocent people would think twice if he thought someone inside might be able to shoot back. Guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens with proper training save lives and prevent misery, they do not cause it.

20 years ago I was a paramedic and I had access to and the ability to use a portable cardiac defibrillator. At that time, even EMT’s trained in pre-hospital emergency procedures were not allowed to use these devices. Today these devices hang in malls and you can buy one for your home. I promise you that a defibrillator can kill a person if used improperly. But, the benefits way outweigh the risks.

Guns in the hands of law-abiding and trained individuals, to me, are  like cardiac defibrillators in the mall. I don’t wish to be in a situation where either is ever needed to save someone’s life,  but if things go south and someone needs the help, I hope I’m someplace where the person in charge of either hanging defibrillators on the walls or making rules about guns was smart enough to weigh the risks properly.


Assault weapons are just a group of firearms the anti-gun movement has singled out to start the process of obliterating our right to bear arms.  They’ve labled some guns “assault weapons” to make it seem like they are evil.  Every weapon is an “Assault Weapon.”  The anti-gunners want to disarm America, and they know they have to take baby-steps.  Believe me, once they have succeeded in eliminating today’s “assault Weapons,” tomorrow, they will begin to add  other weapons to that list. We’ve got to HOLD OUR GROUND! 

I am sick and tired of hearing that “nobody needs those kinds of weapons” unless they have some sort of ill intent. A law abiding citizen can have many uses for a high performance weapon, including but not limited to “just owning it.” I’m a collector, I want an expansive collection and the great thing about my collection is that I can take my collectibles out of their case and test them. My collecting experience is enhanced by the ability to see the collectable in action. You can’t do that with a stamp.

A law abiding citizen who wants to buy an AR15 is no different than the car collector who wants a high performance, big engine, fast moving vehicle in his or her collection. When was the last time you saw a speed limit that said “120” miles per hour? What could they possibly need with a car that can go that fast? They must be planning to speed. Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it?

But, not only do people collect cars that go that fast, most of us own an everyday car that could exceed that speed. My mother’s car speedometer says “160” and it’s a sedan. So, why is it so difficult to understand why I might want a weapon that can out perform many others in speed and function? There is no amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing my right to travel really, really fast yet I can still buy a dangerous machine that will let me go faster than the law says I should go. I am trusted to obey the speed laws. But, I am not trusted to obey the laws that would keep me from misusing a certain type of rifle even though the Constitution says my rights shall not be infringed.  

No law-abiding citizen should be denied these rifles.  Don’t fall for the propaganda, and that is exactly what it is, propaganda. This is just a first step in an agenda that, at its core, seeks in time to take all our guns.  No free person should be denied arms….Thomas Jefferson said that.  It is already illegal for criminals to have weapons, any weapons.  So why pass more laws that cannot further restrict the criminal, but only the law abiding gun owner?  Just like the “frog in the pot;” they have us in the pot people….and the temperature is rising!  We’ve got to stop it before the water starts to boil.