This was published last Sunday on Breach Bang Clear.


Motoring Jihad: Vehicle Ramming Attacks

Chris Hernandez

Berlin, Germany. Nice, France. Ohio State University, USA. Westminster Bridge, London, UK. Stockholm, Sweden. Times Square, New York, USA*. And now London, UK.


Vehicle ramming attacks (VRAs) are becoming the preferred tactic of our jihadist terrorist enemy. Just like the IED threat in Iraq, something we didn’t anticipate but which seem completely predictable in hindsight, VRAs are the weapon sitting in plain sight for years that almost nobody thought to use until recently. They’re incredibly effective for a number of reasons, and we’re already far behind in our efforts to create effective countermeasures.

Aftermath of the Stockholm, Sweden truck attack

The most effective VRA to date occurred in Nice, France last year, and killed 86 people. The least effective was at the Ohio State University, which injured several but killed nobody. Last night’s attack in London, at last report, claimed seven lives and caused over three dozen injuries. We don’t yet know how many died from the ramming and how many from the following knife attack. Sweden’s VRA claimed five, Berlin’s attack claimed twelve, Westminster Bridge six, and Times Square one. That’s 117, including those stabbed by the attackers, in just the last eleven months. And that’s not counting dozens of vehicle attacks in Israel, like this one that killed four Israeli soldiers in January.

Or this one last year in Arizona (watch the whole thing):

If you were armed, could you have stopped that truck? If so, how? You could stand directly in front of it and mag dump into the windshield in front of the driver — shooting at it as it passes will likely have no effect, especially since you’d be shooting upward through the door. But you’d have only seconds to recognize the threat, draw, engage and get the hell out of the way. What’s the likelihood you’d be able to do all that and get a round through the windshield at the right spot, and have that round not lose so much mass and velocity as it goes through the windshield that it becomes ineffective? Maybe that’s not a one-in-a-billion shot, and maybe your response is “So you’re saying there’s a chance,” but I don’t have any realistic expectation that a concealed carrier could take out a truck like that.

You could also jump on the running board and fire through the side window. It’s what I like to think I’d try to do. But the Nice attacker was swerving, and going up to fifty miles per hour. A motorcycle rider said he rode next to the truck and climbed onto the running board before the driver pointed a gun at him, causing him to jump off. Another motorcycle rider reportedly tried to do the same thing but was run over and killed (there are conflicting reports and I’m not sure exactly what happened).

So it’s possible you could climb on the side and take a shot. But it’s also possible the driver himself is armed, like the Nice and Berlin attackers were, so you might get shot in the face and run over anyway. No matter what, using your weapon to stop a big truck like that wouldn’t be easy.

“Well, sure,” you might say. “That’s a big truck, and it would be hard to stop, but most ramming attacks would probably involve a regular car or pickup.” And you’re right, they probably would since regular passenger vehicles are easier to get. So watch this video from the Times Square VRA:

Same question: if you had been there and been armed, what could you have done?

The car was traveling much faster than the cargo truck in Nice. It doesn’t have as much material to deflect gunfire as the cargo truck, but it’s also much smaller and easier to miss. If you’d deliberately stand in front of that car you’re insane, especially since the car will keep moving even if you manage to kill the driver. If your first instinct would be to jump out of the way (and yes, that would be your first instinct) would you then open fire on that small and fast-moving car, in an area full of civilians?

No, I’m not saying there’s no way to stop vehicle attackers. But I am saying it’s pretty damn hard to stop a vehicle with a gun, as many Soldiers discovered during the War on Terror. I personally watched my gunner in Iraq shoot a suspected car bomb with an M2; the vehicle stopped, then started driving again when we were much farther away. If .50 caliber rounds into the hood didn’t stop a Toyota Corolla (I think that’s what it was), your Glock 19 probably won’t stop a VRA.

So what should you do in case a VRA happens in front of you? 

Zombieland already gave us Rule #1:




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Chris Hernandez (pictured above) is a 23 year police officer, former Marine and retired National Guard soldier with over 25 years of military service. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and also served 18 months as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo. He writes for and has published three military fiction novels, Proof of Our ResolveLine in the Valley and Safe From the War through Tactical16 Publishing. He can be reached at or on his Facebook page (


Lately we’re seeing a lot more citizens getting carry permits or exercising constitutional carry rights and going armed in public. That’s a great thing. We’re also seeing more and more social media posts showing people carrying the wrong weapons and/or carrying in ways that actually put them in more danger. That’s a bad thing. So I’m going to try to do something about it, and provide some basic information for people new to the world of carrying a pistol.

I’m not writing this from the standpoint of a tactical master; I’m no Paul Howe or Mike Pannone, and if they say anything that contradicts my advice, listen to them. However, I’ve been carrying a gun as a Marine, Soldier and cop for over twenty years, I’ve got a fair amount of training, and I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t through that training, my mistakes and painful experience, other people’s experience, and trial and error. Also, I’m not trying to sell you anything. While I write for a website that advertises weapons and accessories, and have tested and advertised some firearms and products, I’m not writing this to push any company or product. I’m just telling you what I know and how I know it, suggesting you consider it, and asking you to decide for yourself if my advice will help you.

So I’ll present a list a points and explanations, in no particular order. Keep in mind, I’m writing for people who can legally own a gun and will legally carry according to their local laws. With that said, here we go.


Carrying a gun is all about practicalities and reality. Generally speaking, you shouldn’t carry to prove a point, especially a political point. If your motivation is to prove something, you’re likely ignoring practical considerations and tactical realities. For example, in most situations you’re better off with a concealed rather than openly carried weapon. But if you’re trying to prove something, you’ll probably make a bad tactical decision (like open carrying without a security holster) and draw attention that puts you in more danger than if you were unarmed.

As a cop, I urge every responsible citizen to legally carry. But don’t do it in a dumb way that accomplishes the exact opposite of what you’re trying to do.



A cliché about carrying a weapon is “the best pistol for self defense is a rifle.” That’s true, but obviously carrying a rifle around everywhere is kind of a pain, and it’s likely to get you kicked out pretty much any place run by regular people. Not only that, if you carry a rifle in public you’ll probably be immortalized on the internet as a dumbass.


So instead of carrying a rifle, you should carry a pistol. Pistols are inherently underpowered, have limited ammo capacity, and are relatively inaccurate due to their short barrels. But they’re the most practical self-defense weapons we’ve got.

What’s the best pistol? That depends on you. What’s your body type? What’s your realistic threat? What’s your level of training? What’s your budget? Generally, you want the best pistol that you can afford that’s reliable, concealable, and powerful enough to sustain an actual gunfight.

I can’t say this enough: the most important concern for a carry gun is not how light and easy to carry it is. There are plenty of great pocket guns, and they definitely have their place. I’ll carry a two-shot .22 Derringer if nothing else is available, but I’d be terrified to have to pull that against a robber threatening my family. Tiny .380, 9mm and even .45 pistols can disappear in a pocket, but they tend to be inaccurate and painful to shoot because they’re so small and light. I’ve seen the web of a friend’s hand bleeding from firing less than a box of .380 through a pocket pistol, which made him not want to shoot it anymore. Any gun that you don’t want to train with isn’t a good carry gun.

So for a daily carry gun, I chose something bigger and more capable but still concealable for my body type. The gun that works best for me is a Glock 43, which is a single-stack 9mm. “Single stack” means the pistol’s magazine has one single row of rounds, versus a staggered row in a double-stack magazine, which means the single stack magazine and pistol grip are narrower, which means the pistol is easier to conceal. When it comes to hiding a pistol, a half-inch difference in width can be a big deal.


Despite what some guy on Facebook said, this just might not be the best carry gun for you.

In case you’re wondering about body types, I’m a little guy at 5’7” and 170 pounds with a (formerly) thin build. It’s usually hard for me to conceal a large pistol unless I wear big untucked shirts, which makes me look like a complete slob. I carried a blocky, chunky Glock 27 for many years, and it was a little hard to hide, so I always wore baggy clothes. I also carried my full-size Glock 22 duty weapon for a time, and looked even sloppier. Now that I’m older and dress a little snappier, I’ve chosen a smaller pistol that’s easier to hide but still capable.

If you’re a huge monster and wear loose clothing, you might be able to easily hide a bigger gun. If you’re a five-foot-nothing beanpole who has to wear a close-fitting uniform, a smaller gun may be a better fit. Maybe. It depends on you personally, and how you’re shaped.

As mentioned above, your manner of dress also comes into play. Not everyone can “dress around their gun.” If you have to wear tucked-in shirts for work or social situations you probably can’t conceal a typical carry gun on your waist, which is usually the most practical way to carry. If you live in a hot climate you’re more limited in what you can conceal than you would be in Fargo ND, where you’d wear a jacket far more often.

Then there’s the threat level, which I mentioned earlier. If I knew for certain I was going to be attacked by an armed criminal, I’d probably stay home with my rifle by my side. But if I had to go out and couldn’t carry my rifle, I’d wear extra clothes so I could hide a full-size pistol with several spare magazines. Fortunately I don’t face that kind of known threat, so I’m comfortable with the G43. If you live in the worst neighborhood in Chicago and have already been robbed twice, your pistol choice should probably be a little different than mine.

