IPCS and Defensive shooting skills

Yesterday I shot in the local IPSC Production division competition. It was fun, got to practice a bit and (allow me to brag a bit) I did end up in first place which is always nice.

I was planning on writing this post before I knew the results though, mostly because I feel that this kind of competition, done right, greatly improves your defensive shooting skills.

A few points I’d like to make:

1)Train as you fight

Practice with the kind of gun you’re likely to carry, which means you’ll most likely compete in Production (meaning common guns with little in the way of mods or custom jobs)

The only customisation my Glock 17 has is Mepro tritium night sight. I did install a ZEV V4 race connector a few weeks ago for 25m precision shooting competition but I got rid of it. It did improve the trigger pull but it also caused a noticeable click before resetting the trigger that was driving me nuts. For IPSC I didn’t see any noticeable improvement anyway and its not allowed as a modification for Production division anyway. For precision shooting at 25 meters the Glock 17 simply isnt the gun for that kind of thing either so there’s not much of a point.

You have to be honest regarding what you are trying to achieve here. If you want to train for defense or if you just want to win competitions, which is your priority. You CAN win with your stock Glock. I did. Other shooters had nicer Sig Sauer x Fives, Tanfoglios. Do these give you an edge for the competition? Maybe, I don’t know. The shooter is the one that matters the most though, and if you are doing it for the training like I ‘m doing, you simply won’t care. Whatever your carry gun is, if permitted in the production division, that’s what you should use. Same goes for holsters, their location, mag carries, even clothes, everything should be as close to what you wear and use on normal basis as possible.

2) Different stages, skills, learning to think

The mindset aspect of how to resolve a stage is also interesting. What sequence is more effective, faster or easier. For example, if you shoot a popper that will bring up another target, then you want to shoot that, shoot another card and only then go back to the new target that popped up so as to save time. Little things like these are mental exercise for your shooting brain. The you get to practice more typical stuff of course like drawing, reloads, shooting with either hand single handed in some cases, going prone, dropping to one knee, shooting around corners. Its fun but you also practice memory muscle that adapts to potential real world scenarios.

3) Fitness

Something else IPSC reveals is how good or bad your fitness level is. Sure, some stages have more running, kneeling or other physical requirements than others, but fit people do move faster and cut time, end up with faster and more accurate reflexes as well in general.

4) Working with stress

It may not seem like much but having a small crowd behind you and someone timing you does add a significant amount of stress, especially for new shooters. This stress serves as practice. If a timer stresses you then you don’t want to know what someone shooting at you will do for your nerves. The more you practice, the better you learn to control your stress. Sport and actual fighting aren’t the same thing, but this is just like a boxer going against someone that trained self-defense moves but was never in an actual fight (even one in a ring) Believe me, the guy that stepped into a ring for a few years always beats the one that never set foot in one.

The more you practice and compete, the better you get at shooting accurately and fast.

5) Meeting like-minded people

And of course there’s meeting people with your same interests. There’s usually a number of LEO and military, but then you just have guys (and women of course) from all walks of life with shooting as a common denominator. Shooters are pretty peculiar people in some cases. I at least have a bit of a problem making friends with people I have little in common so I tend to gravitate towards people that like firearms. This social circle can mean not only friends to shoot and hang out with, but also people you can count on when you need them.

FerFAL

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”

Inferno in London Tower Building: Some survival related thoughts

Cladding turned tiny fire into hell

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4605360/Cladding-turned-tiny-fire-hell.html

You probably read the news already but in case you didn’t a 24-storey building, Grenfell Tower, turned into an inferno last night. At around 1AM the fire started in the 4th floor and spread all over the building in 15 minutes. This morning, firemen were still struggling to put out the fire. So far there are 12 confirmed dead victims but there are dozens missing still.

According to witnesses, there was a baby dropped from the 10th floor that was caught by someone below and managed to survive. Ropes were made with sheets to climb down, children in flames simply jumping from the building. It must have been a terrible scene to witness.

But then we think of it from the preparedness point of view. I never felt comfortable in high-rise buildings and have avoided them all my life. When in hotels, I try to be as close to the ground floor as possible, which is actually a good habit to incorporate when booking a room.

If I had to live in one, I would get climbing gear and enough rope to rappel down. Oh sure, it sounds silly, that is until you jump out of your window to avoid burning to death. Its not just fires. I know of several cases in Argentina in which people panicked during home invasions in buildings and jumped out of the windows several floors high. What about working in one? Yes, I’d like a way out as well. Fires, earthquakes, even active shooters this is the kind of thing that can save your life in a worst case scenario. Rappelling is simple enough it can be done by people of all ages and the equipment isnt that expensive either unless you want some high end gear.

