Book Review: Facing The Active Shooter by C.R. Williams



My friend and fellow blogger, CR Williams was kind enough to send me a hard copy of his latest book, Facing the Active Shooter: Guidelines for the Armed Citizen Defender for me to review for you guys.

With tragedies like Fort Hood, Chattanooga, San Bernardino, Paris, Orlando, Istanbul and Dallas, Active Shooter training can no longer be just “Once in a Blue Moon” type training for the Armed Civilian, but something we train for EVERY TIME we hit the range. Why? because the likelihood of your average, everyday joe being involved in an Active Shooter situation is much higher than it was just 3 years ago.

The author goes over some of the statistics associated with Active Shooter incidents and here are a few that stuck out to me:

  • Duration of average Active Shooter event is 12 Minutes
  • 51% of the Attacks Studied occurred in the WORKPLACE
  • 49% of the time attacks ended BEFORE THE POLICE ARRIVED

If you take just these three stats and put them together, you get something that looks like this:

I need to be prepared for an Active Shooter ALL the time but especially while I am at Work. I need to be READY to EFFECTIVELY FIGHT (and not just hide) because these shootings are not over fast and most of them are over before the cops ever get there. My Safety is my RESPONSIBILITY and MINE ALONE!

Does that Paint a real enough picture or you? Good! Read on because C.R. has some more good pointers for you.

He discusses the often contentious online debate of what kind of chances a Civilian armed with’ just’ a pistol and maybe one reload really has against an active shooter (or shooters) armed with semi-automatic/automatic rifles?

The short answer without giving away too much of the ‘meat’ of the book away is this: The Armed Civilians chances are good when these 5 things are considered:

  1. You will most likely never face (at one time) more than 2 shooters
  2. ALWAYS Train to use Cover during a Gunfight. First FIGHT TO IT and then FIGHT FROM IT. Cover is Life.
  3. The Engagement distances you will most likely fight at are distances most people currently train at with handguns and in the event they are not, learning to shoot accurately at slightly longer distances is not a difficult thing to do.
  4. When displacing and using movement, always move sideways or at an Angle to the Flank if possible. This of course allows you to fight from the flank.
  5. Be prepared to make head shots if body armour is present or center of mass shots do not seem to be working.

The author then moves on to a very in-depth chapter on Suicide Vest and Bombs.  This is an integral piece of information to understand for Two reasons:

  1. In the Istanbul Airport attack we saw the aftermath of a terrorist who was wounded but still able to detonate his suicide vest.
  2. Like the author, I agree that something very similar to this attack and most likely one much larger and more coordinated is coming to CONUS very soon and we need to be prepared.

Instead of me ruining the entire chapter for you, check out this article.

After this C.R. moves into two very important subjects: Readying YOURSELF (both physically and mentally) and your WEAPON for battle. Two very good subjects for beginners here, particularly when talking about the “software” side of the equation, which as we all know makes up a very large part of the warrior ethos.



He then moves on to a section that I personally really liked: TARGETING THE HEAD. This is a topic torn right from the headlines.

  • In the Istanbul Airport attack we saw a wounded terrorist detonate his suicide vest. What IF a headshot had been made prior to this? Could lives have been saved? Absolutely.
  • In the Dallas Attack in July we saw an Active Shooter decked out with a Level IV Plate Carrier going toe to toe with LEO’s armed with AR’s. (Picture of deceased Dallas Shooter with body armor above). It is obvious our enemies are becoming better equipped and prepared.

The fact of the matter is this: If we are not integrating into our training making 3×5 index card head shots UNDER STRESS at distances of 25 to  50 yards (with and without supported positions) we are not drilling realistically for an Active Shooter. The author goes into much greater detail on this subject and IMO, this section alone in conjunction with the Tactical Outline section is worth the price of admission.



The Next few chapters after this cover some very detailed Gun Handling and Manipulation skills including COVERT Gun Handling, MOVING with the gun and CLOSE-IN Shooting Positions. He tops it off with a very well illustrated chapter on Supported Positions for LONG RANGE Pistol Shooting, which is not a topic a lot of firearm instructors discuss simply because LONG RANGE shooting with a pistol is seen as more of a gimmick than a tactical necessity. But as real world Active Shooter incidents have shown, being able to quickly and accurately hit at long ranges with a pistol (particularly to the Cranial T) is now a skill the Armed Civilian need in their toolbox in spades.

The Last chapter is one you can really tell the author put a lot of time and work into: An Outline of Tactical Options for Active Shooter Scenarios, or as C.R. puts it, to Put a “Framework on Chaos” for the Armed Civilian.  I absolutely love that!

I was going to go in detail describing this Chapter, but I think I have talked too much already. You guys are just gonna have to buy or download the book!

