Monthly Archives: March 2013

What Type of Handgun Should I Buy?

When people find out I am a firearms instructor the questions about guns start flowing.  Even before they take a class with me they start to wonder “What type of firearm should I get?”

           That is definitely a personal question.  Your choice of firearms should be based on what you intend to use it for and what feels good in your hands.  You may want to use your firearm to carry a concealed weapon with the proper permit of course, then a more compact style gun would be appropriate.  If you want it for home defense you may carry something a little larger at home.  There are styles of handguns better for competitive shooting if you are looking to get into the shooting sports.  Let’s not forget about our hunters out there.  Hunters will have their own favorite firearms depending on the animal they are hunting.   Handguns come in different sizes and calibers so my best advice for you is go to a gun range and rent several different models and calibers and see what feels best to you before you make a commitment to any gun.  Don’t just start out with a revolver or a .22 caliber because people tell you it is easier or better for women.

          I personally like my Glock 17, it is a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol.  That is what I train with most of the time.  I have other calibers but my Glock 17 is my preferred pistol.  Glocks are very reliable and used by 70% of law enforcement agencies nationwide.  I would not go with a revolver because that limits the number of rounds you can use.  A 9mm pistol is great because the ammunition is less expensive than .40 or .45 caliber ammunition so that makes training more cost effective.  Also, the stopping power of a 9mm round is not that much different than a .40 caliber, especially if you train well and are a good shot.

          Whatever you chose has to feel right to YOU.  Don’t invest in a firearm blindly based on someone’s recommendation.  And don’t just stop at the purchase.  Getting some good quality training is essential.  An untrained armed citizen is about as effective as a fancy lawn ornament to deterring crime.  Without the proper training you are more likely to cause an accident and hurt yourself than prevent a criminal from hurting your family.   Also plan on investing in a gun safe.  Whatever happens with your gun is your responsibility.  So you should have a secure way to store your firearms that is easily accessible to you.  Quick access safes for the nightstand are good if they are bolted down.   If all you are purchasing or own is one or two pistols then a small gun safe is fine.  You can get into larger heavier safes when you expand your collection.  Make sure you read up on the laws on firearms storage, firearms transportation, and gun use for home defense and personal defense for the state or area in which you live.

         If you already own a gun at home and are starting to build your collection duplicate what you have already so you can use the same parts in case something breaks or wears down and needs replacing immediately.  It is important to have duplicates in case you get into a shootout with zombies trying to break into your home and your husband runs out of ammo because he is not as good of a shot as you.  That way you can just toss an extra magazine to him.  Remember two is one and one is none so have backups for your backups.

         Whatever gun you do invest in learn how it works, how to take it apart and clean it.  You don’t have to become a gun smith, just get well versed in the guns you own or plan to own.  Your guns need maintenance just like your car.  They run better when they are well taken care of. Do your research and make an educated decision.  

          If you have any personal experiences or questions to share please post them.  Positive comments and constructive discussion are welcome.  

To Your Surviving and Thriving,

MaryAnne Morcos, The Urban Survival Chick 

Essential Items to Include in Your Grab & Go Bag and Bug Out Bag!

Better safe than sorry. A major emergency or national crisis could happen at anytime and when you least expect it. Don’t be an unprepared victim! Here are the categories of items you should have in your “Grab and Go Bag” or “Bug Out Bag.”

The good news is you can prepare by getting a grab and go bag or bug out bag together.  But where do you start, what should you pack?

I do an in depth presentation on this in my workshops but here is a quick and dirty run down of what you should include in your BOB to get you started.

At the bare minimum you should have something to cover what I call the “Survival Seven: Food, Water, Fire, Shelter, First Aid, Security, and Communications.”

1. Food should come in nonperishable form like canned goods, MREs or meals ready to eat, protein bars, meal replacement shakes, nuts, trail mix etc. The food you pack should give you enough calories every day to sustain your energy so your brain can focus on what you need to do to stay alive and get back to your family.

2. Water can be carried in bottles, little emergency packs, or you can use hydration packs like the “Camelback”.  Your water should be portable. If you don’t have water on hand at least have containers to carry water ready so you can fill them up later.  Also, make sure you have ways to purify your water like some type of filter, a fire source to boil your water, or bleach.

3. Fire is important as it can keep your body warm to prevent hypothermia.  You will need it to boil and sanitize your water, and heat food to the right temperature so it is safe for consumption.  You should carry several ways to start a fire. A lighter is great but you have to know how to get old school and use a hand drill or bow drill.  What if your lighter runs out of fluid and you missed the ideal high point of the sun’s trajectory to make fire with a piece of glass?  The point is to have redundancies built into your pack and practice with all those different methods available to you before you actually need them.

