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Book Review:

Armed Response

By Brian Kendall


Issue #93 • May/June, 2005

Armed Response, by David Kenik, has as its subtitle, A Comprehensive Guide to Using Firearms for Self-Defense. Comparing the content to similar books on the market, I would have to agree that it is very comprehensive.

In the Foreword, Massad Ayoob writes, "If there is a crime of violence, the potential victim needs the wherewithal to stop the deadly danger and stabilize the scene by himself..." And that's just what Armed Response lays out for the reader. The book covers what you need to know before, during, and after a life threatening encounter including what to ask yourself before deciding to carry a gun, how to choose a gun that's right for you, what to look for in holsters, how to carry a concealed gun, proper training techniques, and the legal issues and implications of using lethal force.

David Kenik freely admits that he is not a police officer, member of the military, nor a professional pistolero. He wrote from the refreshing perspective of an ordinary citizen, albeit a trained and armed one. Kenik's background includes courses with several internationally recognized use-of-force programs in the judicious use of lethal force, firearms, defensive shooting, weapon disarming and retention, and edged weapons. Equally important, Kenik spent countless hours over the years testing tactics and theories. Armed Response discusses what works and what does not.

The book is concise and packed with relative and vital information written so the intended audience can directly relate. Not only does it include lots of great advice, but the author gives the reasoning behind his logic. Included are valuable real-life lessons about preparing to face a lethal threat, winning a gun fight, and surviving the ensuing court battle.

Armed Response reveals detailed, thought provoking analysis of what others have just glossed over. As an example, one important element of gun handling skills usually not seen in most gun publications is safety concerns of using a single action trigger under extreme stress. Kenik points out the common advice of "just keep your finger off the trigger" is not as simplistic as it seems because the physical and chemical effects on your body produced by high stress encounters may create subconscious movements to "confirm the trigger" with your finger, thus setting you up for an accidental discharge. His answer: train under the most stressful, realistic conditions possible to get your mind and body used to operating in that environment. He concludes that a double action trigger is indeed safer. While you still need to train to keep your finger off the trigger, a double action trigger is less sensitive to pressure and is less likely to discharge when inadvertently pressed lightly.

Armed Response is truly a must read for new shooters and experienced shooters seeking a transition to defense tactics. It makes a great reference for those more experienced as well.

Armed Response, David Kenik, 180 pages, ASD Publishing, trade paperback, 2004.

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