To sum it up, this is a book that every Armed Civilian needs on their bookshelf or hard drive. Why? Because the threat matrix for the civilian has changed folks. Yeah we still train for all the standard threats: Carjacking, Home Invasions, Robberies, etc.. But if we want to be honest about our chances of SURVIVING an Active Shooter, we have to get SERIOUS about Training and constantly be ready to ADAPT our TTP (Tactics, Techniques and Procedures) accordingly to the enemy threat.


Don’t be another “Sheeple” that winds up on the evening news bloodied and bewildered saying “I never thought something like this could happen to me…” 

Practical Necessity and Common Sense DEMAND we Train for the Active Shooter!


Facing the Active Shooter: Guidelines for the Armed Citizen Defender can be Bought at Amazon.

Also Please Visit C.R. Williams Website, In Shadow In Light for more good stuff!

Stay Alert, Stay Armed and Stay Dangerous!





Espionage Books Worth A Damn: The New Spymasters


The New Spymasters: inside espionage from the Cold War to global terror, by Stephen Grey

Despite the continuing value of intelligence methods like telecommunication interception and satellite imagery, when operating against a shadowy terrorist group—especially one hiding within a civilian population—one of the best sources an intelligence organisation can have is a trusted insider who’s prepared to reveal the inside workings of the target. The decades long Cold War allowed both sides to be patient in their efforts to recruit such sources. One of the most notorious spies of that era, Kim Philby was first recruited by the Soviets in the mid 1930s. Fifteen years later he was the leading British intelligence figure in the United States, responsible for liaison with the CIA.

But there’s an intrinsic uncertainty with human sources of intelligence. The Soviets were never sure about the bona fides of their agents in the west, and were deeply suspicious of the information they passed. The risk that an agent is actually a double—still loyal to their own nation or group while posing as an agent for an adversary—always hangs heavily. In 2009 the CIA and Jordan thought they’d found a well-placed al-Qaeda insider in Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, only to have seven CIA staff killed when he detonated a suicide bomb at a CIA base in Afghanistan.

Stephen Grey’s well-researched book is a good primer in the tradecraft of human intelligence, or ‘humint’. It’s not an edifying business—ultimately a successful humint operation relies on someone being persuaded to betray their country, cause or friends. As a result, it’s a difficult ethical landscape, and both the agents themselves and their handlers face dilemmas in deciding where lines are drawn. As Grey describes, the relationship between the source and the handler works best when there’s a real bond between them—but that has to coexist with the intrinsically problematic reason for the pairing.

It’s not just the interpersonal aspects that are difficult. If the agent is inside a criminal and/or violent organisation, the agency running the operation has to decide how much criminality can be tolerated from their ‘asset’. British intelligence had to weigh the benefit of having a well-placed IRA informer (codenamed SteakKnife) against the acts that he had to be complicit in to maintain his cover. There are allegations that even murder was tolerated to keep SteakKnife’s cover intact.

The ‘classic’ spy like Philby or SteakKnife is allowed to work their way up in an organisation to be able to provide intelligence on the innermost workings and thinking of the leadership. In state-on-state intelligence that takes time, but climbing the hierarchy generally doesn’t involve involve the agent openly committing violent criminal acts. In the case of a violent organisation like the IRA, it gets harder, and the argument may have come down to the prevention of a ‘greater harm’.

Those issues perhaps become more problematic when the agent concerned is inside a terrorist group bent on inflicting mass casualties. Grey’s chapter on Jihad hints at a disturbing possibility that French intelligence was prepared to allow an inside source they were running within an extremist group to deliver a car bomb to a group in Algeria which ended up taking the life of 42 people. Given that western authorities have tended to take an approach of acting quickly to prevent terrorist attacks in their own countries whenever possible, even at the expense of blowing the cover of their intelligence sources, it’d be profoundly cynical to tolerate an act of mass murder elsewhere.

Grey’s main thesis is that humint successes like those in the Cold War or against the IRA can be replicated against even the most dangerous jihadist groups. He starts with a fair point: proselytising groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS welcome converts, so it should be possible to offer them some. Westerners have been able to get into those organisations, so it should be possible to place an agent. Of course it’s likely that’s already happening, but it’d be very dangerous work as ISIS gets increasingly paranoid about any traitors in the ranks.

Grey also takes issue with the west’s policy of pursuing a process of ‘decapitation’ of terrorist groups. Forcing them into a more cellular and less central structure reduces the strategic value of intelligence and the chance of getting an agent into a place to gather real insight. Grey also observes that the IRA wasn’t ‘decapitated’. Instead, its leadership aged and mellowed, and was eventually brought into a political process that helped end the problems. That won’t be possible if we keep rejuvenating the leadership with younger hotheads.

