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John Farnam writes [via]:

At a recent ARTA Course (Armed Response to a Terrorist Attack), I orchestrated many drills where students have to run to where their rifle is, unpack it, and get it running. They then complete the exercise.

Sometimes, you may have your rifle physically on you. Yet, most of the time it will be locked-up and/or secreted in some way so as to get it out of sight and thus lower your profile.

So, I think it is important to practice getting to your rifle, and then getting it into action smoothly and quickly. And, it is here that we see difficulty.

My student gets to his rifle, unpacks it, grabs it, and then raises it to his shoulder in an attempt to get on target, only to discover his optic is turned off. He hurriedly gets it turned on, only to discover his adjustable stock is not adjusted to the correct length.

He re-adjusts his stock, only to discover the rifle’s sling is too short, and he thus can’t get the rifle correctly mounted. He gets that all sorted-out, moves off the “X” (at long last) and finally gets his red dot on target, presses the trigger, only to discover there is no round chambered, and/or no magazine in the weapon!

By this time, it’s mostly a moot point, but he angrily chambers a round, reflexively pushed the manual safety lever to the “on” position, and then presses the trigger once more. Of course, the manual safety functions normally, and as designed!

At each frustration-point, the natural tendency is to plant your feet in cement and then stand there interminably gawking in amazement at your still-silent rifle!

Our first task is to help the student understand that, when he is not actually shooting, he needs to be moving!

Then, in repetition after frustrating repetition, we smooth-out all the speed-bumps and reclaim squandered seconds!

One critical disservice performed by most (cold range) shooting competitions is getting into the minds of participants that they will always have plenty of time to “get ready.” They further delude themselves with the personal assurance that nothing bad will ever “start” until they clearly indicate they are “ready!

This is a poisonous self-delusion we must immediately get all competition shooters out of!

We’re preparing you to successfully confront a personal security emergency. You don’t get to “make an appointment!” They’ll be no time for you to “get ready,” and you won’t know the scenario beforehand. You’re either ready and alert all the time, as a unchanging lifestyle, or you’ll predictably flunk your first (and last) Test!

Of course, The Test may never come your way. Let’s pray it never does. Can you bet your life on that? (You have!) For one, I’m not depending on Providence. I’m depending on me! Some may hesitate. I won’t!


About John Farnam & Defense Training International, Inc
As a defensive weapons and tactics instructor John Farnam will urge you, based on your own beliefs, to make up your mind in advance as to what you would do when faced with an imminent and unlawful lethal threat. You should, of course, also decide what preparations you should make in advance, if any. Defense Training International wants to make sure that their students fully understand the physical, legal, psychological, and societal consequences of their actions or inactions.

It is our duty to make you aware of certain unpleasant physical realities intrinsic to the Planet Earth. Mr Farnam is happy to be your counselor and advisor. Visit:

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  1. um… chances are I’ll be going for a pistol, unless I’m at home, then it’s a shotgun, or both. both of which are always full and chambered. If I did happen to have access to one of my ar’s I keep a loaded mag in the rifle and safeties are pretty much out of my vocabulary. right or wrong, I wouldn’t have even a quarter of these possible issues in my everyday life, so I guess I’d be more prepared than these students from the sound of things.

    • Primary carry for me is a little pocket pistol. That gets me to either a high capacity 9mm or a 12 gauge pump. 9mm is condirion 3 so I practice racking the slide before firing at the range. Shotgun is ‘cruiser ready’ so I practice shooting that way at the range…. or I used to anyway. Life hasn’t let me go to the range much this year. :/

  2. One of the main reasons I like da/sa pistol with tritium sights is the no messing around factor. Ditto rifles if your in a hurry

  3. The fact of the matter is that you either will have time to get ready, or you won’t. If you do, then you will be able to get your gun together and working before you engage. If you don’t you’re using your EDC pistol. simple as that.

  4. As Mr Savage said unless I’m at range for competition where safeties are required rifle is always on fire.

  5. Many people who think they are, are not.

    Many people who think they’re not, just might be wrong.

  6. I really dont see many realistic scenarios where you would have time to go back to your home/car and grab your rifle and battle rattle

    • This training will come in handy. In America. For a SWAT team. If they actually did this kind of stuff. Which they don’t.

  7. The question these sort of articles always raise for me is: How likely is it that you’ll actually do any fighting with a rifle?

