courtesy Active Self Protection
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What’s the most important part of using a gun for self-defense? John Correia over at Active Self Protection has a few ideas:

The first and most foundational part of Active Self Protection’s defensive strategy of “Attitude, Skills, Plan” is Attitude. You must cultivate the attitude that you are responsible for your own self-protection and you are the primary agent in your own rescue. You and only you can choose to cultivate an attitude that no one has the right to harm you or your loved ones and you have a right and a responsibility to stop anyone who threatens to harm you and yours.

Regarding choice of carry gun:

Please carry a quality firearm that you have tested and know to be 100% reliable. Malfunctions DO happen even in the best guns (machines all fail at some point), but quality firearms made by reputable manufacturers such as Glock, Heckler and Koch, Sig Sauer, FN, and Smith and Wesson have well-earned reputations for reliability. Vet the reliability of YOUR particular carry gun such that you know it’ll function reliably in the moment of need. (my standard is 400 target rounds and 100 of the rounds that I will carry in it without a single malfunction before I will carry it, and any non-ammo malfunction in the gun resets that clock after fixing the problem) Knowing how to clear a malfunction is an important skill to have for defensive pistol use, but preventing the malfunction before it happens is a far superior strategy.

– John Correia, Armed Victim Fights Back Against Carjackers

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      • For some of us taking self defense advice from someone with a gut makes a lot of sense.

        • I can see that and legitimately it’s an issue.

          I can support it if 1) they’re open about the fact that it’s not a good thing and they’re addressing it and 2) offer advice on how their students can do the same.

          There’s nothing wrong with taking instruction from someone who has an issue or is in the process of overcoming an issue the same or similar to yours. If, OTOH, the guy is standing in front of a class sucking down Mt. Dew and pounding cheeseburgers at lunch (which I have seen) there may be an issue…

        • If you yourself like to suck down Mountain Dew and cheeseburgers then you don’t need a wannabe Navy Seal instructor. You need someone who looks like you do to show you how out of shape people can defend themselves. And perhaps a nutritionist to help you live a healthier lifestyle, but the odds that will actually pay off in a self defense situation are far slimmer than it will put off that impending heart attack a few years. For those of us over 40 though, physical limitations are simply a fact of life that will only get worse with time.

        • For the record, I’ve been an occasional watcher of the Active Self Defense videos for about two years and my first reaction on seeing the picture at the top of this post was: “Damn, John’s lost a lot of weight.”

        • “…but the odds that will actually pay off in a self defense situation are far slimmer than it will put off that impending heart attack a few years.”

          This is true, however a higher level of fitness also makes you more resilient to any major trauma you might encounter. Whether you’re talking GSW’s, car wrecks, heart attacks or worksite accidents, the statistical chances of major trauma being survivable and having a good outcome in terms of life after survival go up enormously as body fat content goes down.

          The stats are something like an 60% increase in favorable outcome for someone who’s a healthy weight as opposed to being 20-40lbs or more overweight.

          Of course you can overdo it. Extreme health nuts like ultra-marathoners are one of the highest risks for stroke.

        • As it pertains to self defense though, there’s plenty of people who can’t and never will be capable of anything resembling fighting shape. Being overweight isn’t the only malady we suffer as we age. And not necessarily an advanced age. I lost my left posterior cruciate ligament when I was 25 in a motorcycle accident, seriously inhibiting my ability to run. Someone who isn’t even fit for military service doesn’t need tacti-cool super warrior training.

        • Larry Vickers has acquired himself a little bit of a gut, but I think I would listen to any advice that he may want to pass my direction.

      • If you keep up with John Corriea (and I do, onn Facebook) you’ll find the has aggressively attacked his weight problem, if I recall correctly, he has lost about 70 pounds in the last year. He’s very much determined to practice the things the preaches.

      • I’m curious, as to your age and fitness regimen. Although I personally don’t care for Mr. Correa, due to his copyright practices, I don’t know how physically fit he is. He does appear to have lost a significant amount of weight though.

