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November 27, 2022

Holiday Season 2022

As we enter into the Holiday season with all its distractions, there are some things that I want you to keep in mind for your safety and security...

Surviving the Holidays

Cold weather and time off work or away from our normal schedule often means time for a break, a retreat to rest and relaxation. Don't let that turn into the habit of becoming sedentary. A lack of physical exercise in combination with a little more alcohol intake than normal can lead to a condition known as "holiday heart syndrome." The technical term is "alcohol-induced atrial arrhythmia." This condition is characterized by an acute cardiac rhythm and/or conduction disturbance in people without other clinical evidence of heart disease. In my career as a safety professional, I can tell you it is very common to receive more frequent reports of workers reporting to the ER with chest pains this time of year, and this is one of the common causes. Of course, rich holiday foods also lead to gastric disturbances that can cause troubling symptoms in the chest. The holidays are also a time of additional stress that can crank up the blood pressure My advice to you is try to get some walking in, stay on your normal exercise routine, and don't overdo it at the dinner table.

Road Hazards - In addition to holiday heart syndrome, extra alcohol consumption and road travel, particularly in winter conditions, is a deadly combination. Please don't drink and drive. Please do be extra aware of other motorists who might be impaired. Make sure your vehicle has extra winter supplies - blankets, flashlight, some high-energy foods, and a first aid kit. If you plan on heading into the woods or mountains to get a tree, go prepared! Let someone trusted know where you are going and when you should be back. Being stranded in the woods in a blizzard is dangerous for you and for the people who have to come rescue you. Use good sense.

Consumer Rage - Black Friday may be behind us, but the mad rush for deals and extra-crowded shopping centers will no doubt continue into the New Year. Extra traffic on the roads and in the stores have famously led to road rage, fights, and other unpleasant interactions. Don't get dragged into a bad situation, and be aware that such fights can erupt rapidly and quickly embroil anyone in the vicinity. Stay alert, have an escape plan for your and your family.

Identity Theft - While online shopping has somewhat alleviated the crowds in the stores, it has created a virtual playground for criminal hackers to steal payment information and other sensitive personal info. You don't want a nasty surprise this spring when creditors start calling, looking for payment on accounts that were opened in your name by identity thieves. While it's almost impossible to online shop with zero risk, there are some actions you can take to protect yourself: #1 Be alert for phishing and spoofing emails. #2 Monitor your credit report, bank account, and credit cards and report any irregularities immediately. #3 control your personally identifiable information, both hard copy and digitally. In addition to identity theft, the holidays are an appealing opportunity for thieves looking to burglarize homes and vehicles. Don't share travel plans on social media, don't leave expensive items or gifts in plain sight in your vehicle, and try to avoid leaving delivered packages on the porch for too long. Be aware of suspicious activity in your neighborhood.

Keep it Civil!- Our country is facing a number of divisive issues... which seems to have become the norm. Try to enjoy your time with friends and family and give the politics a break. The Holidays also, unfortunately, tend to increase the suicide rate. Check in on your friends and family. Reach out to someone if you need help.


The evenings of January 10th and 12th (7:00 PM - 9:00 PM Mountain Time) I will be holding the online version of Black Rifle 101. If you recently purchased an AR15 style rifle, this 2-evening class is a perfect opportunity to learn correct handling, manipulations, cleaning, maintenance, and marksmanship theory from the comfort of your own home. If you are interested in this class, send me an email and I will send you a Zoom invitation.

The evening of February 16th from 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM Mountain Time, I will be holding the online version of my precision rifle optics workshop. This class is a deep-dive into how to understand and use magnified optics.

There is no charge to attend online classes!

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Gift Guide for the Firearms Enthusiast

If you are making gift purchases for the shooters on your list this year, here are some suggestions for gift ideas:

1. Personal Protective Equipment - a good set of powered earmuffs makes life on the range much more pleasant. For the moderate budget, consider the Howard Leight Impact Sport or Impact Pro muffs. (My go-to earmuff is the Impact Pro). These have the highest noise reduction ratings in their class and excellent stereo amplification. If you want to spend a little more money, look at hearing protection from MSA/Sordin or Ops Core. Be advised, these high end models can sell from a few hundred to over a thousand dollars a set. These are for when someone needs utmost durability. Good eye protection with swap-able lenses are a nice addition. Shooting glasses can impact your shooting. Comfort, clarity, and quality are important. My "go to" glasses are made by Revision Eyewear.

2. Flashlights - you can never have too many and some folks have a hard time justifying a $100+ flashlight. For the serious concealed carrier or home defender, a good, durable, bright light is needed. Look at the Streamlight ProTac lights or the Surefire Tactician for general purpose concealed carry. If you want to go top-of-the-line, check out Modlite. Their PLHv2 is a very bright general purpose light with exceptionally long "throw" and good "spill." Their OKW is for long-range applications (several hundred yards) and makes an excellent weapon light for long-guns. They will run you around $300 - $500 depending on configuration and accessories, but they are excellent lights.

3. Range Bags - being prepared makes the difference when going to the range. Having a well-stocked dedicated range bag is a great thing. Any bag will do, there are a number of good range bags from 5.11 Tactical and others. Even a simple backpack will work. If you gift a range-bag, you might add some stocking stuffers like a package of self-adhesive "shoot n' see" targets, a staple gun, a small toolkit or multi-tool, or some foam earplugs to help get them started.

4. Trauma Kit - I don't go to the range anymore without the ability to patch holes or stop bleeding. Small trauma kits with a tourniquet or two - preferably North American Rescue's Combat Application Tourniquet (CAT), some adhesive chest seals, and some hemostatic gauze (Celox Z-fold sponge) are literally life savers. You can purchase pre-made kits from sources like Dark Angel Medical or assemble them yourself. If purchasing tourniquets, please be aware that there are a number of counterfeits on the market, especially on Amazon. These may be less expensive, but frequently break when applied. Make sure you are getting the authentic article.
Stick with the NAR CAT tourniquet or the SOF-T Tactical tourniquet. Stay away from the RATS tourniquets.

5. Training - a class at a "location" school is an excellent investment, particularly for new shooters to get them started on the right track. There are a number of good schools out there. My favorites are Badlands Tactical in Oklahoma, Tactical Defense Institute in Ohio, and of Course Thunder Ranch in Oregon. Attending a class at one of these locations can be life-changing.


Don't let the concerns of the day, troubling as they may be, rob your joy. Remember that one of the primary goals of the media (which is more "entertainment" than information), is to deliver an insecure audience to the advertisers that pay for air-time. Insecure people are more apt to binge-buy to palliate their anxieties. A better way to manage these anxieties is by taking positive, constructive action. Turn off the news. Improve your personal preparedness through improving your physical condition, your defensive skills, your equipment, and your mindset. Form strong relationships with like-minded people. Spend quality time with your family.

I wish you all the best for the remainder of 2022 and for health, safety, and contentment in the New Year.


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