Legal Disclaimer

I am not a lawyer.

I am not a lawyer. I don’t even play one on TV. Heck, I didn’t stay in a Holiday Inn last night.

The content in blogs on this site does not constitute legal advice. It is my opinion based upon my research.

Philip Vancil

Freedom First Self Defense LLC

Deadly force isn’t the only way to respond to a threat. 

A firearm isn't the only self-defense option.

 Americans are frightened for their safety. There have been a historic number of firearms and ammunition sales in the past year.

However, many people can not bring themself to use deadly force to respond to a threat. This may be because of religious reasons or the fear of the results. Many admit they don’t know if they could shoot someone or take a human life.

We should applaud those people for knowing their limitations.

The good news is that they don’t need to be defenseless. There are other self-defense weapons as viable options.

To meet these people self-defense needs weapons should successfully do two things:

  • keep the defender out of reach of the aggressor(s)
  • be deploy-able against multiple threats.

Here are some examples of less-lethal self-defense weapons that meet those criteria.

Why PeeperBall

PepperBall’s motto is “Protect Life Without Taking a Life.”

Designed to be used sooner and safer than other force options, PepperBall® is the most versatile and powerful non-lethal technology on the market. It’s trusted by the U.S. Army and Marines overseas and police officers walking the streets of the Midwest.

As the only non-lethal solution with no judgments, deaths, or severe injuries in over 20 years of use, PepperBall is a system that meets your agency’s and the community’s needs.

The PepperBall system is proven effective from distances up to 150 feet, giving you more range and time to make a critical decision. The combination of powerful, accurate launchers and versatile, effective projectiles allows you to accomplish your mission safely, even without a clear line of sight. Situations that require action are never as easy as point-and-shoot. PepperBall was designed to work in those challenging situations where other tools can’t get the job done.

The Tactical Compact Pistol, is a low profile and lightweight PepperBall launcher. It offers the ability to carry a multi-shot, less lethal product on a belt. Use the TCP™ with regular-round and long-range VXR™ projectiles for safe distance.

It is the size of a large pistol and weighs 1.7 pounds. It comes with two six-round magazines. Additional original round or long-range VXR projectiles must be purchased separately. The refill packs contain practice and live projectiles. Practicing with inert rounds is a must.

The PepperBall TCP is simple to operate. There are no moving parts other than the trigger, magazine release and index-finger-activated crossbolt safety.

The easiest way to load the magazine is by pulling the follower spring down and locking it in place. Next, drop in six round PepperBalls and gently release the follower.

Load a CO2 cartridge in the space at the rear of the magazine and turn the key-shaped screw handle until it holds the cartridge in place. (If you are not going to use the TCP right away — within 24 hours — don’t tighten it to the point the cartridge is punctured.) You can then insert the magazine, which automatically positions the PepperBall in the chamber.

A Few Tips

A polymer open-top holster is available for belt carry or safer storage. If you travel or live in low-risk areas, you can keeping the TCP with the magazine loaded and the CO2 cartridge not activated (punctured). All it takes is a couple of quick clockwise twists to puncture the cylinder. Once the CO2 cartridge has been punctured, take the safety off and pull the trigger to fire.

The TCP delivers a solid impact effect combined with a cloud of powerful PAVA pepper. In self-defense scenarios, target the mid-point of the body to deliver a gut punch combined with a cloud of pepper.

The TCP would have made a great supplement to the Taser when working as an officer and is currently my top non-firearm self-defense weapon pick. MSRP is $399.99.

I have a fellow instructor that has been a Taser instructor since 2013. He has had a lot of experience deploying the Taser on volunteer subjects. It is an effective defensive tool. Like PepperBall, Taser has really upgraded its line of civilian self-defense weapons.

Many of the Tasers used by law enforcement are also available for citizen purchase, including the latest two-shot models. And the civilian micro-compact single-shot Taser Pulse ($399.99) is also still available.