And then there’s your budget. There are many reliable, outstanding pistols on the market like Glocks, Sig Sauers, Smith&Wessons, H&Ks and others, but they’re not free. If you can’t afford a quality pistol you may have to get something cheaper like a Ruger, Jennings or even a [shudder] Hi-Point. The point is, get the best pistol you can afford, and whatever you get make sure you understand its capabilities and limitations. I don’t hold anything against a guy carrying a cheap pistol because it’s the only one in his budget, as long as he trains and knows his pistol’s likelihood of failure.

For a time I carried the Beretta Nano in the top picture, which was perfect in every way except that it didn’t work. It failed to extract so often that I had to stop carrying it, and it’s now dying of loneliness in my safe. But if it was all I had, it’s what I’d have to go with. I’d just make sure I practiced malfunction drills like a man possessed.

Note: my advice about carrying a gun is mostly about autos. I’ve trained with a revolver, and I’ve seen some amazingly skilled revolver shooters, but I haven’t owned one in almost twenty years and the ones I did own were just backup guns. Revolvers tend to be a little harder to conceal because of their cylinders, generally have lower ammo capacity, are usually a little slower to reload, and carrying reloads for a revolver is a little more of a pain than carrying spare magazines for an auto. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t carry a revolver, if you’re well trained with one. It just means I’ve chosen an auto instead. Plenty of revolvers are good carry guns.


This is important. Occasionally I’ll hear of someone preaching that carrying a loaded pistol is just too dangerous because the gun “might just go off.” Maybe that was true of certain older pistols, but a modern, quality weapon will only fire if you pull the trigger. If you don’t trust your pistol enough to carry it loaded, get training; if you still think your pistol is too dangerous to carry loaded, you probably shouldn’t carry it. As long as you train correctly, follow the firearms safety rules and keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot, a good pistol will never, ever “just go off.”

The gun in the video below didn’t just go off. The shooter negligently pulled the trigger, while violating other gun safety rules.

Of course, you may have heard that Israeli police and soldiers carry with empty chambers. You may also think that Israelis are the tactical masterminds of the universe and everything they do is right. Well, even though the Israelis do tend to be tactically proficient, the empty chamber thing is kinda goofy. My understanding is that the original Israeli army was equipped with a variety of old pistols, some of which were too dangerous to carry loaded, so they adopted an across-the-board empty chamber policy so they could train everyone the exact same way. For some reason Israel has chosen to continue this training philosophy today, when they have good, modern pistols. But whatevs; just because they do it, doesn’t mean you should.


Before we move on to carry methods, we need to remind ourselves that a gun is NOT a magical talisman (credit to instructor Greg Ellifritz for that phrase). A gun is simply a tool, and if you carry it in a stupid way someone will take it from you and hurt you with it. I once heard a cop say off duty he carried his Glock stuck in his waistband with no holster; I’m sure that’s comfortable and all, but the moment he gets into a physical confrontation and has a loaded, unsecured pistol floating around his waistband, he’s screwed. If you’re going to carry, carry in a way that won’t get you killed if you have to run, fight, or keep someone from taking your gun.


Photo credit

I first started as a cop in the mid-90s, when we were just realizing how often cops were being disarmed and killed. We were told that a huge percentage of police officers shot and killed were shot with their own or their partner’s gun. Even so, we still had idiot cops who argued against retention holsters (more-secure holsters with secondary locking mechanisms) and used cheap thumb break holsters on duty. But I know officers who were saved by their retention holsters, I’ve discovered my retention holster unsnapped after a fight when I didn’t even realize the suspect was trying to get my gun, and I know of two incidents where suspects couldn’t disarm police officers who were unconscious because they couldn’t figure out the holster. Retention holsters work.

But even though we’ve known the danger of pistol disarms for decades, and even though we’ve had instances of open carriers being disarmed, we still frequently see people carrying guns in non-retention holsters, practically begging bad guys to steal their guns. I don’t get it. It seriously makes zero sense. This goes back to “carrying to prove a point”; I’d guess that most of the people open carrying pistols in crappy holsters are trying to prove something personal or political, and in so doing make bad tactical decisions that put them in more danger.


So keep this in mind: if your weapon is ever going to be exposed in public, you should use a retention holster. And remember that concealment is a level of retention. It’s hard to take someone’s pistol when you don’t even know they have one.


There are many methods of carry, and pretty much all of them make sense in some situations. I’ll address some of the most common, and provide a little insight into their strengths and drawbacks.

  • Strong Side Waist, outside waistband (OWB): not bad, but a decent-sized gun on your hip will stick out and maybe “print” (show a gun-shaped object) under your shirt. A thin gun with a good holster that holds it tight to your waist usually alleviates the printing problem. Also, in a physical confrontation you probably have a pretty good chance of protecting your gun if it’s carried strong side waist. On the other hand, one thing to consider is whether or not you can access a gun on your strong side with your weak hand if your strong hand is disabled. In a worst-case scenario, you want to be able to draw with either hand.
  • Four o’clock, OWB (over your back pocket on your strong side): I carried this way for years. I was wrong. While it had advantages in that it didn’t stick out to the side and was accessible with either hand, in a physical confrontation it would have been almost impossible to protect. But it’s not always wrong; if you have to wear a suit, for example, it’s not a bad concealment method.
  • Small of back OWB: basically the same issues as four o’clock carry.

Pistol printing under a shirt. Photo credit

Now, change those from OWB to inside the waistband (IWB). Generally speaking, IWB is far more secure than OWB. On the other hand, it’s way less comfortable. One crappy truth about carrying a pistol is that they’re heavy and uncomfortable. Deal with it, or don’t carry.

More carry methods:

  • Ankle carry: good for concealment but terrible for a quick draw, especially if you’re moving. If you’re unfortunate enough to have to run for your life while someone’s shooting at you, you’re not getting that gun out of an ankle holster until you stop or at least slow down. On the plus side, if you’re carrying on the inside of your ankle the weapon is accessible with either hand. Even with easy concealment, that’s still not enough of an advantage to make me choose ankle carry for daily use. Of course, there are plenty of situations where you might not be able to carry any other way, and that’s cool. Just make sure you understand that carry method’s limitations and how it affects your tactical plan.
  • Pocket carry: if you have a small enough gun and a good pocket holster, it’s great for concealment. There are many holster makers producing kydex pocket holsters that break up the pistol’s outline in your pocket, and not many people look at other people’s pockets anyway. It’s great for retention, and it’s also not a terribly slow draw with your strong hand. But if you have to draw with your weak hand, it sucks. If you have to draw while seated, it sucks. One important note is that pocket holsters made out of soft materials can be dangerous; I tried one with a Glock 42, and during practice at the range I somehow got my finger inside the holster and brushed the trigger in my pocket while drawing. That’s that, I’ll never use a soft pocket holster again.
  • Off-body carry: that is, carrying in a backpack or man purse. While there are situations where it’s necessary or practical, I generally won’t do it unless there’s no other option. Most tactical man purses that carry a gun look exactly like a tactical man purse with a gun, and most backpacks with a gun will take a long time to draw from, so I don’t like that method of carry. That said, I do carry a gun in a small backpack or chest pack when I jog, because there’s really no other way to do it. One of my rules of thumb for carrying a gun is “if it’s not on my body, it’s not loaded.” With all the possibilities of having a bag stolen, or having to take it off in formal situations like business meetings, I’d be real nervous about having a loaded pistol in a bag. But as I said, there are times it makes sense.
  • Shoulder holster carry: never done it [EDITED TO ADD, I remembered that I actually have done it, but only as a tanker in the military, never in public]. I’ve seen a lot of older cops do it, younger guys not so much. I’m told it makes sense when you’re wearing a suit or flying a helicopter. One thing I was warned about is that in a physical confrontation we automatically take a bladed stance against our opponent, and if you’re using a shoulder holster you’re actually putting your pistol closer to him butt first, which makes it easier for him to grab. I’ve also never seen or heard of a retention security holster; they all just have a single snap thumb break, as far as I know.
  • Cross draw: I can only think of one situation where this might make sense, and that’s drawing a pistol while seated in a car or other confined space. But that possible advantage disappears the minute you’re on your feet; now you have to reach in front of your own body to draw your weapon, which you probably can’t do if you’re rolling around in a fight. You also probably can’t draw at all with your weak hand, and if you do draw you have to make an arcing motion to bring the weapon on target so you’ll probably swing past your target and have to reverse motion to bring it back. Cross draw is slow, impractical and dangerous. One of the biggest indicators that a gun carrier has no idea what he’s doing is if he’s carrying in a cross draw holster. I’ve never seen a well-trained shooter carrying cross draw and never heard of any reputable instructor advocating it. I’m all ears, though; if someone knows good reasons to do it, please let me know in the comments.
  • Appendix carry (IWB just off center from your navel): uncomfortable, awkward, fear-inducing because you’re just sure you’ll shoot your weiner off, and one of the best carry methods out there. Appendix carry is extremely secure, and with a good appendix holster you can run and fight without the slightest worry about losing your gun. It’s also one of the fastest draws. On the negative side, if you have a gut it’ll push the grip outward and make your pistol print. Also, appendix carry generally requires two hands for reholstering your weapon, which might cause a problem in some situations. And no matter how much you train to shoot from appendix, you never quite stop worrying about shooting your junk. I carry appendix almost exclusively, and will probably always feel a tinge of worry about it.

