By: Paul Forum
In several of my recent articles, I have used the term “defendable position.” Protecting yourself from harm in the home or out on the street is NOT military combat or even a football game. Maybe I should not admit this, especially in Alabama, but I am not much of a football fan. Oh, I do watch an important game or three during the season. I always try to watch when Alabama beats Auburn or Georgia because I love to rag on my brother when either of his teams lose. But I digress. In both football and the military, a certain number of casualties are expected.

In the self-defense world, casualties on your side are NOT acceptable! Another set of terms used in self-defense is “cover” and “concealment.” Cover can be a bulletproof area to hide behind, whereas concealment can be something as simple as a wall or bushes so the bad guy can’t see you. When I was first a cop in the early 70s, we had several damaged old U.S. Post Office mail boxes at the gun range. They were solid steel, welded and riveted and would stop most handgun bullets. These are still around, but you don’t seem to see as many as you once did. BUT, in a gunfight they make excellent cover. Big tree trunks, concrete or brick walls are a few other great “cover” areas.

Not many of us will have a solid steel U.S. Post Office mail box in our living room, but there are other areas in a home that are almost as good. Typical construction in this area is wood frame with brick for the outside walls. Corners are reinforced with extra lumber to support the doors and windows. I have even seen 22-caliber bullets cut right through today’s white pine building lumber. Yellow pine is a lot tougher, and I have seen bullets bounce off and even leave sparks when hitting yellow pine. Driving galvanized nails into yellow pine will break a few hammers.

When faced with defending yourself in your home, plan ahead and seek out corners that will have three or four 2x4s or even 2x6s built into the frame around doors. When retreating to a defendable position, crouch down as low as you can, exposing as little of your body as possible. Use what we call a “quick peek” if you hear the intruder coming closer.

Heavy furniture can also make excellent cover, such as a chest of drawers full of clothes. Beds, the bigger the better, are good cover. Again, crouch down low and gain an advantage. The bad guy is most likely looking at his own eye level for you, not down at his knees. Refrigerators are good for concealment, but today they are mostly plastic or very light weight sheet metal.

The top of a staircase is an excellent place to take cover. You have the “high ground” and the bad guy must enter a deadly area to get to you. If you are building or planning to build a new home, plan to have a “safe room” included at the time of construction. Adding a safe room later can sure mess up a good floor plan and be much more expensive. Many new homes today are including tornado-proof safe rooms which can certainly be used as an excellent defendable position.

Always have a spare cell phone plugged in and charged nearby, in your safe room, or defendable position. Have your address written out and taped on the back of your emergency cell phone. Sounds silly? Our brains can sometimes do strange things during stressful events.

Should you shout a warning? Yelling, “Stop! Police!” as usually required by our buddies in blue, may actually be dangerous for an innocent homeowner and would “give away” your defendable position. If you believe the bad guy already knows where you are, then that’s possibly a different situation. Yelling out, several times, “I have already called the police! They’re on the way!” Even better, “I have a gun, it’s loaded, and I know how to use it!” Now would be a good time to “rack” the shotgun. The sound of a shotgun slide racking back will strike fear into anyone but the most drug-crazed miscreant.

Plan and rehearse your self-defense plan. Actually walk through and practice shouting that warning.
By: Paul Foreman

By: Paul Foreman
Do you have a plan to go on vacation? You probably have a destination all planned out, or at the very least you have a date picked for when you plan to leave and get back home.

Do you have a plan to survive a tornado? Do you know where the nearest shelter is? Do you have a plan thought out if you were attacked while walking to your car after work? How about a plan of action if you suddenly awoke during the night and discovered a stranger had broken into your home?

Have you planned for what you would do after you shot the bad guy? Would you call 911 first, or after you got your gun and confronted the midnight thief? Would you go searching through the house to find the bad guy, or would you retreat to what I like to call, a “defensible position?”

I have asked a lot of questions here, and as usual, asking questions always seems to open up a can of worms with a dozen “new” questions.

