Sep 22 2015

How to Handle Squib Loads and Hangfires

In our last discussion about handguns doing the unexpected, we discussed what some call the “loudest sound you’ll ever hear,” the dreaded “CLICK” when you’re expecting a “BANG.” But what about when your handgun goes “…bang…sort of?”  When something didn’t quite sound, or feel, right? If you hear a lighter-than-normal “bang,” and/or feel lighter-than-normal recoil, it’s possible that a “squib load” may have entered your ammo supply.

Though it’s extremely rare, a squib load/round is one whose propelling energy is less than necessary to push the projectile out of the firearm. This results in your handgun bullet being lodged somewhere between the chamber and the muzzle-a condition that could cause you major problems if you keep shooting. That’s because firing another round behind the squib might result in that following round- and the gases propelling it-getting stuck behind the lodged bullet. Consequences range from a mortally damaged handgun to a very seriously injured shooter.

Visit NRA Family for the entirety of How to Handle Squib Loads and Hangfires


Apr 24 2015

Five Keys to a Self-Defense Mindset

five keys to a self-defense mindset il ling new

The author on the range.

My college years were spent in a tough, crime-ridden town. During freshman orientation week, a friend a was robbed by what he insisted was “a gang of nine-year-olds!” These young hoodlums somehow managed to take my friend’s bicycle, camera, and wallet. After I stopped laughing I couldn’t help ask how this “gang” managed to ambush him. “Well,” he said, “I was taking some cool photographs of the neighborhood….”

I immediately realized he wasn’t paying attention. Not having situational awareness explains how most people get mugged. When people don’t pay attention to their surroundings, they have no chance to see bad guys coming until it’s too late.

Though psychologists tell us keeping ourselves safe is a basic human instinct, I have found that surviving is something we have to learn how to do. Also, if you chose to carry a gun concealed, you certainly want avoid that worst-case scenario of having to use a gun to defend your life. Actually you have taken on added responsibility to pay attention.

Visit for the entirety of Five Keys to a Self-Defense Mindset.






May 14 2014

Tap, Rack, and Roll

The gun didn’t fire. Now what?

Tap, Rack and Roll. The gun didn't fire. Now what? Il Ling New




There you are practicing at the range, committed to your marksmanship basics, peering intently at the front sight as you control your trigger press….anddddd…..CLICK.

How can this be? You’ve done everything right. You’re shooting factory loaded ammunition. Your firearm is squeaky clean and minty fresh.

Get over it. In fact, accept it. As with any mechanical device, things can go wrong with your pistol, and they will. Your acceptance of this will allow you to stay calm and fix the issue to your best ability. Your job is to know which problems you can solve—and how.

Read the rest of the article at NRA Family Insights.

Mar 31 2014

When You Really Need to Bug Out

Being ready to quickly exit a dangerous situation requires more than having a bag with a few necessities stashed in the closet.

I was comfortably nestled in the pillows with my dog, Peabody, watching TV when the phone rang.

After answering a voice exclaimed, “Il Ling!”

“Yes,” I replied, wondering why the voice sounded so urgent.

“Are you home?”


“There’s a fire on the road (there’s one main road into my neighborhood) and it’s moving fast….get out now!”

Quickly I understood the urgency, and recognized the voice of our volunteer fire chief.

And with that, I was challenged with a self-defense problem—one that could not be resolved with even the most skilled use of any firearm.

Read the rest of the article at American Rifleman.

Dec 10 2013

Tips and Tactics: Run the Action

NRA Women presented by Smith & Wesson.

In this week’s Tips and Tactics video, Il Ling New explains why keeping the gun in a firing position while you run the action helps you be ready to take the next shot that much faster.

Nov 26 2013

The Bugout Kit

Peabody on Il Ling's Bugout Kit, Ready to Go On The Wild SideSome of you have asked about my bugout gear, so I’ll tell you what MY packs have — everybody’s kit will be different, but should have the basics. Mine weighs more than the recommended “25% of your body weight” — it comes in at just under 50 pounds. But I’ve made sure I can lift, stand, and hike with it if I have to. The cool thing is there is a smaller backpack that zips off the front of the large pack. I’ve loaded what I consider to be the most critical items in it, so I’m still ready if I only have room/energy for the smaller pack. This photo gives you an idea of size: Peabody is a 11 pound mini-dachshund.