Me appendix carrying at a training course a few years ago.

There are other carry methods, but I’ll stop with these. If anyone has questions about others, please leave a comment.


Unfortunately, the gun world is full of guys with an ounce of experience and a ton of advice. Many of them have literally no business telling anyone how to carry, because they don’t know how to do it correctly themselves. So let’s talk about a few types of people who give bad advice:

  • Pretty much any random guy on the internet. The net is a vast cesspool of bad advice, and the random people offering tips in discussion forums are often the worst offenders. If random guy says something that sounds good to you, even if I’m the random guy, find a legitimate source confirming it before you believe it.
  • Bearded, overweight guys at ranges, gun shows and gun stores who start conversations with “I was a Navy SEAL on Recon Team Delta during the Battle of Fallujah off the coast of Afghanistan in 2010.” The gun world attracts liars and posers like Twinkies attract Rosie O’Donnell. A rule of thumb for life is to not believe anyone who claims to be a Special Forces hero without evidence, and that’s doubly important for a new shooter and gun carrier.
  • MANY veterans. “Veteran” can mean anything from Delta Force pistol instructor to a cook in a mess kit repair unit, and there are a lot more cooks than Delta Force instructors in the military. Most troops get little to no pistol training, so unless you know a veteran has advanced training there’s no reason to believe they’re skilled with a pistol just because they served.
  • MANY gun store employees and dealers at gun shows. Gun businesses are businesses; good ones won’t sell crappy or unsuitable guns to new shooters, bad ones don’t care what you buy as long as they make a profit. Back in 1995 when Texas passed the concealed carry law, some dumbass gun show dealer tried to sell me an AR-15 pistol for concealed carry. So if you’re new to the gun world, don’t walk into a gun store and expect every employee to give you only the best advice. Far too many only care about getting your money.
  • Most cops. Yeah, I said it. I’m super proud of my police brothers and sisters, but damn, a lot of them only train when they absolutely have to. I know cops who fire exactly fifty rounds a year, because that’s all they need to shoot for annual qualification. I know cops who refuse to carry a gun off duty. Being a cop does not automatically equal being well trained; also, as far as concealed carry goes, remember that cops don’t have to worry about getting in trouble if someone sees their gun. A cop might say, “I’ve carried in a Serpa holster on my right hip for years and never had a problem,” and they’re right. But part of the reason they’ve never had a problem is because it doesn’t matter if they get spotted with a gun, so they don’t care if they’re sloppy about concealment.
  • Anyone whose basis for giving advice is “I’ve never had a problem with [my gun/ammo/holster/etc].” Sure, someone can “never have a problem” with something; that doesn’t mean they’ve ever actually trained with or tested their gear. A beloved relative of mine (may he rest in peace) carried a cheap .25 in his pocket for years and never had a problem with it. Then he finally took it to the range, pulled the trigger and found out it was broken and wouldn’t fire. The cop I mentioned earlier could have carried his Glock just stuck in his waistband and never had a problem with it, as long as he never had to actually run or fight. There’s a certain brand of holster a lot of people use and never have problems with, because thus far nobody has torn their cheap holster off its paddle, (which is easy to do). A shooter with a notoriously unreliable pistol can brag about how he’s never had a problem with it, without mentioning he only fires one box of twenty rounds through it every other year. Pistols like Glocks and Sigs have been repeatedly torture tested and continued to fire, and many reputable companies make great holsters that stand up to abuse. One person’s personal experience with what may be the worst piece of gear or weapon ever built isn’t a valid reason for you to mimic him.
  • The guy who says, “I carry a .45 cuz they don’t make a .46, HAR HAR HAR!!” or any other version of “a real man carries a huge gun.” If you ever hear that, just slowly back away. Trust me.

“But this Army Green Beret guy told me he’s carried a Hi-Point for years and never had a problem with it.”


For reasons I will never, ever, EVER understand, many gun carriers are convinced they’ll never need to reload. They carry their weapon with one mag in the mag well, and that’s it. “Well of course!”, they might say. “I carry a Glock 19 with a seventeen-round magazine, why would I need more than that?”

BECAUSE THINGS GO WRONG. Shooters in a gunfight shoot more and faster than they realize. Ammo fails. Magazines fail. Weapons double feed, requiring you to strip your magazine from the pistol, rack the slide several times, reinsert a mag and reload. Are you planning on stripping your mag from your weapon and taking the time to put it in your pocket, clearing your weapon, then taking the magazine back out (and maybe having to reseat or strip the top round because it’s sticking up vertically, as sometimes happens during double feeds) and then reloading, all while someone’s shooting at you? What if you’re running while clearing your weapon, how easy will it be to clear and reload with the same magazine?


Double feed. Photo credit

In real life, malfunctions happen even with the best of weapons. You can accidentally bang your pistol on a wall and unseat the magazine. You can induce a malfunction with an improper grip during a rushed draw. Or, far more likely, you can empty your weapon in seconds without realizing it (like the cop who shot a guy pointing a gun at me years ago; the officer thought he fired two or three rounds, when he had fired eight). Don’t be the guy who never thought he needed spare ammo, and died with an empty gun in his hand. That would be embarrassing.

Spare mags can be carried several ways, from belt pouches to mag holsters that clip to the inside of your pocket to carrying loose in a pocket. Respected tactical trainer Matt Graham taught me several years ago that pocket carrying mags works fine, and that’s what I’ve done since then. Others prefer different methods. However you do it, just do it.

One brief side note: if you get a small auto like a Glock 43 that only carries six rounds in a short magazine, remember that you only need ONE six-round mag. You might need that magazine in the gun for concealment, but your spare mags can have extensions to give you more ammo capacity. All my spare mags have +2 or +3 mag extensions from a reputable manufacturer. But whatever you do, don’t buy cheap mag extensions.


I’ve heard people say they just carry a “get off me gun” (GOMG). This is a weapon intended to just make an attacker stop his attack, not necessarily to incapacitate them. A Derringer, .25 Raven or any number of other small pistols are often referred to as GOMGs. People who carry them frequently don’t bother carrying spare ammo, and often say things like “I just plan on shooting it over my shoulder as I’m running away” or “It might not kill ‘em, but by god it’ll make ‘em quit coming at me.”


.25 Raven. Photo credit Auction Arms.

No it won’t. If you’re going to carry a gun, please, for the love of god, study the realities of gunfights. Determined attackers often take multiple hits and continue shooting, stabbing or punching. Even an unsurvivable wound might not kill someone for a while, as we saw back in the 1986 Miami FBI shootout where a robber/murderer took a lethal hit in the first few seconds of a fight but still managed to kill two FBI agents and wound several others before dying. Real life bullets don’t do what TV and movie bullets do, and if you think you’ll always drop someone with one dramatic shot you’re just wrong. GOMGs are typically underpowered with poor ballistic performance, and will likely be ineffective against someone high or drunk (or even just really mad, like one of the suspects in the FBI shootout).

Also, what if you’re not alone? The guy who plans on shooting as he’s running away seems to have failed to consider, oh, being robbed in the Wal-Mart parking lot while he’s with his wife and kids. Is he going to abandon his family and shoot over his shoulder while running away? Unfortunately, you don’t get to write the script for your gunfight. If you’re an armed citizen, any confrontation you have with a criminal is almost guaranteed to be an ambush where the criminal chose the time, location, and method of confrontation. You’ll already be on the defensive, don’t make it worse by carrying a GOMG with no spare ammo.

Again, there are situations where a GOMG is all you can get away with, and ya gotta do what ya gotta do. But for daily carry, I strongly recommend you carry a larger pistol you can actually fight with.

There are many, many more factors involved with carrying a gun, but I’ll stop here for now. If anyone has counter arguments to my points, please present them in the comments. I ain’t no expert on nuthin’, I’m always learning, and if I’m wrong about something I will gladly acknowledge my mistake. Thanks for reading, and if you’re going to carry a gun in public, please keep this in mind: a lethal force encounter is one of the most demanding, intense, complex situations anyone could ever face. If you’re untrained and get into a gunfight against an opponent with any skill whatsoever, you’re almost guaranteed to lose. So for yourself, your family and your fellow citizens, TRAIN WITH YOUR GUN.


This post is dedicated to the memory of Kevin O’Brien, writer of the Weaponsman blog, who passed away unexpectedly last week. Kevin was a retired Special Forces Soldier, fellow Afghanistan veteran, true American patriot, genius about weapons, and hell of a nice guy. He enthusiastically supported my writing, and wrote the back cover blurb for my novel Line in the Valley. Kevin was taken from us far too soon, will be missed by many, and is hopefully enjoying the peace he truly earned. Rest in peace, brother.

