A shot in the dark. Or, is it?

Carry related chit-chat
kb5ujm
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Good afternoon,
My name is Rob and I found the site while researching the status of a local business as we have recently moved for my wife to except a job, and I moved my law practice. As my wife and I both are licensed to carry, it is very convenient to know the status prior to arriving at the door. Secondarily, This website and corresponding application provides me personally a level of independence that is unmatched. Perhaps I should explain.

I have been Visually impaired from birth, and completely blind since 2004. Never one to let things stop me, and with a Father who never treated me any different than any of his other children, he taught me how to shoot from the age of 8 through summer camps, the Boy Scouts and personal instruction in firearms proficiency. He was a competitor on the Air Force match team and tried out for the Armed Forces Match Team but I do not know if he made that team as well.

In Coming from a military family, it was always my desire to serve. So starting out in the Civil Air Patrol from age 18, and over 27 years later now currently serving in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary (think volunteer reserve), in the middle I spent two years drilling with the Marines as an honorary Marine. (Now, before you ask what is an Honorary Marine?), I will say the Commandant called me a Marine, and all who were there took him at his word. (You don’t argue with the Commandant.) So, I was given permission to drill with E CO, 4th BTN, USMCR in Kenai Alaska where my weapons training was a blast. I was issued an M16, the same as everyone else and was expected to maintain, clean, and yes, fire, like everyone else. I was also given the opportunity to experience the 240G and the SAW. It helped that my brother was also the RSO. I say all this to put forward an idea which I wonder if you would consider and provide honest feedback.

When My wife and I set about finding a Licensed to Carry instructor instead of being given an open and honest assessment I was met with an unreasonable amount of resistance. While I completely understand a healthy skepticism is to be expected, the level of unwillingness to even consider a blind person or visually impaired student surprised me. When I did find an instructor, a former Marine no less, he provided me no less or no more than I expected. I was challenged to demonstrate my ability to safely handle my firearm including holstering, drawing, clearing, presenting, and coming on target with both a training pistol and the requirement of passing the shooting exam without modification. In fact, just to be safe, my wife and I were placed in different lanes at the range to insure the integrity of the exam.

This is where the idea comes in. With Texas being permitless carry, there is no doubt a number of blind or visually impaired Texans are either currently carrying under this authority, or are honestly considering carrying. I believe these Texans would greatly benefit from a firearms safety course including a hands on portion. Although there are many online courses already that provide hours of instruction, until one has the firearm in their hands and experience the challenge, to hone the skills to master muzzle discipline, breath control, returning on target, and not anticipating the report, such online classes are only half the equation. I would also like to educate owners of ranges that a blind or visually impaired shooter with a safety spotter are able to practice their skills at a range. In fact, the RSO at my local range, not my brother, frequently has other shooters watch me shoot to prove a point; Blind and visually impaired shooters, with the same safety practices as we all utilize, can and should be able to enjoy firearms for recreation, hunting, and yes, selfdefense.

Anyway, I do have a video of me shooting if you are interested, and if any of you are Range owners, LTC instructors, or are visually impaired or blind and would like to know my best practices, please feel free to reach out. I am willing to come and teach a one day course of basic firearms safety instruction with a hands on element to bring this underserved population into our community.

Stay safe out there.
“Shot in the dark, because blind shooting does not mean blindly shooting”
KBCraig
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Welcome, Robert!

I think you're offering something important. The visually impaired have gun rights also, and your signature sums it up.

You'll also find a lot of fellow amateur radio operators in the gun world.
What do I miss about Texas? Most of the food, some of the people, absolutely none of the weather.
KBCraig
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As a licensee and a lawyer, you may have thought this issue through, but: how does signage give notice to the legally or totally blind?
What do I miss about Texas? Most of the food, some of the people, absolutely none of the weather.
srothstein
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Welcome, Robert. I think you are bringing up a very interesting point. I might explain that most instructors would not be interested in a visually impaired student because of their perception of a safety problem. I have seen some instructors who are also not interested in teaching physically disabled people because it is outside of their training on how to maintain safety.

I firmly believe that there are going to be a few people with visual impairments who will carry now under the new law. There is certainly a niche market among them for the training you are offering. Teaching range owners how to work with the visually impaired would certainly be useful.

The one problem I have with your proposal is the use of a safety spotter with the shooter for practice. Training should be done how you will fight when needed and they may not have a spotter then. I have problems with the notion of knowing your target and what is behind it. While this is a problem with all types of shooters, I see it as a more significant problem for a visually impaired shooter. I am willing to learn and be convinced otherwise, but it is what holds me up from endorsing this idea fully.
Steve Rothstein
kb5ujm
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Good evening all,

Thank you both for welcoming me and providing the honest feedback. Here is my response.

How does someone who is blind or visually impaired “train as they fight” to use the axiom.

