Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Wisconsin Concealed Carry

Friday's (at the Crowne Plaza Hotel):

MARCH:  2, 9, 16, 23rd:  6 pm - 10 pm (4 hour course)
APRIL:     6, 13, 20 & 27th:  6 pm - 10 pm (4 hour course)

Saturday's (at the Crowne Plaza Hotel):

3, 10, 17, 24 & 31st:  6 pm - 10 pm (4 hour course)
APRIL:     7, 14 & 21st:             8 am - 12 pm AND 1 pm - 5 pm
(4 hour course)

Concealed Carry and Personal Protection for Realtors

Friday's (at the Crowne Plaza Hotel):

MARCH:  30th:  6 pm - 10 pm (4 hour course)

APRIL:     13, 27th:  6 pm - 10 pm (4 hour course)

Crowne Plaza Hotel
4402 E. Washington Ave.
Madison WI 53704

Sunday, January 29, 2012

New Wisconsin Concealed Carry February Courses Scheduled!

Wednesday, 2/1/12 VFW Post 7591, 301 Cottage Grove Road, Madison, 6PM-10PM

Friday, 2/3/12 Crowne Plaza Hotel, 4402 E. Washington Avenue, Madison, 6PM-10PM

Saturday, 2/4/12 Crowne Plaza Hotel, 4402 E. Washington Avenue, Madison, 8AM-NOON

Saturday, 2/4/12 Crowne Plaza Hotel, 4402 E. Washington Avenue, Madison, 1PM-5PM

Friday, 2/10/12 Crowne Plaza Hotel, 4402 E. Washington Avenue, Madison, 6PM-10PM (Ladies night)

Saturday, 2/11/12 Crowne Plaza Hotel, 4402 E. Washington Avenue, Madison, 8AM-NOON

Saturday, 2/11/12 Crowne Plaza Hotel, 4402 E. Washington Avenue, Madison, 1PM-5PM

Wednesday, 2/15/12 VFW Post 7591, 301 Cottage Grove Road, Madison, 6PM-10PM

Friday, 2/17/12 Crowne Plaza Hotel, 4402 E. Washington Avenue, Madison, 6PM-10PM (Ladies night)

Saturday, 2/18/12 Crowne Plaza Hotel, 4402 E. Washington Avenue, Madison, 8AM-NOON

Saturday, 2/18/12 Crowne Plaza Hotel, 4402 E. Washington Avenue, Madison, 1PM-5PM
Saturday, 2/25/12 Crowne Plaza Hotel, 4402 E. Washington Avenue, Madison, 8AM-NOON

Saturday, 2/25/12 Crowne Plaza Hotel, 4402 E. Washington Avenue, Madison, 1PM-5PM

For details or to register go to the website:


Friday, January 6, 2012

Knives for Concealed Carry (Part 2)

In the previous post I discussed a few reasons why I believe carrying a knife should be given serious consideration by concealed carry practitioners.  In this post I will show you a few of the knives that I have that I believe are worthy of consideration.  There are other knives that are equally suitable to carry, but the knives I am mentioning are to show the reader examples of what I believe are the types of knives suitable for concealed carry.  

Remember, Wisconsin's concealed carry law does not allow one to carry switchblade knives.  Switchblade knives have an undeserved reputation for being evil weapons, and as such they have been prohibited by ill-considered bad legislation.  On the other hand, switchblade knives do not offer any particular advantage to the average user.  

As is the case with smaller handguns, smaller knives are easier to conceal.  One might be tempted to say that both larger handguns and knives are potentially more powerful weapons than their smaller counterparts.  There may be a certain amount of truth to this, but the variables are so numerous that one cannot say this is true in every circumstance.  When it comes to choosing a knife to carry one must consider many of the same questions as when choosing a firearm, e.g., manner of dress, comfort, ease of concealment, accessibility.  There is no perfect answer to these questions, and like all security-related issues one must be satisfied with a well-thought compromise when making a final decision.