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Chris Hernandez (pictured above) is a 23 year police officer, former Marine and retired National Guard soldier with over 25 years of military service. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and also served 18 months as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo. He writes for and has published three military fiction novels, Proof of Our ResolveLine in the Valley and Safe From the War through Tactical16 Publishing. He can be reached at or on his Facebook page (


Alleged Nazi Richard Spencer got punched last month. Then rioters at UC Berkeley beat people for going to see conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopolous, who is apparently also a Nazi. Since Milo’s a Nazi, the people who wanted to see Milo must also have been Nazis. One of the Nazis who wanted to see Milo was beaten unconscious, others were bloodied. For the last month, there’s been tons of Nazi-punching going on.

Who likes to see Nazis gets punched? Everyone, right? Well, not exactly. It turns out, punching Nazis isn’t as good an idea as one might think.

Before I get into why it’s not such a good idea, you should know I pledged my life to defending America from enemies, including Nazis, for 27 years. Some relatives I’m most proud of spent their formative years shooting Nazis. In our current political climate anyone who speaks out against punching Nazis is likely to be called a Nazi himself, but I actually hate Nazis. Not only have I studied World War II and the Holocaust for years and know what horrible crimes Nazis actually committed, I’ve also heard Holocaust survivors speak, visited Holocaust museums in America and Europe, and personally argued with neo-Nazis. I recognize that Nazis think they’re inherently superior to me, which kind of gets on my nerves. So before some “antifa” (“anti-fascist” rioter) gets all jacked up and calls me a Nazi, they should know that Hispanic Nazis fall under the category of “people unclear on the concept.”


Since I don’t care much for Nazis, it might seem surprising that I don’t think they should be punched. To be more precise, I don’t mind punching actual Nazis; the problem is, the people getting punched lately aren’t Nazis. Richard Spencer is in fact a white nationalist, but he doesn’t actually do anything except talk. Milo Yiannapolous is a gay Jew with an affinity for black men, which would have gotten him killed three times over in Nazi Germany. The people who went to his event at Berkeley weren’t Nazis at all, they were just regular people who wanted to hear a dissenting opinion. One was just a young girl who didn’t agree with the mob. She wasn’t punched, she got pepper sprayed for it.

And therein lies the problem. When we cheer a violent rioter because “he punched a Nazi!”, without having any actual evidence the victim was a Nazi, what we’re really saying is, “It’s okay to use violence on people because I think I know their opinions, and I’ve decided some opinions aren’t allowed.”

But hey, Nazi opinions shouldn’t be allowed. Right?

Yes, they should. Nazis suck, and Nazi opinions suck, but we live in America. ANY opinion is allowed; not every opinion is valid, not every opinion is respectable, not every opinion is or should be safe from well-deserved ridicule. But an opinion – ANY opinion – is harmless. In America, we don’t beat people up for their opinions.

There are plenty of opinions I’m not fond of. I don’t like communists, since they murdered more people than Nazis ever even tried to. But if I encounter these people, I won’t beat them for their incredibly stupid opinions.


Unlike many fringe leftists, I don’t care for the idea of killing every last white man, woman and child. At least one well-known member of the New Black Panther Party, on the other hand, has advocated white genocide on video on at least two occasions. So should we punch any NBPP member we see, since by association they advocate genocide?

Richard Spencer advocated “peaceful ethnic cleansing” to create a white nation. Just having that opinion means you should get punched, right? Oddly enough, a current major American political figure once advocated the creation of a black nation in the American south, with the caveat that “peaceful whites would not be compelled to move away,” which was awfully nice of him. But since he didn’t define “peaceful,” and we see that much of the left considers language itself “violence,” it’s not much of a stretch to see whites with wrong opinions ethnically cleansed from the black nation.

Think this modern political figure is some far-left loon? Nope, it’s Keith Ellison, in the running for chair of the Democratic National Committee. Since he advocated what sounds like ethnic cleansing, is anyone going to sucker punch him like they did Richard Spencer?


“Nazis” are not the only people who say incredibly stupid or offensive things. But once you decide to beat people for being Nazis, without evidence they’re Nazis, your definition of what constitutes a Nazi tends to broaden. As we’ve heard repeatedly during and after the election, Spencer is a Nazi. Since he supports Trump, Trump must be a Nazi. Since Trump is a Nazi, anyone who supports him must be a Nazi. And since Nazis can be justifiably beaten in the streets, about half the country has now become legitimate targets for violence in the eyes of the radical left.


This violence has already gotten so bad, Trump protesters literally set a Trump supporter on fire the day after the inauguration. But since it’s okay to use violence against Nazis, which includes any Trump supporter, my ears are still ringing from the left’s deafening silence about a Trump protester literally setting someone on fire for their political opinion.

Two Trump supporters were beaten unconscious by leftist mobs within three days. And yet UC Berkeley students are writing essays justifying violence against unarmed people solely for their opinions as “self defense,” and protest organizers are proudly calling for even more violence against people for their opinions.


Long story short, 1) Americans shouldn’t get beaten for political opinions even if they’re Nazis, and 2) the people currently getting beaten aren’t Nazis anyway. I’d point out that the same liberal/leftist/democratic side of the aisle that was justifiably aghast at any violence by a Trump supporter is too busy watching the Flintstones or something to loudly condemn the mass violence, arson and looting being committed by radical leftists, but that’s too easy. So instead, I’ll do the radical leftist rioters who like to punch Nazis a favor, and tell them this:

Mob violence against people for having forbidden opinions is great fun and all, until your forbidden opinion is the one facing the angry mob. So stop it. Stop covering your face, joining up with your gang and beating up innocent people because you don’t like what they think. This isn’t just a moral issue, it’s a practical one. I’ve watched what you people do, and to be honest you suck at fighting.

Don’t get me wrong; you’re great at being cowards and forming large groups to attack individual unarmed people, you’re highly skilled at breaking windows, you’re proficient at arson, but you suck at actual fighting. And since your groups are made up of people who hate guns and hate the military, you don’t have armed, trained people experienced in the use of violence.

But your targets do. The people you consider Nazis are far more likely to be armed, trained, and prepared to fight than you are. And the more incidents of mass violence you commit, the more likely regular Americans are to fight back. Those regular Americans will be better at fighting than you are. The only reason you people haven’t been beaten down en masse in the streets is because regular Americans are following the rules and expecting the police to stop you. It won’t always be that way. Some day, probably very soon, you’ll encounter people who are intimately familiar with the kind of violence you think you’re capable of. And you won’t win.

“Antifas” and “Nazi punchers” are currently marching toward today’s equivalent of the L.A. Riot’s “roof Koreans,” people who didn’t just roll over and take it when rioters tried to loot and burn their businesses.


Unlike way too many people on the fringes of both the right and left, I don’t want to see violence in the street against any American citizen for their political opinion. I don’t want to see Trump protesters assaulted at his rallies, or Trump’s supporters beaten unconscious by black-masked rioters who violently oppose pretty much anyone who doesn’t think Lenin is the mother of all thats holy. So please, if you support beating up “Nazis”/aka “regular American citizens with opinions you don’t like,” think about what you’re doing and what response you’re likely to provoke.

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Chris Hernandez is a 22 year police officer, former Marine and retired National Guard soldier with over 25 years of military service. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and also served 18 months as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo. He writes for and Iron Mike magazine and has published three military fiction novels, Proof of Our ResolveLine in the Valley and Safe From the War through Tactical16 Publishing. He can be reached at or on his Facebook page (



As I’ve written before, I have an autistic son. I’ve also been a cop for almost 23 years. So when I saw the video of North Miami PD shooting the caretaker of an autistic man last July, and heard the officer’s explanation that he was actually trying to shoot the autistic man, I was…perplexed.

Just from a tactical perspective, I didn’t get the reasoning behind that shooting. From the camera’s angle I didn’t see anything that looked like a gun, I clearly saw the caretaker with his hands up explaining the situation, and I didn’t get why the caretaker was cuffed after being shot if the officer supposedly fired to protect him.

But most importantly, I saw the autistic man doing something that could have been a sign to the responding officers.

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On many occasions I’ve seen my autistic son lift objects to his eyes like that, or rub his fingers together at the corners of his eyes. Had I been on that scene, I would have immediately told everyone to back off, and explained why. The officers on that scene, through no fault of their own, seem not to have recognized that sign.

I’ve never been scared of a cop (at least in America; overseas was a different story). Despite the alleged oppression Hispanics have suffered, despite having family members complain to me about their awful treatment when they were arrested for things they were actually guilty of, despite the usual negative portrayal of cops on TV and in the media, I was never, ever, scared of an American cop. But now that I have an autistic son, I have to worry. Because I don’t know if my son, when he reaches adulthood, might somehow wind up in a situation where an untrained police officer might mistake him for a threat.

