Citizens will not stand Idly by anymore!

In light of the recent events where law abiding, lawfully carrying citizens have saved several lives of police officers, and not to mention all of the lawful self-defense uses of firearms in the news, I thought of this article I wrote on my Firearms Instructor Facebook Page last year on July 19 th , 2016.

Now it seems kind of prophetic; An open letter to those that would harm our police officers in the United States, or our citizens.

To those that are considering doing harm to our men and women in blue, or the law abiding citizens that this country has, I have a word of advice for you. Make sure you have made arrangements for who should claim your body. This is not an idle threat but a promise, an oath that has been taken, and a lifestyle of pride and love of this country and all it stands for that is good.

I am one of tens of millions of Americans that would not hesitate a second to help out our officers on the streets if I see them in need. This includes most veterans, most retired police officers and other law enforcement, and just plain old good people this country has. I will not stop to grab my cell
phone to video what is happening if you are trying to harm law abiding citizens trying to mind their own business. I would be going to their aid, and that aid may be armed if needed. As a 35+ year veteran cop, who now teaches law enforcement recruits full time in an academy, I will not stand idly by and watch someone try to harm my former students and friends, and I have thousands of them. I carry a firearm ALL of the time. Even when you think I will not be. I also have access quickly to the same kind of firepower that you can get hold of, probably better. And I have trained for decades to use them, to stop people like you. And I like to think I am pretty good at it, since I teach others how to shoot.

You see what has happened is that with the recent ambushes by the cowards that murdered the innocent people in Florida, Texas, and other places, many of us who would do nothing rather than just be left alone and mind our own business are now watching our cop’s backs and watching out for our fellow citizens. Just the other day on my way to work, I saw two of my former students arresting a man on a busy corner in town. I pulled into the parking lot of the gas station they were stopped in, parked where I could see them on the other side of the parking lot, and began to watch those around the area, not the cops, but what was going on around them. Nothing happened thank goodness and I made it to work about 10 minutes later than normal, well worth it to me.

To all of the other people out there that want to do something to help out the thin blue line, take a look the next time you see cops on the street involved in something. Do not bother them, do not approach them, they are busy, but hang out nearby and watch the surroundings for them, if you see
something that is a danger to them or may be, let them know! If you happen to see a fellow citizen in need of help, don’t grab your phone to video it, do something about it. Stand up for what is right and what is good. If we don’t help each other who will? We have become a nation of cowards and it’s
considered OK to “stay out of it” even if someone is being seriously hurt or killed. Why? You afraid to get hurt? Then learn how to protect yourself and your family, it will be the best money you ever spent!

Let’s show these cowardly ambush murderers and terrorist that we will not stand by any longer and we will fight back! Will not run, or hide, but FIGHT! And when Americans start standing up for each other again, these things will not happen as much, and will not be as deadly as now. It is true that good guys with guns stop bad guys with guns, why do you think cops carry them?

Reading that now it seems like many other people in the United States felt the same way. You can find the original post here:
https://www.facebook.com/Chriswagonerfirearmsinstructor/posts/1625665824410244

What can we Learn From the Texas Church Shooting?

A lot of social media buzz has been created by this terrible murder of Texas church members. Some major media covered it, but most only for a brief mention. The reason for the brief mention of course is because one, there was not a mass murder (he was stopped before he could kill more people), the victim count was not high enough. Two, the murderer was stopped in literally six seconds by a legally armed citizen. Those two things make this against the mainstream media playbook for a mass murder they can use to push the agenda of “gun-control”.

The attack on the church was caught on live stream video unlike any others we know of, so while a true tragedy, it is a great opportunity to learn from it and maybe make a few changes that could help prevent or lessen attacks in the future. So let’s break down the attack as seen on the video.

The murderer was sitting buy himself in the back row of the sanctuary. He gets up and moves to the rear where he appears to engage one of the ushers in a very brief conversation. That is when you can see him pull a short shotgun from under his jacket/ coat. He initially points it at the usher he was speaking to.

Just before subject stands and moves to back of sanctuary.

At the same time several things are happening. There is an armed member of the church security team sitting just a few feet away along the back wall. He sees the subject pull out the shotgun and stands and begins to draw his concealed handgun. Also a few more feet away a group of men also along the back and already standing seem to notice the commotion and one drops out of sight, and one moves off camera and the third draws a handgun. From the video it’s hard to tell if it was concealed or openly carried.

8 seconds into incident.

The subject seeing the security member reaching and attempting to draw his concealed firearm turns the shotgun on him and fires one shot, striking him. The security member is seen to fall to the floor. The subject then turns back to the usher and fires one shot at him. This takes just a couple of seconds.

The other church security member, identified as Jack Wilson later, had during this time drawn his firearm and according to Mr. Wilson’s own statement he could not fire for a second or two because of church members between the subject and him in his line of fire. On the video you can see someone standing what looks like half crouched over and possible in Mr. Wilson’s line of fire.