The training the shooter undertakes is related to which task the shooter is practicing. For hunting, the sighted spotter is required by law, and the two work as a team to utilize the optic to allow the shooter to place the dot within the optimum kill zone. For target practice, the safety spotter although not required is utilized in both insuring the presentation of the weapon is constant, smooth, and regular and more specifically, tailored to that range’s target hight and distance. In short, not all ranges are the same. As a secondary benefit, the safety spotter calls out the score of the shots after the report to allow the shooter to adjust the weapon to increase their score. For self defense drills, the application of a SIRT (Shot indicating Reseting Trigger) Pistol can be utilized to drill the presentation of the weapon on target as this method is much safer than shooting live rounds at live people acting like threats. A simple truth is that in most cases threats make noise and there is simply no way (yet) to replicate this using live rounds. For the range practice, drilling with the B27 full-size human silhouette will provide the shooter the practice to present the weapon, and the safety spotter, (because targets do not make noise) as in the target practice calls out the shot placement. Unlike the scoring of the target practice, the spotter calls out positions on the body such as “center mass,” “Head shot”, “left chest”, and so on.

When addressing pure self defense, We must accept that the threat envelope for a blind person is different than a sighted person. For those people who are visually impaired, the threat envelope is different as the amount and type of vision is unique to the person. Tunnel vision, depth perception, light perception to name some of the many factors. If one accepts that a blind person’s threat envelope is within nine feet, which is the minimum shooting distance required to qualify for the Texas License to carry, it stands to reason that in order to practice shot placement in the “zone of influence” to stop the threat, the blind shooter should be able to, and practice proficiency of, hitting the life-size target at this distance. This is why practice utilizing the B27 at nine feet with the safety spotter calling out where the shot is place is so important.

Note, the qualification distances for the shooting portion of the Texas License to carry are nine feet, twenty one feet, and forty five feet respectively. Each candidate is required to fire fifty rounds; twenty at nine feet, twenty at twenty one feet, and ten at forty five feet. The shots are under controlled timing conditions.

Lastly, the selection of sidearm and caliber is very important to consider, and these are no different when a person is blind or visually impaired. As we all know, intent follows the bullet. This means that every round that leaves the muzzle of your weapon you are absolutely responsible for. As an example, one of the LTC trainers asked me “What will you do if you have to draw your weapon and defend yourself in a crowded mall?” Putting aside the ridiculous question for a moment, this scenario is completely unrealistic. It is more likely the person posing a threat will make physical contact with the blind person or visually impaired person and it will most likely not be within a crowd. The criminal will not assume them to be anything more than what they appear to society to be… “A victim.” In my training I discuss over penetration, “collateral damage”, and most important, your actions will be judged by twelve of our peers. They will want to know, “How much training does the blind person have?”, “What did they do to prevent having to hurt or kill this person?”, “Is it even safe for blind people to have their right to carry and if necessary, defend themselves with firearms?” The choice of sidearm, the training utilized to achieve and practice their skills,, and the specific facts related to that moment in time will all be a factor if the case goes to trial and this is no different than in all other self defense cases.

I hope this answers the questions presented, and I am enjoying the thread. I recognize this is a new concept. But could you ask for a better ambassador than a Blind Licensed to Carry criminal defense attorney? I also believe that my talk and training may be useful for all audiences both sighted and blind/visually impaired. I am willing to travel and speak at your club if you are interested.
“Shot in the dark, because blind shooting does not mean blindly shooting”
srothstein
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Thanks for those answers. I had not considered the hunting or sport shooting side of the questions since I focus primarily on self defense. You certainly could enjoy the hobby with the spotter that way. Incidentally, you could get a remote control speaker to put on the target frame and beep, much like is used in a baseball for visually impaired athletes.

But I do suggest you reconsider how you answer the question of the attack in the mall. Considering how many recent mass shootings have occurred in a mall, it might be better to have an answer on ruling out the individual close contact attack and then point out that the visually impaired LTC has been trained to not shoot in cases like the mass attacks for that reason.
Steve Rothstein
KBCraig
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Most of threat perception is visual. There is an audible portion as well, but sighted persons often identify a potential threat before any words are exchanged, and wise people then choose distance over confrontation.

The blind don't have that luxury. The potential threat might not be known until it's an actual threat, and alternative routes can't be easily identified.

I suppose putting a guide harness on a Malinois is one option. LOL

The shooting proficiency test isn't really a test of shooting ability, because even beginners should ace it, or at least come close. It's more a demonstration of the ability to handle and operate the gun. The target and what lies beyond it are assumed; there is no fire/no-fire decision making.

When I have taught new shooters, once we cover basic safety and gun handling, I then tell them approach the target to the distance they think they have to draw and shoot.

Most will stop at 20 yards; maybe 15. I encourage them to move closer, and at 10 yards they're uncertain, at 7 yards they're uncomfortable, and at 3 yards they think I'm crazy.

I understand why: the target represents the Bad Guy they're going to have to shoot, and they don't want to get that close. I ask how close they think they'll be when they realize they have no choice but to shoot. The light goes on, but they still don't like it.