(I use ziplocks and/or space saver bags — both to protect stuff, but also to have the bags available.)

This list is NOT in order of importance!

Small (Critical Items) Pack:

  • Water filtration system+steel cup+collapsible water bottle
  • Fire starter+candles
  • Disposable towels
  • Head lamp+ batteries
  • Comprehensive first aid kit ( also includes trauma stuff, rubbing alcohol, saline, dental floss for sutures, etc.)
  • Duct tape, paracord, zip ties
  • Garbage bags
  • STORM whistle
  • Fixed blade knife
  • Multitool
  • Permanent marker
  • Socks
  • Fleece stocking cap
  • Non-battery flashlight
  • Clothes (including waterproof stuff)
  • Saw
  • Neoprene gloves
  • Nitrile gloves (also in first aid kit)
  • Alcohol wipes (also in first aid kit)
  • Orange safety vest
  • Orange surveyor’s tape
  • Orange bandana
  • Survival suit
  • Space blanket
  • Strobing blinker
  • Breathing mask (dust, etc.)
  • Copies of passport, etc.

(Personal defense tools go on my person)

Bugout Gear: In the larger pack (which, again, zips to the smaller)

  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Extra clothing
  • Quick-dry microfiber towel
  • Permanent marker
  • 5-hour energy
  • Large garbage bags (the dark, thick ones)
  • Water proof pads – can be used together as tarp, or individually to carry, wrap, funnel, etc.
  • Tissues
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Emergency poncho
  • Baby wipes
  • Additional first aid supplies (to supplement those in small pack)
  • Extra shoes
  • Playing cards (aside from obvious use, can also be used for paper, etc.)

And of course,
Peabody’s Pack — which goes into a dog carrier, just in case we need that for transport, etc. (ditto the muzzle):

  • Food
  • Stainless food and water bowls
  • First aid kit (I put it together just for dog stuff)
  • Extra copies of rabies, etc.
  • Extra leash
  • Extra collars, including lighted collar
  • Extra harness
  • Blinker (can attach to leash, collar, harness, etc.)
  • Extra ID tags (harnesses and collars also have ID attached)
  • Muzzle
  • Poop bags
  • Quick-dry micro fiber towel
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Thundershirt
  • Rescue Remedy (herbal calming drops)
  • Treats
  • Toys

Nov 25 2013

Have A Plan

1. Have a Plan. Those of you who know me professionally have heard me talk about this. And “What If” scenarios. Having thought about both, particularly in the event of fire (a fact of where we live), I’d already made up my mind to JUST LEAVE. I don’t know what I don’t know, but I DO know that I don’t know fire. Not a thing about it. So my plan has always been to ESCAPE, stay out of real help’s way, and not panic. (Hint: Having made up my mind to JUST LEAVE helps with the not-panic part.)

2. Be serious about your bugout kit. Have one (don’t just talk about it). Check it. Update it. Be able to GET to it. And have one for the important beings in your life: Peabody has her own, though she’s a little small to carry it by herself. I was able to get Pea, both kits (and mine is comprehensive (= heavy)), and me in the car in about 5 minutes.

3. Have a 3G or 4G capable cell phone. It was vital for getting info, nevermind calls, texts, etc. And even after getting home, when power and phone were’t working, I had a link to others. And keep it charged. You don’t know when you’ll have a chance to charge it again!

4. If you possible can, don’t run out in your flipflops! Get out with as much hard core gear on your person, as you can : boots, clothing with pockets, gloves, hats, eye protection.

5. Extra lights (not just your personal one): even in non-rural areas, you might not have power. You might need lights to guide emergency personnel and vehicles, signal, keep yourself visible while moving about, etc. The key is EXTRA, and in different configurations, in addition to your daily carry light.

6. Firearm: I always have one on an overbelt (which I use everyday when dog-walking). It has a spare light, ammo, loaders, etc. Though I had others as well, I grabbed the overbelt on the way out, and had that much more, all ready to go.