4. Shelter is important to protect you from the elements.  It can come in different forms like tube tents and sleeping bags which can easily be carried in a pack and don’t take up much space when they are folded well.  You also need to learn to look for natural shelters like an abandoned vehicle, little alcoves or caves, maybe turn a canoe or little boat upside down or on its side for cover.  Those emergency blankets they wrap runners in after a marathon also come in the form of an emergency sleeping bag that you can slip your entire body into so you can keep warm and dry. That is what your shelter should do for you.

5. First aid is self explanatory. Not only do you need to have the standard band aids, ointments, gauze, etc but you need to have the training to deal with wounds and emergency first aid.  Also carry antibiotics if you can get your hands on them, any prescription medications you might need desperately like insulin or blood pressure pills. It goes without saying that you should get some advanced emergency medical training or tactical medic training.  You may encounter injuries or wounds that a basic first aid kit simply won’t cover.

6. Security, well that is one of my favorite topics.  In a SHTF situation you will need firearms and ammunition.  I would definitely carry a firearm myself for protection.  If you are not comfortable carrying guns or using firearms, and you haven’t trained with me or had other good quality training, then you shouldn’t be using guns because you are a big liability.   A handgun is a great tool for personal protection.  Long guns like rifles and shotguns will be very useful for hunting and putting food in your belly.  Other adjuncts like pepper spray, knives, flashlights, are necessary security elements.  Of course your mindset and level of awareness are the most important things you carry with you because you are ultimately the weapon.   The tools you carry are just tools.  They don’t work by themselves.

7. Communications are vital to your survival.  You absolutely must maintain a way to communicate with other people and receive vital information.  You can have things like FRS radios, HAM radios, satellite phones, battery operated or hand crank radios, and police scanners.  If phone lines are down you wont be able to call your loved ones or check the internet for information.

Emergency kits are meant to be portable.  By all means don’t use that empty box of copy paper in your office as an emergency kit container.  I have consulted with families that put their survival kits together after the last major natural disaster and they bring me this box of disorganized junk.  The box is old, falling apart, and has nothing more than a bottle of water, some extra clothes, a single blanket for the entire family, and some beef jerky.  That is not good enough for you.   Get a good bag of some kind like a backpack or hiking pack with strong straps.  Your “Grab & Bo Bag” should have at least three days of supplies because they are meant for quick access in case of a truly unexpected and unplanned emergency.  Your “Bug Out Bag” will be a little larger and should have at least seven days worth of supplies.  You should place one in your home for each member of your family, at least one in the car and one in your office.  Make sure you go through your kits and update them every six months.

Share your thoughts and comments here.  If you have been to one of my classes and seen my Grab and Go bag and Bug Out Bag demonstrations let me know about your progress.

To Your Surviving and Thriving,

MaryAnne Morcos, The Urban Survival Chick

Home Depot is the Enemy, NOT the NRA!

I get sick and tired of hearing people ignorant about firearms quoting gun crime statistics that don’t make any sense.  The anti gunners continually ignore facts and real crime statistics, and lie about guns being the cause for our society’s demise.  They even believe associations like the NRA are the evil enemy and that is just plain wrong. 

We need to set the record straight!

If the anti gun nut jobs really love statistics then they should focus their energy on boycotting Home Depot because in 2011 more people suffered death by hammer than by a firearm. 

Please educate your neighbors and friends that don’t know enough about this.  I know the anti gun crowd can be irrational and fanatic but maybe this visual I found on the internet will help make the point.

To Your Surviving and Thriving,

MaryAnne Morcos, The Urban Survival Chick

Proper Shooting Stance!

There is a lot of debate about what is the best shooting stance to use when you are out on the range. I have tried several different shooting stances over the years and my “go to” standing shooting stance is the what has been called the “Combat Shooting Stance” or the “Tactical Shooting Stance.”

Here I am doing a drill at an advanced carbine class where I am running to my right between stations and I stop briefly to engage 4 targets.

My mentors have taught me well.  I seek the best in the firearms training industry to help advance my own skills when I am a student on the range.  My boys at Charles Ferrera and Anson Beck at Falcon Operations Group have drilled the tactical shooting stance into my head and it makes sense.

To assume the Combat Shooting stance you square up to your target, extend your arms forward with your firearm using a nice firm firing grip, your center of gravity should be slightly forward, and the weight on your legs should be slightly staggered with your firing side leg slightly behind your other leg.

There are several reasons I like the Combat Shooting Stance.

1. In a fight or flight situation your body’s natural response will most likely be to square up to your target, rather than contort your body into a sideways or weaver position.

2. When you square up to your target more of your body-armored chest is facing the target rather than exposing your vital organs on your uncovered side. 

3. In the tactical stance your firing side leg is positioned slightly behind the other leg.  This gives you approximately a 60-40 split to how you bear the weight through your legs.  Most of your weight will be on your forward leg.  Not only does this give you a wider more stable standing platform, but it also allows you to move quickly and change positions easier. 

You want to be able to “Get Off the X” as James Yeager would say. 

Consider trying the Combat Shooting stance your next time out on the range. 

To Your Surviving and Thriving,

MaryAnne Morcos, The Urban Survival Chick