Thanks you for stopping by! I am the president of Trident Concepts, a firearm and personal defense training firm. My background comes from the U.S. Navy SEALs and I am a nationally recognized instructor of law enforcement and military personnel, as well as responsible armed citizens like you.
These videos will help you prepare to defend yourself from threats to your own safety or that of your family. Part of your preparation should involve integrating firearms into your plan and learning how to use them safely and effectively. A lot of firearm and self-defense training is geared toward members of the military or law enforcement agencies. These videos are definitely not for them! They’re for you, the responsible citizen who wants to develop a personal defense plan and build the skills to carry it out safely.
Thanks to Brownell’s who made this series possible.
Four Rules of Firearm Safety
The U.S. saw a huge influx of new gun owners in 2020 – about 4.3 million in March and April alone. That means there are a lot of guns in the hands of folks who have never owned one before, and maybe never even shot one. With that in mind, I explain the four universal gun safety rules.
Is Owning a Gun Right for You?
Are you on the fence about getting a gun? Maybe you want to take greater responsibility for your own safety (good!) but aren’t sure where to start. In this video, I answer some common questions that folks have.
The Importance of “Situational Awareness”
The first step in taking charge of your own personal safety is maintaining situational awareness. “Situational awareness” is simply paying attention to what’s going on around you.
Why You Need a Home Defense Plan
In this video, I talk about developing your home defense plan. This will include basic measures like closing windows, locking doors, lighting dark areas at night, AND being prepared for a disturbance: a knock on the door late at night, loud noises, breaking glass, loud voices you don’t recognize. Come up with a plan of action for each situation. Who answers the door (not children)? Do you open the door? Talk through the door? Have a firearm close at hand? You’ll also need a plan for communicating both with other family members and the 911 dispatcher. I recommend having a code word for alerting the rest of the family of the threat. Then REHEARSE the action plan. It may seem awkward at first, but a dry run will help you find gaps and flaws in your plan – and be better prepared.
Choosing Your Home Defense Gun
I address an important question: What firearm should I have for home defense? The answer depends on your circumstances. Who lives in the house? Just you? You and your spouse? You, spouse, and kids? Not all people can move around as necessary in an emergency. What type of house is it? Single-level, multi-level, split-level? You may need to have one hand free, so a handgun may be your best choice. What’s your own training and skill level with firearms? The more training you have, the more sophisticated the plan can be. Your plan will also change over time, as children get older, elderly parents move in, and other family circumstances change. Whatever plan you come up with, it should be tailored to your specific situation.
Carrying a Firearm
We start to talk about “EDC” or every day carry of a firearm, also often called “concealed carry,” since most folks don’t carry a gun openly in public. We can’t predict when and where threats to our safety might arise, so carrying a firearm for self-defense is a way to be prepared while going about our daily lives. If you choose to carry a gun, you probably won’t do it EVERY day. There are places (airports, courthouses, government buildings, many workplaces, etc.) where you can’t carry a firearm. So you may actually carry closer to 80% of the time. Out of a 24-hour day, how many hours will you be armed? You’ll also have to integrate the firearm into your everyday wardrobe. Your work environment is a big factor; working in an office has different limitations than working at home. ALL of this affects your choice of firearm. As a result, there isn’t a single EDC strategy that’s right for everybody in all situations.
Choosing Your Daily Carry Gun
Here is my advice on selecting EDC gear – your every day carry firearm itself, plus additional equipment you’ll need. Environmental factors have a big effect on your choices. Do you live in hot, humid New Orleans? Or up in Bemidji, Minnesota? Will your lifestyle support carrying a firearm all day? Some workplaces totally ban firearms on premises, while others allow daily carry BUT the gun has to be concealed, meaning it’s not easily accessible. What’s your skill level with guns? If you’re not used to carrying a firearm all day, take a conservative approach at first. As you get more comfortable, you can alter your setup. The good news is there are a LOT of options in holsters and other gear nowadays, so you can find items that work for you and your lifestyle. Experiment to find what works best for YOU!
