Make Ready

You can 'make ready' as a threat begins to unfold.

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"Be not afraid of any man, no matter what his size, when danger threatens call on me and I will equalize"-Old Colt Firearms Advertising Slogan

"God made Men, Colonel Colt made them Equal" was also a well-known saying-maybe also part of 19th Century Colt advertising-that expressed the concept of Colt handguns

One of my all-time favorite movies is 1992's "The Last of the Mohican's" starring Daniel Day-Lewis. The second Hollywood adaptation of James Fenimore Cooper's novel of the same title, The Last of the Mohican's is set during the French and Indian War (1754-1763) when North America was contested for ownership by the French and the British.

It is fascinating to watch the British battle tactics of the mid-18th century, which were created on a grand scale for the film. When you watch the sequences, you will know why the Brits were so disadvantaged when it came to dealing with guerilla warfare, whether it was waged by the French, and Indians, during the French and Indian War, or by the Colonists during the American Revolution.

Immediately prior to battle being engaged by the British Regular troops against the French and/or Indians, the preparatory command of "Make Ready" was given by the officer in command. Troops were told to "make ready" after the loading sequence had been completed. This let the troops know that the battle was about to begin, and an actual command to fire was likely soon to follow.

The 18th Century "Make Ready" command came to mind as a result of my reading an article that appeared in the January 19, 2019 edition of the U.S. Concealed Carry Association's Concealed Carry Magazine titled "The Small Print; Lessons Learned from a Close Call".

The Small Print recounts a near assault by a member of the USCCA that could have cost the member his life, but instead was prevented by the presence of a firearm carried by the member-but not in a way you might think.

Before I continue, I am not criticizing the USCCA member about whom the article is written. He was tired after many long hours of work, and the situation unfolded in a matter of moments, and was totally unexpected. Instead, I applaud his courage in telling the story, so that we all may learn from this nearly tragic event.

The permit holder had stopped at a gas station near his home late at night to fill up. He was 63, (an age which makes you an enticing target for violent and cowardly predators) and was approached by two males, one very large (over 350 lbs.) and one much smaller who approached him and asked him bizarre questions while filming him on his cell phone. The permit holder was unaware he was being set up for "the Knockout Game", which is played in urban areas by youth who try and knock an unsuspecting person into unconsciousness with one punch. It can be fatal to the victim and is not a game. As the two began to close in as the permit holder pumped gas, the larger of the two noticed the Springfield XD .45 printing under his t-shirt and told his partner "hey, he's packing". At this point they beat a hasty retreat, and the permit holder left-very shaken up. He acknowledges in the interview he made a lot of mistakes in the aftermath due to fatigue and stress. Too often, denial of evil intent gets people killed because they don't prepare themselves to defend against the threat. Instead they merely hope it will go away on its own, as in this particular case.

The concept of "making ready" should be incorporated into the deadly force self-defense plan for concealed carry permit holders and cops alike. The 18th Century British Manual of Arms Command "Make Ready" moves the firelock from a shouldered position, to a cocked and ready to fire muzzle up position in front of the soldier. It is not pointed at another person until the command "present" is given. The final command in the sequence is of course "fire".

You can make ready as a threat begins to unfold. There is nothing wrong with drawing your handgun, and positioning it visibly along your leg with the muzzle pointed at the ground. No rule or law that I know of-certainly none in Ohio- says you must wait with your gun in the holster until the deadly force threat to you becomes imminent. This was the idea behind enhancing the "Stand your Ground" law. Making Ready is not "brandishing a firearm", which is defined as waving it around as a threat in anger or excitement. Making ready lets any aggressor know that you have a handgun and are prepared to bring that handgun to bear if required. If things begin to escalate, you can easily bring that handgun directly at the threat. Making ready cuts WAY down on your reaction time since you don't need to complete a draw from a holster before engaging a threat. If you carry your handgun deeply concealed, making ready may be crucial to your survival.

At age 61, I incorporate the make ready concept into my law enforcement work in high threat scenarios, as well in my off-duty life in order to protect myself and my family. I rarely carry an off-duty handgun in deep concealment. More often than not, it is belt holstered under a covering garment for rapid access. Hopefully I will not ever have to make ready when off-duty with my family. But if I am thrust into that situation, I know that this centuries-old concept will go a long way towards successfully those I love from harm.