You will see that in general I favor fixed blade knives over folding knives for concealed carry.  There are two reasons for this.  First, fixed blade knives are mechanically simple and not prone to breakage.  More importantly, fixed blade knives are easier and quicker to deploy under most conditions.  Fixed blade knives only require that the knife be drawn from the sheath to be brought into action.  Folding knives must be drawn and then opened.  Opening a knife requires greater dexterity and fine-motor skills then simply drawing a knife from a sheath.  Fine-motor skills quickly deteriorate under the extreme stress of a violent encounter.  Additionally, it may be difficult to open a folding knife while being physically attacked.  While there are many excellent folding knives, one must test and critically evaluate each one to judge its practicality of use under combat conditions. 

The knife pictured above is the Safe Maker II made by Cold Steel with a manufacturer's price of $90.  This is a push dagger knife with a 3.25 inch blade and can be worn as a boot knife, neck knife or on the belt.  I wear mine on the belt on the side opposite of my gun.  This knife is primarily used as an aid to gun retention.  If an opponent attempts a gun snatch from my holster, my strong side hand is used to retain the gun while my weak side hand draws the knife in order to offer a strong incentive to my attacker to let go.  The edges on this knife are razor sharp, a feature one normally finds on all Cold Steel knives.

This little neck knife is a Columbia River Fixed Falcon with a 2.12 inch blade.  Unfortunately this knife is discontinued by the manufacturer (CRKT - Columbia River Knife and Tool) and had a manufacturer's price of about $25.  This knife is well-made, very sharp, small and light and easily concealed under a shirt.  The sheath holds the knife very securely, but allows for a quick draw.  Similar models are easily found.

A somewhat larger neck or boot knife that I carry is the Point Guard by Cold Steel.  This knife has a 4 inch blade and overall length of 6.75 inches.  I believe this knife is also discontinued but still available from knife distributors via the Internet for less than the manufacturer's suggested price of $70.  Drawing the knife from the sheath does require putting pressure on the large "button" that is accessible through the hole on the knife, but the action is very fast and easily performed.

A well-known and popular boot knife that can be bought on the Internet at far below the suggested retail price of $65 is the Kershaw Military Boot Knife.  With a 4.5 inch blade and overall length of 9 inches this knife is reasonably sharp and very comfortable in the hand.  The knife comes with a sheath that offers a number of carry modes including on the belt vertically or horizontally, boot carry, and what can best be described as a "shoulder holster" rig.  At one time I considered this knife to be the largest knife that I would consider carrying concealed.  However as you will see my thoughts on size have been modified.  This knife is and excellent bargain!

As stated above, generally I favor fixed blade knives over folders.  The folding knife I am holding in the picture above is one of the few exceptions that I make.  This knife has almost legendary status as a combat knife.  This is the "Civilian" manufactured by Spyderco.  The knife looks wicked and it is wicked.  The hooked 4.125 inch serrated blade is razor sharp.  The thin but strong point allows the user to employ a number of special compliance techniques to persuade the person on the wrong end of the knife to move in the direction that the user wants them to move.  The knife was designed as a last ditch defensive knife although a number of offensive techniques have been specifically developed around it also.  With a suggested retail price of $280 it can be found for approximately half that price with a bit of shopping.  

One of the other few folding knives that I carry and recommend is pictured above.  This is the 6-inch blade version of the Ti-Lite from Cold Steel.  This knife also comes in a 4 inch version and slightly more expensive aluminum handle version.  Mine has the synthetic Zy-Ex handle and a suggested price of $85.  A little shopping around can put one in your hands for somewhat less money.  This knife is a rather large folder, but since it is a folder it allows one to carry a fairly substantial knife in the pocket.  The knife is very strong and sharp, and the greatest advantage is the inclusion of a quillon that one can snag on the edge of the pocket allowing the knife to open very quickly as it is drawn from the pocket.  This knife is very fast to put into action, opening faster than any switchbade.  Because of the speed and ease of opening the knife as it is drawn from the pocket, I consider this to be a folder that does not have the disadvantage of being a folder.  As an side benefit, while in the pocket this knife looks to be no different than any other pocket clipped folding knife.  But appearances can be deceiving as it is a surprisingly large knife with an overall length of 13 inches when open.  I carry mine often and highly recommend it. 

