An ounce of prevention

Along with firearms training, instructors for Silver Spur teach home and personal protection to locals and high school seniors


September 4, 2019

Dana Davis

SMHS seniors listen to the instructors.

Much of what goes on during the annual Firearm Training hosted by Silver Spur Outfitters centers around firearms. The group that puts on the class,, has experience in law enforcement, however, there are some classes that center around personal protection that goes beyond firearms.

During the 6th Annual Firearm Training last week, John Russo and other teachers held one class on protection out at the Silver Spur gun range and visited the senior class at Saratoga Middle/High School.

Russo, in talking with both the attendees to the Aug. 27 class and the Saratoga seniors on Aug. 29, explained much of what he talks about is specific to the area someone is living. The police sergeant from Southern California talked about locking the doors to your house, not leaving the keys in your car and not sleeping with the first floor windows open. He admitted that those are likely not big concerns in rural Wyoming, but they are in urban California.

"We use the Wal-Mart parking lot analogy. We're coming out, we're walking to our vehicle, what should we be doing? Should we be thinking about all the money we spent, should we be thinking about how we should have bought something or we didn't buy the other thing, or should we be paying attention to what's going on in the parking lot?" he asked the Aug. 27 class. "Stay off the cell phone. Turn off your iPad, iPod, earbuds. Whatever it is that could distract you. Walk with your purse firmly under your arm."

While the audiences between the two classes were different, much of what was talked about was the same. Russo advised both classes to carry a small LED flashlight with a rough bezel.

"We call that the DNA catcher," said Russo.

He told the classes to envelope the flashlight in their hand and rake the rough bezel down the face of their attacker. It will certainly leave a mark and it may deter them. Russo also told the classes to invest in pepper spray, though reminded them that it can spray back on the user. A magazine, rolled tightly, in the gut can deter an attacker as well. Along with the advice on what to carry was training on different strikes for protection.

With the high school seniors, Russo and members of showed different physical strikes such as kicking, kneeing, palm heel strikes and elbows. While showing the strikes, Jay "Bubba" Norris shouted at his pretend attacker phrases such as "leave me alone" and "get down." Russo said this is so that the shouts will attract attention.

The seniors were allowed to work on self-defense strikes in groups using football bags. During the Aug. 27 class, the attendees end the class with firearms training as they practice two-handed and one-handed firing.

It's a lot to process. The class itself taking nearly an hour to go over everything, but, as Russo said, if you ignore everything you learn, there is still a 90 percent chance you will be safe. Still, if you practice and prepare, that number is greatly reduced.

Joshua Wood

Riley Little, center, practices a knee strike on a football practice bag on Thursday afternoon.


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