Selected Columns Published in

THE GUN MAG (Fomerly, Gun Week Magazine) 

 by Chuck Klein


GLOCK, There's a Reason They're So Popular (20 Dec 2002)

GUNS In The WORKPLACE (20 Dec 2005) (also published in Concealed Carry Magazine (Jul. 2016)

SENIOR SHOOTING/SELF-DEFENSE (Mar. 2017) (also published in POLICE MAG - Mar. 2015 and BLUE PRESS Feb. 2015)

ETHICS And The ARMED CITIZENS OF AMERICA ( Link to Sept. 2016 Issue)

SENIORS, DEMENTIA And GUNS ( Link to Mar. 2017 Issue)

TO CARRY Or NOT CARRY ( Link to Jan. 2018 Issue)

NOT EVERYTHING IS OBVIOUS  - The 5/3 shooting (Link to Jan. 2019 issue - with photos)

TIME FOR A NEW AMENDMENT - PROPOSED 28TH AMENDMENT (This is an updated version of the Guns & Ammo column from 2002). 




By Chuck Klein

Now that the baby-boomer generation is reaching their late 60s, it is clear that long-ignored shooting/self-defense issues are becoming apparent. If you’re a senior citizen you most likely are a victim of C.R.A.V.Y. – Comfort-Recoil-Arthritis-Vision-Yips. One or more of these age-related maladies are evident if we’re lucky enough to pile on the years. Though there is no cure to aging, accepting and dealing with symptoms is the only solution. These C.R.A.V.Y. factors, as they relate to handgun shooting and self-defense, are defined as:

Comfort: One of my fellow classmates at the Norwood, Ohio Police Academy (over 40 years ago) asked the OIC, Lt. Umbaugh, if we should carry a gun while off-duty. His answer was so obvious; I have not only lived it, but written about it and taught it. The Lieutenant said: “One either never carries or one always carries, but one never sometimes carries.” When it comes to concealed carry, owning the latest and most powerful assault stopper is insignificant if it is too big or too heavy for all day – everyday carry. There is a huge selection of carry rigs available from fanny packs/purses to holsters available to fit almost any part of the body. Finding a comfortable carry mode AND firearm that fits you and your lifestyle is a significant task and should be addressed with great importance.

Recoil: Many of us, as we age, become less tolerant to noise and physical punishment. Modern light weight guns, even in the lessor self-defense calibers of .380 ACP, can be uncomfortable to shoot. The old saying of ‘a .22 caliber handgun beats an empty fist’ applies here. The .22 is not known as a man-stopper, but a well-placed shot or two will go a long way to bringing an end to most life-threatening attacks. So what’s the big deal if you’re in a fire-fight and your +P+ magnum bruises your hand while stopping a deadly assault? The ‘big deal’ is: if your carry arm is punishing to shoot then practice won’t be high on your list of life-saving priorities. Without regular practice your ability to stave off a deadly attack will not only be negated, but if a missed shot causes collateral damage and the following legal action discloses you didn’t practice . . . .

Arthritis: The affliction is suffered, at some level and degree, by most of the older generation. This condition might not be a noticeable problem while conducting everyday affairs, but strong and agile wrist, elbow and finger joints are a requisite to defensive handgun shooting. Being unable to operate a double action trigger, grip the handgun with adequate strength or rack a slide is common among persons with arthritis. There are some medications that help, but the severity of the ailment usually comes and goes during the week or day – or even hour to hour. If you’ve noticed it is difficult to make a tight fist or experience discomfort in other joints, now might be a good time to begin looking for a handgun you can operate with ease.

Vision: This is the easiest of the five factors to correct. Of course, eye glasses will improve visual acuity – if you have them on. Corrective lenses will not solve issues related to cataracts, night blindness or specific distances such as being able to focus on the front sight while still seeing the rear sight AND the target. One solution to most vision problems can be over-come by learning and practicing instinct shooting, i.e., shooting by focusing on the target only. Under close-quarter-combat conditions, if you can’t see the sights but can still see the target, the point shooting technique should be sufficient. Another remedy is laser sights, though they have the drawback of having to expend an instant looking for that red or green dot.

