Posted on

Let’s Talk Tasers!

I’m sure most of you have seen TV shows, movies, or news clips about tasers, but the reality is that fictional TV and movie scenarios exaggerate or create complete falsehoods about taser and stun guns. Today, we want to talk about what these self-defense tools are, how they work, and dispels some myths.

Tasers is a broad term used to describe type of energy weapons designed for neuro-muscular incapacitation, typically from a distance beyond arm’s length. That is a very fancy way of saying that when used properly, the taser will override the signals from the brain to major muscle groups, causing the person to “lock-up” and not be able to move. These weapons are designed to stop an aggressor/attacker temporarily. In the civilian world, the shock is delivered for up to thirty seconds straight by products like the Pulse and Pulse+, allowing you ample time to escape. At no point does the attacker lose consciousness, it only incapacitates them.

A stun gun in contrast, relies on pain compliance at arms-length using electricity. It may sound the same, but the two key differences are that a taser can be used up to fifteen feet away from you, where a stun gun needs to be right up against an aggressor. Unlike in movies, a stun gun doesn’t knock people out. It applies a direct electrical shock to an attacker’s skin causing pain. The sound of the stun gun in conjunction with the pain is intended to deter and repel an attacker.

While they are both great options, the taser has a few features that can make it a better choice for most people. First off, the taser can reach out to fifteen, where the stun gun is limited to your reach. The taser can also be used as a stun gun once the cartridge has been fired. This can allow for a secondary means of defense if the attacker closes the distance and you miss with your initial shot. The Taser Pulse+ can also link with your phone and call 911 in the event you have to use it.

Many people don’t like the idea of carrying firearms and that’s ok! I would never ask someone to carry a gun if they weren’t comfortable with it. However, the taser or stun gun can still give you a degree of safety and security with the fact that you may be unarmed but not defenseless! There is also fantastic training offered for Civilian Taser users. At the writing of this article, there is only 1 Authorized Civilian Taser Instructor in the state of Kentucky: Safety Reloaded. Checkout the link below to view our taser and stun gun selection or to schedule your private taser lesson.

Posted on

Building Your Own First Aid Kit

Small bumps and bruises are bound to happen to everyone. Most of us are well prepared for the small scratches with our SpongeBob Band-Aids or Dora the Explorer ice packs. What else should we have readily available? There are a lot of pre-packaged first aid kits on the market, but they either fall into 2 categories: too light for most serious incidents like life threatening bleeding, or overly stuffed with Tacti-cool gadgets for the sofa-warrior. Let’s break down what most of us need for our everyday kits or car supplies.

First of all, this is not an all-inclusive list that will fit everyone but it is a basic set for most of us. There are plenty of first responders, security, and construction workers who would benefit from a more comprehensive kit, specifically built for their scenarios. But we as lay people should think about our kits in the same way that professionals pick theirs. What are the likely scenarios I will encounter? What do I need to survive that situation long enough to get advanced care? If you are long distant backpacking across the Appalachian Mountains, a splint and satellite phone may make perfect sense. Whatever your scenario, start with a basic kit, such as the one described below then add what else you need.

Basic supplies that should be in almost every first aid kits should include: 

  • Band-Aids of varying size

  • Bottle or packets of baby Aspirin

  • Bottle or packets of Ibuprofen

  • Alcohol wipes

  • Gauze or sponges

  • Quick clot

  • Tourniquet

  • Nitrile gloves.

Undoubtedly there are items not on this that people are incredibly passionate about and believe they should be in every kit, like Israeli dressings or chest seals. That’s where you need to determine what you need for your specific application. Personally, I have several different types of first aid bags depending on the scenario, ranging from a truck bag with everything listed above to my bigger advanced care bag that is specific to critical dynamic incidents. 