The subject turns and begins to move forward in the direction of the stage in the church and takes one or two steps. Mr. Wilson appears to illuminate the suspect probably with a weapon mounted light. A second later the light goes off, and Mr. Wilson fires one well aimed shot at about 40- 50 feet striking the subject in the head. The subject falls to the ground.

At this point Mr. Wilson begins to move in the direction of the subject. At this point several other armed members of the church appear.

The entire situation from the time the suspect stood up and moves to the back of the church until he was shot by Mr. Wilson was 18 seconds. After the situation was deemed safe and over, people began to exit the sanctuary.

So what lessons can we learn from the video and the information shared by Mr. Wilson and other members of the church?

1. The subject was already acting suspicious and has been identified by the security team members. People acting suspiciously or dressed inappropriately (fake beard, hair and over coat in this case) bear watching and maybe even making contact with them.

2. Reaction is always going to be slower than action. Once the subject had his shotgun out drawing from concealment puts you at a serous disadvantage. Especially for those that do not practice it.

3. Distance is good and bad. Good in that you are not the sole point of attention, and may give you more of a chance to bring your firearm to bear. Bad in the the greater the distance, the more skilled a shot you will have to be. Practice is key here.

4. Move!! Standing still and trying to draw on an already aimed firearm is impossible. Move and draw! A moving target is much harder to hit. This is NOT a negative critique of the security team member who was shot while drawing from concealment, but a training lesson to learn from the tragedy.

Practice shooting at distances other than close range only. I see many people at the range I teach at and I never see the target go past the 7 or 10 yard distance (21-30 feet.) While yes the vast majority of defensive shootings happen under 21 feet, that does not mean you should not practice and be able to hit targets accurately at greater distances. I regularly work at distances up to 50 yards with handguns. There is a great feeling of accomplishment at hitting a target at those distances.

There are few other things that I noticed that might make good training topics from this incident, but those could be completely separate topics on their own.

So whats the final overall take away form this? That armed, trained, and ready lawful firearm carrying Americans CAN and HAVE stopped mass murderers. And that if these citizens had been prevented by laws from carrying in the church (aka gun free zones) more people would have died.

I am thankful that Mr. Jack Wilson and the other members of that church were there and ready and trained for this incident. We must learn from these incidents if we are to be ready for the next, and sadly there will be more.

Firearms Training Should Include Shooting a Real Firearm!

OK I have to say I am just a bit astounded and disappointed. I just discovered someone I thought was a reputable, stand up instructor of firearms is actually teaching concealed firearm carry license classes where the students do not even shoot real firearms as part of the “firearms” training class.

Now I am all for teaching as many law abiding citizens as we can to properly and safely carry firearms for self-defense. I do not believe that getting a license should be required to do so, it’s a right protected by the U.S. Constitution. But I also am a responsible adult and if I were new to firearms I would want to get trained and become educated on the firearms basics. Part of that would of course include shooting a real firearm.

Having taught firearms to law enforcement officers for more than 25 years and also citizens for a good portion of that, and still teaching them both, I know that you cannot teach someone how to shoot a firearm without shooting a firearm. Sure you can teach the laws, the fundamentals, how to do just about everything without shooting a firearm, but you can’t teach someone how to shoot a firearm without shooting a firearm! There is a huge difference between shooting a real firearm and say something like an plastic pellet or BB type pistol and a real handgun that goes bang.

Part of proper training with a firearm includes learning about how the firearm functions when you shoot it and becoming comfortable with the noise and action of a real handgun. The noise, the recoil, the grip and more are all different with real firearms. You must shoot a real firearm to experience that and become comfortable enough to carry one for self-defense. And malfunction training requires a real firearm.

Also I have enough experience training people in firearms to know that you cannot teach a large group of people a basic firearms class in just a few hours. The Basic Handgun class I teach takes at least 8 hours for a large class and that includes a couple hours on the actual firearms range shooting actual firearms.

I guess this bothers me so much because I realize that the people taking these classes at gun shows and from others where you do not shoot a real firearm are being done a huge disservice and it’s more about the money than proper training. Just remember you usually get what you pay for, a $20 couple of hours course verse an all day training session on a real range with real firearms is no comparison.

Don’t let the first time you actually shoot a real firearm be when you need it most, to defend your life or the life of another. Get training with real firearms and learn the right way. And just think of sitting in a courtroom and saying that the training you got for your concealed carry license didn’t require you to shoot a firearm. Might not go over to well with the jury or judge.

Group of “teens” attack bystanders with hammers and “bars” at light rail station in Minneapolis.

There are many obvious reasons this was not covered by the MSM. I will leave it up to the reader to decide why this did not make national news since it seems every mass attack on people does as long as it involves a gun or can advance the agenda of the MSM.

On May 17th a group of 8-10 young males attacked people waiting for the light rail train near the University of Minnesota. The UMPD responded and held several juveniles. The police reports can be found here: http://bit.ly/2WjFvn4

Some may wonder why if people were attacked why non one was charged with it. Well there is a possible reason for that: http://bit.ly/2WjFvn4

Folks listen. You either are or are not willing to protect yourself. If you are not just take the beating and call the police. Give them your hard earned money and valuables, and don’t complain. Or stand up for yourself and defend yourself and those you care about. And for some of us that includes innocent strangers.