The Yips: A term attributed to golf pro, Lee Trevino, to describe an involuntary, unexpected and age-related twitch. Swinging smoothly and following through during a putt is no different than stroking a trigger. If, at this critical moment you suddenly have an, albeit, miniscule muscle spasm – you missed. Missing a putt, even if for big bucks, is not the same as missing a shot that cost you your life. For no other reason, this is why one should always keep their finger off the trigger until a shot is necessary. There is no known cure for the Yips and this quirk tenders no warning, but a firm two-hand and practiced grip will help to hinder twitch possibilities.

Summary: First, if you’re over fifty own up to the fact that you are aging. Test yourself with honest appraisals every time you handle your carry arm. Second, only carry a firearm you shoot well and one that is comfortable – size and weight wise. A diminutive handgun might be easy to carry, but if you can’t hit a man-sized target at close-quarter-combat distances, it will be of little value. Many modern firing ranges rent handguns for the purpose of allowing their customers to try-out different guns to help determine what works best. It’s an inexpensive way to learn what’s a good fit for you. Finally, practice self-defense tactical shooting including instinct combat shooting.

Chuck Klein, a former LEO and retired licensed private investigator, is an active member of the International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors and the author of INSTINCT COMBAT SHOOTING, Defensive Handgunning for Police; GUNS IN THE WORKPLACE, A Manual for Private Sector Employees and Employers plus many other books.




Chuck Klein


In his famous speech given at West Point, 12 May 1962, World War Two hero, General Douglas MacArthur, explained the obligation of soldiers with three words: “Duty, Honor, Country.” Nothing could be closer to the American ideals of our fighting forces. To Armed Citizens of American (ACA) those three words also apply, but so too, do: Integrity, Courage, Allegiance.

It is surely every decent, law-abiding citizen’s daily practice to live safely and to stand beside and to back-up like fellow Americans and . . . to always try do the right thing. Safety is mostly a matter of practicing rules of common sense. There is little temptation to violate safety procedures. Not so, ethical matters.

The second to last thing a morally responsible, prudent person wants to do is kill another human being regardless of how reprehensible, villainous or dangerous that person might be. The last thing this morally responsible, prudent person wants to do is be killed by that reprehensible, villainous and dangerous person.

American ethics means, no lying, no cheating, no stealing - no exceptions, no excuses. Ethical behavior is also defined as a set, or system of, moral values and principles that are based on honesty and truthfulness and have been accepted as professional standards. To an ACA the ethical mind-set additionally includes: Integrity, Courage and Allegiance.

Integrity: A strong unyielding adherence to a code of moral uprightness. Professionals, such as lawyers and doctors, may hold to high standards of ethics while dealing within their trade, but should they involve themselves in questionable behavior in their private lives they could still be acceptable to their colleagues. Not so, ACA. Armed Citizens of America must have integrity and embrace ethical and moral conduct in all their private as well as public comings and goings lest they come under scrutiny after a self-defense incident. Conduct unbecoming an ACA applies all the time – work, play, family . . . .

Courage: It may take a lot of courage for a lawyer to face a jury or for an iron worker to scale buildings. But to act when other lives are in sudden and immediate life-threatening danger is an obligation that applies to ACA. Not only must the man or woman with the life-saving firearm be courageous, but they must also remain ethical while facing lethal risks. Engaging in a firefight where the bad guy is shooting at you takes extreme courage. Cowering, hiding or running away when you have the ability and opportunity to save lives – even if it means risking your own life - involves a much higher level of valor. An immense amount of courage is also required knowing you will face the aftermath that could include, but is not limited to: legal challenges and politically inspired smear campaigns that could also impact your family.

Allegiance: Committed to act with ethical integrity and courage; add now the requisite of loyalty to your fellow Americans and all of the laws, court rulings and constitutional mandates. Armed Citizens of America, being individualists, have individually pledged their allegiance to the flag of the United States and all that it stands for. Though other American citizens also take the pledge of allegiance to our flag, it is only the Armed Citizens of American who have the wherewithal to back-up, enforce and/or demonstrate their allegiance.

If you're ever in a situation where another person is about to murder you, at that moment, you'd trade all your worldly possessions for a firearm. And, if that threat was to kill your child or your grandchild, you'd sell your soul for a gun.