I'm a big fan of contact drills. Hand on the target, rock back, draw, and shoot. One step back, establish a two-hand grip, and shoot again.
What do I miss about Texas? Most of the food, some of the people, absolutely none of the weather.
kb5ujm
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Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2022 10:26 pm
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Good afternoon all,

The use of the SIRT pistol was an eye-opener for my wife. My instructor had me draw present and fire as soon as the threat was detected. He aggressively and quite realistically represented a threat using multiple stimulant, such as sometimes he would shout at me sometimes he would come up from behind and just grab me sometimes he would make a noise from across the room. That was the most realistic I think because when he was presenting a threat across the room I wasn’t sure where my wife was. During the discussion I explained that my plan is to communicate. Such as “where are you? Yelling for her knowing that she’s going to respond if she can. The biggest thing is and most important is you’ve got to assess the situation to avoid, or at least do everything you can to reduce, collateral damage. He said that was a smart move and to have plans in place between her and I what to do regarding one another as we both carry kind of a quote engagement plan” and my wife was surprised that I was able to, shall we say, put the round in the “zone of influence” effectively. It was only until I could demonstrate a consistency in that ability that he felt comfortable in saying you know what, I think I don’t mind putting my name to this. It’s not like he just did it, it took convincing of him. Which, honestly, is the right thing to do for any instructor. I remember him saying “Robert you shoot better than some people who can see, and you have more weapons proficiency than some people who can see.” He did expressed some concern as to whether my ability would try to convince other blind people or visually impaired people to actively join the community as not everyone is going to have the skill. This being said, I don’t think it’s appropriate for us to leave these would be positive contributors to the firearms community out just because of fear of Unknown. We love the firearms community whether it be for recreation, hunting, and understand the necessity of use of firearms and self-defense, and being honest, I love the Community because people have given me a chance. Why should these other blind or visually impaired people be denied that opportunity? Luck, training, environment, sure probably. I’m not arrogant to believe that it would go that smoothly in a real world situation. Having had a friend who actually was in a real life self-defense incident I’ve listen to his testimony as well as read several cases of police self-defense situations. (I am a criminal defense attorney) but these were not my clients. Your

contact drill sounds interesting.

In terms of the mall, as I understand that Steve really wants me to address it. OK, here goes. When a blind person or visually impaired person makes that decision, and I will use blind is that’s where I have the perspective from, it would be no different between a blind person deciding to engage or not engage or a sighted person deciding to engage or not engage. As I’m sure you both understand, an instructor believing that they would be held liable for certifying an individual that truly passed both the written exam, and the shooting proficiency, it’s just not the way it works. The liability rests with the license holder. No one else. They alone are responsible for their actions. So I completely understand and have given a great deal of thought into not only my personal ability to mitigate risk, but also the advice and counsel that I give when I teach this class. At the end of the day I don’t want someone walking out of there saying Rob told me to do this and such. I want them to say my instructor prepared me to make a decision that was appropriate for the situation.

We must always remember that we are not, repeat not, law enforcement. This concept of “I am the sheep dog and I protect the sheep“” sadly although altruistic and honorable in its intention will most likely put you in jail if things do not go well. Even the best self-defense case is probably going to land an individual in jail and probably going to have to be taken to trial.

Anyway, I do hope I can get some interest as I really enjoy this topic and really want to use my positive experience to benefit others. I appreciate the real world question that you both present. Oh, before I forget, you asked about whether the signage was applied to a blind person. Yes, as a license holder although blind I am held to the same standards as everyone else. So, thank goodness this application provides me more accessible freedom than I previously had. My wife is fully cited, I don’t know if I mentioned that, and so generally if we’re together we’re both trying to look for signs even though I can’t see. This app takes some of that responsibility off of her and leave it where it properly should be at my feet.
“Shot in the dark, because blind shooting does not mean blindly shooting”
rotor
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If you are technically blind how can you be sure your shot placement would not injure an innocent bystander in a life and death situation? Assuming you don't always have a spotter.

I think the idea of sport shooting with a spotter is great but defensive shooting is another matter. Not to downgrade your considerable achievements.
kb5ujm
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Good evening,

I’m glad you asked the question. The most likely scenario for a blind or visually impaired person is that the assailant will have a “hands-on approach.” It’s not going to be in a place where there are other people, because the “victim” shouting or making noise would likely attract the attention of bystanders. An individual is not going to want to risk having individuals rushed to the blind or visually impaired persons aid. So, this in consideration, I teach my students to select weapons after considering issues of overpenetration, and in order to minimize collateral damage. At the end of the day the decision to pull the trigger is no different than a sighted person. We have situations of individuals who believe, in good faith, that they’re going to be able to be a hero in a crowded mall and discharged their weapon and killed an active shooter. While these visions are altruistic, and I’m certainly not going to judge their morals, that would be just as unsafe as a blind person choosing to pull the trigger not knowing where the threat is, or what’s beyond it. I am now in the process of creating an LLC for my company as I’ve already developed a curriculum and have been contacted by two national organizations who are very interested in having me present my course. This thing seems to be moving pretty quickly. It’s very exciting! It will be nice to be teaching in the classroom all be at a different subject. Oh, not sure if you read above, but as a licensed attorney I absolutely understand, and convey to my students the importance and legal ramifications of deciding to carry a sidearm for self-defense as well as utilizing that sidearm if the time comes.

Again, I appreciate your question and hope that I’ve answered it effectively.
“Shot in the dark, because blind shooting does not mean blindly shooting”
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