TASER Pulse is an effective, less-lethal defense tool that can immobilize attackers for up to 30 seconds. Packing the same knock-down punch trusted by law enforcement, it was built with civilian self-protection in mind. Weighing in at just 8 ounces, this high-tech, intuitively designed device is revolutionizing the self-defense market.

The newest Taser for civilian use is the two-shot Taser 7CQ. The 7CQ (close quarters) uses a totally new probe system. The new system drives probes that deliver nearly twice the kinetic energy for better penetration of clothing. This is intended to eliminate the issue of “clothing disconnect,” which causes a failure to incapacitate.

The Taser CQ’s cartridge has a range of 12 feet, with an optimal probe spread for best energy delivery. Both the Taser X2 and 7CQ are significantly larger than the single-shot X26P. The Taser 7CQ is the most expensive Taser model at $1,799.99.

Additional live cartridges must be purchased for practice for the X2 and 7CQ. Training resources are available on the Taser site, and the company offers interest-free financing.

Full-Sized and EDC Fogger Pepper Sprays

Pepper spray, oleoresin capsicum spray, OC spray, capsaicin spray, or capsicum spray is a inflammatory agent (a compound that irritates the eyes to cause a burning sensation, pain, and temporary blindness) used in policing, riot control, crowd control, and self-defense.

OC sprays represent the best bargain in terms of less-lethal self-defense weapons.

Many include a pocket-sized canister as part of there everyday carry gear. This carried enough spray to deal with two to four aggressors.

With the upheaval from the past summer, they now keep crowd control OC systems in their cars. These can be very effective when dealing with large groups, with the ability to keep people up to 20 feet away.

One of the favorite companies for OC products is Fox Labs. This major law enforcement supplier also sells products to civilians. For home or vehicle defense against multiple opponents, I recommend the Fox Labs Fog Spray Tactical Unit. It is 12 ounces of 2 percent OC.

All the units in the ONE POINT FOUR® line start with our famous legacy formula using 5.3 million Scoville Heat Units (SHU) OC pepper – then we DOUBLE the pepper content which doubles the MC (Major Capsaicinoids) to almost blistering levels.  

This is one of the only true police strength pepper sprays on the market, and the original legacy formula that is carried by police, correctional officers and the United States military. Now the ONE POINT FOUR has increased the heat, and this is becoming the most demanded product from Law Enforcement agencies nationwide.

It’s an oil based pepper spray (most pepper sprays are water) giving the spray greater distance and stronger effects on impact.  The ONE POINT FOUR PEPPER SPRAY also includes invisible UV marking dye for suspect identification.

Specs for One Point Four®, 4% OC, 2oz., Stream Spray Pattern:

The ONE POINT FOUR® formula is an oil based pepper spray product.

All ONE POINT FOUR® pepper sprays start with our famous legacy formula using 5.3 million Scoville Heat Units (SHU) OC pepper – then we DOUBLE the pepper content which doubles the MC (Major Capsaicinoids) to almost blistering levels.  

This is one of the only true police strength pepper sprays on the market, and the original legacy formula that is carried by police, correctional officers and the United States military. Now the ONE POINT FOUR has increased the heat, and this is becoming the most demanded product from Law Enforcement agencies nationwide.

It’s an oil based pepper spray (most pepper sprays are water) giving the spray greater distance and stronger effects on impact.  The ONE POINT FOUR PEPPER SPRAY also includes invisible UV marking dye for suspect identification.

PLEASE NOTE THAT SOME STATES WILL NOT ALLOW YOU TO ORDER A LARGE SIZE PEPPER SPRAY based on state laws.  AR, CA, HI, MI, NJ, NC, WI – you can’t order this one!  Look for 2 ounce sizes or smaller (AR and NC can order up to our 4 ounce cans).  

Specs for One Point Four®, 4% OC, 16oz., Pistol Grip, Cone Fog Spray Pattern:


Less lethal self-defense weapons are not only crucial for those unwilling to use a firearm for self-defense. They should also be a must for those who own firearms. Not every situation can — or should — be solved by a firearm. Pick a self-defense weapon that best suits your needs. Check local laws to ensure such devices are legal in the jurisdictions in which you live or to which you are traveling.