Tired of the victim mentality and whining that there are to many guns when people fail to realize that without them, this kind of thing will not only become common place but a regular thing. Time to take your personal safety and responsibility into your own hands and stop relying on others who are only minutes away when seconds count for your life!

The internet is good for some things, but not for telling you what firearm is best for you!

Recently on a Facebook group I read and follow a well meaning person asked the group in general what type of handgun she should buy. She gave a little bit of info in that she was a shorter in stature female but that was it.

And of course the responses were many and varied as greatly as the types of firearms recommended. And some of the responses are just plain bad advice.

And while some of those are great suggestions, Firearms are not a one size fits a certain sized person. Also some handguns are not made for concealed carry or for personal defense although almost all will do that if you have it in your hand at the time.

If you are looking at getting a handgun first what are you getting it for? Learning to shoot a handgun? Self defense at home or to concealed carry? There are many factors that go into what you look for in a handgun and to be honest, the internet and complete strangers is not the place to look for help.

If you are looking for a handgun or wanting to learn to shoot a handgun, go to a reputable gun range or gun store. Or find a reputable firearms instructor that you check the references or reviews on and get them to show you different firearms. DO NOT buy a firearm you have not shot the same model on a range! Handguns can look and feel very different. But until you actually shoot it on the range, you can not know how it feels in your hand and how you like or dislike the way it functions. Not all handguns are created equal.

So if you are new to firearms or handguns, do not take advice from the internet. Find a real person who is a professional and knows what they are doing when it comes to handguns or training.

Once you do decide on a handgun, make sure to get training in how to use it properly and how to shoot it. Remember why you were getting it in the first place. Isn’t your life (or the life of your loved ones) worth the time, effort and money to do it right?

While I have to say, retirement is not really retirement..it’s realignment..

After the passing of my beautiful wife Carla to cancer in February I didn’t think I would be able to function on any level. And to be honest I am still adjusting quite a bit. I had to retire a bit earlier than I had planned from supervising the law enforcement academy at Santa Fe College where I had been doing so for over 22 years to care for my 20 year old autistic son and our home and pets. But I digress.

One of my favorite things that I got to do while working at the academy was teaching basic firearms to law enforcement students. After retiring in Florida you have to sit out a year before you can work for a state organization again. Silly, but the law. Lucky for me one of my former students, and former local deputy changed careers a couple of years ago and started a local gun shop and bought the local outdoor range. It’s called Shoot GTR (www.shootgtr.com) He asked me several times to teach some of the classes they offered and it was hard to work it into my schedule while working full time and also caring for Carla and other personal things.

But that has all changed. With my free time now I can schedule the classes he wanted me to teach. And boy have I been surprised. I like teaching citizens/ civilians as much as I like teaching police recruits. I have found the people that pay to take a full comprehensive full day long concealed carry class really want to learn and improve. Many then go on to take some of the advanced classes that we offer.

They very greatly in age and shooting experience. I get them from 20 years old to 70 something. And with no shooting experience at all to lots of experience. I have even had the “anti” gun person in my class and she did fairly well and in the end was not so anti anymore.

So if your in the North Florida Area near Gainesville, and want to take a Basic Handgun Course to get your CWFL or even if you already have it and want to take some advanced training, check out our offerings. The range is being improved on all the time and includes 13 separate ranges, with one 200 yard rifle range.

Hope to see you out on the range practicing!

The Walther PPQ & PPQ 45! Better than I expected?

Well, today I met the US Vice President of Sales for Walther Arms, and one of the Engineers from Germany, Peter Dalhammer. They were visiting the academy to speak to GPD and others about what it is in firearms that Americans and especially American law enforcement is looking for any problems we have found in our current weapons systems (Glock).

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Well after listening to all the typical issues with Glocks we have found over the years, we went out to the range to shoot the new Walther handguns. WOW! Talk about nice firearms and easy to shoot and accurate! I have not shot a Walther in a long time and I see I have been missing out on a few things. The ambidextrous slide stop, the magazine release and other things about it were just really nice and well designed. We shot the Walther PPQ & PPQ45. What a really nice firearm!

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The angle of the grip seems more natural than the Glocks I am used to (and own!) You do not have to adjust your wrist angle to make the firearm level and line up naturally on target. It just does it automatically when you raise the weapon to eye level. The extended and enlarged slide stop/release is VERY nice! Makes using it 100% easier than my Glocks.

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Accuracy is not an issue, they were all dead on. The takedown is really nice also, much easier than the Glock is. So for those who are learning to clean firearms and also shoot a nice solidly built handgun, these are top notch! We may be getting a few for T&E and if so I will be doing a much more in-depth write up of the weapons systems and how they perform.

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Shot with the Walther PPQ 45. Now when we get some to test, we will do a much more in-depth exam and test for you and post the results here!!