We have all heard of the witness to an emergency or crime who just “froze,” unable to do anything and precious moments were wasted while someone was in pain or even bleeding to death. About ten years ago my wife and I, along with my brother and his wife, were vacationing in North Carolina. While out searching for waterfalls and hiking trails, we came across a very seriously injured motorcyclist. My family was frozen in place without a clue as to what to do. I had a plan! I do not mean to sound like I am bragging, but as a deputy sheriff on vacation, my brain automatically knew what to do and my body followed. The experience was not a “shock” to my system. Years of experience and training guided me to get help on the way, access the injuries, and render First Aid with the priority of stopping the bleeding.

Meanwhile, my brother was standing there, looking totally helpless with a cell phone in his hand. I yelled down to him from where I was applying pressure to a heavily bleeding arm wound, “Tell them we are seven miles west of Franklin on Wayah Bald Rd, just past Wayah Creek Cottages.”

My brother yelled back, “I have no cell phone signal!” He had never planned on how to get a better signal on his phone! I told him, “Drive back up the road, get out of the valley, and try again.” The rescue ambulance finally arrived, and the victim was rushed to the hospital in Franklin and then airlifted to Charlotte NC Trauma Center.

Do you have a plan on what to do if someone is kicking in your back door at 3:00 a.m.? What your plan might be depends on how many family members are in danger. If there are multiple family members in danger, you may want to get everyone alerted and aware of what is happening. If it is just you and your wife, the wisest thing to plan on doing is to have her call 911, while you arm yourself, and both of you retreat to a safe and defensible position.

I have heard and read about so many incidents where the victim got their gun and then went searching through the house only to discover an armed burglar, and a deadly shooting was the result. You may think the “bad guy” deserved what he got, but the resulting nightmare of prosecuting attorneys, courts and the expense of paying for a defense attorney to stay out of jail could end up being a nightmare that goes on for years. Can’t you just hear the prosecutor in court asking, “Why did you go looking for the young teenager? Were you looking forward to KILLING him?”

After the shooting you need a plan too. You have already dialed 911 and the cops are on the way. Are you prepared for all their questions? Do you know why you shot the intruder? Were you in great fear for your life or that of a loved one? Or, were you so mad at this intruder, you shot him because he deserved it?

Part of a good self-defense plan is having insurance coverage such as that offered by the National Rifle Association and others groups that will pay for your legal defense if you ever need it.
By: Paul Foreman

By: Paul Foreman
Last month I heard about just two of many news stories of young teens who listened to their parents and followed a carefully thought out plan in case of an emergency. Do you have a plan? Have you rehearsed a plan to follow in case of any disaster such as a home invasion, tornado, fire or medical emergency?

This past week in one of the senior centers, I was giving one of my programs about firearms safety. The discussion came up about what to do if you wake up during the night and found someone breaking into your home. One lady stated that she would just “shoot the guy.” I told her that might not turn out to be so easy to do! What if he has a gun? Are you just going to stand there in your living room and shoot him? What if he does not just stand there and let you shoot him? What if your gun is in the night stand down the hall in your bedroom? Is the gun loaded? Do you know how to load it? When is the last time you ever shot the gun? Is the ammunition so old that it might not even work anymore?

Now I could go on and on with a few dozen more “what if” questions. You need to be asking yourself at least the questions I have mentioned here and have the answers! Many of the answers will depend on the layout of your home, the strength of your doors. A very important part of your plan will depend on if there are other family members in your home. Have you thought about your shots missing? Where will missed bullets go? Is there be someone sleeping in another room, in your line of fire? There I go again, more “what if questions.” In a dangerous situation, these are some things which you need to plan for ahead of time. As the bad guy comes crashing through the sliding glass door is not the time to stop and think about it!

When I was a training officer for the Sheriff’s Department in Florida, the rookies had to ride with me for their 14-week training period after they finished the academy. When they completed the field training, they were turned loose on the world. Well, what if the whole time the rookie was in training with me, we never encountered a bank robbery in progress? The answer to that was to rehearse different scenarios during that training period. Numerous times we would make use of an old abandoned building, or even an abandoned house for more realistic training.