        Me, I’ve got a gut but I’d lay odds I’m as fit as you are now and a heck of a lot fitter when you get to be my age.

        Sometimes genetics is kind, sometimes it’s not.

    • I watch his videos on He gives great analysis on recent DGU’s so that one can learn from others’ real world experiences. I believe the arm tattoo is less than a year old and he’s lost a lot a lot weight. As a person who works out 5 times a week, when I see an overweight guy/gal busting ass trying to become more healthy and they have my up most respect because they have the right attitude. If you ask a Navy Seal how to get through BUDS, they’ll say it mostly has to do with the right attitude, to get through tough situations.
      CGRAY, as for tattoos, don’t listen to Experienced Mil/Vets/LE’s born between the mid 70’s and mid 90’s most them have arm tattoos.

      • Oh, well, if they wear a government issued costume, then I’ll be sure to meekly bow my head in submission in their glorious presence. Thanks for the advice, champ.

        • Actually I bet you do. I’m willing to bet online you talk all kinds of tough trash on vets and cops, but in real life it’s all “yes sir, no sir, please sir may I have another.”

          • You have a body count, internet tough guy? I sure as shit do. Had to kill my own father in self defense when I was 16, then had to kill one of Obama’s sons when I was 37, and wasn’t in the mood to hand over my wallet. Won’t be lectured by you.

          • Too funny. Give me your address, and I’ll send you a copy of the police report for Obama’s son. Don’t have one for dear old dad, that was 1986. We could visit his grave, though, if you’d like, Mr. Tactical Operator.


        • Sure sure sure. I don’t think you’d want to come visit me. I live in Arkansas. You think your tough buddy, please. I’m so hardcore, I raped a guy for trespassing on my land back in the 70s.

          • HOLY SHIT. Dear old dad’s pushing up daisies in Arkansas. Wasted three fourths of my life in that third world toilet. Obama’s son is, er, was in Texas. Love these comments from a bunch of guys who’ve never been in a fist fight going on and on about caliber, capacity, BUGs, ballistics gel, blah blah blah.

        • Laugh a little man, it was a joke. Haven’t you seen the movie “deliverance”? I do agree with that last part of your statement, though.

      • Have yet to encounter a homo sapien with any tattoos anywhere who wasn’t a “hey everybody, LOOK AT ME!!!!” personality. I mean, not ONE.

        • I thought this was a website about TTAG! Tattoos and a gut does not disqualify John or anyone else from having knowledge that may be a help to some. People with tattoos don’t wonder why others don’t have any, so why should you wonder why John, I and others do? I have tattoos but am absent the gut and at age 76 feel I am lucky to not have the gut.

          Sad to say, but some of the comments about tattoos and gut remind me of snowflakes! Those 2 things have nothing to do with the TTAG!

    • Nor do Berettas. And the most reliable weapons are revolvers and he only listed one company that even makes them.

      • Revolvers can and do jam. I’ve had it happen and, unlike a semi-auto, you can’t tap rack bang that shit.

        • I had it happen twice on a brand new revolver but it just took a little jiggling. (I think the firing pin got stuck in the primers.) Yes, no mechanical device has ever been 100% fail proof, but I’d prefer 99% over 96%. And semi-auto pistols can jam bad enough that you can’t just tap and rack them also. I had one I had to disassemble and reassemble at the range to get it working once. You could break an extractor – that would take a gun out of the fight on the first round. If knowing it’s going to go bang every time is your top priority a revolver is still the best way to go. If you need 17 rounds to hit your target a semi-auto is great though.

        • Let’s be honest here, Serge. Yes, a revolver can fail. But in my experience, almost 50 years of shooting, a revolver has the lower failure rate. By far. I’ve cleared malfunctions on a revolver exactly twice in that time. Both ammo related. I’ve seen one revolver malfunction to the point it needed a mechanic to fix. One.