Everyone’s bag is going to be different, and everyone’s minimum items will be different. If you have someone with allergy issues, you may put Benadryl in your bag. Whatever you put in your bag, you need to make sure everything in it is organized in a way that you can easily access quickly, one handed, in an emergency and be able to describe its location easily without seeing the bag. Additionally, don’t put anything in your bag that you aren’t specifically trained to use. That is a nightmare liability scenario waiting to happen. Get training for what you think you may encounter every few years so you are prepared. First aid skills can atrophy over time. Take a Stop the Bleed class, Emergency First Aid Fundamentals, or Red Cross CPR and First Aid so you can be confident in your ability to handle any situation that may arise.

Posted on

New Gun Owners

July was a huge month for gun sales and new gun owners across the country and in all demographics. With that comes a lot of new gun owners which spark debates around the ethics of carrying a gun. Now I’m not going to sit here and debate that on the internet, because the internet is full of trolls. And frankly for me, this is not up for debate, if you can legally carry and feel comfortable to do so, you should! I want to take a few minutes to just remind the new owners of a few key pieces of info.

First and foremost, you need to know what the safe gun handling rules are. At a minimum they are: Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction. Keep the firearm unloaded until ready to use. Keep your finger off the trigger and outside the trigger guard until ready to fire. Know your target, and what’s behind it.

Second, get training. I can’t stress this enough! If it’s your first gun, or you aren’t that familiar with them, seek out a professional to get training. Again, I said professional! Not just the loudest guy at the gun range or that one friend who tries to appendix carry his Desert Eagle everywhere. Everyone learns differently and good instructors can make all the difference. Small difference to technique or teaching can make a world of difference for some people.

Third, get the right gear. You want a hard-sided/kydex holster, not soft fabric. There are plenty of horror stories of soft fabric or thin suede folding over into the trigger guard while someone is holstering their firearm and causing a negligent discharge. A hard-sided holster really is a must. A quality belt that is correctly size is incredibly important to keep the firearm, and your pants, where you need them to be. Cheap belts can break or not keep the holster secure while you are carrying it.

My biggest thing for new gun owners is to also take everything with a grain of salt. Everyone has their favorite gun, holsters, tactical setup, ammo, etc. Find what comfortable and safe for you, and train with it. But that is the key, train with it! Know that gun intimately and how to safely manipulate, holster, draw, and field strip it. The better you know the firearm, the more comfortable you will be with it, and the more likely you are to carry it.

Posted on

Bored and Sheltering in Place

Like many of you, we have been sheltered in place for what feels like several months now. During this time a lot of people have been complaining that they haven’t been able to go to the range or practice. Which is bizarre to me, because 80% of my practice happens at home already! I use my range time to confirm what I’ve been doing at home is working. So, with that in mind, here are a few things you can do at home to keep training.

Everything is built on dry firing. As always, make sure your gun is safe. MAKE VERY SURE! You are in the house with your family, triple check the gun! Getting familiar with your pistol on an intimate level doesn’t need fancy lasers. You can practice reloading, drawing from concealment, and more from your couch. One thing I like to do is to give myself a target to react to on TV. For instance, anytime I see a TV, or a plate, or a car while watching a show I need to draw from concealment and dry fire on the target before its back off screen. You will find this is harder than you imagine because those kinds of images are usually only on screen for a second or 2 in the background. But those quick targets can really help push you.

There are a huge amount of options from laser cartridges, SIRT practice pistols, and targets, like those from Laserlyte, that you can use to do more interactive drills. These are active feedback systems where you aim, and fire and it gives you immediate feedback. Depending on the system it could be timing you or showing your groupings. Now these systems can get expensive, going upwards of $150 for home use. There are also bigger and more complex systems like those from LASR that use virtual courses of fire.

Another great option is to give yourself a course of fire or a drill to do. For instance, you need to get out of bed and run to the front door, turn and dry fire on 3 predetermined targets in your house. Or you can set up a bunch of cups at varying distances and dry fire on them in a certain order, kind of like a memory game. All of our phones have timers on them so you can add a level of increased pressure the more you do these kinds of drills.