Of course you have a number of other preparedness related topics involved here.

What have I said a million times about bugging out? Its not a choice, when you have to leave maybe you do it with nothing but your underwear. Many people learned that last night. Have a plan, have a place to go if your home is no longer an option. Have a VIP bag to grab and go if you only have seconds, have a bug out bag if you can carry it.

If you read my book “Bugging Out and Relocating” you know that a small satchel with your very important papers and documents (VIP bag) is important in case you can’t carry an actual BOB because you needs to help yourself or help others evacuated. Well, last night a woman evacuated from one of the higher floors with her six children… by the time she made it outside she only had four kids left. This is EXACTLY what I mean when I say sometimes even a backpack impairs your ability and needs to be left behind, so only a small satchel can be taken.

How about having a bug out plan, having prearranged place you know you can go to and have some clothes and supplies already there? Another point I made in “Bugging Out and Relocating”, you don’t need a cabin in the middle of nowhere, sometimes all you need is to crash in your parent’s house or your sister in laws just a few blocks away. In fact being near by makes life easier for kids going back to school, going to work, etc.

These are just a few of the thoughts that crossed my mind today as I watched the news.

What we do here is important. Preparedness is important. Of course it makes life easier and better regarding the little things in life, or even some habits that have lifelong repercussions like staying in shape and eating healthy, but it also means that preparing properly makes all the difference in the world when the unexpected happens and your home literally burns to the ground in front of you.

FerFAL

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” andBugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”

“Dad, it hurts”

Matan a un nene de 3 años que iba a comprar pizza con su papá: identificaron al asesino

Last night in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 28 year old Martín Bustamante was walking with his 3 year old son Agustin to buy a pizza for dinner. It was 9pm when two scumbags robbed them. After taking their money they started walking away, but one of them turned back one last time and shot the 3 year old that was still holding his dad’s hand in the back. He smiled as he shot the 3 year old, his father would later say.

Agustin only managed to say “dad, it hurts” before dying in his dad’s arms who was rushing him to a hospital. The loot? 15 USd for a pizza and a cheap cellphone. The killers? 14 and 16 years old.

This happened in my neighbourhood where I lived most of my life, in Lomas de Zamora.

This is why I left my country, because you just can’t live like this. Because that could have been my son and once your son is dead then it’s just too damn late to take action.

Now people are pissed, a family has been destroyed. There will be a protest tonight, and people will speak on tv, and those 14 and 16 year old scumbags will walk because the idiotic Argentine laws protected them and the corrupt politicians who are just as bad as they are don’t want to lose any votes from criminals so they wont change anything. And 3 year old Agustin will still be dead.

When we talk about survival and specifically armed self-defense the idea of killing is glorified as a transcendent event. Experts debate about people being able to pull the trigger or not and being able to live with taking another life. Those experts never lived in Lomas de Zamora. How I wish someone had shot those two scumbags. I’m sure the family of Agustin wishes so too. There’s no remorse in killing these beasts because they aren’t even people, they are worse than savage animals. This is why killing one of these bastards isn’t a solemn event but a celebration, a service to society.  One less animal out there to murder, rape and destroy lives.

FerFAL

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”

I had an interesting day today: Some thoughts on survival & preparedness

So today started as a typical day for me. Got up and quickly got dressed to take the kids to school. As we are getting in the car my wife waves us good bye… only to have the wind slam the door shut behind her. This wouldn’t be a problem in most houses but we have a security door. Its metal, and the doorknob doesn’t open from the outside even if unlocked. I tried pushing the key with my own from the outside but it didn’t work with the key inserted from the inside.  I tried pushing it with my Leatherman, using the small screwdriver bit as a poking tool. I have done this successfully before with a safe key, the kind common for houses in Argentina. In that situation EDC saved the day, but not today.

Survival lesson #1 of the day was: Make sure your house is hardened against home invaders but make sure you can get in if locked out yourself.  The front door is basically bullet proof, a metal security door with poured concrete structure and masonry brick walls. The back door was also locked. It has a sliding window but also a metal grate door which was locked. It is in moments like these that you start thinking like a criminal trying to break in. If you find that doing so is easy, then you have a security problem. If not, then that’s great, just have a plan in case you get locked out. Fortunately, my wife had just opened the windows and pulled up the shutters from the kid’s rooms in the second floor. The problem would be getting up there…

So now I have to take the kids to school, we’re locked outside and my wife is wearing summer PJ’s, just to make things interesting. You know what’s funnier? Only now while I write this do I remember that I do keep an extra set of clothes for each family member in the car. I mentioned it to my wife just now and she said its too hot anyway for jeans. I’ll see about putting a pair of shorts for each one in there as well. Lesson #2: Keep spare clothes (and other supplies) in your vehicle and make sure they are adequate for the local climate.