          Without exception every trip to the range I see guys fiddle fucking with their semis. Stove pipes, double feeds, ammo issues. My favorite is the guys that grip their weapon wrong and they drop their mag right there at the firing line.

          I have revolvers and semi’s. Both are great for what I want them for. But you cannot honestly say that revolvers foul up more than semi’s.

        • In all fairness I had a Beretta 92FS I put about 5000 rounds through without a malfunction, but big, heavy semi-autos seem to be less prone to malfunctions than small ones. The reliability edge for revolvers probably goes up significantly as you downsize your weapon.

        • Ok…

          1. I didn’t say they jam more frequently. I pointed out that when they do, it tends to be a catastrophic failure that you can’t fix in a few seconds.
          2. I’d say catastrophic semi-auto failures are far more rare than revolver ones. Why? I’ve fired thousands of rounds through dozens of semi-autos and have never had a failure that I couldn’t clear with immediate action. I own exactly 3 revolvers. One of those is a newer production, two are early 20th century Russian Imperial Army antiques. Ironically, the Nagants always go bang. The .454 I own for shits and giggles has a problem every few hundred rounds.
          3. It’s not that I need 17 rounds to hit my target. It’s that I realize that anybody worth shooting once is worth shooting 5 times. I practice a failure to stop drill. 2 to the chest, 1 to the head, 2 to the pelvic girdle. Handguns are not magic death rays. It is entirely possible for an aggressive assailant to take multiple hits from .44 Magnum and still present an immediate threat to your life. A failure to stop drill will make sure that even if the bad guy is still conscious, he’s not going anywhere with a shattered pelvis. With a revolver or a compact semi-auto that leaves me 1-2 rounds if the bad guy decided to bring a friend or two. With a 17 round magazine of 9mm rounds pushing .357 muzzle energies, I still have 2 rounds if he and both his friends decided to not be lie down and be good.

        • ‘…9mm rounds pushing .357 muzzle energies…’

          A .357 operates at the same maximum pressure as a 9mm and has literally twice the case capacity – more when you subtract the seated bullet. A full power (not +p) .357 load will pump out over 600ft/lbs of muzzle energy from a 3″ revolver. Even the hottest +p+ 9mm loads don’t come close and they’ll beat your gun up so bad I wouldn’t want to rely on it’s continued functionality.

          From a practical standpoint, it comes down to which you feel is more important, rounds 1-6(ish) or rounds 7-17(ish). IMHO you’re more likely to not get a chance to get more than 6 aimed shots off than to need the rest.

    • CZ makes quality stuff, his point was not to depend on something that isn’t absolutely reliable in your hands. I have a Kel-tec that I would never rely on, a Glock is reliable, unless you limp wrist it.

    • Rugers don’t fail. You can use it to bang in fence posts and it’ll still fire when you’re done.

  1. I like this new series of instructor vinettes. It is something the old TTAG would have done.

    I prefer Werner to Correia if only because Werner’s views on what the armed citizen needs to accomplish match up with mine. Correia thinks we all have to prepare like we hang with gangbangers or live in a Third World S-Hole.

    Said this recently. I agree that putting a bunch of rounds through a new gun is a good idea to see if it is put together properly but you don’t need 100 rounds of self defense ammo to figure out if it’s going to run. In my experience a bad ammo-gun combo is apparent in the first couple of magazines. I have never had the experience of JHP running ok for 50 rounds suddenly failing.

    • FYI:. Correia was a Navy electronics tech. Werner was Special Ops and unlike many instructors with his background he understands you don’t need to be an operator to defend yourself in a civilian environment.

  2. I am no fan of Smith and Wesson.

    That being said, there is nothing else quite like a hammerless J-frame, in the hand, in the coat pocket, finger on the 10 pound trigger, pointing directly at an unsuspecting perp, before he even makes his move to invade in your personal space.

    • Not to quibble, but all revolvers have a hammer, some are just shrouded. A true hammerless revolver is actually only useful as a club.

      • Oh… really?