Americans are noted for their basic honesty. This is their stock-in-trade, forte', signature, persona, identification and what differentiates them from those of other nations. To the simple definition of ethics, the addendums Integrity, Courage, Allegiance is what separates ACAs from everyone else. To serve in this capacity marks a citizen as the epitome of what America is and what every decent, law-abiding, citizen aspires to be.

All this yea-team, feels-good rhetoric most certainly instills confidence and champions the great American spirit. But when events start to get out-of-hand - insurrection, riots, foreign invasion - the significance of Armed Citizens of American as our last line of defense becomes of great consequence.

There's lots worse things than being killed by some thug - one is: watching a family member die at the hands of this thug because you were a fool for not carrying a gun.

Chuck Klein, a former LEO and retired P.I., is the author of GUNS IN THE WORKPLACE, A Manual for Private Sector Employers and Employees, INSTINCT COMBAT SHOOTING, Defensive Handgunning for Police, 4th Edition, and many other books, articles and columns. He may be reached via his web site:


 SENIORS, DEMENTIA AND GUNS (published March 2017

By Chuck Klein

The second to last thing a morally responsible, prudent person wants to do is kill another human being regardless of how reprehensible, villainous or dangerous that person might be. The last thing this morally responsible, prudent person wants to do is be killed by that reprehensible, villainous and dangerous person. Most all states (and the federal government) forbid anyone who has been judged mentally unstable or incompetent to purchase or carry a loaded firearm. But what about those who already have their concealed carry license and then become cerebrally incapable, sans adjudication? As the nation of carriers ages this issue could become a focal point that might best be addressed before it evolves into a significant crisis. Now that concealed carry is widespread, I’m sure many oldsters are already facing the predicament of serious memory loss – loss that may include forgetting when lethal force is legally acceptable.

This is not about ‘crazy’ people, but regular, decent, law-abiding citizens who develop age-related mental challenges. Case in point: Not long ago, I learned a life-long friend was experiencing symptoms of dementia (Alzheimer’s disease). I have talked with this person on the phone every day for the past 20 plus years and before that on a very regular basis dating back to high school. An esoteric phone call to his wife confirmed my suspicions; he was developing serious memory difficulties. Because we live over an hour apart, I needed a plan as he not only has a license to carry a concealed firearm, but does so every day.

During one of our daily phone conversations, I recommended we meet for lunch. In mentioning restaurants, it was clear he was having trouble remembering how to drive to the locations. I volunteered to pick him up. Once seated at the eatery and the small talk out of the way, I suggested we play the old game of ‘what would you do if…’. I had developed a situational mental game in my mind over the past few days to learn if my friend remembered the lessons learned from his concealed carry class - taken over ten years ago. I ran this scenario by him:

You are standing next to your car in a shopping center parking lot when you hear a disturbance. Turning to look, you see a man about your size but half your age (my friend is 74), beating another person with a 2x4. The man is across a driving lane – about 25 feet from you. He sees you looking at him, raises the 2x4, screams he going to kill you and then begins to advance. Do you:

A) Draw your weapon and shoot him;

B) Run away or try to get into your car;

C) Draw your handgun and fire a warning shot before shooting him;

D) Draw your weapon and shoot to wound him.

I repeated the scenario and options twice to make sure he understood.

At first my friend didn’t want to answer, but when I pushed and implied he might be tested when he applies to renew his carry license [not true], he tendered a response. It was clear he seemed confused when finally replying that he’d run away, but immediately continued on that he would fire a warning shot before trying to get into his car.

I had to tell him these are not the correct answers and it is time to stop carrying his handgun. He was not pleased and said he wouldn’t even consider surrendering his handgun. Later, when we returned to his home, I told him again – in front of his wife – he should forgo packing heat as there are worse things than being killed; one of which is going to prison for manslaughter.

I’m having a hard time deciding what I can/should do – if anything. I sure don’t want my lifelong friend to harm an innocent person, be jailed for carrying in a place he shouldn’t or be killed with his own gun.

Some of my options include (none of which I can wrap my mind around):

a) Physically take the gun from him;

b) With the help of his wife, remove all of his guns from his home and when he’s sleeping take his regular carry gun;

c) Report my (non-professional) opinion to the licensing authority (I don’t know if there is anything they can or would do);

d) Surreptitiously exchange the live ammo in his carry gun with dummy rounds. What would you do?

