Podcast – Season 2, Ballistic Radio Episode 72 – July 27th, 2014

“If you trained people to be rapid, pressure adaptive thinkers by teaching them the process of an OODA loop, you can resist the temptation to get stuck in a schema or in a paradigm that doesn’t fit the circumstance. If your schema is impermeable to new data, you’re stuck.”  -William Aprill

This episode has two guests! Dr. Sherman House and THE William Aprill join us as we go into a bit more detail about the upcoming Paul-E-Palooza training conference. Dr. House and THE William discuss the TPI paradigm, violent criminal actors and their victim selection process, as well as how to better approach training. In addition we talk about some current events, our recent trip to Triple Aught Design in San Francisco, and provide a brief update on the test guns.

Podcast – Season 2, Ballistic Radio Episode 71 – July 20th, 2014

“At that moment, though, it was too late. …He got off a burst of rounds, and I saw a yellow muzzle flash from his AK47 and just, boom. I was hit and saw nothing but darkness. I came to with my eyes and realized I’d been hit and saw my M16 laying 5 feet in front of me.” – Paul Gardner


In this installment of Ballistic Radio we interview former Marine, Paul Gardner. Paul recounts the events of the 2003 ambush near Baghdad, that left him paralyzed from the waist down. Paul discusses mistakes made and what he learned from the incident. Additionally Paul talks about the positive impact of training, and how he’s trying to ensure that what happened to him doesn’t happen to anyone else.

Podcast – Season 2, Ballistic Radio Episode 70 – July 13th, 2014

“A quality belt and holster will keep the gun in the exact same place every single time, whether or not you’re skinny whether or not your fat. As a fat guy, trust me, I’ve been through this before.” – John Johnston

Our show for this week is what we like to call a “meat and potatoes”  show. John, Andy, and Matt the Minion get back to the basics and discuss getting started with concealed carry.  Gun and holster selection, types of carrying options,  and wardrobe selection are all topics we hit on. We talk about the use of the über sexy fanny pack for concealed carry while exercising. Towards the end of the show John covers some women’s issues, and lets people know where they can find more information.

For those of you getting started, here is a list of manufactures that Ballistic Radio has some personal experience with, and recommends. Generally if we prefer one over the other we’ve listed it first. All other listings after the first are in no particular order. Links marked with an asterisk make products specifically geared towards women. DISCLAIMER: None of these are paid endorsements, they’re just companies we use and like. Additionally, just because we haven’t listed a company doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with their product. We just don’t have experience with them or their gear didn’t work for us in particular. As with anything carry issues are intensely personal, and there is no “one size fits all” answer to any gear questions.

Podcast – Season 2, Ballistic Radio Episode 69 – July 6th, 2014

“…A lot of the people that I meet do things that if they really thought about them were maybe not as import. For instance, … five dollar coffees every other day, pack of cigarettes every day. There’s things in your life you can probably cut back on to save enough money to buy something that is going to be a quality item, and work for you for many many years.” – John Johnston


For many people finding extra money is not an easy thing to do. Therefore, finding an inexpensive firearm for home defense or concealed carry can be a very frustrating endeavor. In this show we discuss different types of inexpensive yet reliable firearms, and the different options of where to purchase them.  As well, we give some things to think about before purchasing, tips on making the correct purchase, and in general try to help you, the listener, to purchase an inexpensive firearm that will work for your situation.

Training Fallacies


    Let me start off by making the really inflammatory statement that will either have you closing your browser windows now, or furiously scrolling down the page to the comments section to vent your ire at me. IN MOST INSTANCES YOU DON’T NEED TRAINING TO SUCCESSFULLY DEFEND YOURSELF WITH A GUN. See, I told you it was inflammatory.

     Anyone who has spent any amount of time listening to my show, or reading my various posts across the internet is probably aware of the fact that I attend a lot of training classes. These classes have covered a lot of different topics, everything from tactical medicine, to two man structure clearing tactics. Some of these classes have been relatively easy for me, while others (ECQC) have been absolutely ego destroying. As I’ve said many times in the past, you really start to question some of the skills you’ve focused on the first time an opponent in a Force on Force setting disarms you, immobilizes you, and then begins to shoot you with your own gun. As I said earlier it’s absolutely ego destroying. I guess what I’m trying to say is, I’ve been very lucky and gotten to do a lot of very cool things due to the nature of my job. Does that mean I’m better prepared than the average person who carries a gun day in and day out though?

Oddly, it's a lot more difficult to shoot someone when they don't want you to...

Oddly, it’s a lot more difficult to shoot someone when they don’t want you to…

     What has training done for me exactly? It’s allowed me to pressure test myself and my equipment with varying degrees of success. It’s also allowed me to practice making potentially life altering split second decisions under stress. At this point unless I’m having a particularly bad day I can even say I’m performing the physical mechanics of shooting on a relatively high level without having to think about it at all. I’ve learned how to recognize, avoid, and deescalate potential dangerous situations MUCH faster than I was able to 5 years ago. I’ve even pursued some basic medical training so I can be better prepared to deal with the aftermath of a defensive gun use, or the much more likely, car accident or other less tactical, trauma. Are any of those necessary for the common person to be able to successfully utilize a gun for self-defense? As I said earlier, not at all, as evidenced by the sheer number of people with zero training who fend off bad guys on a daily basis.

     I’ve got a hypothesis however, that the higher the level of training you have received, the less likely you are to ever find yourself in a situation where you’ll need the gun. I’ve no real way to test it, but in discussing the concept with several very well known instructors I’ve yet to hear any compelling evidence to the contrary, and in fact most of them seem to agree with me. It is my deeply held belief that what training does for us, is make it much less likely that we’ll ever have a shooting in the first place. I’ve heard a plethora of answers when I ask industry people why training helps us avoid shootings: people become more aware of their surroundings, they dedicate themselves to avoidance after learning how bad a real fight can be, they appear more confident and are less likely to be selected as a victim, they make better decisions in general and are less confrontational etc…

     I don’t know what the final answer is to the self-defense question. I really feel like I’m just now starting to understand the question in the first place so I’m in no position to present “the answer”. I will say this however. You don’t need hundreds of hours of training to survive most self-defense encounters. Untrained people prevail, with varying degrees of success, against bad guys all the time. Does that mean I’m advocating for people to seek less training? Of course it doesn’t. It also does not take into account statistical outliers, Sentinel Events, such as the one that hero concealed carry licensee Joseph Wilcox faced when he confronted two cop-killers at a Las Vegas Walmart. What it does mean however is we need to reexamine the value that we get from training, such as the untold number of potential incidents we avoid after we take the time to educate ourselves to the realities of self-defense and predator behavior.

     Additionally we need to think about the type of training that we seek when we do choose to seek it. I love high round count shooting classes just as much as the next guy. I can tell you right now though once I had reached something approaching proficiency I had to acknowledge that I was going to shooting classes because I liked them, not because I was learning any vital self-defense skills. The classes where I was learning vital self-defense skills were almost uniformly low to no round count, with an emphasis on recognizing and solving problems. Often times these included Force on Force scenarios where there was another active participant opposing my will and taking immediate advantage of my mistakes. These classes were also uniformly, very humbling experiences. While no one likes to be shown their inadequacies, it is vital to learn where your weaknesses lay if you are going to attempt to improve at all.

     So let me finish where I started. You don’t need training to successfully defend yourself with a gun in most circumstances. You do need training however if you want to begin to learn what it is exactly that you don’t know. You do need training to force your mind into making vital and potentially life altering decisions, under stress, in very short periods of time without relying on blind luck to get you through. You do need training to recognize some of the very subtle indicators that a predator is running you through their victim selection process. And you certainly need training to come any sort of close to understanding what a violent encounter is actually like if you’ve never found yourself in one.

     So while I’ll stand behind the statement that in most instances you don’t need training to successfully defend yourself with a gun, I can’t think of a single event where it would hurt to know just a little bit more…

Podcast – Season 2, Ballistic Radio Episode 68 – June 29th, 2014

“…What I imagined would be a series of books that were firearm literate, that were about the guns, that talked about how the guns were used (and) that portrayed the guns accurately or as accurately as possible…And I thought that if I got the guns right, I would have something that nobody else had.” – Stephen Hunter


Just as in high school, John sits alone for this episode as he interviews “New York Times” best selling author and Pulitzer Prize winner, Stephen Hunter. Mr Hunter talks about the development of Bob Lee Swagger, the main  character in many of his novels. He discusses his passion for writing, his love of firearms, and how the two combine to create very detailed and accurate works of fiction. As well, John asks Stephen’s opinion of  his book being turned into a Marky Mark movie, and we also get a quick update on the Knight’s Armament test rifle.

Podcast – Season 2, Ballistic Radio Episode 67 – June 22nd, 2014

“The light has to be as capable as the gun that it is on, and your capabilities as a shooter.”  - Steve “Yeti” Fisher

In this episode John and the crew sit down with Steve “The Yeti” Fisher and discuss “The Dark Monster”. Andy laughs at the ineptitude of the rest of the Ballistic Radio crew this episode.  The importance of training in low light and no light conditions  is discussed, as well as the importance of target identification.  We dive into weapon mounted vs. hand-held lights, proper light selection, and why you shouldn’t use your illumination device like a spastic light saber to cut through the dark.


Podcast – Season 2, Ballistic Radio Episode 66 – June 15th, 2014

“(Shooting) is a great way to connect with your child if they are someone that is responsible (and) you think is able to do it safely. I will say that the last 26 years of having something cool to do with my dad has been absolutely great.” – John Johnston

For the Father’s day edition of Ballistic Radio, John, Andy, and The Minion welcome Mike Johnston (John’s dad in-case you’re slow) into the studio. In addition to answering the ever burning question as to WHY someone with Johnston as a surname would name their son John, the crew discusses some of the differences between today’s shooting community and the community from 40 years ago. They answer a few listener questions, including the importance of finding a gun that you can live with. Mike also tells the story of how he got John into shooting 26 years ago, and discusses some ways to introduce young people to the sport safely.

Podcast – Season 2, Ballistic Radio Episode 65 – June 8th, 2014

“I don’t really think gear is what it’s about. I think that if you improve your skill level even with, you know, gear that you wouldn’t consider realistic. …If you improve your skill level with any type of gear. …you’re going to learn from that and that’s going to help you with whatever you’re carrying. So to me it’s kind of a moot point. It kind of doesn’t even really matter.” -Ben Stoeger

John and The Minion sit down with USPSA Champion Shooter Ben Stoeger to discuss  improving your training. Additionally the Timmy vs. Gamer question is brought up, as is the mindset that it takes to win. The origins of The Doodie Project forum are also revealed, at which point John makes one of his better on air mistakes and complains at the lack of negative attention the show has received from the forum. In hindsight, something about “Careful what you wish for” springs to mind.

Podcast – Season 2, Ballistic Radio Episode 64 – June 1st, 2014

“Imagine that you are walking home from a coffee shop that’s around the corner from your house, and you’ve done this thousands of times, right? If you’re on the phone and you’re talking to whoever, you’re talking to somebody and you have to be engaged in that conversation. You’re focused on the conversation, so your conscious mind is allotted to the conversation. That leaves your subconscious mind to get you from the coffee shop back to your house, and you somehow navigate without really having to think “turn right here, step over curb there” you just kind of, you flow, in a sense. And you are able to do that because you have walked that route a thousand times. …So our ultimate goal is to achieve subconscious competency.” – Jeff Gonzales

John and Jeff from Trident Concepts finally announce the winner to the April Paleo Purge charity contest. John then proceeds to make fun of Jeff, the former Navy SEAL, for losing to the fat lazy talk radio show host. In addition to all sorts of hilarity Jeff discusses why training for subconscious competence is something that everyone should be attempting, and why it’s such an important goal to strive for.