When I became a cop in 1994, I don’t remember any training about autism. We get some now, but what I’ve received is more about the basics of autism than how it specifically applies to my job. The number of kids diagnosed with autism has skyrocketed since I started this career, so new cops can expect to encounter a lot more autistic people than I ever did.

I speak autism and I speak cop, so after the North Miami shooting I started trying to figure out ways to spread knowledge about autism to street cops. I’ve come up with some examples, based on firsthand knowledge, of situations where a cop might mistake an autistic person for a threat.

First, I should say THIS IS ORIENTED TOWARD PATROL OFFICERS. Pretty much every other type of cop (detectives, accident investigators, etc.) arrives after the situation is settled and main players identified, but patrol shows up to mass confusion and a thousand unknowns. Patrolmen need this more than any other type of cop.

EXAMPLE 1: You’re on patrol and get a “see complainant” call at a house, with no additional information. You arrive at the house, knock on the door, and get invited inside. Inside the front room are a middle-aged couple and a teenage boy. Everything is calm. As you begin talking to the middle-aged couple, the teenage boy suddenly grabs your arm and yanks you toward the front door.

What would you do?

Something similar happened to me while I was conducting an investigation. I knew when I entered this house that a teenage boy with autism lived there. When he grabbed my arm and pulled me toward the door, I knew exactly what he was doing: he wanted to go for a ride. He wanted me to put him in my car and drive somewhere. I knew this because my autistic boy loves to go for rides, and has done the exact same thing with me many times.

As cops, we should always be vigilant. We should always be prepared to encounter a surprise threat. If I hadn’t known an autistic person was in that house, and didn’t have an autistic son myself, I would have reacted defensively when that teenage boy grabbed me. I would have yanked my arm away. I would probably have shoved him away to create distance. I would likely have drawn a Taser or baton. And none of that would have been necessary, because the boy wasn’t any kind of a threat.

If I had reacted like a cop instead of the father of an autistic son, I would likely have made the situation worse. Foreknowledge of autism kept me from overreacting and maybe harming an innocent person.

Example 2: You receive a “prowler” call in a neighborhood late at night, with a detailed suspect description. You drive into the neighborhood, turn a corner and see your suspect walking down the street. You drive up to him, get out of your car and yell at him to stop. He immediately sticks his fingers in his ears.

Most cops I know would get mad. We’ve known since childhood that sticking your fingers in your ears means “Lalalalala I’m not listening to you!”, and that would piss most of us off.

But you know what else it could be? It could be an autistic person who wandered from his house (like the man in North Miami) and has sensitivity to loud noises. I’ve been around autistic kids who have to always wear hearing protection because they’re so sensitive. I’ve seen my son melt down at an airshow, even with earmuffs, because he couldn’t stand the sound of the Blue Angels flying overhead. I once took him with me when I taught a class on autism, and at the end when the audience applauded he immediately stuck his fingers in his ears.


[Photo from FriendshipCircle.Org]

Autism often involves hypersensitivity to sensory stimulation. If you encounter someone who acts like they’re ignoring your shouted commands, it may mean they actually can’t handle the shouting.

Read the rest here on Breach Bang Clear.

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Chris Hernandez is a 22 year police officer, former Marine and recently retired National Guard soldier with over 25 years of military service. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and also served 18 months as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo. He writes for and Iron Mike magazine and has published three military fiction novels, Proof of Our ResolveLine in the Valley and Safe From the War through Tactical16 Publishing. He can be reached at or on his Facebook page (

NBC New York published an article on January 8th, two days after the Fort Lauderdale airport shooting. The article is headlined “Mental Health Effects of Serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.” The authors of the article point out that Esteban Santiago, the Fort Lauderdale shooter, is the eighth veteran to carry out a mass shooting since 2009. The authors wrote, “The shooting highlights the need to ensure veterans are receiving adequate help for service-related trauma and the plight service members face when they return to civilian life,” and provided a timeline with brief summaries of all eight veteran mass shooters from the last eight years. The clear inference is that simply serving in war causes mental problems, and some veterans are so distraught by the transition to civilian life that they carry out acts of unimaginable violence.

The only problem I have with NBC’s article is that it’s a load of absolute nonsense.

Of the eight active duty or veteran active shooters listed in the article, three never went to war. One of those shooters was Nidal Hasan, the 2009 Fort Hood active shooter. He was an avowed jihadist who communicated before the attack with Anwar al-Awlaki, a notorious Islamist orator tied to several terrorist attacks and attempts. Nidal’s mass attack had nothing to do with any trauma, he killed American soldiers as part of his radical Islamic jihad.

The second shooter was Wade Page, a white supremacist who killed six people at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin in 2012. He was a missile repairman and PSYOP soldier who was discharged before the War on Terror for going AWOL, being drunk on duty and other unspecified misconduct.

The third was Navy veteran Aaron Alexis, the Washington Navy Yard shooter. He had a history of minor misconduct and one incident where he shot out the tires of a car, before he joined the military. He was never in combat, or near it.

So three of the eight mass shooters listed in the article never deployed. And remember, the article’s headline is “Mental Health Effects of Serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Now let’s look at the five who did deploy:

1) Ivan Antonio Lopez-Lopez was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, when he carried out the second Fort Hood mass shooting in 2014. Lopez served four months in Iraq, during which time one convoy he was on was hit by a roadside bomb. Lopez claimed to have been directly involved in the attack. Those unfamiliar with convoys might not know that convoys can be miles long, and it’s possible for one vehicle in a convoy to be hit with an IED while other soldiers in the convoy aren’t even aware of it. The army’s investigation determined Lopez wasn’t in the bomb’s blast radius, and “noted instances in which Specialist Lopez, who had served in Iraq in 2011, had been ‘misleading or deceptive’” about his wartime service. He seems to have been an outright liar; the Army determined that despite Lopez’s claims he had never been in direct combat, and “A Facebook page created by Lopez claimed that he was a sniper who had been to the Central African Republic.”

Lopez also had numerous stressors prior to the shooting: “Lopez was allegedly distraught over financial issues and the deaths of his grandfather and then his mother during a two-month period five months prior to the shooting. He was also undergoing regular psychiatric treatment for depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder.” As noted earlier, the PTSD diagnosis is suspect (and PTSD doesn’t cause uncontrollable mass violence anyway). The incident that actually sparked the shooting was a dispute over leave.

So Lopez was a liar who exaggerated his wartime experiences, was never in direct combat, had personal, financial and family issues, and got into an argument just before he murdered three innocent people. Nothing suggests his four-month Iraq deployment caused the mass shooting.

2) Dionisio Garza III killed one man and shot several others in Houston in May, 2016. He was an honest-to-god actual infantry combat veteran of Afghanistan. He also appears to have been severely mentally ill and delusional when he carried out the attack. He had left California for Texas just before the shooting because he believed the dollar was about to collapse , and left numerous irrational notes on the walls of a small building he had turned into a fighting position. “Police say after the shooting, they found random piece[s] of paper and writing on the walls inside the tire shop. While they didn’t appear to be terror related, they seemed to be the writing of a person in a ‘mental health crisis.’” Not surprisingly, his family and a friend blame it all on PTSD; however, the symptoms of PTSD do not include “mass violence directed at random people.” Military service in Afghanistan may have in fact caused Garza to have PTSD, but it didn’t create psychosis.

3) Micah Johnson, the Dallas police mass murderer, had deployed to Afghanistan. Johnson was a carpenter on Bagram Air Force Base, which is basically a small city with a big PX, 24-hour restaurants, internet service, weekly salsa and country dancing nights, concerts, visits by celebrities, and pizza delivery service (my battalion was headquartered there in 2009, although I was lucky to be at a small firebase a couple of hours away). According to the Army, “[Johnson] also served general guard duty, but there is no evidence that he participated in any combat.” Bagram has ten thousand ridiculous rules and occasional incoming rockets that sometimes kill people. Stressful, sure. But did non-combat carpentry service make Micah Johnson steal panties, hate white people and especially white cops, get him kicked out of the Houston New Black Panther Party for bucking the chain of command, and murder five police officers including one I trained with?

No. Johnson’s actions were racially motivated, not a result of cutting 2x4s on a huge base in Afghanistan.

4) Gavin Long, the Baton Rouge police mass murderer, had served in Iraq as a Marine data network specialist. He deployed from mid-2008 to January 2009, when Iraq was relatively calm, and never received a Combat Action Ribbon (which Marines and sailors are awarded for engaging in direct combat). Long was also a radical separatist, involved with a black “sovereign citizens” group, told his mother he was being followed by the CIA, went to Africa to help people avoid “remote brain control experiments,” claimed to be a member of the Nation of Islam, and was generally a weirdo.

Did Long’s seven months working on data networks in Iraq well after the height of the war “trigger” uncontrollable violence? No. His delusions and radical views weren’t created by the Marine Corps or Iraq.

5) Esteban Santiago killed five people at the Fort Lauderdale airport less than a week ago. He served tens months in Iraq. He also appears to be psychotic, having reported to the FBI last year that he was hearing voices telling him to watch ISIS videos. He also may have been a radical jihadist sympathizer, although we’re still waiting for confirmation on that.