We drive the kids to school and hope our neighbour is home when we get back. Turns out he’s not. I do see another neighbour further down the street that is already staring curiously.

Lesson #3: Although I usually prefer not having people nearby, it is true that when you need help its nice to have neighbours you can count on. I also notice that this particular neighbour was paying attention and noticed the suspicious activity in my house. He already knew who we were and no doubt had it been faces he didn’t recognize he would have called the cops.

I wave and head down there. This is a British couple. They don’t speak much Spanish but I’m ok with English. Make that lesson #4. A second language is an extremely valuable tool, for life, for employment, especially for expats, especially if you’re fluent it open a world of options with people that don’t speak your language.

As soon as they see I speak English their entire attitude and body language changes and we start talking. Turns out they’ve been living in Spain for nearly 20 years, left England looking for a better place to raise the kids and haven’t looked back since then. Their kids are all grown up now, one is a professional football player and the other one is a teacher. The woman mentions that people in England used to be more social back when she was young, but that now everyone stays in their homes and keeps to themselves. In contrasts their kids made childhood friends here with which they still keep in touch till this day. It’s nice to see that other people basically reached the same conclusion we did. My nephews had a similar experience living in London and are already looking to move elsewhere.

After talking a bit I mention the problem I have and ask if they have a ladder to get up to the window in the second floor. They do, one of those expandable ones painters use.

Now here I try to be extra careful. These are traditional Mediterranean houses, with high ceilings to keep the house fresh during summer and ceramic patio floors around it. Falling from that height means you get the famous “serious injury or death”. I know of people that have died from falling from their roofs either checking a leak, installing an antenna or God knows what else. Statistically speaking, this is the kind of moment when you don’t want to screw up.

I set the ladder properly and take my time to securely climb and open the window and move the mosquito net aside. I must have looked hilarious crawling up there. But you know, I remembered something we had done in a tactical shooting class, the correct way of climbing walls. It’s funny how all these things come back to you. One guy would position his hands, you’d step on them, grab onto the wall, step on his shoulder, pull yourself up but keeping a low profile against the edge of the wall. Arm, torso and one leg over the wall, the drop one leg over the other side, slide your body end up hanging with your hand on the other side and then drop to the floor. The “spiderman” technique, we called it. Of course it wasn’t the same here because I couldn’t hang with my body weight on the fragile window but I did keep my profile as low as possible, which helped keep my center of gravity low so as to not lose balance and break my neck. My wife was holding the ladder below. She later said the only reason she didn’t burst laugh out loud as she saw my feet hanging there in the window was that she was terrified of me falling.

Lesson #5: Get in Shape and stay in it. I’m not nearly as fit as I would want to be. I’m not nearly as fit as I CAN be if I just stop coming up with excuses and actually get off my ass more. Make no excuses, Self-criticism is your best ally when it comes to health and fitness. Don’t be like those clowns in reality TV shows like “My Big Fat Fabulous Life”. There’s nothing fabulous about being fat. Especially for what concerns us, survival and preparedness, being overweight directly impacts your health which is by far the number one cause of early death. Not only that, it directly impacts your quality of live and it directly impacts of course your physical capabilities. How many miles can you walk if you need to make an effort during an emergency? How well can you fight to protect yourself and your family? Does your physical and fitness level impair what kind of jobs you can get and apply for?  How strong are you when you need that strength to work, move around supplies, wood, food, or like today pull yourself through a second story window? Sure enough I did it, but I could have done it a lot better and there’s no excuse for it at my age and having no health problems of any kind.

Its little events like these that remind us all the time of the areas in which we can and must improve on. If we do notice them and take action not only does our level of preparedness improve, but our general quality of life does so as well.

FerFAL

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”

Must watch show in Fox News: Swamp Watch

There’s a new program on Fox News called Swamp Watch. I’m surprised they are even running a show like this. Lets see how long it stays on the air.

It will be interesting to see them keep up with who’s who and what kind of people end up in positions of power, and if the swamp is indeed being drained.

Do yourself a favour and watch this clip, its just 4 minutes. I know its politics/economy and folks don’t find it very sexy, but it explains well how politics work, in America and the rest of the world.