That is what YOU need to do too! In my firearms classes, we train with some targets that present various scenarios. For instance a target has a picture of a bad guy with a gun pointed right at you! Ok, that one is easy. How about you see the bad guy with a gun, BUT your children are in the bedroom right behind him? How about you are coming out of the shopping mall and a bad guy is coming at you with a knife, but behind him are dozens of other shoppers? These are just a few of the possible incidents that could happen to you. What would you do?

Several times, I have had students tell me they have a gun stored on the top shelf of a closet. I ask them, “Is it loaded?Are you ever going to be able to get to your gun, find the ammunition, load the gun and then confront the bad guy?” The first half of the class is all about SAFETY. I teach you how to check to see if it is loaded or not. I teach my students, using “dummy ammo” or fake plastic bullets before we ever get into using live ammo. I want my students to be able to be very familiar with their gun, before we go out to the range and shoot. When driving a car and someone pulls out in front of you, do you have time to stop and think, “Let’s see, that I think this is the brake, there’s the gas pedal, and I am pretty sure that’s the clutch.” Guess what, you just wrecked! It is the same with you handling a gun in an emergency. Everyone who owns a gun for self protection should be trained!
By: Paul Foreman

There are three techniques that criminals consistently use against their victims to subdue or incapacitate them so they can take what they want. Some bad guys might only need to use one technique, while the truly talented ones may use all three. I’m going to call them A.D.D., which stands for Ambush, Distract, and Disparity of force; be on the lookout for them. Hopefully if you are aware of them, you can avoid being a victim and having them used against you.

This means to lie in wait for, to attack by surprise, or to lay a trap for. The bad guys have the advantage of choosing the location of an attack. Just as a deer hunter carefully selects the location of his deer stand, experienced criminals do not randomly choose their victim, time, or location of attacks. A thug planning to rob you of your purse or wallet is not a random act of violence. These criminals have a reason when they chose a certain location, time, or victim. The reason is because doing so helps them in the commission of their crime.

For instance, just this past week I was sitting in my truck at a local bank waiting for my wife who was inside making a house payment. My truck has a huge red, white, and blue bald eagle on the doors with the words “Firearms Training” in big gold letters. While I was sitting there, a man came out of the bank with a smile on his face and said to me “I guess nobody is going to rob this place with you sitting here. No self-respecting criminal is going to pick this location to rob!”

A successful ambush is accomplished when one or more conditions tip in favor of the attacker. The most valuable of these conditions are the element of surprise and the physical condition of the victim. Simply put, the bad guy knows if you can’t see him coming and can’t run from him, he can take and do whatever he wants and leave. He doesn’t have to risk getting into a fight with you and getting caught.

Distract. Criminals will use this technique to divert your full attention from being aware of the danger, especially if you are just trying to be courteous. Not all thieves pretend to ask for the time or for directions. A typical distraction might be when the bad guy is asking for help, saying his car is broken down. The smart ones know how to pretend to be a good person just like you and me long enough to disguise their intentions and distract us from the dangerous situation we don’t even know we are facing.

Disparity of force. This is a decided physical or armed advantage over another. In self-defense, a violent aggressor’s power to kill or cripple an innocent person is commonly referred to as ability. All three elements—ability, opportunity and jeopardy—must be present in order to establish that use of deadly force to defend yourself is justified by law. A young child with a stick standing fifty yards away, does not meet the “deadly force” requirement needed to defend yourself with a firearm. But, if one or more attackers who are bigger, stronger and possibly armed confront you when you are smaller, and weaker, that shows a clear disparity of force. No matter what tools of defense an individual has for protecting themselves in the event of attack, it is the attacker who has the advantage and, therefore, the disparity of force.

This is true for at least two reasons. First, the criminal not only has the advantage of using whatever weapon he has, he aloso knows when and where the attack will occur. The bad guy will probably be able to get in the first blow. Second, no self-respecting thug will attack someone that can easily defend themselves. For a man to successfully overpower most women, he needs nothing more than his advantages of weight, speed, size, and strength.
If you are familiar with ambush and distraction strategies (which usually will happen before the element of disparity), you will be able to read warning signs that add up to danger. Knowing the signs, you can refuse to be the easy prey the bad guys are seeking. Just knowing how to shoot a gun will NOT make you attack proof. Get proper training in self defense techniques and how to safely and properly use your firearm.
By: Paul Foreman

Years ago I had these mud guards on my truck. The mud guards had an image of Yosemite Sam with bold letters saying, “BACK OFF.” In case you don’t know Yosemite Sam, he was a cartoon character who was short but mean looking and had a big red beard.

