T Nation

The Tactical Life


Thought for the day: Situational Awareness: Don’t leave home without it.


Hey so… if an office worker decided to keep this exact spray ^ at their desk (working reception/front desk, first office suite located nearest the building’s main entrance and lobby area, single entry into the office with no fire exit/escape route, no security guards anywhere on building premises)… would we say this is a solid, basic instructional video in the use of pepper spray:

Mainly interested his tactic of spraying in an “S” pattern instead of aiming for the face. Sounds like it would make sense.

Any other info/tips on sprays as self-defense? I’ve read mixed reviews about being able to actually discharge them once or twice in training, that it may or may not lose its spraying power rendering it useless when/if it’s deployed in time of need.

It says “up to 20 bursts” but I’m not sure if it’s, like, test twice in February no prob, need it in December and it just fizzles.


Not bad. I like he talked about creating space and using bursts. However his demo was poor on the S pattern. He came off the spray too much and was off target. Pretty typical training is successive 1 second bursts of spray (not counting crowd dispersal). I’ve seen a “cross” pattern trained (belt to brow then across the face) as well.

MACE brand is reputable. If the package insert says it’s good for 20 (likely 1/2 to 1 second) bursts; I’d believe them. A few test shots won’t hurt. I’d suggest an inert trainer to practice. Keep an eye on expiration dates and rotate in a new canister for duty. The old one can then be used for training. My department rotates at expiration date and I don’t recall any of them not being able to deploy spray.

A few things missing from the video…wind/ventilation effect on the spray. Air flow can push the spray off target or back at you. Even an HVAC system or entrance air curtain can mess up your plans. Also one needs to realize people can fight through the affects even with perfect deployment. A common drill in LE OC training is to get sprayed then have to fight and/or cuff a partner.


Mixicus is dead on with his comments. Mace is a very old and reputable brand and I have never had it fail to discharge within the expiration date. I also agree with not really following what this guy is doing with an “S” pattern. Wind outdoors or even ventilation on the inside like mixicus stated is tough to deal with. Like anything else in defense of self, many factors come into play when something works. Personally, I don’t like spray since it has a nasty habit on biting you on the butt, but, if that is what you are limited to, is is better than nothing.

I would strongly advise buying two cans. One to use on yourself to see what the effects are and learn if you can still fight. Now, there are some factors to consider for yourself and family (don’t care about the perp). Do you have severe asthma? if using pepper spray, are you allergic to the effects? symptoms are similar to anaphylatic shock. Small children are also very susceptible, if hit by residue, they will have trouble breathing because their throats will swell shut quicker.

If you decide to use it on yourself, have an adult standing by with a water hose to wash out your eyes. keep children and asthma adults away at a safe distance.

If you have a relationship with any firefighter or know someone at your local station, if is best go there and ask permission to try it out in their parking area. You have the best situation at a fire station, plenty of water and trained medics if you have a reaction.

If you walk, jog or run occasionally, pepper spray will also deter dog attacks.


Thought for the day: " Don’t be a Gucci-range queen, get out there and get dirty"

“The thing is, all the gear in the world means nothing if you don’t know how to use it. Using your gear in ideal settings is great, but Murphy is always standing right behind you, waiting to throw a wrench at you. And as we all know, when it’s time to get to work, nothing is ever ideal. Sitting in a stationary shooting lane practicing your accuracy every week is great, but realistically all you’re doing is setting yourself up for failure; especially since you’re building unearned confidence with your skills that simply won’t cut it when the shells start flying”


Definitely agree with this, huge difference between a square range and pretty much everything else. Problem is, most civilian ranges are extremely risk-averse and will flip shit if shooters start moving around, regardless of their background and what they are doing - and understandably so, since in most cases they have no idea who/what you are.

That being said, do you have any drills to recommend for people in that situation? One thing I love about deploying is the range time. 2 man rule, after that it’s big boy rules.


Much appreciated, guys, as always. It’s a less-than-ideal situation, but it’s the best we can figure for the location. We’ll look into some training.


I don’t know your state laws or facility policies but you may look into the civilian TASER products. It’s not a 100% guaranteed solution but if you get good hits with both darts, it works NOW and for 30 seconds. They’ve linked it to a cell phone app so if it’s discharged, LE gets notified. There are limits and failures but it’s a good less lethal force option in addition to OC spray.


Unfortunately, I don’t have many drills that can be used on a square range, especially an indoor range. I was once on leave and went to a new indoor firing range that opened in a very exclusive suburb. They would not allow me to draw from an holster, stating , I had to start with the pistol lying on the range barrier. Didn’t want anyone to “shoot themselves in the leg”. First and last time there, and, I was not allowed to use my own targets, had to buy their brand.

If you have access to any outdoor range, even a small one, I have had some success in the range master allowing me to run this drill, depending on the number of shooters present. If I can get at least two or three spaces, I can run a modified version of this drill. If I don’t have the space, I will use three cones in a triangle formation, just to get a little movement in. This is a very basic drill, but, hits all the high points in good weapon manipulation with both hands.

A couple of years ago, I was able to acquire a little property in a very rural area, now, I don’t have to worry about this crap, I set up my own courses. Makes the monthly payment a little less painful.