We do know that two soldiers in Santiago’s unit were killed by a bomb blast during his deployment. We don’t know that Santiago was ever in combat himself. And even if he was in combat, even if he did have PTSD, PTSD doesn’t make you hear voices in your head. It doesn’t make you murder innocent people in an airport. And it doesn’t make you sympathetic to radical jihad.


Esteban Santiago, Fort Lauderdale airport shooter

After examining each veteran mass shooter, I don’t see any reason to believe that their military service caused the shootings. In Dionisio Garza’s case his experience sure made him more deadly, but nothing suggests military service was a the proximate cause or even a contributing factor. The truth is, some veterans have mental problems unrelated to their service. Some are criminals. Some are just evil people. The fact that a veteran committed a crime doesn’t mean they committed it because of their military service, just like if a former professional athlete commits murder that doesn’t mean he committed murder because he was a professional athlete.

Besides that, the stats show that veterans are actually underrepresented among mass shooters. A 2014 FBI report on mass shootings counted 160 mass shooting incidents between 2000 and 2013. 93 of those shootings occurred between 2009 and 2013, the time frame included in NBC New York’s article. Only three of those 93 active shooters were military (assuming NBC’s reporting is accurate), and those three shooters never even deployed to a war zone. I found reports of one more veteran active shooter during the 2009-2013 time frame, which means vets comprised 4 of 93 shooters, just over 4%.

But America’s roughly 22 million veterans comprise just over 6% of our population. Which means vets are statistically less likely than civilians to carry out a mass shooting. Is NBC going to publish an article showing that civilians are the more dangerous threat?

To be fair to NBC, plenty of vets push the stupid “poor, pitiful, damaged, hair-trigger veteran” narrative. Plenty of vets wear stupid “dysfunctional veteran” shirts and hats, and way too many proudly pose beside “I’m a hardened combat vet but can’t handle fireworks” signs in their front yards. NBC New York seems to have bought the damaged veteran myth, and the journalists who wrote the article may even think they’re helping us wretched loser veterans by telling the world that it’s not our fault we were ruined by the military.


But NBC should dig a little deeper. If they did any actual investigation they’d find that many veterans are exaggerating or, like active shooter Lopez likely was, outright lying to get a PTSD diagnosis and the free money for life that comes with it. NBC might even learn that some of the voices screaming loudest in support of ridiculous “no fireworks” yard signs were never in combat. They might find former VA psychologists and psychiatrists who estimated at least half their patients were lying. They might learn the veteran community itself is split on the issue, with many combat veterans dead set against the “damaged vet” narrative and many others eagerly embracing it because it gets them money, sympathy and free stuff.

But one thing NBC wouldn’t find is anything about military service that causes people to go on mass shooting sprees. Military service doesn’t make people insanely violent; if it did, 22 million veterans in America would be murdering a hell of a lot of people every day. People commit mass murder because they’re mentally ill or just plain evil. They don’t do it because they served in the military, went to war, or don’t like civilian life.

So do some damn research, NBC. And next time you want to publish an article as stupid as this last one, talk to a veteran first. I’m fairly certain there’s not a single vet in your offices, or they would have set you straight. Contact me, and I’ll do the basic fact checking you didn’t bother to do.

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Chris Hernandez is a 22 year police officer, former Marine and recently retired National Guard soldier with over 25 years of military service. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and also served 18 months as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo. He writes for and Iron Mike magazine and has published three military fiction novels, Proof of Our ResolveLine in the Valley and Safe From the War through Tactical16 Publishing. He can be reached at or on his Facebook page (

I’ve been busy as hell working, spending time with family and writing for Breach Bang Clear lately, and haven’t been able to spend much time on my blog. Since I’ve been such a lazy slug here, I thought I’d share some essays I’ve recently written for BB&C, plus one media story I contributed to.

This one is about a new line of accessories for the Glock 43, my new favorite pistol:


This is my advice to prospective police applicants, especially veterans thinking of becoming cops:

“Thinking of Becoming a Cop? Please, For the Love of God, Read This First”

This essay is about “auditory exclusion”, and how it may have contributed to the September Tulsa PD shooting, when Officer Betty Shelby killed an unarmed suspect who was high on PCP.

“The Reality of Auditory Exclusion”

This one is from before the election, about my utter disgust with both major candidates and what I’ll teach my sons about America.

“Raising Sons After the Apocalypse”

The next three were part of Breach Bang Clear’s “Tank Week”, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the tank’s appearance in combat.


“Syrian Lessons on Tank Warfare”


“The Tanker’s Reputation, Born in World War I”


“RKG-3, The Russkie Anti-Tank Hammer”

I was also recently interviewed for a story about PTSD fraud. I thought the story turned out pretty well, except that the reporter for some reason thought my job in Iraq was to recover explosives. In Afghanistan one thing my HUMINT team did was gather intel for recovery of explosives, and I went on a couple recoveries myself, but in Iraq I was on a convoy escort team. The LAST thing I wanted to do in Iraq was meet any kind of explosive.


“Doctors Say VA’s Streamlined Claims Process Facilitating Fraudulent PTSD Claims”

On a side note, this is why I’m so outspoken about PTSD fraud. This douche Brandon Blackstone not only lied about being wounded and having a TBI in order to scam the VA and get free vacations (and a free house!), he also claimed to have saved the life of a real Marine who was badly wounded and later committed suicide. In reality Blackstone spent one month in Iraq, was sent home for appendicitis, and wasn’t in the wounded Marine’s vehicle like he said. But even after admitting he made up the Purple Heart and TBI stories, he’s STILL claiming PTSD.

Hope a few readers out there enjoy these essays, and I hope to have more time to devote to the blog soon. Cheers, guys.

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Chris Hernandez is a 22 year police officer, former Marine and recently retired National Guard soldier with over 25 years of military service. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and also served 18 months as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo. He writes for and Iron Mike magazine and has published three military fiction novels, Proof of Our ResolveLine in the Valley and Safe From the War through Tactical16 Publishing. He can be reached at or on his Facebook page (

This was published today on Breach Bang Clear.


Last week, former Air Force Security Policeman Andy Brown released his book Warnings Unheeded. Brown’s book is an account of his response to the 1994 Fairchild Air Force Base mass shooting, and the story of a B-52 crash at the same base just days later. If you’re a soldier, police officer or armed citizen you should know Brown’s story already; he killed an active shooter with four rounds from a pistol, at what many shooters would consider an impossible range. While many books have been written about mass shootings, I’m not aware of any written by a person who stopped one. That alone makes it worth reading, but Brown’s book is far more than just a memoir of his own actions.

Warnings Unheeded is an extraordinary look into three fascinating stories. The first is about how Airman Dean Mellberg managed to get into the Air Force despite his glaring mental health issues, why the Air Force retained him over the objections of pretty much everyone who interacted with him, and what ultimately happened when all the ignored danger signs came to fruition. The second is about the Air Force’s complete failure to rein in a dangerous and uncontrollable pilot who rammed himself, three others, and a B-52 into the ground in a crash which surprised no one. The third (and to a cop like me, the most interesting) is a detailed account of Mellberg’s assault on Fairchild Air Force Base’s hospital, Andy Brown’s response, and the four shots that ended a massacre.

Most of the book is devoted to Dean Mellberg’s agonizing path from disturbed and perverted teenager to awkward Air Force recruit to failed Airman to deranged mass shooter. What struck me about Brown’s incredibly detailed recounting of Mellberg’s short life was how painful it must have been for Brown to fully humanize the man he killed. While I’ve never shot anyone as a cop, I know many officers who have; every last one seems to view the person they shot as nothing more than an imminent threat that needed to be addressed. Brown, on the other hand, studied Mellberg’s family, his fruitless struggles to be accepted and loved, his many flaws and failures, his mental health diagnoses, and his tortured life’s final collapse. While Brown was completely justified in killing Mellberg that day – if anyone ever needed to be shot repeatedly, it was Dean Mellberg – I still suspect it wasn’t easy to change his perception of Mellberg from “imminent threat/difficult target” to “pitiful and dangerous, but still human.” I know it wouldn’t be easy for me.

Dean Mellberg in 1992

The second story, about the B-52 crash (which you’ve probably seen footage of), was initially hard for me to get into. I saw the crash as coincidental but completely unrelated, and felt it was a distraction from the real story about Brown and Mellberg’s confrontation. But as I got further into the B-52 story I found myself enthralled with it, and eventually understood it is related to the mass shooting. Both tragedies were the end result of a chain of leadership failures, and both could be seen coming light years ahead. As I got deeper into the B-52 crash story, knowing full well what was coming, I kept asking, Why did the Air Force let this guy keep flying? The man who crashed the B-52 had been warned, reprimanded, reported to commanders, and once missed a ridge by only 15 feet while showing off for a reporter. Many others refused to fly with him. Yet there he was four days after the mass shooting, showing off once again, pushing an aged bomber so hard it went straight into the dirt. Maybe that story grabbed me because I’m an amateur aviation nerd, but whatever the reason, I found it fascinating.

