We had a special treat yesterday with more force-on-force training. This was not the average room clearing or shoot/no-shoot scenario training, but a lesson in threat escalation. Fearless Leader Larry led the class with an in-depth explanation of current Texas State CHL laws regarding use of force and a primer on the state Penal Code. While most of this is rehash material for most CHL people, my thinking was readjusted to remember that Texas is a 'reasonable retreat' state. Unlike Jeb's Florida Fighters, we Texicans have a duty to retreat in a threat scenario. With all the media hype about the new Florida law, I was beginning to think that Texas was the same way.
Larry led us through several scenarios that went from verbal confrontation all the way to full-on-tilt-boogie violent threat. While we gained valuable experience with conflict resolution and practical use of our fundamental shooting skills, the missing element of reality hampered our efforts to gain a true sense of the threat and our duty to resolve it with or without force.
SCENARIO I: I walked into the "convenience store" and approached the counter to conduct my business. As I am going about my routine, a person (played by Instructor Greg) approached from behind and confronted me. The conversation for all these scenarios was based upon a road rage incident. Instructor Greg initiated the conflict by stating I had cut him off in traffic. He was wild eyed and excited. He never violated my personal space until his anger increased. When I realized his level was escalating and there was a danger to me, I made my apologies and backed up to the door and left the scene.
AFTER ACTION REPORT: I was complimented on the way I presented myself and held my ground. I kept my hands in the defensive interview mode, up around my chest and open. Overall, I did my best to diffuse the situation and calm him down. My demeanor and posture reflected a neutral mode that I hoped played well with any "witnesses" that may have seen the altercation.
A note to remember ALWAYS!: Remember that in any given situation, your actions and words are for the jury and witnesses. What they see and hear in court and in real life will be the deciding factor if you get arrested or get to go home.
SCENARIO II: Same setting, same situation, same conversation. This time, however, IG approached from a different way and I mistakenly turned into a corner. At this point, my back is to a wall, and I have no way out but past Mr. RoadRage. His level of anger is the same, and I have no expectation of violence from him. He does get closer and invade my personal space, but no contact is made. As I attempt to retreat along the wall and past RageBoy, he escalates and draws a knife (trainer knife). I came up with my weapon and prepared to go to work. He dropped the knife and immediately backed off. He had hands up in submission and his whole attitude changed. I have no duty to follow, detain or shoot this man, but I held the sights on him until the threat was removed.
AAR: Again, good with my interview posture and demeanor throughout. The threat bar was obviously raised and I met force with appropriate force (as allowed by state law).
SCENARIO III: Again with the same situation. BadGuy comes in and is immediately in my face. I push him back and gain some distance, but he keeps closing in on me. I have no choice but to get out of the situation. Before I can make an effort to clear out, he gets back in my face and draws a knife. At this close distance I feel the knife make a sweeping contact blow across my weak side arm and part of my chest. I initially turned into him and dropped my shoulder for leverage against the attack. This probably saved my life. I try to grab his knife arm and pin it and draw my weapon. I drew and started to index into a contact shot. He grabbed the gun around the barrel behind the front sight. I learned that doing so will cause the gun to fire, but not cycle a round. While throwing some weight into him, I instantly 'TapRack'd' and fired again. Greg was dead with two to the chest.
AAR: Not much to do but try and retreat. He again got me in a corner and tried to box me in. I have the duty to leave the scene, but at this level of aggression, I don't think it possible to safely do so. Also, remember that I have a bad knee. Running out the door is not something I can easily do, so that limits my options. My fighting options were rather limited, too. I was assaulted with a verbal barrage and before I could try and de-escalate, the knife came out and it was "game on." I have never been in a hand-to-hand style combat situation. Natural instincts took over and I was able to defend my strong side from attach and bring the fight to him.
I do have martial arts experience, but from eons ago as a child. That basic mindset is still there as well as the current defensive handgun techniques I learned in this class. I was thoroughly amazed and shocked at my own actions after the scenario played out. Everything I do and have practiced over time is slowly becoming a rote movement and ingrained response. As an average Joe learning how to protect myself, this is a matter of pride.
SCENARIO IV: Here's a real doozy! Pretending to walk into a bank lobby to withdraw money from an ATM. It is one of those ATMs that is in a small foyer before you get into the bank lobby and late at night. I walked in and notice two guys off to the side. One approaches right in my face and the other hangs back a bit. Before Tango #1 can finish asking me for spare change, we go to work. He draws a knife and Tango #2 draws a gun. I reach for mine and try to fire. Safety was on and I didn't get off a shot. I took two to the chest and two more to the weak arm.
AAR: I can tell you right now, I should have walked right back out the door when I noticed the two thugalicious punks sitting there in the ATM area. This was really where the element of realism was absent. We were in a room that looked nothing like a bank and even though my mind was yelling "BANK, LATE AT NIGHT!!! DANGER WILL ROBINSON, DANGER!!" I still walked right into that situation. Actually, everyone present walked into that one.
You do see where this went, right? We learned through the progression of the scenarios just how conflict escalates into a deadly force situation. We were put into the everyday mindset and forced our brains to overcome the need to put down the aggression with immediate and deadly force. I gained practical knowledge about what to do and how to act. Going forward, I will remember the key points that Leader Larry touched on.
- In Texas, there are civil liabilities that coincide with your actions. While your actions may be justified according to the Penal Code, you still can be sued.
- Your actions must play to the witnesses and jury. Act like a thug, and expect to be treated like one in court.
- Texas is a "retreating" state. You must make every reasonable effort to retreat from any given situation (w/ exception to your own home) before deadly force is employed.
- As always, be aware of your surroundings. The ATM scenario reinforced that for me. Don't take anything for granted. Knowledge of your surroundings is vital to preserving your own life.
- Be very knowledgable of the laws in your area. Texas has some vague and ambiguous laws regarding CHL. One example is that you can draw your weapon as a threat to aggression if and when deadly force is authorized. At the same time, you could be criminally liable for brandishing a weapon or even making a terroristic threat. Make sure you are absolutely clear on your responsibilities with regards to the laws of your state.
I have finally found what I am looking for in a holster. I have been searching for a decent and reliable kydex holster for my Springfield XD-40 5" inch model. For some time now, I have been searching for a decent carry holster for daily use. Since the XD is a relatively new pistol, there hasn't been a huge demand for accessories. The guys over at Comp-Tac holsters came through with a paddle holster that, for me, is second to none. This speed draw paddle design is very comfortable and fills my need for a daily carry holster.
The paddle portion is wide and very stable. Compared to my Springfield paddle holster, this one doesn't shift around and cause the gun to catch when drawing. The ends of this paddle hook out to catch underneath the belt to provide some added stability. The gun sits just a little higher than my Bianchi slide holster which provides a better position on the body. With the long barrel, I have to be cautious about the muzzle poking out from underneath a shirt or jacket.
Retention is done with three set screws and a provided allen key. The screws sit at the muzzle, mid barrel, and at the trigger retention. They are set to the users own preferences for speed and security. I like how the holster is designed for speed drawing with ample clearance just below the ejection port of the pistol. This allows the pistol to clear faster and provides the user with a shorter draw time.
This design sits flush against the body unlike my 'chotchkie' holster from Springfield. Resting comfortably there, I don't have to worry much about printing through the cover shirt or jacket. There is also no appreciable bulge out to the side when looking straight at me. I am not comfortable with an IWB for such a big gun and would rather it be outside the pants. This way, I am not worried about snagging a t-shirt or my waistband. Since the barrel is covered, I no longer have to worry about it rubbing on my pant leg or scratching on the rivets of my jeans.
All-in-all, this is a very nice design for the right price. I am not gonna quote here because I want you to see for yourself. You can find Comp-Tac holsters online or check out the Range or even some other fine Houston gun dealers. Also, stop by some Tuesday, Thursday, or even Sunday for Defensive Pistol training or some fun IDPA style shooting at the Range. At those times, you might get to see some of the Comp-Tac holsters in action.