How the carrier of loaded firearms reacts to the above or other situations similar to the following could be indicative of a person’s mental condition:

SCENARIO 1 You are cut-off while driving through traffic. At the next traffic light, you flip the other driver off and call him a few vile names (spontaneous anger is a symptom of dementia). When the other driver ignores you, you exit your vehicle and continue taunting him. He exits his car brandishing a tire iron. Being only a few yards apart, you fear for your life. Are you justified in drawing your legally concealed handgun and blowing him away?

a) Yes. He is clearly a threat of great bodily harm or death to you;

b) No. Since you are the aggressor, you have no legal right to shoot the person you provoked;

c) Yes, but only if you make it clear that you are capitulating – saying you’re sorry and retreating toward your car - and then only if he continues to advance toward you in a menacing manner making him belligerent;

d) Yes, but since you created the incident and are the aggressor, you must first fire a warning shot.

SCENARIO 2 While shopping at a local Stop & Rob, you notice the terrified look on the cashier’s face as she hands over money from the register to a hooded person holding what appears to be a short-barreled shotgun. The hooded person tucks the gun into his long overcoat and runs toward the exit. Do you:

a) Follow the hooded person outside where there are no bystanders, draw your legally carried handgun and, while chasing him and pointing your gun at him, call for him to halt or you’ll shoot;

b) Draw your gun and shoot the hooded person before he exits the store;

c) Without drawing your handgun, shelter-in-place and call 9-1-1;

d) Draw your handgun and be prepared to use it should there be accomplices still in the store – then call 9-1-1.

Change the scenario to various other conditions such as the hooded person turns toward you and points the shotgun at you – the hooded person turns toward you but the firearm is concealed – the hooded person fires a shot – the hooded person is most certainly a juvenile….

Civilians legally carrying firearms in public is a recent phenomenon of less than a generation. Seniors, as much or more than others, need firearms for personal protection; they, as a group, are also more prone to debilitating mental conditions. Now that the baby-boomers are reaching full maturity the questions arise: Should they be subject to testing? Should states administer tests (such as above) to those reaching a certain age level? Is this any difference than a breathalyzer, airport body scan? Does this subject need more discussion? What do you think?

If you had problems with the informal Q&A, perhaps it’s time to have your own mental capacities evaluated. Let’s see now, where did I last see my glasses…. Losing a gun battle is forever; but the aftermath of surviving a firefight, with the possibility of criminal prosecution and civil suit, might be worse. 


Parking lot scenario:

a) Correct. The man has beaten another with a weapon that can cause death or great bodily harm, he is advancing toward you and he has verbally indicated he is going to harm you. At such close distance, you might only have time to draw and fire.

b) Wrong. My friend is 74 years old and it is doubtful he could outrun a man half his age. Even if he was a younger and a world class sprinter, turning his back on a killer and trying to outrun him in a parking lot full of cars, people and shopping carts is not a good idea.

c) Wrong. Warning shots are almost never a good plan as an errant shot could injure an innocent person or – witnesses, after the fact, could implicate you as the aggressor.

d) Wrong. Trying to shoot at a moving limb is most difficult especially when under the stress and pressure of defending yourself. Even police are not trained to shoot to wound. Your only strategy of defense is to stop this violent person and shooting for center mass is the best way to accomplish this goal. 

Scenario 1 (Road Rage)

a) Wrong. Court and state laws will never allow you to suck someone into a confrontation for the purpose of then claiming self-defense after wasting him.

b) Wrong. See a).

c) Correct. If you create a lethal force incident, you must make it clear that you realize your error and stop your aggressive behavior. The problem here, is proof. Sans conclusive evidence that you capitulated, might be insurmountable when defending a wrongful shooting. Of course, if you are suffering from dementia and can’t recognize the situation….

d) Wrong. Warning shots are almost all circumstances are as dangerous to you as to others. (see above). 