Grey concludes that intelligence against jihadists has ceased to be strategic. Rather than trying to understand the root causes of extremist movements, political leaders and their intelligence agencies have ‘become infected with a control-room mentality’. He quotes an intelligence agent as saying that the mission in Afghanistan was ‘not to understand the enemy but to defeat it’. By taking such a tactical view, we’ll probably end up doing neither. Practiced correctly, intelligence provides understanding at the strategic level and targeting data at the tactical level.

Read the Original Article at The Strategist

Book Review: Playing to the Edge, American Intelligence in the Age of Terror


by Michael V. Hayden
Penguin, 448 pp

When Michael Hayden was a young air force officer in the 1980s, the military stationed him as an intelligence attaché in Bulgaria. There, the man who would rise to the top of the American intelligence community in the post–September 11 era lived under constant surveillance: he and his wife, believing their apartment to be bugged, kept toy erasable pads scattered around it so they could converse in writing. Against that tense cold war backdrop, Hayden was once talking with a political officer in the Bulgarian government and became frustrated, blurting out, “What is truth to you?” The Communist Party apparatchik supposedly answered, “Truth? Truth is what serves the Party.”

Michael V. Hayden; drawing by James Ferguson

In his memoir Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terrorism, Hayden uses this anecdote to set the stage for a discussion of how intelligence officials are supposed to function in a modern democracy. Their crucial task, he writes, is to be “fact-based and see the world as it is,” supplying complete and accurate information to policymakers who make difficult decisions. His veneration of this ideal accords with his contempt for certain journalists he sees as “hopelessly agenda-driven” and with his self-image as a truth-teller. He observes that an entity that lives outside the law, as the Central Intelligence Agency does when it carries out covert operations abroad, must be “honest,” adding: “Especially with yourself. All the time.”

When intelligence officials live up to this standard for candor, the information they supply may be inconvenient for the various agendas of decision-makers. When President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney ran the country, Hayden’s CIA, he writes, told the White House that the insurgency in Iraq was spiraling into a sectarian civil war, and later that Iran had halted its nuclear weapons program. The latter assessment, which did not serve the purposes of hawks who wanted to escalate the confrontation with Iran, led many on the political right to conclude that the CIA was taking “revenge” on the Bush White House for “being forced to take the heat” for inaccurate intelligence about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction programs before the war. Hayden writes that such talk “made for a nice, tight story, but it just wasn’t true. The facts took us to our conclusions, not retribution or predisposition.” During the transition after Senator Barack Obama won the presidency, Hayden and other intelligence officials “would work to get access to him and then create as many of what we crudely called ‘aw, shit’ moments as possible.” This meant telling the president-elect

about the world as they saw it, not through the lens of campaign rhetoric, tracking polls, or the world as you wanted it to be. The “aw, shit” count simply reflected how many times they had been successful, as in “Aw shit, wish we hadn’t said that during that campaign stop in Buffalo.”

Hayden suggests that President Obama’s early decision to keep using “extraordinary rendition” transfers of detainees to other countries’ intelligence services, a counterterrorism practice that Bush critics had come to see as deliberately outsourcing torture—unfairly, he maintains—was a result of such briefings.

Read the Remainder at NYBooks


Spy Books Worth A Damn: “Missing Man: The American Spy Who Vanished in Iran”

Mising Man


By Barry Meier

Farrar Straus Giroux, $27.00,  273 pp.

The American public — especially the media — tends to demand, “Who’s to blame?” when a person vanishes in a foreign land with no explanation as to why, or whether, he is being held.

Such is the case with Robert Levinson, former FBI agent, private investigator and CIA contractor, who was snatched by unknown parties on the Iranian-owned island of Kish in 2013. Suspicion immediately pointed to Iranian security officers.

As a private investigator, Mr. Levinson was traveling under an assumed name, ostensibly trying to track sellers of counterfeit cigarettes on behalf of a client, British American Tobacco.

 But he also had a sub rosa purpose. On his own initiative, he hoped to recruit as a CIA informant, a man who was born as Teddy Belfield, converted to Islam while a student at Howard University, and took the name Dawud Salahuddin. In 1980, on behalf of anti-Shah Iranian radicals, Salahuddin posed as a postal carrier and shot dead a spokesman for the Iranian embassy in Washington at his Bethesda home.

Salahuddin fled to Iran, but soon tired of the mullahs’ government. He told investigators and journalists who were friends with Mr. Levinsonthan he had “secrets of enormous value to U.S. intelligence” because of his access to officials in the regime. Mr. Levinson seized what he saw as an opportunity to tighten his relationship with the CIA.