Getting into the area of larger fixed blade knives I like the balance and rugged construction of the Roton manufactured "Talon Dagger."  This is an 11 inch overall knife with a 6 inch double edged blade.  The knife is not particularly common, but can be found for sale in the $200-220 range.  This is a true combat knife that is quite sharp and beefy.  Since it is a large knife I have carried it only a few times.  It is very secure, yet quick to deploy from its very well-made Kydex sheath.

Another favorite of mine is quite a bargain also.  This is the Hissatsu from Columbia River (CRKT) which has a suggested price of around $110.  Mine came shaving sharp out of the box.  It has a 7.125 inch blade and a total length of 12.25 inches.  This knife was made for speed and its light weight and balance make it an excellent carry knife and a very formidable weapon for close combat.  The grip has a semi-soft rubbery texture which feels secure in the hand.  The glass-filled nylon sheath is nice also.

Certainly one of my favorite combat knives is this classic:  the Mark II by Gerber.  Variations on this knife have been around since the Vietnam War.  The current version sells for around $116, perhaps less if one shops around.  The knife has a 6.5 inch double-edged blade and an over length of 12.75 inches.  Wickedly sharp and perfectly balanced it is very worthy of its near-legendary status as a combat knife.  The only drawback to an otherwise perfect fighting knife is the old-style ballistic nylon sheath that makes it a bit slow to deploy and limited in mode of carry.  Seeing that it was designed for military use this is no great surprise.  The sheath is designed to be worn on a belt, with a string tying the bottom of the sheath to the leg.  If one wears long coats the knife can be concealed, but it is somewhat limiting.  Perhaps a custom-made Kydex sheath is in order!

The last knife I will show is the Buck Nighthawk.  This particular model has been discontinued, but is probably available online.  I believe Buck Knives still manufactures a very similar model with a list price of $116.  Mine has a 6.5 inch blade and total length of 11.25 inches.  This is not a true combat knife, but more of a tactical/survival knife.  However the balance and feel of this knife makes it very suitable for defensive purposes.  The rubberized grip makes this knife a pleasure to handle and I carry mine often.  As with the Gerber Mark II, the major disadvantage is the nylon sheath that does not lend itself to as fast of deployment as one might desire for fighting purposes.  

This summary is by no means inclusive of all the knives that I recommend.  Perhaps I will introduce you to a few others in future posts.  

A final word however:  do not use your fighting knives as your utility knives.  Carry your Swiss army knife, Leatherman tool or other knife for your utilitarian needs.  Very few days pass by without me using my Swiss army knife, with the most use coming from the small blade, the magnifying glass or the scissors. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Knives for Concealed Carry (Part 1)

There is an often-repeated adage that one ought to never “bring a knife to a gunfight.”  A parallel and more amusing adage warns us that “He who lives by the sword gets shot by those who don’t.”  But are these words true?  I, for one, do not believe these are true statements, or at least not absolutely true.  In fact, I believe that the wiser and more prudent person will always bring a knife to a gunfight— or more precisely, a gun and a knife.  

We know that common sense tells us that a knife is ineffective against a gun from a distance.  But consider the fact that most criminal assaults occur at very close distances.  Most robberies and muggings occur with only the distance of a step or two between the attacker and victim, if not within actual contact.  Nobody is sexually assaulted from 20 feet away.   Real world experience tells us that violent crimes usually occur very suddenly and at a very close distance.  In both theory and in practice there are difficulties with trying to defensively draw and shoot a gun while being physically attacked at close range.  The risk of losing the gun during a struggle is significant.  If your firearm ends up in the hands of the attacker your situation goes from very bad to the worst possible.  Always maintain exclusive control over your firearm.  If the gun is concealed it may be better to leave it so and not draw until you are able to gain enough distance from your attacker to make for an unimpeded draw.  If the attacker knows you are armed and is trying to get at your gun, it is more effective to protect your gun from a grab while it is holstered than it is while in your hand during a struggle.  If you do happen to draw your gun while engaged contact combat with your attacker, the risk of accidently shooting yourself goes up.  Also remember that a bullet can cause damage in a straight line, and if you are unable to align the muzzle with your attacker, your bullets will not be effective.  These facts call for another solution.  This is where a knife comes into play.