Scenario 2 (Convenience store robbery)

a) Wrong. Unless you are a law enforcement officer, you have no duty, power or right to apprehend the robber. Pointing a firearm at another is a felony in most jurisdictions.

b) Wrong. Say what? Unless you’re a cop, shooting an armed robber in the back when there is no actual and immediate threat to your life is tantamount to manslaughter at the least.

c) Correct. Your life is not in immediate danger. Just because you’re packing a heater, doesn’t mean you need to display it. Besides, when you produce a loaded firearm in a public place, inadvertently pointing it at an innocent is a felony in most jurisdictions.

d) Wrong. Brandishing a firearm might get you killed. Responding law enforcement officers or on-scene, off-duty LEOs might mistake you as one of the robbers. 

Chuck Klein is an NRA Certified Firearms Instructor, active member of the International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors and author of INSTINCT COMBAT SHOOTING, Defensive Handgunning for Police and many firearm related articles and books. 


To Carry or Not to Carry

Chuck Klein

Okay, you’ve secured your concealed carry permit, studied and selected a go-to gun and … there it sets, in your bedside drawer or car glovebox or sometimes….

* Back when I was attending the police academy one of my fellow recruits asked the OIC if we should carry our handguns while off-duty. His answer was so succinct, obvious and made such complete sense that not only have I lived it, but I’ve taught it in my classes and written it into my books and articles. The Norwood, Ohio police lieutenant said:

“One either never carries a firearm, or one always carries, but one never sometimes carries."

In other words, if your mindset is that you are carrying, then you project a different aura than one who is mentally seeking a run & hide or a please-leave-me-alone attitude. It naturally forces you to be in condition yellow at all times – aware of your surroundings. This personal persona of confidence is telegraphed by your posture, and who you are - not afraid to look at.

When I moved to the downtown portion of Cincinnati, as a civilian and after 17 years of country living, I was saved by my projected image. On a warm summer evening, I decided to walk to my son’s home, about 8-10 blocks away. What I didn’t realize was my route took me through a high-crime neighborhood – one where tennis shoes hung from telephone and cable wires every few buildings. The streets were lined with rowhouses that only had a sidewalk between them and the curb. I was outfitted in shorts and a loose-fitting, button shirt covering a Colt .38, 2 1/2” Diamondback in a strongside holster. It was 1994, years before concealed carry became legal in Ohio. Sensing this was not a good plan, I walked down the middle of the narrow street. Approaching a cluster of drug-seller types, dressed in butt-crack exposing, prison-type garb, I looked them over - eye to eye. One of the gang-bangers stepped away from group, smiled, showing a diamond studded tooth, and said, “What’s shakin’, officer.” I returned the smile while putting my finger to my lips in the classic “shhh” expression. Even though the hair on my neck was standing on end, and my back was now to them, I never broke stride. I hadn’t been an LEO for years, but my character said I was and that was enough to keep them at bay. Could I have had the grit and gumption to act as I did if I wasn’t carrying a gun? I don’t know as I have always carried. My son drove me home later, using a set of streets.

* Going about unarmed the natural tendency is to avoid confrontational situations by never looking directly at strangers. This demeanor, or an attempt to bluff strength and bravery, ofttimes is discernable by criminals with animal-type instincts. Not only do cops have that 6th sense – the innate ability to “read people” - but many criminals do also. The only possible advantage to never carrying is not having to worry about being in a place that forbids possession of a lethal weapon – such as police stations, airports or schools.

“If you believe that psychological tough talk will enable you to bluff your way out of a dangerous situation, you might be wrong...dead wrong. Super-predators - losers with nothing to lose - can't be bluffed."

* The worst situation will find the sometimes carrier conflicted – not knowing what face to put on and of course, reaching for a gun when one isn’t there but is needed. Consider the person who straps on his protection, goes about his daily routine, comes home, stores his gun and then … a thug crashes into his home while the gun is upstairs and in the bedroom under lock and key. Or, he forgot to pick-up the milk on the way home and slips out, with his young daughter holding his hand, for a quick run to the local stop & rob, sans his gun. “It’s just a quick trip, honey – I’ll be right back”. At the S&R he walks into a robbery/mass shooting in-progress where the robber/shooter is coming after him and his child ….

“If you are permitted to carry a firearm and don’t - you’re part of the problem; and if you think it best to pass laws making it tougher for law-abiding citizens to own/carry guns – you are the problem.”

Other than statutory restrictions, there is only one condition when you should never have your firearm on your body (or very close at hand) – when consuming alcoholic beverages, or drugs that may impair your thinking. Yes, even in your own castle, it is best to carry, not only for the actual protection, but because it keeps you mindful that this power to protect is right where it should be.