I want to credit  Scott W. Wagner with USCCA for the impersonation in writing this post.

The Battle for the Best EDC Round Goes On.

The best EDC battle in a nutshell.

There is a joke that goes; you select four individuals. One’s EDC is 9mm, one’s EDC is .40 cal, one’s EDC is 45 cal, and one’s EDC is 10 mm. You lock the four individuals in a room and tell them they have eight hours to select the best EDC round. You unlock the door at the end of eight hours to find bloody noises, black eyes, and a few missing teeth. However, each individual insists that their round is the best EDC round.

Why are we all so sure about our choice?

OK, what is the purpose of my telling this joke? We all have preconceptions of our EDC round. We are all sure that we have made the best choice.

I have had numerous discussions with supporters of the 10 mm round that use the 1986 FBI shootout in Miami as justification that the 10 mm is superior to the 9mm. I have had discussions with lovers of the 1911 that say the  .45 cal makes a bigger hole; therefore, it is superior to the 9mm.

Lovers of the .40 cal tell me it is the best compromise between the heavy recoil of the 10 mm and the tiny hole of the 9mm.

The Times They Are A-Changin

To quote Bob Dylan – The Times They Are A-Changin.

The 9mm the FBI used in 1986 is not the same as the 9mm used today. There have been changes in loads and bullet weights. However, the biggest change has been the bullet design.

I don’t claim to be an expert. I don’t think that in this simple post, I am going to change your mind. Just take a few minutes to review the following video. Maybe it will stimulate some thoughts.



I would like to thank Classic Firearm for this great video. Checkout there website more videos and firearm deals,

Need further training?

Checkout out our training page.

Sighting In Your Pistol Red Dot

Just why are you using an optic?

We are increasingly mounting red dot sights to our pistols and long guns. Sometimes it is because we need quick accuracy for completion. In my case, it is because my eyesight makes using iron sights almost impossible.

Sighting in made easy.

Many of us make sighting in overly complicated. We drag out our targets with a one-inch grid. We even go in search of out sandbags to steady the firearm. Sure these many needed to sight in at 100 yards, but are they needed for your self-defense firearm?

This short video gives you a simple way to sight in your red dot with an accuracy that will meet your self-defense needs.


I want to credit Classic Firearm for the information provided in this video.

The SCIENCE Behind A Trigger Press

Trigger Press - It is simple, right?

We all have heard it.

  • Align at the target.
  • Touch the trigger.
  • Apply a consent press, pressing the trigger to the rear.

But what is the science behind making this happen?

This video by Jon with Mantis explores the science behind a proper trigger pull.

The SCIENCE Behind A Trigger Press

I Study Triggernometry

The SCIENCE Behind Recoil & Grip

And here I thought all I had to do was grab the firearm tight.

I always knew there was science behind the best grip to control recoil. I have even done a little research on my own. But, I never realized just how much I knew.

Can't you just show me the correct grip?

I often get the above question from a student. And yes, I could show them my suggested grip.

However, knowing the anatomy and physiology behind the proper grip is essential. Then understanding the physics behind reoil helps understand why one grip is better than another.

Don’t choose a grip style because someone tells you their grip is the best, no matter how much experience they have. Check out the video and make an educated choice.

Check out our store.

Does the .380 ACP have enough knock down power?

Real men don't carry .380, so sayth the knuckle dragger.

I am an RSO at a local range. Recently I had a conversation with an older gentleman. I am 72, so that gives you some idea of how old he was.

In this conversation, he said his grandson had just switched from 9mm to 10 10mm. He said that was the only round you should carry daily because it ensured a 0ne-shot, one-kill.

My counter was that this assumed a one-shot, one-hit. Many people cannot obtain that level of accuracy in a stressful situation. Accuracy is the key point, and even the .380 ACP had plenty of stopping, a.k.a knockdown, power.

This video sheds some light on how lethal the .380 ACP is when you compare it to the FIB standards.

