Back home

Returned from Colorado two weeks ago, and turned right around to head east to Pennsylvania for a few days to help a family member out of a jam. A lot of driving in a couple of days and my old ass is feeling it. I had a birthday somewhere in the past two weeks but it blew past me so fast I didn’t even realize I had turned 47 until a few days ago.

I know this really doesn’t have a lot to do with prepping but there are some subjects that cross pollinate and something to really think hard about.

Well I am a Certified Protection Specialist (with honors) now. ESI the school I attended runs a pretty good program and I recommend it to anyone that might be thinking about pursuing  another life the world of protection. I have not done a EP (Executive Protection) job yet so I cannot comment about the profession. The School I can. The residency which I participated in is 28 days long and held in Grand Junction CO. The cost of the school does not include lodging, food or ammunition. Or anything else really, just the school and course work. This particular class deals with protection of Executives of large corporations, high profile personalities, celebrities, families of such, ect. This particular class itself does not really deal with PSD (Personal Security Details) type operations. ESI does offer a PSD course that pretty highly rated itself.

The days were long with class room instruction, practical reinforcement of skills learned and culminating with a week of practical side arm shooting skills. ESI runs it own range and they run it their way, not a bad way by any stretch .

A couple of things taught in the classroom that I found very interesting was First Aid, First Responder, handwriting recognition, facial recognition, sweeping a room (and vehicles) for bombs, low and high profile protection, threat assessment/management, and surveillance and counter surveillance. Everything taught in the classroom was backed up with practical hands on exercises. How can any of these subjects help in a prepper world? or a post SHTF environment?

One thing they kept saying at the school was; come here with your cup empty, fill it with what we are teaching, and use what you want when you leave. I’ll ask you do the same as I outline a few of the subjects, just food for thought. Apply if you wish.

Vehicle and room sweeps for bombs: Kind of self explanatory, some good practical. Never touch anything! I mean never! Think no one has put a mercury switch activated bomb under a seat? A slight movement of the vehicle, sitting on a seat will cause the mercury to complete the circuit and boom!!

Low and high profile protection of a principle, threat assessment: You can really apply this to yourself or family member(s). There are pluses and minuses to both types of protection. A low profile protection is such that the principle is protected loosely by one or more agents and they are supposed to blend more or less with the crowd, dress down relaxed. High profile, think of the Secret Service, men in dark suits and sunglasses. Everyone knows who they are and what they are doing.

Threat Assessment is an approach to prevent targeted violence or in other word it is a systematic way to assess and manage the risks of targeted violence.

Bottom line is that depending on what type of situation you are in you could use either type of coverage in protecting yourself or others. I actually used the low profile and threat assessment in PA last week while at a court house during a child custody hearing. Knowing escape routes, primary, secondary, tertiary, possible safe rooms. What is the security of the court house, physical shape of the bailiffs, are they armed? could they run up a flight of steps and still fight ? etc, etc. I recused myself a few times on the premise of using the bathroom and was doing surveillance and a mental threat assessment. How come? Domestic disputes have the highest death rates than any other type of crime. I wanted to be prepared and have a safe out for my sister in the event her ex wanted to get stupid.

I now do a mental threat assessment every time I walk into a restaurant or store. Ever hear of the Luby’s massacre in Killen Texas?, Virginia Tech? As a prepper you took an affirmation to prepare, right?!

Surveillance and counter surveillance: Forget all of the crap you have seen on TV and the movies. Both surveillance and counter surveillance is really an art, not just sitting on a car taking pictures with a large 35 mm camera and a 2 ft telephoto lens hanging of the front of it. We ran a few “missions” doing both surveillance and counter surveillance against targets. Its all about blending in and not sticking out. The missions we ran were in public places with the scenario of a stalker was after our principle.

Facial Recognition: Not recognizing a person but recognizing facial expressions and determining the intent behind that expression.

There are six defined facial expressions that are inherent to all humans, no matter what part of the world they are from, culture or society. AND they cannot be hidden, well. I don’t want to get into sociopath’s or psychopathic personalities as they are good at covering their emotions but still cannot hide their microexpressions.

  • Joy
  • Surprise
  • Fear
  • Anger
  • Disgust
  • Sadness

We spent a good amount of time studying these emotions and tested on recognizing each. The test consisted of 88 “questions”, we were shown pictures of a subject only revealing their eyes. You were flashed the image 3 times before the next “question” the first flash was a quarter second, the second flash was at a half second, and the third was one second. Wild huh? But what was being instilled was in a quarter of a second you can guess what a persons emotion is and possibly their intent. Sit at a mall and just people watch. You will see what I am talking about. Put this in a SHTF prospective and think about it for a while.

Want a good read? The Gift Of Fear by Gavin DeBecker Amazing stuff that reenforces the facial recognition subject. The Kindle Fire version is only $10.

First Aid and First Responder: Again self explanatory. I am certified as both after the school, and also on a AED (automated external defibrillator). This particular instruction was not geared towards combat life saver.

Range Time: This was the best overall and most guys were so ready to get out of the classroom it wasn’t even funny. ESI teaches their way of handling a weapon. Remember the cup analogy? I thought I was a pretty good shooter but was humbled the first day on the qual range. As a matter of fact it took me the whole first day to qualify and get off that particular range. We had to hit 14 out of 18 shots on a 9 inch target at 15 meters. There were three reloads during the shoot. So you shoot 6 rounds, do a magazine change, shoot 6 more, do a magazine change, shoot 6 more. It is a timed event.

There are actually many shooting events/skills needed in order to be a level 1 qualified shooter. Every skill was shot against metal plates, and timed. All shots are drawn from a holster and from concealed. I won’t go over each drill here.

For practical shooting? I don’t think there is any better. All the instructors come from real world experience and for us slow learners, very patient. I learned so much in that last week of shooting it was worth the cost of tuition in of itself. I learned a new grip for holding a sidearm, sighting properly, reloading, recovering from a failure/misfire, on and on and on. To much to list. I will say that what the Army taught me is woefully insufficient when handling a sidearm.

Most guys shot 1000 rounds or more in the 5 days on the range, Some shot more than 1500. Our last day we had some open range time and fired ammo like it was coming out of a fire hose. Great fun!

ESI runs a “hot range” a hot range is defined as everyone is loaded with one in the chamber and a full magazine. You did not draw your sidearm unless your were standing on the line and firing at a target. No one ever drew a sidearm to show a buddy his new “gun”, there was no grab assing either. You strapped on your sidearm at 8 am and wore it until the range closed that night. You ate, pee’d, and pooped with your sidearm. For three days after I got home I kept reaching to my right side to see if I still had my holster on! The reason behind a hot range is that if you handle a weapon that is loaded all the time you will always treat a weapon as loaded whether it is or not.

My weapon of choice for the school? I shot a Smith and Wesson M&P 9mm. Flawless is all I can say about the sidearm. Glocks were by far the most prevalent with a good mix of 9 and 40 cal. being shot. I think my next purchase will be a 40 cal.

Now I don’t want to get into the 9 vs. 40 vs. a Glock vs. a S&M, they are all solid weapons and I shot them both while at the class. My team leader actually had a Glock 32 (or 33) that shoots a 357 mag. Man what a wallop that thing puts down range and the blow back that thing kicks out is incredible. But a $1 each per shell, I’ll pass for now.

I ask you as a reader to think about the subjects that I really glossed over above and think about how they could help in your prepping. As far as practical skills? can’t put a price on it (I really can since I paid for the school out of my own pocket) but on the mental side? lots of food for thought.

I will expand on some of the subjects in later posts if anyone is interested.

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