Just because we are stuck at home, doesn’t mean our skills need to atrophy. Take the time, 5 minutes a day, to do some training. Assemble and disassemble the gun without looking, practice reloading without looking, or do some of these dry fire exercise. And again, I can’t stress this enough, make sure the gun is unloaded before you start pulling the trigger in your home! We have all been given the luxury of time at home to train and be better than we were yesterday. Stay safe and keep training.

Posted on

Basic Situational Awareness

Today I want to take a few minutes to talk about basic situational awareness. Situational awareness has a lot of different meanings and interpretations depending on what situation you are in and what you need to be aware of. A law enforcement professional will have a different situational awareness need than personal security. They both may be looking for similar red flags, but they will react differently to them. When we talk about an everyday person who wouldn’t expect to encounter the hostility or scenarios of most armed professionals, we need to look at situational awareness in 2 pieces, environment and events. This is my interpretation from experience of what people should know, it’s not what you will learn when you go to a class focused on tactical situational awareness. This is more usable for everyone and can be taught at any level.

The environment is exactly what it sounds like, it is the location you are in and the surrounding areas. When we talk about situational awareness of your environment, we are really talking about the conditions you see, conditions you can anticipate, and how you will respond. For instance, when you enter a restaurant, do you recognize how many emergency exits there are? It seems simple but in the event of a fire, care driving through the front door, or an active shooter, how will you escape? Taking time to catalog exits as you enter an unfamiliar area is a basic building block of situational awareness. A great routine to get yourself into when going to a restaurant is to immediately excuse yourself to the restroom once your seated. This gives you an easy way to survey the area and identify less visible exits like one towards the back of a building, or the ones typically found in the kitchen. On the way back to your seat you can get another glimpse of the area from another angle which can show you the direction of possible attackers.

Another aspect of environment is how you move through an area or position yourself. In the idea of a restaurant or any public place you will always hear people say never sit with your back to a door. That’s a great practice, but unrealistic. I would say position yourself with the best vantage point to give yourself options. You may find you have your back to a door, but that door is to the kitchen where there is a lesser likelihood to be attacked from the kitchen than the front door or patios. As you move through areas you should be looking at not only exits and vantage points, but bottlenecks. Areas that people could pile up making escape less viable. Humans are creatures of habit so they will typically exit using the same door they came in, even when there are several options. Identify your best route and exit to avoid crowds.

Once you have defined your route, identified your exits, and picked a position that best gives you line of sight to possible incidents, you can relax a little. Now you can focus on identifying potential threats. I’m not suggesting you are looking at every person in the room and doing a risk assessment on them. I am talking about determine how you would recognize the first signs of trouble. It could be smelling something burning and smoke from the kitchen, it could be someone near the bar getting louder and belligerent, or the sound of the first round fired from a gun. That is the difficult one because our brains are trained to identify the safety of a situation based on experience, and most of us will not have heard what a gunshot sounds like in a confined area, without hearing protection. Our brains will try and calm us by making us thing initially it was a shattered glass from the rowdy guy at the bar, or fireworks nearby, or a car backfiring. Our brain will lie to us to prevent us from panicking. Most people will freeze at first because their brain lied to them and they are arguing internally between what their brain is telling them is safe and what their eyes are seeing as danger. These precious seconds are where you need to decide…Run, Hide, Fortify, or Fight.

I can’t make the decision to act for you. You need to have the situational awareness to be looking for these threats, your exits, and how you would respond. The more often you practice your situational awareness, defining exits, bottlenecks, and planning your actions the easier it gets. You will learn to do it instinctively, which is what you want. When shit hits the fan, you want your actions to be muscle memory, you don’t want to waste time thinking of what to do next. Training is key, “We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training”, Archilochus.