Now old Sam had two pistols and he looked like he was ready to start blasting. That could get you in big trouble if there is NO threat against your life. But yelling “BACK OFF” when someone enters your personal space in a suspicious way, may be all that is needed to “DISENGAGE” and avoid a bad situation.

Let’s say you are walking to your car in a parking garage or shopping center parking lot. You are aware of your surroundings and realize a stranger is flanking you, and closing in fast. Is he just in a hurry, walking towards his own car? Or, is he preparing to attack his next victim? You take a second look and here he comes. Can you pull your gun and threaten him? NOT if you want to remain on the “free side” of the jail bars! Granted this has got all the signs of impending attack, but no one has threatened you, yet. The possible threat is still twenty or so feet away. You are still a long way from the safety of your car. You are the polite and courteous type and always acknowledge strangers with a smile or a “Good evening,” but this one has the hairs on the back of your neck telling you “something’s NOT right.”

“Back off! Stop now! Do not come any closer!” Now that doesn’t seem like the polite thing to do does it? But, polite people do not walk quickly toward strangers in an aggressive manner. The stranger may be insulted, but so what? A criminal is looking for an easy victim, someone who is going to give up easily without a fight. You have just shown him that you are ready for him. If this guy is more persistent, he may try to soften you up by saying something like, “Oh, I was just looking for someone to help me. My battery is dead. I have jumper cables; can you please help me?” Don’t fall for any excuses! “My sick mother is at home and I need to get this medicine to her right away.” “My car is broke down, please help me?” The stories are endless!

Be ASSERTIVE! Your life may depend on it! If you are armed, do not draw and display your gun, not yet. With your “off hand” raised, palm open like a traffic cop, get him stopped. Your strong hand is “staged” and already on your firearm, BUT your gun is still out of his sight. Your body is angled slightly away from him so your weapon is NOT seen by this potential attacker. Repeat the order, “Stop now! Do not come any closer!” Say it loud and sound as mean as you can…you know, like when your kids are wrestling and about ready to break some furniture!

Only if and when this miscreant makes a threat or displays a weapon can you legally pull your gun. Microseconds count here and you cannot take time to think about it. You must have a plan of action. Your planning and training will pay off. Avoiding bad situations, before they ever happen is even better. Park in well-lit areas, not way out at the end of the parking lot. Have someone with you, if at all possible. If you are leaving work, have a coworker walk with you to your car. If you see some seedy, suspicious characters hanging out near your car, go back inside the building. Most malls have security officers; ask them for help. Don’t be afraid to call the police! So many people I talk to express their concern saying they don’t want to make a false alarm. Believe me, the police would rather respond and find that you are safe, than arrive later and find you injured or dead. “Safe” is a whole lot less paperwork.

  • Exit and enter your vehicle quickly. Have your keys already in hand. You can find what you’re looking for after you’re inside locked doors!
  • When you enter your car, lock all doors immediately and get the vehicle in motion ASAP. Don’t sit in a motionless vehicle any longer than you have to.
  • Stay safe. Get trained in safe and proper use of firearms and self-defense.

By: Paul Foreman

Three rifles walked into a saloon and took seats at the bar. They ordered drinks, but the bartender refused to serve them. Why did the bartender refuse service to the three rifles? They were already “loaded!” There is more where that one came from, but I’ll save them for another day.

Even before I started teaching firearms and self-defense classes, I witnessed unbelievably bad etiquette, or manners, displayed by way too many gun owners. This display of bad manners has been observed by myself to be the worst at public gun ranges. I have not visited the public range south of Athens for at least three years now. I certainly hope it has gotten better since I was last there.