    The answer is that it’s very, very unlikely unless you have a job such as LE where you might have to respond to such a situation. Other than that, a complete SHTF situation or a home invasion the chances you’ll actually have a long gun when you need it are pretty slim.

    I’m not saying that the training isn’t useful or fun or cool or whatever, I’m just saying the chances you’ll ever need the rifle in civilian life are small enough that you’d be much better served putting in time on your pistol skills before you even think about starting on ” Billy, run and go get your rifle” work.

    The article however is a good argument against Israeli carry or putting a lot of electronics on any of your guns.

    • Rural America would like to disagree. The rifle has been the preeminent tool for personal and property protection since forever.

      Shotguns being a close second.

      Home defense with handguns is for suburbanites and city folk.

      • “Rural America would like to disagree. The rifle has been the preeminent tool for personal and property protection since forever.”

        Your comment is a total non sequitur.

        First, this article is about having a tricked out tactical patrol rifle in the context of, and I quote, a “Armed Response to a Terrorist Attack” and “getting off the X”. Not property protection or defending yourself from aggressive wildlife or even housebreakers or cattle rustlers.

        Second, people in rural areas (which I’ve spent most of my life in btw) don’t need “tactical training” to do what they’ve been doing for a couple centuries without that training.

        • Not to put too fine a point on how this whole internet thing works, but my response was to your comment not the article.

          The quote that my reply was directed at specifically was

          Other than that, a complete SHTF situation or a home invasion the chances you’ll actually have a long gun when you need it are pretty slim.

          So my comment being in response to your comment is not only in complete context, but destroys your rather ridiculous statement.

          But you just go ahead and move those goal posts whenever you feel you need to score some internet points. Which I am sure you will do in the comment soon to appear below.

        • Aaa… yes.
          Here in S. Fla that extends to horse rustling also.
          Within 24 hrs a horse can be stolen, butchered, and on the table of certain Hispanic families. Considered a delicacy.
          Sorry to be Debbie Downer, but dats da facts…

    • If the day ever comes where I can carry my rifle around with me, I’ll be pretty stoked.

      But if the day ever comes where I have to carry my rifle around with me, that would kind of suck.

      • You can in Texas. I’m not sure if we have any rules regarding long guns other than use and you have to be 18 to buy one.

    • Perhaps the reason it’s “unlikely” that you’ll ever fight with a rifle is because you don’t carry a rifle. I’m not very likely to fight while wearing a tie, because I don’t wear ties.

  8. Excellent idea for routine practice drill for vehicle carbine EDC’ers of which i are one. Going to run the drill tomorrow. Very timely since i recently disovered my SBR had a dead battery in its Eotech as well as my BOB’s Surefire EDC. Carry spares!

    • Use iron sights instead of your fancy red-dot/reflex optical contraptions. Iron sights never fail and, more importantly, THEY DON’T BLOCK A HUGE PORTION OF YOUR FIELD OF VISION like scopes and reflex sights.

      Caveat: while iron sights can actually fail, the frequency of such failures are statistically ZERO … especially compared to red-dot/reflex optical sights.

      • Roger that. I have a BUIS for a rear but it’s like practicing shooting weak hand with pistol. You know you ought to do it but you just wont. But this article is a little kick in the pants for me to get my s#it together. Figure out a way to have my SBR a little more handy without breaking any of my state’s laws on weapons in a vehicle or put my personal safety ahead of that anyway and practice deploying said weapon.

  9. Right attitude, wrong scenario for almost all of us. I doubt ISIS is going to be launching a surprise attack on your (or my) house. If you are at the sight of a terrorist attack it is you and your carry piece.

    Sustutute a hot burglary and there you are. FYI, the Broken Arrow defender fired a handfull of shots, I believe fewer than the standard capacity of a 1911. You probably won’t need to get a rifle unless a rip crew comes in with guns blazing.

  10. If I am out and about, it won’t be a rifle I will be running for, since one will not be with me. If I am at home, again it will not be what I am reaching for either; I have a few, but none of them are loaded or available for a home defense scenario. Instead, I will pull a pistol out of its holster, grab one (or two) off the night stand), and be perfectly happy knowing I have plenty of 9 mm and .45 ACP readily at hand to confront a threat.