        Model 442 Airweight® – Weighing in at less than 16 oz., this is protection you can carry comfortably all day. The aluminum-alloy frame and carbon-steel cylinder has a matte black finish. *Hammerless*, double-action-only design with integral fixed sights. Synthetic grip. Chambered for .38 Special+P, it has a five-shot capacity.

        Model 638 Airweight® – The Bodyguard® frame has a *shrouded hammer* to prevent it from snagging clothing on the draw, but **still allows the revolver to be shot in a single- or double-action mode**. Special alloy construction makes it strong, yet it weighs just 15 oz. empty. Integral fixed sights. Black rubber grips. Nonreflective matte silver finish. Chambered for .38 Special+P with a five-shot capacity.

        • Oh really, from S&W’s website, notice feature #4 for the Model 442. I guess I should have said enclosed rather than shrouded but I thought you could figure it out. In any case they’re not striker fired. Maybe you should read the manufacturers description rather than Cabela’s.
          • Lightweight alloy frame for easy carry
          • Stainless steel barrel
          • Carbon steel cylinder
          • Snag-Free enclosed hammer
          • Rated for continuous +P Use

        • No. 22winmag

          It’s a hammer. A striker is a specific thing.

          The Centennial has a hammer. It rocks in an arc and strikes the firing pin.

          A striker has no hammer. Only a firing pin enclosed in a spring system.

        • I don’t care but thanks.

          Bells and clock strikers have been around longer than revolvers.

          If it cannot be manually manipulated, it’s a striker, even if it’s rotational instead of linear in design.

        • Making up your own definitions seems like a pretty easy way to win an argument. Many people are now surprised to learn that their ARs have strikers and not hammers (can’t be manipulated).

  3. With the proliferation of “instructors” trying to make a buck in the last few years, I’m starting to think there are more of them than there are people who need their services, or that are rich enough to afford them.

  4. This man puts a lot of Quantifiers into the Game, Quality firearm? {in who’s mind} who can afford too waste 400 cartridges just too see if it works? and another 100 big buck (sure to stop em rounds)!
    Knowing what electronic warfare people do no wonder hes got a gut, but being an electronic warfare person does not qualify him to be a Hand gun instructor on those credentials, we already live in a third world country called Minnesota and Michigan, the Muslims are trying too disarm us along with best buds the Democrats!

    • You want to know what’s more dangerous than Muslim Fanatics, Gun Grabbers, and Democrats?

      People who still believe in the Left/Right paradigm.

      • Yeah… because the Demokkkommies trying to take our shit and supporting Communist takeovers of 90% of the economy with their “Red New Deal” are just figments of out imagination.

        • He’s correct but probably for the wrong reasons. The opposite of what we call the left are the white Nationalists. They are just for Socialism for white people plus the hate the Jews for the wrong reason while the left hates them for the right reason.

  5. Here is a great example of what I’m regularly on about. Professional people who self-contradict so regularly, they do it as a habit without even knowing it.
    “that you have tested and know to be 100% reliable.”
    Followed immediately by:
    “Malfunctions DO happen even in the best guns (machines all fail at some point)”
    He is correct in the second statement, but deep into cognitive dissonance on the first. All things fail, so the 100% figure is simply not obtainable. It’s just something one says, like; “if there’s anything I can do”, at a funeral. One knows there is nothing to be done, so it becomes just an expression. Just something to say, but without any meaning. Useless blather. “Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.” -Plato. Yet another example of our widespread cognitive dissonance.
    What would you do if the widow at the funeral said: “There sure is. Joe was painting the house when he died. Can you come over and finish the job? Tomorrow would be a good time.” At that point you would see the cognitive disability pretty clearly.
    Instead, why not be a real professional and say something like: All mechanical things fail, but the best way to hold off Murphy(of “Murphy’s Law” fame…) is to test your gun before you need it, with the same ammo you choose to carry.”??? How is that not better, more accurate, and more professional?
    Personally, I give new guns a break-in period, but if it won’t fire a hundred rounds straight, on the range, without some form of stoppage or jam, I’d reject it (or, more likely, that ammo) for carry. If it goes a 100 rounds without a bobble, that means the failure rate should be, from that point on(ignoring any stoppages that happened earlier as breaking-in), a fraction of 1%. Since 100% is unobtainium, I call >99% sufficient.