During the seven or eight times I did go there to shoot, I found the place to be both dangerous and filthy. On one particular occasion, my buddy and I arrived early and found the fifty-yard range empty. There were two or three guys down at the long-range rifle area. (The short-, medium-, and long-range areas are separated by a high earthen berm.) We both walked downrange and were setting up our targets when a man drove up, got out of his truck, and began blasting away with his handgun at some unknown objects downrange. We both yelled at him to hold his fire until we got off the range. We hustled back to the shooting line. The man was reloading, allowing us a few moments of safety. He left as abruptly as he had arrived.

On several other occasions, I observed shooters walking back and forth setting up or checking targets while others were still shooting. There was one such time I had the audacity to shout out loud, “Hey everybody, let’s call the range ‘cold’ and everybody put their guns down while people are going downrange!” I continued, “Then, when everybody is safely back at the shooting line, we call the range ‘hot.’” Boy, did I get some strange stares. You would have thought I cursed out the pastor right during church! Two guys who were downrange came back to the shooting line; so I yelled, “OK, the range is HOT!” Some unidentified man down at the far end of the line yelled, “Who does that guy think he is?” My buddy and I left. We have not been back since.

Shooters should NEVER, EVER have a gun in their hand when someone is downrange. When the range is “cold,” all firearms should be on the table, with actions open. Shooters should keep all firearms pointed downrange at all times. Guns should be pointed downrange even when they are lying on the table.

Shooters should only use proper targets, not old cans and bottles. Shooters should clean up after themselves. Don’t leave empty ammo boxes and torn targets scattered across the range. Take your trash home with you. I have been to the range south of Athens when all the trash barrels were overflowing. The cans and broken bottles were a real eyesore.

Never ever pick up someone else’s gun. I would go so far as to say, “Don’t even ask!” When there is no Range Safety Officer on site, it can be a problem. If fellow shooters don’t like a “non-official” Range Officer, then my advice is to leave. Good manners off the range are also important in maintaining good relations, especially with non-shooters.
Keep your gun in its holster! Any public arena is NOT the place to be showing off your new gun to your buddy, such as in Wally World. I personally believe in “concealed carry.” It just does not seem wise to let everyone around you know you are armed. I really have nothing against “open carry.” It just needs to be done with some modesty and discretion. I have a good friend who carries his gun openly. He uses an inside-the-waistband type holster, and you need to look really close to notice the grips showing above his belt.

Last year we went to a popular restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner. Outside, walking back and forth was a young man, maybe 21 years old wearing a large, full-size 1911 semi-auto 45. He had a fancy, black leather holster and really pretty wood grips. This is a huge handgun by anyone’s standard. It was just NOT good manners parading around showing his gun off to several dozen people who were waiting for their dinner.

By: Paul Foreman
Paul Foreman is a retired deputy sheriff from Lee County Florida. He is an NRA Certified Firearms Instructor. For self-defense firearms training, Paul can be reached through his web site,, or e-mail at
To join the NRA and protect your 2nd Amendment Rights, go to my web site and click on the NRA Eagle.

Wouldn’t it be great if we “Gun Lovers” could get free guns in stores and businesses that have signs posted, “GUN FREE ZONE?” Well OK, they do not say, “Free Gun Zone.”

Actually, during the past year or so, it seems to me that I am seeing fewer and fewer of these ridiculous signs posted around Athens, especially restaurants.

Just imagine, if we all thought like the liberal gun haters think. Liberal politicians want gun control by taking away the right of honest, law-abiding citizens to defend themselves. How can taking away the right of self-defense from someone protect them from criminals who get their guns by stealing them in “Gun Free Zones?”

I recently read a statement made by a policeman from Atlanta Georgia:

“Most of our criminals, they go out each and every night hunting for guns, and the easiest way to get them is out of people’s cars,” said Sgt. Warren Pickard of the Atlanta Police Department.

“We’re finding that a majority of stolen guns that are getting in the hands of criminals and being used to commit crimes were stolen out of vehicles.”

Why are criminals finding guns in cars? The victim leaves their gun in the car because they enter a business or restaurant that has one of those ridiculous signs!

I just spent three months in Houston Texas, getting treatment at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Of course, the huge facility had signs posted at every entrance saying “No guns allowed.”