But the most important part of the book is Brown’s account of what he heard, saw, and did that day in 1994.


Read the rest at

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Chris Hernandez is a 22 year police officer, former Marine and recently retired National Guard soldier with over 25 years of military service. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and also served 18 months as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo. He writes for and Iron Mike magazine and has published three military fiction novels, Proof of Our ResolveLine in the Valley and Safe From the War through Tactical16 Publishing. He can be reached at or on his Facebook page (

When Trump’s “Grab them by the pussy” video broke, I was disgusted but not surprised. I decided he was a clown show long ago, this just confirmed what a gigantic douchebag he is. In the video he admitted to sexually harassing and assaulting women; however, many of his supporters laughed it off as “bad language” and framed the disgusted reaction from much of the public as prudish weakness. “What, can’t handle locker room talk?” “He didn’t say anything real men don’t say all the time.””Show me on this doll where Trump’s words hurt you, HAR HAR HAR!!”


So I’ll speak directly to those who defend Trump’s words as mere bad language: here’s the deal, motherfuckers. I was a Marine. I then served as a Soldier and made two trips to war. I’ve been a cop over twenty years. I’ve heard tons of bad language. One of my proudest accomplishments when I was a UN cop in Kosovo was learning to say “shit” in thirteen languages. The very first line of dialogue in my first novel is “My dick hurts.” Bad language is my first language.

Ordinarily I don’t use much profanity in my blogs. But today I have to use a lot of fucking profanity, because it’s the only way to make my point. If I don’t, all you Trumpers who scream shit like “We’re gonna make America great again and destroy anyone who opposes us” will twist my words into something else. Fuck that. I’m going to be as clear as I possibly can, so even you can’t misunderstand it.

Not only am I not offended by “bad language”, I actually like it. I’ve probably said things that would make Trump cringe. Here are some beautiful examples of fucked up locker-room talk I’ve heard:

1) Back in 1989 I was standing in formation with my mixed-gender Marine platoon. It was about 6 am on a winter morning, and we were freezing. The corporal standing up front announced, “I wish I had a nice pussy here to keep me warm. But not just any pussy. Only my wife’s pussy.” A young Marine in the formation answered, “I wish I had two. One for each ear.”

2) Soldiers from my old tank unit were joking about each other’s wives. Then one guy got serious and said, “Don’t joke about my wife.” That did it. By the end of the day a schedule was posted, “Who’s fucking Johnson’s wife”, with thirty-minute blocks assigned to each Soldier in the platoon.

3) A sergeant I went to a school with introduced me to a new acronym: FAN, for “feet, ass and nuts”. It’s the smell a group of men create when they’re filthy for days or weeks.

4) At a very challenging training event in the desert, one of my fellow tank crewmen, suffering a near-fatal case of TSB (Toxic Sperm Buildup), was sitting in the driver’s hole of a tank looking at a Hustler with an intense, deeply concerned look on his face. I walked about a hundred yards to another tank to get a hammer. When I returned to my tank my buddy was collapsed in the driver’s seat, nearly unconscious, with the Hustler tossed aside. I asked, “Dude, I was gone for like two minutes. What the fuck did you do?” He said, “I beat off, bro. It was goooood.”

5) My company was taking a physical fitness test, and I watched a lieutenant doing the worst pushups I’ve ever seen. His head pumped up and down like a piston while the rest of his body shook and shivered but barely moved. I told him, “Sir, next time you do pushups I’m going to hold a dildo under your face. That’ll teach you not to move your fucking head like that again.”

6) Not long ago I was at a pistol training course taught by a renowned instructor. Someone in the class jokingly called another student a pussy. A perplexed look crossed the instructor’s face. “I don’t understand why anyone uses pussy as an insult,” he said. “Pussy is my favorite thing in the whole world.”

And those are nowhere near the worst things I’ve heard and laughed at. So don’t preach to me about being able to handle bad language.

Not only have I heard and said pretty much every fucking dirty word there is, I don’t trust men who never talked that way. Disgusting, filthy talk is part of the very masculine worlds I’ve inhabited my whole adult life, and I don’t think much of those who shrink from that language. Locker room talk is real talk, and I enjoy it. Just a few days ago I offered this bit of political wisdom: “If republicans had nominated any reasonable candidate, like Ted Bundy or that homeless crackhead who offered to suck my dick in an alley today, they could beat Hillary. Alas, they chose Trump.”

So “bad language” is not the fucking point.

I understand men will describe women’s bodies in crude terms. They’ll give detailed accounts of past sexual conquests. They’ll graphically list what they want to do to women. Who has two thumbs and has done all those things? This guy right here. Guilty.

But Trump didn’t just use “bad language”. He talked about something he did. He bragged about doing things to women against their will. He boasted to the world about getting away with forcing himself onto women, because he’s a “star”.

That’s fucked up.

It’s not about morality. I’m not preaching against Trump’s sins. I’m a devout agnostic, and really couldn’t give a shit about religious rules. I’m no paragon of virtue myself, and have failed miserably in the morals department. So I don’t care if Trump was unfaithful, or availed himself to the numerous gold diggers eager to let him into their pants. If it’s consensual, I don’t care. He’s a grown man, they’re grown women, it’s their business. I also didn’t care about Bill and Monica’s consensual activities. When the White House phone rings at 3 a.m., it doesn’t matter who’s in bed next to the president when he or she answers. As long as they’re adults making their own decisions, it’s not my problem.

And before anyone says it: I don’t give a shit how much you hate Hillary Clinton. I despise her. I’d rather dive into a pool of kerosene while holding a thermite grenade than vote for her. But Hillary’s complete lack of integrity doesn’t mean Trump gets a pass for being a sexual predator.

I can’t stand Trump because, among many other reasons, he’s a sexual predator. I’m a husband, father of a daughter, and grandfather to two granddaughters. I have a visceral response against any so-called “man” who brags about harassing and assaulting women. Now that several women have come forward accusing Trump of harassing or groping them, or walking in uninvited while they’re undressed at beauty pageants – activities which, by the way, Trump himself bragged about on video or radio – we should kinda get the idea that he’s a lecherous shitbag who uses his celebrity status to take what he wants from women.

That’s the god damn problem. Not the words, not the vulgarity, not the locker room talk. But the fucking pathetic actions and entitled attitude behind them.

You support Trump and don’t care about his sexual predations? You don’t care that he bragged about sexual assaults, agreed that Ivanka was a “nice piece of ass” and said he’d date her if she wasn’t his daughter, and even said “I’ll be dating her in ten years” about a ten year old girl? Fine. At this point, I don’t expect anyone to change their vote. Hillary’s people will vote for her even if an email shows she sold Libyan terrorists the weapons used to kill Americans in Benghazi, Trump’s people will vote for him even if they see video of Putin giving him an underage sex slave as reward for doing Russia’s bidding. This election doesn’t have shit to do with integrity anymore, for either side. If you’re voting Trump because you hate Hillary more, or think she’ll destroy America, or want to Make Russia America Great again, go right ahead.

But don’t act like I’m offended by Trump’s “bad language”. Because that’s a fucking lie, and you  know it. The truth is, I hate sexual predators. Like the one you’re voting for.

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Chris Hernandez is a 22 year police officer, former Marine and recently retired National Guard soldier with 27 years of military service. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and also served 18 months as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo. He writes for and Iron Mike magazine and has published three military fiction novels, Proof of Our ResolveLine in the Valley and Safe From the War through Tactical16 Publishing. He can be reached at or on his Facebook page (

On September 12, the Washington Post published an article by Radley Balko titled West Virginia cop fired for not killing a man with an unloaded gun. Balko is author of a book titled Rise of the Warrior Cop; the Militarization of America’s Police Forces, and frequently writes about police misconduct. His WP article was about a police officer fired for not killing a man he suspected was trying to commit suicide by cop.

The incident began when a woman called 911 to say her boyfriend was threatening suicide. The first officer to arrive, Stephen Mader, found the man holding a pistol in his hand pointed at the ground; Mader, a Marine Afghanistan veteran, deduced that the man was indeed trying to commit suicide by cop. Mader didn’t shoot, even when the man “flicked” the pistol at him. Two other officers arrived and shot the man. The suicidal man’s pistol was found to be unloaded, so Mader’s decision not to shoot seems to have been correct. Even so, Mader was later fired after his chief decided he didn’t trust his judgment.


Balko, of course, credits Mader for not firing at the suicidal man, and praises him as the type of person who should be a police officer. He faults the two other officers for shooting the man, and the chief for firing an officer who did the right thing. Balko’s article concludes with, “Over the weekend, the New York Times ran an article about the longstanding problem in which even the rare bad cops who do get fired are often able to quickly find work at another policy agency. Mader, who served a tour in Afghanistan and has two sons under five-years-old, told the Post-Gazette that he’s now studying for a commercial truck driving license, but he’d consider another job in law enforcement if he were offered one. I hope that happens. I hope he’s given the same second chance that corrupt, trigger-happy cops are given. My hunch is that he’ll be driving trucks.”