“If you're ever in a situation where another person is about to murder you, at that moment, you'd trade all your worldly possessions for a firearm. And, if that threat was to kill your child or your grandchild, you'd sell your soul for a gun."

Summary: If you can carry, do, because all the rules, statutes, restraining orders, 911 calls, hand to hand combat technics, aerosol spray Mace, run & hide or other pseudo protective measures will never equal the effectiveness of a firearm when faced with an unwarranted and deadly criminal attack.

“There's lots worse things than being killed by some thug - one is: watching a family member die at the hands of this thug because you were a fool for not carrying a gun."

Chuck Klein is a former LEO an author of Guns In The Workplace, Instinct Combat Shooting and other firearm related books. He may be reached from his website:





Chuck Klein

You are legally armed as you walk into your local mall/office complex and immediately hear gunshots, screaming and see people running/hiding while observing a man shooting and apparent victims falling to the ground. He is walking away from you and immediately turns around a corner toward the floor-to-ceiling display windows.

Do you:

a) Draw your gun and follow him in hopes of ending this lethal and dangerous threat?

b) Shelter in place and call 9-1-1?

c) Shelter in place while drawing your concealed weapon to be ready in case he comes back or there are other shooters and then call 9-1-1?

d) Draw your handgun and stand in plain view as a protector of those behind you?

Answers below.

This is real. On a calm, nothing-happening September 2018 day, an active shooter event in the atrium of a large office building should be a significant warning to carriers of defensive firearms. The scene was typical of many city or suburban office, bank or retail businesses – large plate-glass windows that not only create reflection, shadows and dirt issues but also voice restrictions.

The shooter, carrying a handgun and dressed in inconspicuous pants and shirt, normal attire for late summer entered the Fifth/Third Bank and Office building in downtown Cincinnati where he randomly opened fire on innocent persons.

As the people around him dove for cover, the gunman walked through the lobby as casually as someone arriving to make a deposit or take the elevator to any of the upper floors of this 30-story facility.

He carried a briefcase slung across him his shoulder. Had one of his arms not been outstretched in front of him, he wouldn’t have looked out of place at all. However, at the end of that outstretched arm was a 9mm handgun that spit 35 rounds in a span of 4 minutes, 28 seconds killing three strangers and injuring many others. Less than five minutes is an eternity, literally, when you could be then next shootee.

Due to the central city location and noon hour, a number of foot-patrol police officers were within hearing distance of the shots-fired and responded in force. The first LEO arrived in 55 seconds. Seeing a man with a gun shooting, but partitioned from the officers by plate-glass, they could not give or receive verbal input and thus opened fire shooting through the glass, killing the gunman. Within nine minutes after the sound of gunfire, the scene was deemed secure. The gunman succumbed to multiple 9mm shots fired by police through the glass. According to the Hamilton County Ohio Coroner’s autopsy, the fatal shot was a head wound.


a) Error, wrong, ctrl/alt/delete, mistake … The threat is out of your sight and is not a direct danger to you or to another person. Chasing after the shooter, no matter how good your intentions, might find you being ID’ed as the criminal shooter by another legally armed citizen or by the responding police. In this worst-case scenario, the glass separation would exclude verbal commands from the police and also your shouted claims that you are not the criminal shooter! You are not a police officer and have no such authority to follow an active shooter, gun in hand. Even plain-clothes cops, trained to hold their badge case up and in plain view in such situations, could be misidentified by the uniformed LEO responders.

b) Yes. This is your best option – along with observations to assist in the follow-up investigation.

c) No. With your gun in-hand, you could be regarded as the active shooter or a second shooter by responding LEOs. Further, you could be charged with assault in jurisdictions where pointing/brandishing firearms is a criminal offence.

d) No. See c) above.

Even though you might know exactly what is taking place - glass, partitions, physical barriers, reflection/optical illusions, ambient noise and other confusing factors can produce conditions that are not evident to others – especially others who are armed.

Cincinnati Police Bodycam footage

Chuck Klein is the author of Guns In The Workplace, Instinct Combat Shooting for Police and other police and firearm related books. He may be reached through his website: