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Concealed Carry Corner: CCW

Rules Of Engagement

There are no right answers in a defensive shooting situation; with an infinite number of possible situations, there is an infinite number of responses. Know your laws, use good judgment and mentally prepare yourself for something to go wrong.

In no particular order, let's go over three important topics that you may want to consider before it comes time to unholster your pistol:

  1. Have a plan
  2. Use common sense
  3. Know your rights

All three of these topics combined should take only a few minutes out of your daily routine to review. Join ATS for a CCW Defensive Class and get all the details and learn much much more!

This diagram is a visual depiction of a use of force model. Remember, a critical event can start or stop at any point on the continuum: don't feel locked into following all of the steps if the situation has escalated quickly.

Train with us at ATS: Call 706-502-8898 or fill out the request form.

ATF Will No Longer Classify Firearm Accessories

It looks like gun owners will be on their own when it comes to the legality of firearm accessories.

The Firearms Technology Industry Services Branch (FTISB) is the division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that provides classifications on how firearm accessories may change the legal status of a firearm once attached. Until now.

The Prince Law Offices Blog reports that it received "an email that ATF's Firearms Technology Industry Services Branch would no longer offer classifications on accessories, effective immediately."

Up until now, manufacturers and members of the general public could submit an accessory and have the FTISB provide a classification on the part, stating whether the item would alter the legal status of a firearm it was attached to, subjecting the resultant firearm to the Gun Control Act or National Firearms Act.

Typically, the ATF would return a letter that the manufacturer would make available to buyers of the product, stating its legality. Examples of this include the braces that are popular on pistols now, which currently do not legally change the handgun into a short-barreled rifle. The SB-Tactical website hosts several letters indicating the ATF's determination.

The notice, posted on the ATF website states, "Effective immediately, any requests for a determination on how an accessory affects the classification of a firearm under the GCA or NFA must include a firearm with the accessory already installed. Except in cases of conditional import determinations, FTISB will not issue a determination on an accessory unless it is attached to the submitted firearm." The notice also states that those that have recently submitted products will be receiving them back without classification.

Time will tell what the implications of this policy change are, but the looming national bump stock ban does come to mind.

Train with us at ATS: Call 706-502-8898 or fill out the request form.

Trigger Control

Dry-Fire: Cure a Common Shooting Bad Habit

Don't move the gun when you pull the trigger! Regardless of the speed you are moving your trigger finger, you need to avoid dipping/moving the muzzle.

How can you tell if you're falling victim to this bad habit? Set the trigger on your unloaded pistol by racking the slide. Next, place an empty casing on its base on the top of the slide, just behind the front sight. Now, press the trigger without causing the case to fall off.

The speed in which you can do this will be a limiting factor in how quickly you can shoot accurately. If the case doesn't fall off, congrats! You've pulled the trigger correctly.

Train with us at ATS: Call 706-502-8898 or fill out the request form.

Why Should You Carry A Firearm?

Why Should You Carry A Firearm?

As we have learned, a dynamic critical incident can be a very scary situation, especially considering that, after the fact, prosecutors will pick apart every action and dig through whatever they can to put blame on the defendant, even if the situation involved a perfectly "legal shoot."

Of course, even though the legal aftermath of using a firearm for self-defense is not likely to involve a criminal case, it can - and does - happen. A civil case can cause great concern as well. The criminal and/or his or her family members may claim that they are in the right or believe, somehow, that they are owed something. With that, it's the idea of the "reasonable person test." Unfortunately, today's definition of what a reasonable person would have done in the same circumstances doesn't always match up to what a responsibly armed individual would do.

The possibilities of going to jail and being tried in court can certainly make someone think - or even reconsider carrying a gun for protection. I've had some students take our USCCA Concealed Carry and Home Defense class and tell me that they aren't ready to carry a gun. I applaud that decision because it means that they are really thinking about the circumstances, the possibilities and the outcomes. But I also make a point to find out where they are in their concealed carry journey and how to get them where they need to be.

Nevertheless, with all the talk of the aftermath and with all of the unsettling information regarding the seriousness of using a gun to protect life, an intriguing question was recently brought up in class: Knowing what we know about the body's responses to a threatening situation, and recognizing what problems may occur legally, financially and even emotionally after the fact, why should anyone carry a firearm? - By: Beth Alcazar

  • Because You can.
  • Because Bad People Exist
  • Because You Can't Depend on Others.
  • Because Guns Save Lives
  • Because Everyone Deserves a Chance
Marksmanship vs. Defensive Shooting

Are they the same or are they really different? OR maybe a little of both! Which do I practice and which helps me the most?.......... Actually BOTH, if you use the right mindset & training.

Accuracy, Power, Speed and Knowledge. These four elements are interdependent on each other as all are necessary to a degree and one effects the other in your everyday conceal carry life. Continually shooting at static bullseye targets and silhouettes, does not help you in the real world when a life-threatening situation happens to you, a friend or a loved one.

ASK YOURSELF SOME SERIOUS QUESTIONS! You need to introduce situational awareness shooting to every session you have, AND yes, even at an indoor shooting range! Do you continually practice administrative, tactical and emergency reloads? Do you practice controlled situational shooting or just fire away round after round after round at Zombie and bullseye targets? Do you know the difference between the "Occular Cavity", "Thoracic Cavity" and the "Pelvic Girdle" projectile wound areas on a potential adversary, and practice shooting at these areas?

Carrying a firearm is a serious matter and needs constant training and knowledge, as well as a SMART MINDSET in real everyday scenario based defensive marksmanship!

Train with us at ATS: Call 706-502-8898 or fill out the request form.

Trigger Reset; Should You Use It ?

I am always doing my best to keep up with new developments, new techniques and new guns.

In recent years, there has been a lot of chatter about feeling the trigger reset when shooting a pistol. The technique is often described as follows:

The idea is that you will move your finger a shorter distance than if you come off the trigger and let the gun reset itself after the shot.

There is no argument: the key to shooting any handgun well is control when the trigger is going in the other direction. Pulling the trigger back and breaking the shot without causing movement to the sight picture is the key to releasing a well-aimed round. Maintaining control over the trigger's forward movement, which has no bearing at all in actually firing the handgun, just doesn't make sense to me.

I break it down as follows: Most competitive shooters don't pay any attention to the reset, even many who are also instructors. Most instructors do focus on the reset, but with caveats; usually just at the entry level to help learn about trigger control and to make the shooter focus on the trigger. - Bryce Towsley

Train with us at ATS: Call 706-502-8898 or fill out the request form.

What to Look for in a Firearms Trainer

1. Someone who lists their sources. I've taken classes from major training centers that never mention anyone other than the people associated with their school. They taught the Color Code without mentioning it was Col. Jeff Cooper who came up with that idea. They also taught the Weaver Stance without saying who invented it, giving their student the impression that everything we know about firearms training was their idea. The fact of the matter is everyone who trains people in the safe use of firearms owes a huge debt to those who have gone before us, and acknowledging that debt is a sign of a trainer who is interested in imparting knowledge, not creating followers.

2. Someone who has multiple sources. The broader the trainer's knowledge base, the more options they have to diagnose and correct a student's issue with learning to shoot well. Also, trainers who have a wide variety of sources tend to come up with more innovative and effective training techniques because they are not hidebound to one way of thinking. Also, look for instructors who have taken courses that require a measured, standardized test of some sort to become an instructor, such as Rangemaster or Massad Ayood Group, because that introduces an element of intellectual rigor and accountability into their teaching process.

3. Someone with relevant training. I have nothing but the greatest respect for our military and law enforcement, but the jobs they perform are different than the job I have. The firearms training they receive, therefore, is to accomplish a different task than the task I need to accomplish. If the firearms instructor you're considering has combat experience or is a seasoned police officer, that's fine. Just make sure they also have training that augments what they've learned in the service and helps translate that service in a way that is useful to we armed citizens.

4. Someone who competes on a regular basis. Nothing will show what is working and what needs improvement than shooting a practical pistol match. Even some of the most elite troops in the Army have learned that performing a simple task like hitting a target 10 yards away becomes a Herculean feat under the simulated stress of a timer and the gaze of your peers. Competing in a practical pistol match helps you apply what you learn in shooting class to a situation that more closely resembles the street because, as noted trainer Massad Ayoob once said, a shooting match is not a gunfight, but a gunfight is most definitely a shooting match.

5. Someone who encourages wider training. Simply put, any instructor who doesn't encourage you to train with other trainers has his own best interests at heart, not yours. No one firearms instructor has this all figured out, and if your trainer is not comfortable with you learning from other instructors, he's more worried about repeat business than the growth of his students.

6. Someone who is also committed to learning. If the last class your instructor took was during the Bush administration (the George H.W. Bush administration), their techniques are probably not the ones you want to learn. An instructor who has recently taken classes from another instructor will have more current, effective teaching methods that use more modern theories of instructional learning and firearms technique.

Lastly, your instructor should focus on the teaching the students who are in his or her class, versus standing up in front of them and going through the motions. A firearms instructor who's committed to excellence will also be committed to instilling that drive for excellence in his or her students, making them safer, more prepared gun owners. - By: Kevin Creighton

Train with us at ATS: Call 706-502-8898 or fill out the request form.

What is Deadly Force (legally)

What Is Deadly Force?

Deadly Force is any force that carries a substantial risk that could result in the death of any person.

Here are a few instances where a person could exert a force that could cause death. The use of deadly force is:

  1. Shooting someone with a firearm
  2. Stabbing or cutting someone with an edged weapon
  3. The recent phenomenon of using of a motor vehicle to plow people down
  4. Even using common everyday items like hammers, screwdrivers, or a baseball bats can be used as weapons

If you carry a gun or knife for self-defense, these carried weapons are intended to deliver deadly force. You must remember that your carry weapon or EDC (Every Day Carry) is not intended to be used as a scare tactic or intimidate someone. In most places, that is a crime in itself (which will be covered later.)

Your EDC is not intended to make you "feel" safer. If you wouldn't normally do something while unarmed, you definitely shouldn't do it while armed. Everyone has seen that person who after a few drinks develops "beer muscles." Beer muscles cause normal people to act out in ways they would never act without alcohol. Just like beer muscles can make you act out abnormally, so do "gun muscles." Gun muscles also can make people act out in an abnormal manner. Never carry a firearm with the mindset that you can feel safer doing dangerous things or that can act out in ways that put you in harm's way just because you have a firearm and no one could harm you.

  • Your defensive firearm is intended to give you the capability of delivering deadly force under the proper legal circumstances.
  • You must become confident about when you can use these tools to defend yourself and people you love.

You must educate yourself to the point that this information is embedded deep in your subconscious. Remember that every deadly force situation is different. A defensive shooting can be as little as a single shot fired at close range which lasted only a few seconds. On the other hand, it could result in 40 or 50 rounds fired during a running gunfight at distances up to 100 feet away that took up to several minutes.

You do not have any time to waste. Plan ahead for the fight and prepare yourself mentally. There is no time to hesitate. The greatest source of hesitation is not being mentally prepared. The two main sources of hesitation are that the people have doubts about using deadly force based on their religious or social concerns or doubts about the laws regarding when deadly force can be used.

A defensive shooting is about self defense and never about revenge; otherwise, it is murder. You cannot be Judge, jury, and executioner. - By: First Liberty Foundation

Train with us at ATS: Call 706-502-8898 or fill out the request form.

Train Beyond the Range!

"Turmoil & Danger Don't Come at the Moment of Our Choosing"

We spend thousands of dollars on ammunition, accessories, tactical gear, range time and firearms. We spend countless hours refining our skills, doing our best to punch the X in the center of our targets. We time our draw, measure off distances, shoot around obstacles, and do the "tuck & roll". We are 100% bad ass, and we...are...ready.

Well, that is until the time comes that we have to put all of that training into practice. Then we quickly realize that our house is not set up like the range. We remember that there are a couple of kids that weren't at the range when we were slinging lead and getting our "tactical" on. We remember that the targets at the range weren't armed with crowbars, knives or guns, and that those targets at the range were not trying to eliminate us from the equation. Those targets were not shooting back, hiding in the dimly lit corners, or waiting for us to come to the bottom of the staircase.

Now in the real world, tragedy, turmoil and danger never come to us at the moment of our choosing. They are not broadcast to us in advance, giving us time to prepare. They happen when least expected, and the familiarity we have with our surroundings is often nullified by the element of surprise. It does not matter how well armed you are, or how fast you can get sights on target if you are trying to wrangle up the kids, tripping over the cat, or half way into your slippers when the bad guys are already in the house.

It's already accepted that your level of hand-eye coordination and general motor skills will diminish in a crisis situation...given that fact, and the added stress of not knowing exactly what the threat is...you quickly realize that there is a lot to be said about Training Beyond The Range.

Your home is not only your castle, it is your chosen battlefield. You must know every inch of it. Where are your blind spots, your points of egress, points of access? Where would someone hide if they got in and heard you rustling about? Where are you most and least vulnerable? Where in your domicile do YOU have the upper-hand if someone were to come in unexpectedly...with violent intent?

Great...you have answered the aforementioned...but what about your family? Do your kids know what to do if you should have to engage a perpetrator? Do they know where to hide, where to run, or in the worst case, how to defend themselves? Does your family know what to do to remain out of the line of fire? Do they know how to get out of the house and to some place where they can be safe...and what they need to do when they get there?

Yes? No? Maybe? These are all crucial points that you need to be able to address as YOU are the primary defensive weapon for your family. Yes...YOU. Not your handgun, not your rifle, not your shotgun...YOU. All of those are just the tools you may have at your disposal. The most important tool however, is your plan...the plan you have for peace, the plan you have for combat, and the plan you have for the aftermath.

The better coordinated that you and your family are in the event of an emergency, the more likely you are to come out safe, and alive.

With that in mind, it is your primary responsibility to not only plan for the worst, but to practice those plans. The very same way you would run a fire drill, you need to run drills for other threats. Not only do you need to have a plan for being armed, you need to consider the times when you might not have immediate access to a means of defending yourself. What do you do if it's 3am, your family is all asleep, you're in your skivvies, and you're sneaking a snack from the fridge and someone comes crashing through your back door? What is your plan? Have you practiced it?

While it may all be a little overwhelming to try to create scenarios in your mind to account for, and it may also be a little far-fetched to imagine a dozen zombies bursting through your windows all in a search for brains, there are several instances that you can plan for and practice...repeatedly.

The idea is to not only give yourself a level of tactical training at the range, but to give yourself as many home-field advantages as possible, and the ONLY way to do that is to put yourself in the mind of the bad-guy, explore your vulnerabilities, and figure out how to limit those vulnerabilities in whatever way you can. This is your life, your family, and your home...all of which need to be able to act together when, and if, the time comes. - By: Frank Johnson

Train with us at ATS: Call 706-502-8898 or fill out the request form.

Further Reading

The 5 Elements of Self-Defense Law - Click Here

5 Scary Reasons Gun Owners Should Fear the Legal System - Click Here

15 Great Guns for Concealed Carry - Click Here