Read the Remainder at Washington Times


Historical Non-Fiction Book-of-the-Month Review

This is a book review from Michael Kriegers website. I wanted to post it because it contains a TON of good information on the subject. I will be posting my own personal review of this book this summer. -SF


The Devils Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA and The Rise of America’s Secret Government

Allen Dulles, the CIA director under presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy, the younger brother of Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, and the architect of a secretive national security apparatus that functioned as essentially an autonomous branch of government. Talbot offers a portrait of a black-and-white Cold War-era world full of spy games and nuclear brinkmanship, in which everyone is either a good guy or a bad guy. Dulles—who deceived American elected leaders and overthrew foreign ones, who backed ex-Nazis and thwarted left-leaning democrats—falls firmly in the latter camp. 

But what I was really trying to do was a biography on the American power elite from World War II up to the 60s. That was the key period when the national security state was constructed in this country, and where it begins to overshadow American democracy. It’s almost like Game of Thrones to me, where you have the dynastic struggles between these power groups within the American system for control of the country and the world…

Absolutely. The surveillance state that Snowden and others have exposed is very much a legacy of the Dulles past. I think Dulles would have been delighted by how technology and other developments have allowed the American security state to go much further than he went. He had to build a team of cutthroats and assassins on the ground to go around eliminating the people he wanted to eliminate, who he felt were in the way of American interests. He called them communists. We call them terrorists today. And of course the most controversial part of my book, I’m sure, will be the end, where I say there was blowback from that. Because that killing machine in some way was brought back home.

– From the Mother Jones article: You Think the NSA Is Bad? Meet Former CIA Director Allen Dulles

Many of you will be intimately familiar with the name Allen Dulles. Younger readers, of my generation or below, will be far less so. It is precisely because the youth of this nation remain so ignorant of the nefarious characters in America’s past, that David Talbot’s recently published book, The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government, is so incredibly important.

Mr. Talbot has been recently conducting invaluable interviews about the book with various media organizations. One of the best I’ve seen is with Mother Jones. Here’s some of what he had to say about America’s longest serving CIA director:

But what I was really trying to do was a biography on the American power elite from World War II up to the 60s. That was the key period when the national security state was constructed in this country, and where it begins to overshadow American democracy. It’s almost like Game of Thrones to me, where you have the dynastic struggles between these power groups within the American system for control of the country and the world.

I focused on those elements that I thought were important to understanding him. I thought other books covered that ground fairly well before me. But what they left out was the interesting nuances and shadow aspects of Dulles’s biography. I think that you can make a case, although I didn’t explicitly say this in the book, for Allen Dulles being a psychopath.

They’ve done studies of people in power, and they all have to be, to some extent, on the spectrum. You have to be unfeeling to a certain extent to send people to their death in war and take the kind of actions that men and women in power routinely have to take. But with Dulles, I think he went to the next step. His own wife and mistress called him “the Shark.” His favorite word was whether you were “useful” to him or not. And this went for people he was sleeping with or people he was manipulating in espionage or so on. He was the kind of man that could cold-bloodedly, again and again, send people to their death, including people he was familiar with and supposedly fond of.

There’s a thread there between people like Dulles up through Dick Cheney and [Donald] Rumsfeld—who was sitting at Dulles’s knee at one point. I was fascinated to find that correspondence between a young Congressman Rumsfeld and Allen Dulles, who he was looking to for wisdom and guidance as a young politician.

Absolutely. The surveillance state that Snowden and others have exposed is very much a legacy of the Dulles past. I think Dulles would have been delighted by how technology and other developments have allowed the American security state to go much further than he went. He had to build a team of cutthroats and assassins on the ground to go around eliminating the people he wanted to eliminate, who he felt were in the way of American interests. He called them communists. We call them terrorists today. And of course the most controversial part of my book, I’m sure, will be the end, where I say there was blowback from that. Because that killing machine in some way was brought back home.

How about Dulles’ role in the assassination of JFK? Talbot pulls no punches here either…

To me it’s one of the greatest examples of media incompetence and negligence in American history. I even confronted Ben Bradlee about this, who was probably JFK’s closest friend in the Washington press corps and wrote a book all about JFK and their close friendship. “Why didn’t you, with your investigative resources, try to get [to] the bottom of it?” You should read what he says in Brothers, but basically it came down to, “Well, I thought it would ruin my career.”

I think I have studied this about as much as anyone in my generation at this point, and my final conclusion after 50 years was we have to go there, we have to look at the fact that there’s a wealth of circumstantial evidence that says not only was there, at the highest level, CIA involvement. Probably in the assassination cover-up. But beyond the CIA, because the CIA wouldn’t have acted on its own.

But the CIA are good guys now. Or so the propagandized American public believes…

Read the Original Article at Liberty Blitzkrieg