Texas State law says business owners can decide if guns are allowed in their establishment or not. I found that some businesses posted a copy of the law at the entrance.

There is not room here to post the entire Texas Law, but here is my short version: Open carry of firearms is prohibited in this business. Those who have openly carried their firearm into this business will be subject to arrest. Or: Those entering this business with a Concealed Carry permit must keep their firearm concealed. Then, there was a third version of this sign which basically stated: Open carry or concealed carry of firearms is prohibited in this establishment.

So basically, these businesses are prohibiting law-abiding, honest citizens the right of self-defense. MD Anderson Cancer Center had these signs posted at every entrance. But, no I did not leave my firearm at the apartment. I locked up my Glock and left it in our car in the parking garage. We had a choice of taking the expressway the twelve miles or so, where people were getting killed or maimed on a regular basis, or driving through a very rough looking area to get from our apartment to MDA. Later, just before returning home after three months, we learned that the area we were driving through was crime central for Houston! All but one of our trips to and from MDA to our apartment were in the daylight hours. There was one late night trip home after JoAnn had to take me to the emergency room at MDA due to a reaction to the chemo. We got out of the ER on a Saturday night at about eleven. I convinced JoAnn to take the expressway, and not the gang- and crime-ridden part of town.

All during these drives I carried my Glock in a Bible case, right on my lap. Ok, the time I had a high fever from the reaction to the chemo, I convinced my wife to keep it close to her.

One afternoon, my wife was forced into a right-turn-only lane, right into a very rough looking residential neighborhood. Immediately a man with his underwear showing, stepped out into the street right in front of us. My wife slowed down and almost stopped to avoid hitting him!

I yelled, “GO! GO! Get around him! Floor it!” She did and we got past the danger, took the next street back to the main road.

When I was a deputy sheriff in Lee County Florida, I responded to numerous calls where both innocent and not so innocent people drove into “Little Harlem” and got bricks thrown through their windshield when they did not stop for the man selling crack with his underwear showing. Left wing liberal gun haters think I should not be allowed to defend myself. Why don’t we just put signs out on the highway that say “Traffic Death Free Zone.” This would prevent all traffic deaths, right?
By: Paul Foreman

The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution states that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

There are volumes of books and legal texts arguing about the Second Amendment. For today’s forum, I am sticking to fact that the Second Amendment says the PEOPLE have the right to own guns for self-defense. The Second Amendment does not grant the “right.” It says the “right” shall not be infringed!

When can citizens defend themselves? Self-defense is NOT getting even with someone who wronged you. Self-defense is not stopping someone from stealing your son’s or daughter’s bicycle. Even if someone threatens you, self-defense is NOT going back later and getting even with them.

When I was a deputy sheriff in Southwest Florida, I saw a number of cases where someone used deadly force long after the threat had passed. Here is an example of what I mean:
Two men were arguing. One man, let’s call him Fred, orders the other guy to “get off my property or I’ll get my gun.” John, the second man, runs back across the street to his home and gets his shotgun. John comes back outside with the shotgun and a box of 00 buckshot, and begins loading the gun while standing just inside his front gate.

Meanwhile, Fred, fearing for his life, gets his rifle ready, but he stays on his own front porch. Can you see what is happening here in this true story? John was safe at home, but went back outside and could be seen by Fred loading a shotgun. Fred did NOT pursue John. John was pursuing Fred who was standing on his own front porch. John fired one blast of 00 buckshot toward Fred from about 75 feet away. The shot missed but Fred was not going to wait and see if the next shot was any better. Fred fired one round from his 30-30, hitting John just about the waist. John went down but got back up and ran into his house where he laid down on his bed and died.

When I got there, along with another deputy, Fred was plenty scared. At first he did not want to leave his gun and come out to talk to us. The other deputy who was with me convinced Fred to come outside, so we would not have to go in to get him. At this point, we didn’t know what had happened prior to our arrival. Across the street, I could see the opened box of shotgun shells laying near the gate. I could also see a huge amount of blood leaving a trail up to the front door. An elderly lady was sitting just inside. She pointed to the shotgun lying on the couch. I asked her, “Where is John?” She replied, “He is lying across his bed; I think he is dead.”