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”

Trijicon ACOG

Fiber, Tritium, what’s not to like?

These puppies cost some money but the clarity of the glass and construction quality is indeed noticeable.

Looking forward to trying it out and see what it can do in the range.

Cheers!

FerFAL

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”

Advice for expats moving to Uruguay (or anywhere else)

... 13 km de Punta del Este, muy cerca de la largada de GFNY URUGUAY 2016

Casapueblo, Uruguay

Hi Fernando,

I just came upon your blog in my search about Uruguay. Did you and

your family eventually move there? We live in the US and are

considering a move to Uruguay and have no idea where to start. I

wanted to ask you some questions if you are living there or if you

know someone who does.

 

Thanks,

Tiffany

Hello Tiffany. I’m not in Uruguay and not planning to move there any time soon. We never planned to do so really. In fact the last person from Uruguay I talked with already emigrated and is now happily living in Ireland. She left with her family looking for the kind of stability and opportunities Uruguay simply couldn’t provide. Still, Uruguay is the country I have recommended in my book “Bugging Out and Relocating” for those looking to move to South America.

So as to contact people there my suggestion would be to start with the obvious “expats in Uruguay” search and go from there. Participate in forums, get to know people. Keep in mind though that one man’s paradise is another man’s hell.

If you want my opinion, basically what I said in this video is still very much true.

Uruguay can be a great place for you. Or Argentina. Or Colombia. Or Thailand. Or Canada. Or India.

Pobreza en Uruguay bajó levemente el año pasado – El Politico

Also Uruguay

But since you ask me and I’m not a magazine or website editor trying to hook you up with anything here’s some honesty/tough love: While you may be happy in any of those places, there’s some facts you can’t avoid. Canada is simply better as a place to live in than India. Or Colombia. Or Thailand. This is not me expressing an opinion, but a simple observation of pretty conclusive data.  Indicators of quality of life, healthcare, crime, life expectancy, GDP, education, infrastructure, employment, transportation, cost of living, and a long etcetera points in a certain direction. Uruguay is nice. Its relatively peaceful and simple living. Millions live there happily and wouldn’t trade it for anything else… just like millions of people in other countries.

My point is be honest with what you want to find in Uruguay, or anywhere else. This is one of the main points I focus on in “Bugging out and Relocating” when it comes to moving abroad. Expectations. Crime in Uruguay will be much better if you’re from Chicago, but it will be much worse if you come from Maine. Either way you’ll experience a clash of cultures. People all over Latin America are mostly used to getting by with less. Less of everything. Computers, cars, cell phones, many of these will be luxuries for you. Organization and overall bureaucracy is a lot worse, and I know this drives many people from developed countries nuts.

Now, if you want a friendly, family oriented culture you will find it in Uruguay. Family and friends, the importance of relationships between people is stronger and simply more of a priority all over Latin America compared to most of the developed world. Friends hug one another more, people greet each other with a kiss in the cheek, it just seems overall more “touchy” which some people aren’t comfortable with but it’s not meant to be sensual in any way, its just a more expressive culture in the way they interact with one another. For example people in Uruguay don’t doubt a second about sharing mate, where everyone drinks form the same straw. It’s the same in Argentina. An American more worried about personal space and worried about sharing a glass let alone a metal straw is hardly the kind of person that would integrate well in Uruguay. Then again you could focus more on being among expats from your same country, most of which went there with the same ideas and expectations, maybe even more important LEFT your country for the same reason and you just get along great with them, sticking among like-minded people in somewhat of an enclave.

My advice is be honest with yourself. The expectations you have and what you are likely to encounter there. There’s a tremendous difference between the developed and developing world. Everything sounds fantastic until you realize that other than some honourable exceptions pretty much everything is more expensive in Uruguay than in USA.

Once you are certain you want to give it a go, don’t make any permanent decision. Give it a year. Don’t sell your home in USA, rent it out and rent in Uruguay. The first year is usually the “honeymoon” period where everything looks great. The second and third year will be more down to earth but a year minimum is the time you should give it before making any permanent decisions you may later regret.

Best of luck and as the Irish saying goes, May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields.

FerFAL

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”

Food Rationing: Only one pack of sugar per family permitted

I was going through some of my old photos, found this one from back in Argentina when there was shortage and rationing of certain staples in stores.

1 kg of sugar per family group. 1 unit.  And it cost almost the equivalent of 2 USD back in the day. For a country in which the average person was making well under 500 USD that was insane.

It’s amazing how close we came to ending up like Venezuela, in a country that produces food to feed ten time its own population.

FerFAL

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”