Balko mentions that the chief had other complaints about Mader. He doesn’t mention that Mader allegedly escalated the situation by cursing at the suicidal man, “froze” on the scene, and failed to communicate with other officers. He also doesn’t mention that the suspect reportedly threatened his girlfriend, not just himself.

I don’t have anything against Radley Balko. As far as I know he’s a good writer, makes good points, and understands policing fairly well. I agree with some of what he writes, and get the feeling I’d enjoy a conversation with him about police issues. I don’t think Balko is wrong in saying that Mader shouldn’t have been fired – I agree with that, if he was fired solely because he didn’t shoot – but I do think he’s wrong to suggest the other officers shouldn’t have shot the man, or that the chief shouldn’t have questioned Mader’s judgment.

I think Balko is wrong for several reasons. First. Mader wasn’t fired for not killing the suicidal man. He was fired for not shooting him (or shooting at him). That’s a big difference. Despite a misconception among much of the public, we cops don’t “shoot to kill”. We shoot to stop a threat. The best way to do that is to make multiple center-mass hits, which quickly incapacitate the suspect. Sometimes those multiple hits kill the suspect, oftentimes they don’t. Had Mader hit the suspect and put him down without killing him, or even fired and missed but still caused the suspect to drop his gun and surrender, I see no reason to believe Mader would have been fired.

Even Balko admits, “As it turns out, [the suicidal man’s] gun wasn’t loaded. There’s no way any of the police officers could have known that.” Mader chose not to shoot, which was the only way he could have stopped the threat; he was fired for not stopping the threat, not for failing to kill the man.

Second, someone holding a gun in his hand pointed downward is still dangerous. Another common misconception is that a gun in someone’s hand isn’t a threat if it’s not pointed at you. It actually is, and if he’s “flicking” the weapon toward you, it’s a bigger threat. In a recent debate I had online about this incident someone said, “If the flicker [person flicking a gun] is able to get a shot before the cop then that cop is not worthy enough to be a cop.” That makes great sense to people who have no actual training or experience, not so much to those of us who have dealt with real lethal force encounters. In the real world, we all have reaction times, and a gun can go from down to up and shooting faster than we can recognize the motion and pull the trigger. Even if we shoot first, that doesn’t mean the suspect won’t get a shot off.

Watch this video of a recent shooting in Kingman, Arizona. This suspect, with several police guns on him, was still able to raise his weapon, fire multiple rounds, hit one officer and nearly hit another. The officer who was hit was seriously wounded. The other officer had a round go through his shirt.

Humans cannot eliminate reaction time. We can work to reduce it, we can train ourselves to recognize pre-assault indicators, we can put ourselves through simulations so we’re not stunned into inaction when we find ourselves facing an armed threat. But we can’t eliminate reaction time any more than we can teach ourselves to flap our arms and fly. Reaction time is built in, and the person initiating action will always have an edge on the person reacting to him.

Third, a 911 call reporting a suicidal man doesn’t mean that man can’t be a threat to others. Information relayed to officers from dispatch is often incomplete or incorrect, as I noted in my analysis of the Tamir Rice shooting. Officers can’t accept initial reports as gospel truth; even if the information was true when reported, it can change. Someone can go from suicidal to homicidal in a fraction of a second, as we see in this video of police responding to a “suicidal man” call last year in California.

I’ve heard complaints about officers killing people who were reportedly suicidal. Sometimes that’s just a silly criticism. If an officer shoots someone trying to hang himself, or kills a guy for overdosing on pills, yes that’s unreasonable. But a guy threatening to shoot himself can easily change his mind and shoot someone else.

Fourth, two officers can make different decisions, and both be justified. I was involved in a shooting years ago. I knocked on a door to investigate a report of a man pointing a gun at someone, and the man pointed a gun at me through a window. I got the hell out of the way and drew but didn’t shoot; another officer in the courtyard below me shot the man. I was right to not shoot, the other officer was right to shoot.

How could we both be right? Because I would have been shooting sideways into an apartment possibly occupied by innocent people, but the other officer was aiming upward so any missed rounds would go into the ceiling. As we found out later, several uninvolved people, including women and children, were in the apartment. Nobody but the suspect was hit. I was happy the other officer fired, and he was happy I didn’t. Same scene, same incident, one decision to fire and one not to. And we were both right.

Here’s another example of officers on the same scene making different decisions. Watch this video of an officer ramming a suspect carrying a rifle down a street. The first officer who followed him chose not to hit him, but a second officer sent the suspect flying.

The first officer, after seeing the suspect pointing the rifle at himself, apparently decided the man was only suicidal and chose not to hit or shoot him even after the suspect fired a shot into the air. I don’t agree with his decision, but I can understand it. The second officer, realizing an armed man was walking in the area of passing vehicles and pedestrians, and heading toward a busy highway, decided to take immediate action to end the threat. Whether you agree with his actions or not (I do), they’re reasonable.

What does this have to do with Mader’s shooting? Balko says Mader was right to not shoot, and suggests the other officers were wrong for shooting. He seems to base this on facts learned only after the shooting, like the suicidal man’s gun being unloaded. But that’s not the information the officers had when they arrived. Mader took in the entire scene, and made a decision not to fire. He wasn’t wrong. The other officers arrived, saw an armed man making threatening gestures toward an officer, and fired. They weren’t wrong either.

If you think police work lends itself to perfectly clear right and wrong choices, please stick to cop movies and TV shows. The grey, messy reality of what we do isn’t for you.

Last, risking your life to save a possibly suicidal man’s life is noble, but could also lead to more innocent deaths. In another celebrated police refusal to shoot, an officer who also happened to be a Marine combat vet refused to shoot a double murder suspect . The suspect charged him after a chase, acted like he was drawing a gun and yelled “Shoot me!” The officer kept the suspect at gunpoint, backpedalled, tripped and fell, and eventually got the suspect into custody when backup arrived.

Yes, the officer spared the man’s life even though he would have been justified shooting him. Yes, the man had just murdered his girlfriend and best friend and was trying to get killed. No, the officer had no reason to believe the man was unarmed and not a deadly threat. Had the man drawn a gun and shot the officer in the head after he tripped, then what? We’d have a triple murderer, armed with his own weapon, an officer’s pistol and maybe even a shotgun or AR-15 taken from the officer’s car, free to murder more cops or innocent citizens in the area. What happens when that murderer barges into a home and takes a family hostage? Would anyone praise the officer who chose to spare the murderer, at the expense of his own and other innocent people’s lives?

I get Balko’s criticism of the chief for firing Mader. I don’t think Mader should have been fired either. But I also understand the chief’s concern about Mader’s judgment, and understand why the other officers used deadly force. I also understand why officers treat allegedly suicidal people as deadly threats: because they are, or at least we have to treat them like they are until proven otherwise. Radley Balko should know enough about police work to understand this as well as I do.

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Chris Hernandez is a 22 year police officer, former Marine and recently retired National Guard soldier with 27 years of military service. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and also served 18 months as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo. He writes for and Iron Mike magazine and has published three military fiction novels, Proof of Our ResolveLine in the Valley and Safe From the War through Tactical16 Publishing. He can be reached at or on his Facebook page (


Next week I’ll be heading to Arizona with the Breach Bang Clear crew to learn a new skill: tracking. This is something I’ve never even been exposed to before, I’m going in as a complete noob. If anyone has any advice, please lay it on me.


“Horses, mules, and donkeys were the original all terrain vehicles. While they’ve largely gone out of style as a mode of transport or drayage in many parts of the world, they remain extremely important in others (and we’re not just talking about pulling beer wagons). Law enforcement and search & rescue units use them in places as varied as Times Square and rugged, remote stretches of the US-Mexican border. Military units use them as well, if only in very specific locations and usually for SOF (Special Operations Force) missions — as they did when ODA (Operational Detachment Alpha) 595 and their attached Combat Controllers mounted up in October of 2001 to hunt down the Taliban.

There only a handful of places the skills needed to successfully, tactically, employ horses can be learned. On of those is (or was) the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport, California, where horsehandling is the purview of Marine NCOs with a background in riding. Another place, is Trails Found.

Trails Found is the training organization of Jim Grasky, a man who has spent a lifetime in the saddle. Laconic, lean, and weathered man,Jim Grasky is old enough to be the great grandparent of nearly everyone he teaches. He’s a former Vietnam Green Beret who became a smokejumper (and then a smokejumper squadleader) after the war, spending some time working abroad in unfriendly areas on behalf of some unique governmental agencies. He is a retired US Border Patrol agent, one of the founding members of the USBP’s BORTAC, was one of the USMC Combat Hunter – based Border Hunter SMEs and one of just a handful of old school mantrackers left in the world.

When specialized military or OGA personnel need to learn horsehandling before deploying to some faraway land, many of them quietly visit Jim in the backcountry of Arizona.

So, we figured we needed to do the same.”
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