The investigation found that Fred acted in self-defense. He did initially threaten John, but had no weapon with him at the time of the threat. He feared for his life when he saw John coming back out with a shotgun. John was dead, but his own grandmother turned out to be a very credible witness to the entire event. The Grand Jury cleared Fred, and he was not charged with any crime.
If you are going to own a firearm for self-defense, you absolutely must understand what self-defense is.
1. Innocence: You cannot be the aggressor. You cannot start a fight, then because you are losing, shoot somebody and claim self-defense.
2. The threat must be immediate, right now, not something that happened earlier.
3. The act of defending yourself must be proportional to the threat. You cannot use deadly force unless you are threatened with a weapon or by someone who could cause great bodily harm or death.
4. Avoidance: If there is a safe retreat, you must use it (not in a stand-your-ground state such as Alabama) BUT, retreat may be the best and wisest thing to do.
5. These elements must be present to claim self-defense.
Disparity of force means that a weaker person, such as an elderly person, is being attacked, and even though the attacker has no deadly weapon, or there are multiple attackers, the victim is in fear of great bodily harm or death if he does not defend himself or herself with deadly force.

By the time this Forum is published, I will be back in Athens and firearms classes will resume.
Paul Foreman is a retired deputy sheriff from Lee County Florida. Paul is an NRA Certified Firearms Instructor. For firearms training Paul can be reached through his web site,, E-Mail at

One of the problems I see most often in my firearms training classes is the student not using the proper grip on his or her handgun. Gripping improperly can cause missed targets, malfunctions and even injuries. The grip must be firm, but not so tight that your hand is trembling. A two handed grip on guns is a “love-hate” or push-pull arrangement. Actually the same applies also to rifles and shotguns.

Years ago when I was working in a “big box” sporting goods store, a father with his 10 year old son came in. The father told me his son already had his own 22 rifle. Now dad wanted his son to have a shotgun, but the slightly built boy had become fearful of the recoil from his dad’s 12 gauge pump. Dad asked me about getting a 20 gauge or 410 gauge in a “youth model.” I did recommend the youth model as the stock is shorter to fit the shorter arms. Popular gun manufacturers often have the exact same model as sold to adults; they just make the stock shorter. An adult sized stock can be installed in just a few more years.

Even more important is the “grip” the young man was using. I pulled a youth model down off the rack, opened the action, showed them it was empty and with dad’s permission, handed the young man the gun. Kneeling down next to him, I explained how to push forward with the hand holding the forearm, while pulling back on the grip with his other hand. I also instructed him to ALWAYS keep his finger OFF the trigger until ready to shoot. Pushing forward with the front will absorb a lot of the recoil. I also showed him how to hold the stock firmly against his shoulder, so the gun would not punch him when it fired. Dad bought the youth sized 12 gauge, and the boy’s smile lit up the store as they left. The next day, the father and son came back in. They were anxious and excited to tell me about shooting some doves the day before and now the young man was no longer fearful of the shotgun!

Gripping a handgun should be the same, only you have both hands wrapped around the grip and trigger guard. Especially on semi auto pistols, the grip must be high on the back strap but not so high that the slide comes back and hits your hand (I can demonstrate this much better in class!). Gripping your gun too low can cause all kinds of problems. Again, the grip is a push pull affair so that one hand does not absorb all the recoil. We cover proper handgun grip in my classes, along with tons of other information so my students can safely and properly use a firearm.

Have a plan. In my Home Defense Class, I teach you how to have a plan, in case of a home invasion. What would you do? Imagine awakening during the night to discover some demented, drug-crazed thug has broken into your home. Do you have a gun? Is it loaded? Is it locked up somewhere? Can you get to it in time? Do you know how to use it safely and properly? Yes, you need to call 911, but after all, when seconds count, the cops are only minutes away.

Recently in North Carolina, an eleven year old girl retreated into an upstairs closet when she heard two men breaking into her home. She dialed 911, but when the two bad guys forced open the closet door, they found themselves staring down the bad end of a 12 gauge shotgun! The brave criminals fled the home and were arrested a short time later.