7. Make peace (as is possible) ahead of time with potential losses. Having thought about the possibility of fire before, having executed my plan — and thus having the most important things out with me, I found that I was calm. The prospect of losing the house and its contents was very real (I really believed it was a goner), and not pleasant…but I had already decided, before this ever happened, that I wouldn’t worry about “just stuff.” My dog was safe. I was safe. My neighbors were safe. We’re good. It hadn’t occurred that this would help me, but it made the watching and waiting SO MUCH more bearable!!

8. Be thankful. There is always something to be thankful for. Find it.

Nov 23 2013

What Am I Thankful For?


First, it’s never to early to be thankful, especially at a time like this. Here’s what I am thankful for today (Nov. 23, 2013) — IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER:

1. Heroic neighbors — the one who, on smelling the smoke through his dog door, only had the time to get his three generations of family members out (including a baby), but THEN, ran all the way over to another neighbor’s to pound on their door to warn them. In his underwear (no time!) We live in a rural area, and that was a football field sized run. THANK YOU, NEIGHBORS!

2. More heroic neighbors — the pounded-door neighbors divided tasks, and while one ran around grabbing stuff, the other took the time to call ME and another neighbor, to warn us. Fire? What fire?? I had NO idea. Where I was in the house, I could not smell, or see, ANY of this. And who knows WHEN I would have figured out there was a fire headed my way (someone later said, “the fire crews parked in your driveway would have been a clue…)”? THANK YOU, NEIGHBORS!

3. And more neighbors — There is only one road in and out to my home — and that one way was now in flames. But there is a dirt path leading from another neighbor’s place. It’s a switchbcck, since we’re all atop a big hill. It’s unlit and little used, it can be treacherous and daunting in broad daylight — nevermind the dark of night, with a fire on your heels. One of my neighbors waited for me, and led me down the trail (the other, who is a retired firefighter, stayed behind, to see if he could help). THANK YOU, NEIGHBORS!

4. And all my neighbors — We gathered at the volunteer fire station at the bottom of our hill (yes, I’m thankful for that too!!), looking up at the flames consuming our hillside, wondering if anyone’s home would survive. The first two neighbors’ places were completely surrounded when they left. The neighbor who led me down the path sat in my car, and we spent the rest of the night in camaraderie. She kept us updated with messages from the one who stayed behind. From time to time, all of us would exit our vehicles and brave the cold to gather to exchange news, thoughts, predictions — but really, I think we were just glad to be there with and for each other. For me, knowing that every one of my neighbors had reached out to help each other, made things a lot better. No matter what, we were all safe — thanks in large part to each other. THANK YOU NEIGHBORS!

5. Our firefighters. (Remember, I said in NO PARTICULAR ORDER, because it’s impossible to judge….) Heck, ALL firefighters! Our volunteer firefighters, along with units dispatched from neighboring towns, were on the scene in what seemed like minutes. And again, remember we are in a rural area. But when that siren wails, those men and women are on it. In the deepest darkness, up a very steep one mile hill, they drove and hiked up to save our homes. Not a single home burned, and I’m telling you the flames were so close, my first two neighbors drove through them to get out. When I was allowed to return home at midnight (those first two neighbors didn’t get back until 0400), there was an engine in my driveway, with three firefighters from another town, positioned there to protect the structure. And there they remained, through the night.

6. Gifts of nature and fate: Earlier in the evening, we had winds roaring to 35 mph. For whatever reason, they decreased a bit during the fire, and despite them, our firefighters were able to contain this hell. Cold: Not a friend of fire. I’ll never complain about it again. Rain: after the driest period ON RECORD, we finally had two days of rain — two days ago. Had that NOT happened…?

7. Luck: ’nuff said. But it includes the fact that we were able to drive our way out. That there IS a volunteer fire station within a mile. That somehow, we’re all safe, and have not lost much.

Sep 19 2013

Tips and Tactics: Maintaining Distance From a Threat

In this week’s Tips & Tactics video, Il Ling New talks about the importance of maintaining your distance from a potential threat, and explains where some of those potential threats could be.


Aug 15 2013

Tips and Tactics: Hunting Safety

Whether you consider yourself an expert hunter or this hunting season will be your first, it’s always important to review safety rules. Il Ling New reviews hunter safety in this week’s Tips & Tactics video.