Now if you are reasonably skilled in unarmed martial arts, you may be able to defend yourself effectively without the use of a knife or other contact-distance weapon.  Most people are not reasonably skilled in martial arts.  If your attacker is armed, as they are likely to be, there is a significant risk of injury or death to even a reasonably skilled martial artist.  As I see it, the most significant advantage to the unarmed martial artist is that he or she does not have a weapon that can potentially be taken away and used against them by an attacker.  I do not view this as a huge advantage for a majority of people.   It is true than any weapon— gun, knife, club or electric weapon can be lost or taken away during a struggle.  But the very purpose of carrying a weapon is that it multiplies the amount of force one can use.  That’s why a smaller or weaker person who is armed can match or outmatch a larger and stronger opponent.  For that reason the risk of having a weapon taken away generally is outweighed by the overall advantage of having a weapon in the first place.  

Wisconsin’s concealed weapons law is just that:  a law that permits a person to carry certain weapons concealed.  While most people readily think of the handgun as the weapon most people will conceal, remember that the law specifically applies to knives, clubs and electric weapons as well as handguns.  Each of these types of weapons comes with a list of inherent advantages and disadvantages.  There is no perfect weapon to fit every situation or every person.  But in general one normally puts the handgun at the top of the list of the four types of weapons allowed under this law.  The handgun is a powerful weapon in the hands of a weak or small person or in the hands of a person with minimal experience with the weapon.  The other weapons will also multiply the amount of violent force a person is able to summon in self-defense, but generally knives, clubs and electric weapons are more limited in their effectiveness due to limited range compared to a handgun, or due to the amount of strength or speed or skill needed to use them effectively.  Obviously, regardless of weapon, a person who is trained and skilled or experienced with the use of a particular weapon will enjoy advantages over a person with the same weapon and lesser skills.  (There is of course, always an element of luck, good or bad, which can make the outcome less certain.)

The one major area where the gap between the power of a handgun and the power of other weapons is most easily closed is when one is fighting up close.  In such a situation a knife is the equal, if not superior to a handgun.  Knives bring a number of noteworthy advantages.  They are usually smaller and lighter than a handgun and can be easily carried in more places on one’s person.  Most concealed carry practitioners will not carry more than one handgun.  Carrying even two or three small knives concealed in various locations however is not particularly difficult or burdensome.  Knives are reliable.  They do not break easily; they do not run out of ammunition, they rarely malfunction.  Knives are sometimes allowed in places that specifically ban firearms only.  Knives come in a wide variety of styles and sizes making for many more possible modes of carry and with a greater variety of clothing.  Unlike a bullet traveling in a straight line, a knife can strike out in any direction with devastating effect.  Compared to bullets, there are a greater number of effective targets on the human body for a knife to attack.  With proper placement and a little practice, a knife can be brought into use against an attacker in a stealthier manner.  It has become cliché to say that the first indication your opponent should have that you are armed with a knife is when they feel it slicing or stabbing into their body.  Like TV gunfights, real world knife fighting is very different than what is seen on the small and large screen.
In conclusion, again I recommend both a gun AND a knife under most circumstances for most concealed carry practitioners.  And, as always, have a plan.  If you carry a knife, do the mental preparation.  Rehearse various scenarios in training, or at least in your mind, so that in an actual situation you bring the proper weapon into action at the proper time.  Accept that there may be circumstances that call for deployment of a knife before the handgun.  Make your response to a threat flexible and your options many.  One warning before I end.  Remember that Wisconsin’s concealed carry law does allow for carrying knives, clubs and electric weapons.  However, if you travel to other states, be very certain to become familiar with the laws of that state.  Some states allow only a firearm to be concealed.  Do not assume that because you can legally conceal a knife or other weapon in Wisconsin that you can do so in other states as well.  

In the next blog I will discuss my thoughts regarding some particular knives and styles of knives and how I incorporate them into my approach to concealed carry.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Readers from other countries

I am curious who is reading my blog in other countries.  When I check statistics I see that it has been viewed in probably 20 other countries.  Currently, outside of the USA, the greatest number of viewers are in Slovenia, German, France, Romania, Russia and the United Kingdom.

I hope that some of the international readers will comment and tell us about their interest in "Guns in Wisconsin."

Hvala!  Vielen Dank!  Merci!  Vă mulţumim! Спасибо! And Thanks!