  11. Watching “Armed Self Protection”, on You Tube, I know I will at 99.9% never be a terrorist attack victim. But as the “Ferguson Effect” spreads to more cities the chances of being robbed does go up. I plan on taking classes with my rifles. But my EDC will not be a long gun.

    Are you going to carry your long gun into a movie theater? Or visit an outdoor car show with your rifle? I suggest everyone study the Westgate Mall attack in East Africa. It was civilians with mostly revolvers who saved over two hundred people, when the local police and military just argued among themselves.

    If, and I say If you can have a hand gun outside the United States legally, it will almost always be a revolver.

    • A mental case in Colorado convinced me I should always be armed. Ferguson taught me to keep a long gun and lots of extra ammo nearby…..

      • You’ll have to be more specific… we’ve had a few mental’s here in our beloved Stoner State.

      • Joel
        I do carry a long gun in my car after the North Carolina riots. But that won’t help me in the Mall.

  12. The article is correct in that its context was “Armed Response to a Terrorist Attack.”

    Its more general context is: make sure you’re ready and your gear is ready. Which is also correct and applies to both rifles and handguns.

    While it’s true that 99.9999 percent of the population will never experience a terrorist attack that they will need or have access to a rifle to respond to, the article’s specific context does apply to security officers who normally patrol with handguns but have firearms in either a vehicle or an armory and who patrol facilities that might be subject to a terrorist attack.

    This article’s general context might also apply to those home owners who store their rifle or shotgun next to the front door. Bad place. You’re assuming an attacker will come to the front door. You’re assuming you can cross from wherever you are in the building to the front door to retrieve it before the attacker can. You’re assuming you have a magazine in and a round chambered. So the article’s general context applies to home users in that respect.

    So let’s not be too critical of the article. It’s right in what it says.

  13. The easiest way in a gunfight is to get the hell out, if possible. If not able be first….

  14. The argument is moot. If you’re defending, you’re not ready for the gun fight.

  15. Sounds like they just have too much that can go wrong with their guns. My home defense guns are a pistol and a rifle. The pistol is just a stock G17 and the rifle is an AR-15 with iron sights. I’m not shooting 200 yards in my home, I don’t need a red dot or anything fancy on it. Just steel, plastic, gunpowder, and lead.

  16. In the Westgate mall incident in Nigeria, the police and army did not “just argue” with each other
    They had a battle over who would loot the mall
    Nigeria is a horrible country as the security forces prey on the disarmed population

  17. God made Feet, if I can I will use them to get away as best I can, last option use carry gun.

  18. That 99.9% number may be accurate, but it’s still conceptually wrong! If bad shit happens to you, it happens to you 100%! If you are picking up your kid at school, and a couple Zombies are herding children up against the fence and shooting them with AK rifles. You are across the packed parking lot, about 150 yards away. Should you:
    A) Run away and let the police handle it. They’re not ALL your kids, just one or two. Odds are they’ll shoot other people’s kids and not get to yours before the police arrive.
    B) Pull out your pistol and engage at rifle ranges. You will most likely miss your targets, and may hit bystanders (children), but hey, at least you tried.
    C) Pull out your pistol and charge into pistol range, hoping none of the Zombies happen to look your way.
    D) Reach into the back seat, pull out your AR, chamber a round, rest it on the roof of your car, shoot each Zombie once in the head, clear your rifle, put it in the trunk of your car while retrieving your Emergency Medical Kit. Close the trunk, take the kit, and render aid to the wounded.
    If this sounds far fetched, Google William Cruse Palm Bay Florida. The first 2 officers to arrive didn’t even make it out of their cars (he had a rifle). The armed citizen was so shook up he shot the dashboard and hood of his own car, but couldn’t hit the bad guy. One calm man in the parking lot with a rifle could have saved a bunch of lives.

  19. I am most likely to be carrying a pistol even if it is a terrorist event. If it happens while I’m on my way to the range or on the way home, then I might have a rifle with me. But it is in the back of the vehicle, unloaded, in a case of some kind. But I’ll know the optic is working, there is at least one magazine loaded with something better than ball ammo, and the sling will be the right length to use as an aid in shooting. At home most are in the safe, but one is set up for HD, so all I have to do is turn on the red dot or flip up the rear sight and take it off safe.

  20. The only way I see myself using a rifle against people is something happening at my home or the government being unable or unwilling to enforce the law. The second situation has occurred many times in America in my lifetime. Usually a race riot or natural disaster.

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