Out west, a 14 year old young man followed the plan his parents had taught him. When two thugs broke in the front door in broad daylight, the 14 year old took his 6 year old brother and retreated to a closet. In the closet were a 22 caliber rifle and a cell phone. Same as above, when the thugs opened the closet door and saw the rifle, they fled like scared rabbits.

These stories never seem to get published in the mainstream media. I find them at

After reading advice from numerous sources. I have come up with my own more realistic steps to take. I know the last thing this old sheepdog is going to do is curl up in a corner and wait to die.

1. Escape if you can. Go! Get out of there, even if others are frozen in place. Leave all your belongings BEHIND! I saw a video of a shooter in a school board meeting in Northwest Florida. When the shooter came in waving his gun around and announced his intentions to open fire, people in the audience spent time gathering up their coats and purses before getting out! Help others escape if they will cooperate. Warning: some people will freeze in fear. There is not a whole lot you can do unless you start dragging or carrying them. That’s a negative, UNLESS they are family.

2. Once you are safe, stop others from unknowingly walking into a deadly situation.

3. Call 911 as soon as possible. While you are waiting for 911 to answer, take a deep breath and try to calm yourself. Most 911 operators will answer by saying, “911, what is your emergency, fire or police?” When stressed, most people will talk way too fast and too loud. Talk in short concise sentences, such as, “There is a shooting at University Plaza.” Take a breath. “I saw three of them at the main entrance.” Take a breath. “All are wearing black, with long guns.” Take a deep breath and wait patiently for the operator to ask questions. Waiting five or ten seconds, while she is typing, will feel like forever. If the 911 operator tells you to stay on the phone, cooperate with her if safe to do so. Yes, give your name. The last thing responding officers want to hear is, “The caller refused his name and hung up.”

4. If you cannot escape, try to hide out of the shooter’s view. Barricade the doors with anything heavy you can find. Get behind heavy furniture, such as desks or file cabinets. If possible, keep an escape route open. Use bathrooms as a last resort; you could get trapped. Lock the doors. Wrapping a belt or pants leg around the door closer might slow down someone trying to force their way in. Sometimes janitors will leave a wooden or rubber door stopper; jamb it under your side of the door. Many restrooms will have a janitor’s closet. Look for objects to barricade the door.

5. If none of the above will work due to time or situation, FIGHT! Attempt to disable the shooter. Get mad and defend yourself! What do you have to lose?

6. In a restroom, use toilet tank lids or toilet seats, metal trash cans or mirrors as improvised weapons. You might find good weapons stored in the janitor’s closet, such as mop handles or a heavy bucket. You might find cleaning chemicals to throw into the bad guy’s face. In office areas, use fire extinguishers, chairs, lamps, broken glass from a picture frame, or mirror, heavy vase, broken furniture, scissors or glass ashtray. Spray the bad guy with the fire extinguisher, and then hit him in the face with it. Use hot coffee, full soda cans, hair spray, bug spray, anything heavy; hit him and hit him hard. Don’t stop hitting him until he is unconscious. Your life depends on it.

7. If you have a gun, use it! If you don’t know how, get trained! Just in the last few days I have heard, on national news broadcasts, numerous sheriffs and police chiefs advising citizens to arm themselves. GET TRAINED, by me or some qualified trainer. Get trained beyond just knowing how to shoot a gun. Get trained on knowing when to shoot and when NOT to shoot.

8. If you are evacuating from a crowded theater, church or mall, get away from the center of the hallway. Get next to the wall. You do NOT want to get caught up in the rushing mob of terrified people who might care less if you get trampled. Next to a wall, you will be able to use the wall for support if you get shoved or knocked down. Walls have windows and doors. You might find an escape route. Malls have numerous stores, often with “back doors” that you can escape through. You do NOT want to get caught up in a mob of dozens or even hundreds of people all trying to escape out the same door. Grab hold of small children and carry them if possible. If children are too big to carry, grab the child’s belt rather than trying to hold onto their arm. The same with adults. Grab each of your family members by the belt and hold on for dear life.