As is tradition, there is no December FTX. However, the 2018 Training Schedule is complete and we will once again  get busy out in the field working on both old skills and new.  Until then, celebrate the Christmas season whenever you can.





Had a wee bit of snow early this month.  First time in seven years according to that weatherman.  The best kind of snow for these parts is just enough to be pretty to look at,  but be gone in a few days. 



Things you can still  study on in the meantime —



A fellow Ranger has a box full of some mighty fine, top of the line Safariland drop-leg holsters made under Government contract, and a favorite of many contractors because they fit about any pistol, from John Brownings‘s original to a more modern Glock of HK.  Makes a good Christmas gift at half the original price.   And looks good with those Khakis.  Jump over to Armslist and buy a couple.





ITS Tactical has a good story about learning to see your surroundings and sketch like a sniper.  Only in the movies does it ever work when your plan is to just walk up to the front door and blast your way in (or out).  By learning to pay attention to how things are laid out, with an eye to traffic, natural funnels, and dead ends, you can make a plan on where to move to when”something sudden and unexpected” happens.  The seconds spent figuring out an exit plan before you go in may be the seconds that save your life on the way out.





That girl with a great pair of Glocks had a short post of some good quotes just before Thanksgiving.




“That nation is surest to live in peace, that is most capable of making war; and a man with a sword always by his side, shall have least occasion to make use of it.”

John Trenchard




“Given power over their fellow men, most discover within themselves evil impulses, of which they had been previously unaware.”

Arthur Custance



And something from the 1989 farewell speech of Ronald Reagan is a timely reminder for today.  He definitely had a good understanding of how a culture of people made a political system work and that any threat to that was far worse than any gun or bomb.



1950s Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan (Close up) posing leaning against a fence at their Malibu Canyon Ranch “Yearling Row”



“Finally, there is a great tradition of warnings in Presidential farewells, and I’ve got one that’s been on my mind for some time. But oddly enough it starts with one of the things I’m proudest of in the past 8 years: the resurgence of national pride that I called the new patriotism. This national feeling is good, but it won’t count for much, and it won’t last unless it’s grounded in thoughtfulness and knowledge.


An informed patriotism is what we want. And are we doing a good enough job teaching our children what America is and what she represents in the long history of the world? Those of us who are over 35 or so years of age grew up in a different America. We were taught, very directly, what it means to be an American. And we absorbed, almost in the air, a love of country and an appreciation of its institutions. If you didn’t get these things from your family you got them from the neighborhood, from the father down the street who fought in Korea or the family who lost someone at Anzio. Or you could get a sense of patriotism from school. And if all else failed you could get a sense of patriotism from the popular culture. The movies celebrated democratic values and implicitly reinforced the idea that America was special. TV was like that, too, through the mid-sixties.

But now, we’re about to enter the nineties, and some things have changed. Younger parents aren’t sure that an unambivalent appreciation of America is the right thing to teach modern children. And as for those who create the popular culture, well-grounded patriotism is no longer the style. Our spirit is back, but we haven’t reinstitutionalized it. We’ve got to do a better job of getting across that America is freedom — freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of enterprise. And freedom is special and rare. It’s fragile; it needs production [protection].


So, we’ve got to teach history based not on what’s in fashion but what’s important — why the Pilgrims came here, who Jimmy Doolittle was, and what those 30 seconds over Tokyo meant. You know, 4 years ago on the 40th anniversary of D – day, I read a letter from a young woman writing to her late father, who’d fought on Omaha Beach. Her name was Lisa Zanatta Henn, and she said, “we will always remember, we will never forget what the boys of Normandy did.” Well, let’s help her keep her word. If we forget what we did, we won’t know who we are. I’m warning of an eradication of the American memory that could result, ultimately, in an erosion of the American spirit. Let’s start with some basics: more attention to American history and a greater emphasis on civic ritual.

And let me offer lesson number one about America: All great change in America begins at the dinner table. So, tomorrow night in the kitchen I hope the talking begins. And children, if your parents haven’t been teaching you what it means to be an American, let ’em know and nail ’em on it. That would be a very American thing to do.”


More next month.  Celebrate Christmas like it was your last.  Or learn to celebrate Eid al-Fitr like you’ll have to do it the rest of your life if you want to live.  Take your pick.  Choose wisely.  See you at the Cafe Van Gogh.