Posted on

First Firearm Choice

A lot of people ask me on input on their first firearms.  I am always incredibly uncomfortable answering this question for a variety of reasons.  Your first firearm is a very personal choice and needs to be based on your own needs, not mine.  My needs have been shaped by years carrying a gun for work and personal protection.  Below are my thoughts on what you should consider when buying your first firearm, or frankly any firearm.

First and foremost, what is the intent of the firearm? Is this a home protection only handgun? Plinking, competition, or every day personal protection?  The intent of the firearm will really shape a lot of your choices.  For instance, if I am going to get a gun for home protection only, meaning I won’t be trying to conceal carry it, then I would want a gun that fully fits my hand and has the most amount of ammo that I feel comfortable with.  There is no reason to get a sub-compact because many times you won’t be able to get a full grip on the pistol. 

Second is cost.  I will always caution people not to buy a firearm that is over $1,000 for your first purchase.  There are a huge range of great options for a lot less and if it’s your first one, you may not know if this is the right gun for you.  You may find later that a backstrap safety doesn’t feel good to you, or that the slide release is just a hair out of reach.  I would also caution against the cheapest options! Many times, the cheapest guns are that way for a reason.  Either because of reliability, cumbersome controls, or difficult maintenance.  Pick a cost you are comfortable with and know that you may not love the very first pistol you buy.

Next is features.  Do you want a manual safety, de-cocker, or options for replaceable sights, etc.? These can narrow down your search dramatically to help make the first choice less daunting.  Many people will tell you that you MUST have a safety, or ALWAYS buy a gun that you can change the trigger in, or NEVER whatever-other-sage-wisdom-they-have.  Ignore them.  What MUST ALWAYS matter to you is what you feel comfortable with.  If you won’t feel comfortable with a pistol that doesn’t have a safety, that’s what matters.  One feature that most people don’t think about and may be important to you is the availability of aftermarket parts. Some people love to customize the look and feel of their firearm.

Finally, and I’ve mentioned it a couple times now, is your comfort.  If you aren’t comfortable with the gun, you won’t use it. Plain and simple.  Hold the gun, rent one and test it out, talk to friends and read reviews, but be comfortable in your choice.  I love revolvers and they feel good in my hands.  Many new shooters find revolvers strange and awkward… and that’s ok! You need to be ok with the gun because you are the one that is going to own it.  No one else knows how it feels in your hands or how it feels when you fire the gun.   I caution you to take a safety course. You need to know how your newly purchased gun operates and how to do so safely.

Some of us were issued our first firearm and didn’t have the option early on, but for those of you who can make that choice of your first firearm, don’t make that purchase lightly.  I’ve bought a lot of pistols over the years and I still remember fondly the first pistol I purchased.  Remember to make sure it feels good in your hand, meets your needs, and has features that you want on it.  And again, I can’t stress enough the importance of taking a safety course. You can never have too much safety or training. 

Posted on

Safety Reloaded is now a Stop The Bleed Ambassador

Stop the Bleed is one of our nation’s largest public health campaigns designed to encourage bystanders to become trained, equipped, and empowered to help in a bleeding emergency before professional help arrives. Its goal is to save lives by training people across the country how to stop traumatic bleeding.

Safety Reloaded has become a Stop the Bleed Ambassador because we are passionate about getting people and organizations trained and equipped to act in case of a bleeding emergency. Everyone can learn to save a life.

Uncontrolled bleeding is a major cause of preventable deaths. Approximately 40% of trauma-related deaths worldwide are due to bleeding or its consequences, establishing hemorrhage as the most common cause of preventable death in trauma.

  • Average time to bleed out: 2 to 5 minutes

  • Average time for 1st responders to arrive: 7 to 10 minutes

  • Bystanders can fill the gap with STOP THE BLEED

Please visit to find out how you can Stop the Bleed. National Stop the Bleed Day is supported by the Department of Defense, the American College of Surgeons, the Department of Homeland Security and many other organizations across the country.

Contact Safety Reloaded to schedule your Stop The Bleed training!