The Right Size for a Carry Gun
Yes, size IS important – when you’re choosing a handgun for everyday carry (EDC). I recommend first defining your “mission”: what you intend to do with the firearm. You need a gun that fits your hand. It has to be one you can carry comfortably, so you don’t fidget or do other things that tip off people around you that you’re carrying a gun. A full-size pistol like a Glock® 17 is difficult for the average person to keep concealed. Compact pistols, like the SIG P320, balance size with performance and mag capacity, making them popular EDC guns. The good thing about subcompact pistols, like the SIG P365, is they’re easy to conceal; the downside is they can be difficult to shoot. “Micro compact” pistols are super concealable, but they’re also very challenging to operate and come in low-powered calibers that aren’t the best for self-defense. But remember my Golden Rule: Having A gun is better than NO gun at all!
Features of a Good carry Gun
In the previous video, I addressed choosing the right SIZE daily carry firearm. Now he digs into other important factors. What is your budget? How much are you willing to invest in your EDC gun? We all want to get a great deal, but with firearms as with many other tools, you get what you pay for. I believe the best all-around caliber for a primary carry gun is 9mm (aka 9mm Luger, 9x19mm, 9mm Parabellum), and a magazine capacity of at least 10 rounds. Why 10? You might miss. Or an assailant might be very tough and able to take multiple hits before being immobilized. You may also have to deal with more than one attacker. Ten rounds set you up to handle all three scenarios. Stick with a gun from a major, “brand name” manufacturer because holsters and other peripherals will be readily available for it. Guns from smaller manufacturers may be excellent firearms, but holsters, spare mags, and mag pouches will be scarce.
Is a Revolver a Good Carry Gun?
Revolvers have pretty much been replaced by semi-auto pistols in military, law enforcement, and many civilian personal defense circles. But a revolver can still provide excellent protection as your self-defense / every day carry gun. As with a semi-auto pistol, a revolver’s size and caliber are intertwined. I recommend a caliber no smaller than .38 Special or larger than .357 Magnum. A small .357 Magnum revolver is difficult to control. A bigger gun will be easier to shoot, but it’ll weigh more and be harder to conceal. Some revolvers have an exposed hammer that can snag on clothing during the draw, while others designed for EDC have no exposed hammer. Small revolvers can be carried in a pocket, belt holster, or ankle holster. A large revolver is limited to a belt holster. Revolver ammo capacity IS lower than many pistols. Typically, you get 5 or 6 shots, though 7- and 8-shot revolvers do exist. You are not necessarily “undergunned,” with a revolver – as long as you factor its limitations into your planning.
Safe Gun Storage
Now that he’s covered some basics of selecting your self-defense / every day carry (EDC) gun, I address an extremely important topic: how to store your gun safely. You need to prevent unauthorized persons from accessing your firearm. This is extremely important with children, and also with service people, guests, and other folks who visit your house. Nowadays, there is a vast variety of storage products that keep your gun secure when you’re not around but still allow YOU to have very fast access to it in an emergency. Locking systems include the traditional key, dial combination lock, digital keypad, biometric fingerprint readers, and RFID systems (like your keycard at work). Some storage systems provide additional security beyond controlling access to the gun, such as protection from fire. Finally, I answer an important question: Should your gun be stored loaded?