    • I agree that 100%, and it’s cousins perfect and flawless, have become little more then semantic devices – and don’t get me started on “literally”.

      Beyond just the misuse of language, however, I think we live in a world where too many people actually believe that failures and risks, of a variety of types, can be driven to zero. I think this is one of the reasons we see so many people attempting to impose more and more control in the form of laws and regulations (supposedly) intended to eliminate all kinds of risk. The most obvious example to cite in this setting is the continual push by many for additional gun control to address the relatively small problem of gun-related crime and violence. In excess of 99.9% of the population is neither the victim of nor the perpetrator of gun-related violence in this country in a given year and yet there are those that constantly beat the drum of more regulation to deal with this “huge” problem.

      • Agree. This is why I get on the misuse of language so often. IMO, for a whole lot of people, words have ceased to have meaning, but have instead become figurative( NOT literal… 🙂 ) clubs to hit people over the head with. And in the process, meaning gets lost, so it ends up just a bunch of monkeys shouting babble at one another in feeble attempts at dominating them.
        I just like to think that I can annoy people enough to make them see what they’re doing, and the huge costs that they don’t even know they’re paying… Eventually. The entire US government throwing their feces at each other every day is a good example.

  6. I was in a job where we had to evaluate failure probabilities of things that hadn’t failed in our experience. The way we addressed this was to conservatively assume the next time that piece of equipment was required to function it would fail. So if 100 rounds were run through a gun with no failures we assumed a 1/101 failure rate.

    • While that might dramatically over-estimate the failure rate of a given system it is no more arbitrary than assuming some other value in the absence of meaningful data.

  7. just another recycle of what Cooper referred to as “mindset”. Among others who offered similar advice were Chuck Askins, Harlon Carter, and about any other serious self-defense proponent. Nothing new to see here.

    (Mindset can also help out with that sit-on-your-ass-all-day, eat and never exercise yourself problem, too. Life’s pretty much what you make of it.).

    • Cooper actually was more specific. He called it the “Warrior Mindset”. The same thing my three Senseis all taught, but just in a different way. They just called it “levels of awareness”.
      Cooper put the color codings on it, white, yellow, red, and whatever. The point is to be aware of your surroundings at all times, instead of just walking around staring at one’s phone as so many zombies do now.

      • Correct. Body language does not lie. We are all animals, in the most basic sense. As such, we subconsciously “read” the energy of others all the time whether we realize it or not. Interacting with other people, dogs, horses or whatever; this energy and body language is how they view you regardless of the words you use. There are countless Youtube videos and other resources online that illustrate that in various training scenarios; sales training, dogs, horses, etc.

        I worked at in-home sales for years and many folks would remark on how their dog or cat would react to me in their home. Animals are attracted to a calm and assertive energy. Most are looking for a pack or herd leader and recognize (via your energy) if you fit the bill. Fascinating subject overall and a lifelong interest of mine.

  8. ‘Quality’- as opposed to one you can afford and you know works…. guess all the guys carrying CZs and Makarovs and Bersas are all doing it wrong.

  9. John Coreira and his Active Self Protection Chanel on you tube is great!
    His physical appearance is meaningless as his skill is in analyzing self defense videos.
    He does that with an excellent system of awareness of what he calls “transitional spaces”. He also speaks a lot about mindset and feigned compliance until you can launch a counter attack.
    His catch phrase is “ cover your asp” Get it? ASP, armed self protection, asp?
    It’s a running joke on his channel that Brazil is entirely populated by armed criminals and off duty cops

  10. Wasn’t he the same guy who said that if he has a magazine hit the ground, he throws it away? Sorry, Mr. green screen lost all credibility after that.

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