Thought for the day:

‘To beat a pirate you have to become a pirate‘.



Yeah, I’ve run into that a lot with civ ranges. Having your own spot would definitely be the way to go. Pretty much all of the indoor civilian ranges in my area are like that: must pay a monthly membership, must buy ammo from them (never heard that about targets though, talk about squeezing milk from a stone). TN wildlife maintains an outdoor range within driving distance, it is my go-to spot. But it is unmanned, so we only go first thing in the morning to beat any crowds that might show up, and the requisite yahoos that come with that. They’ve got covered shooting stations which are pretty restrictive as to movement, so (depending on who else is here) I just shoot from in front of them. Way easier. Haven’t gotten too crazy with movement there, but I am starting to work the wife on shooting while moving, especially lateral.


Good, at least you have access to some type of outdoor range. As simple as it sounds, having someone draw their handgun from concealment, then stepping either 6 inches to the left or right before firing will probably be a great benefit in surviving a shooting. As you know, most untrained people just simply freeze and stare at the gun pointed at them, instead of reacting, drawing and moving out of the line of fire. That lateral movement for your wife is the way to go. IMHO.


Batman 730 and other K-9 officers here: Thought you might be interested in this:


Courses include:
• Dogs & Drones with Paul Coley of Scent Evidence K9
• K-9 Narcotics Detection with Ricky Farley of Alabama Canine
• Person-Borne Explosives Detection K-9s with Lane Kjellsen of K2 Solutions, Inc.
• Obedience to Odor with Ken Licklider of Vohne Liche Kennels
• Training the Remote Detection K-9 with Pat Nolan of Tactical Directional Canine Systems
• K-9 Selection, Imprinting, Search Patterns, Communications & Full Overview of Starting & Finishing a Detection K-9 by Paul Shaughnessy of Excel K-9
• And many more!


I know this wasn’t directed at me, but one of my favorite square range drills is “walking in walking out”. You put up a standard B-8 target and shoot 5 rounds from the holster at 3,5,7,10,10,7,5,3 yards. Can be done with or without a shot timer
That’s a possible score of 400. The goal is to shoot it as fast as you can keeping them in the 10 ring. Obviously your splits at 3 will be faster than at 10. It’s a really nice warm up and fundamentals drill. Not very sexy or tacticool though.


Also like cadence fire with a metronome app and ear buds under my ear pro. Shoot it from a distance where you can reliably shoot a “ragged hole” group (I.e. all rounds touching) then push the cadence or the distance until the group starts to open up, then back off a bit.


Cool! Thanks brother.


Another simple drill that humbles me every time I attempt it is the KD4 “Hat Qual”. B-8 target at 25 yards. 10 rounds from concealment or duty rig. 20 second par time. 90 is a pass. I have a ways to go. 25 is where I still start to fall apart on pistol.



That one’s going in the ole tool box. Wish I’d seen it before I went to the range earlier. I’ve been doing a lot of shooting, working on pistol and rifle skills in order to successfully move up from static to mobile. I’ve never gotten to put this kind of time in on the range, it’s pretty cool to see the improvements I’ve made in the last month or 2.


Speaking of pistol work, I wanted to thank you Idaho. Way back at the beginning of this thread in ‘17, you posted a simple 50 round course of fire for working pistol fundamentals. That drill has become my bread and butter, I go through it a few times each day I work pistol, with some modifications of my own. I’ve always been a pretty decent pistol shot, but using your drill has helped me make some serious improvements. I’ve been using a steel disc, about 6 inches. If anyone is interested:

Starting at the 7 yard line, from concealed (draw as quick as you safely can, then prioritize accuracy over speed, speeding up your shots as you improve) (each string is a 10 round mag)

  • draw and fire 1 round (strong hand supported), reholster
  • draw and fire 1 round (strong hand only), reholster
  • weak hand only, pistol at low ready, aim and fire 1 round, reset
  • 1 round in chambers empty mag, draw and fire 1 round, reload, fire 1 round, reset drill(10x)
  • repeat weak hand only line

That’s 50 rounds, not sure how long but doesn’t take me very much time to complete. After this, you can repeat the same lines, or what I have started doing is the same lines but 2 shots each on every thing but the reload drill (more in line with our qual). Also, once you are consistently hitting at the 7 with some level of speed then start moving back. I have been doing this between the 7 and 10 yard lines. Today on weak hand, I would fire 1 round and if I hit then I would take a step back. If I missed, then I stayed where I was till I hit. Believe I moved beyond the 10, but not quite to the 15.

Going from that to a steel target the size of an IPSC c-zone, I can just about double tap weak hand only (strong hand only as well) and reliably hit from the 7 or 10.


No problem, that is a great drill that I use all the time. Speaking of 6 inch plates, I recently ran into a range that was going bankrupt and picked up a 6 inch falling plate rack for next to nothing, as you know, most of those are over thousand dollars. I have two 'Defense plates" smaller than a standard IPSC plate that I hang from cut 2&4’s and these are my first plates that I can call my own. 6 inch plates from 20 to 35 yards will certainly remind you that you are definitely not Rob Leatham.


Thought for the day: and thinking about Rob Leatham:

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.”