Self Defense Ammunition
What’s the right ammunition for your EDC / home-defense gun? Self-defense ammo should be RELIABLE, have proper PENETRATION, and must be ACCURATE. It has to feed properly in your gun and go “bang!” every time you pull the trigger! To effectively stop an attacker, the bullet has to penetrate to the vital organs, but it should not over-penetrate. Most self-defense ammo has hollow point bullets that expand on impact, creating a larger bullet surface area for added punch and slowing them down for a lower risk of over-penetration. Don’t fixate on expansion; it’s more important that your ammo is reliable and penetrates to the vital organs. Less expensive full-metal jacket (FMJ) ammo, or to use an old military term, “ball” ammo is good for range practice. Even a lower-grade defensive ammo will be more effective than high-end ball ammo. Defensive ammo tends to be more powerful and have more recoil than ball ammo, so it pays spend a little range time practicing with it. How much ammo do you need? Here’s my advice:
Loading & Unloading a Pistol
You’ve got your home-defense / EDC / daily carry gun, you’ve selected your ammo, you’re getting ready to take a shooting class or hit the range, and…. wait, “How do I load the gun?” I’ll show you how to safely load and unload a handgun. First, remember those Basic Firearm Safety Rules: keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction AND keep your finger off the trigger, in the “home” position. Next, perform a Safety Check to make sure the gun is unloaded. Visually inspect to make sure the chamber is empty and the magazine is removed. And just like Santa’s List, check it twice. Next, identify the magazine release button and the slide stop lever. They’re close together, so make sure you’ve determined which is which. I will show you (1) How to hold the magazine and seat it in the gun; (2) How to close the slide; and (3) How to maintain the proper two-handed grip on the gun. Finally, he’ll cover how to unload the gun and lock the action open using the slide stop lever.
How To Load a Handgun Magazine
Here I will show the basic components of a semi-auto pistol magazine, how it functions, AND how to load it easily and quickly. Here’s a handy rule of thumb as to which way the cartridges go in the magazine: like a cartridge, the back of the magazine is flat and the front is rounded. If you’ve loaded a pistol mag before, you know it can be hard on your thumbs. You will see the trick to sliding a round into the mag without fighting the feed lips. (Hint: the first round is the most difficult.) An inexpensive magazine loader helps you avoid sore thumbs and get those magazines loaded up fast so you spend most of your time at the range doing the fun part – shooting! Sometimes you also need to remove the ammo from the magazine. I will also show you my “PEZ Dispenser” method of unloading a mag. Finally, I will answer a common question: Is it safe to store magazines fully loaded?
Must-Have Everyday Carry (EDC) Gear
In earlier episodes, we covered choosing your EDC gun, but there’s more to your daily carry setup than the gun. You can’t just get a concealed carry permit, shove the gun in your waistband, and go about your daily business. The gun is really only ONE part of a THREE-part system that also includes a holster and a belt. You want to develop a system that’s comfortable enough to carry your gun as often as possible. Be prepared to go through several holsters before you find one that really works for you. You may need more than one holster, anyway, so you can carry in different situations. The belt is critical in bringing all of this together. The more supportive the belt, the more comfortable you’ll be, and the more likely you’ll be carrying your gun if an emergency arises. Here’s why I do not recommend choosing a “niche” firearm: your holster options will be limited. The goal is to easily fit the firearm into your daily lifestyle.
How To Choose a Holster
In our last video, we talked about the major considerations in choosing a holster that integrates daily carry of a firearm into your lifestyle. Now, we get down to the nitty gritty. Choose a holster designed to fit YOUR gun. There are cheap, generic, supposedly “one-size-fits-all” holsters – BAD idea. Get a holster that holds your gun so tightly that if you turn it upside down with the gun inside, it won’t fall out. The holster needs to stay securely attached to your belt, too, and must protect the trigger at ALL times when the gun is holstered. When you draw the gun, you should be able to grasp it with your final firing grip. You don’t want to have to shift your hand position in order to be able to fire the gun. Holsters can be made of traditional leather or a modern synthetic called Kydex. Some attach inside your waistband, while others go in the traditional outside-the-belt position. There are other types, too; I will tell you about those in a later episode.
Self-defense emergencies often do not happen in broad daylight, but rather under cover of night. It’s difficult to defend yourself in the dark, so you might want to mount a light on your gun.
Handheld Lights for EDC
Bad guys tend to prefer to go about their business when it’s not easy for you to see them. So a handheld light is an important part of your EDC / daily carry setup. Colloquially called “flashlights,” we call them “handheld” to make the distinction from gun-mounted lights.
The saying goes, “Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight,” but there are times when a small handheld knife is very handy! Like your handheld flashlight, a knife is also a helpful utility tool to have with you.