If at first you don't succeed, reload and try again.
American Dog Tags

Are You Protected by the Castle Doctrine Outside on Your Property?

Legal Disclaimer

I am not a lawyer. I don’t even play on TV. I cannot give you legal advice on castle doctrine florida.

The legal information provided in this post is based upon information provided by Ryan Katz of Katz and Phillips. PA, in his ‘Are You Protected by the Castle Doctrine Outside on Your Property?” post.

Out Scenario

Let’s look at a possible scenario. 

You are watching TV in your family room. There is a noise at your front door.

Approaching the door, you see a suspicious person at your front door. Before you can challenge the man, he walks away.

The man walked to the back of the home, where he entered the screened back patio and got in the pool.

You tell your spouse to call 911. With your home defense firearm in hand, you confront the suspect through the closed door. Laughing at you, the suspect tries to force open the doors to the home.

Before the suspect could gain entry,  the police arrived and placed the intruder under arrest.

What were the homeowner’s rights in this situation? What kind of force could he have used? Would he have benefitted from the Castle Doctrine?

Use of Non-Deadly Force Outside of the House

Under Florida Statute § 776.031, “a person is justified in using or threatening to use force, except deadly force” to terminate a trespass on their real property other than a dwelling or personal property.


 In the scenario above, the intruder clearly attempted to get into the homeowner’s dwelling.

Before he reached the front door, the intruder would have just been in the front yard. At this point, assuming the front yard is not fully fenced in, the homeowner would have had the right to remove the trespasser using non-deadly force ONLY.

Castle Doctrine Outside - Use of Deadly Force on the Patio

The Florida statute above  states that deadly force may not be used to terminate a trespass on property. However, the use of deadly force changes once an intruder has broken into the dwelling.

According to Florida’s Castle Doctrine Statute (Florida Statute 776.013), a dwelling is “a building or conveyance of any kind, including any attached porch, whether the building or conveyance is temporary or permanent, mobile or immobile, which has a roof over it, including a tent, and is designed to be occupied by people lodging therein at night.”

In our scenario, the screened in patio would certainly qualify as a dwelling under this statute. This means that the homeowner had the right to use of threaten to use deadly force against the intruder.

It is even more apparent that the homeowner could use or threaten deadly force when the intruder attempted to get into the home through the back door.

Application of the Castle Doctrine Outside – Use of Force Inside a Fenced in Yard

Florida case law suggests that a fenced in yard may be protected by the Castle Doctrine. See State v. Vino, State v. Vino, 100 So. 3d 716 (Fla. 3d DCA 2012).

This means that a person may be entitled to use deadly force in situations where a trespasser has climbed over or forcibly broken a fence to gain access to a person’s yard.

However, these cases were not decided on this exact issue, which means there is no official ruling as to whether or not a fenced in yard triggers the Castle Doctrine.

For now, we can only say that there is a strong argument that the Castle Doctrine applies. It would require a judge to rule on the issue as a matter of law to provide a definitive answer.

One other time a person may use deadly force is when they are seeking to prevent a forcible felony. One such felony is burglary.


As indicated in the legal disclaimer, I am not a lawyer. For detailed information on this and many others, check out the blogs on

Check out our online store for veteran and 2nd Amendment products.

Fundamentals of Home Defense

Rob Pincus discusses the Five Fundamentals of Home Defense tactics: Evade, Barricade, Arm, Communicate, Respond. Thinking ahead of time about these five steps will empower you to respond more efficiently if you ever do have a threat inside your home, or trying to get into your home. Rob goes over each concept and gives examples of how you can employ them during an imminent home invasion scenario.

Looking for training?

If your are local to Lake City. Fl, check out our training.

If you are looking for nationwide training, check out the USCCA portal.

If you are looking for more advanced selfdefense training, check out the Personal Defense Network.

While you are here check out our online store.

Buying Your First Defensive Gun

Are you looking to buy your first defensive handgun? Ernie Traugh of Cedar Valley Outfitters has some advice for first-time buyers.

Looking for Training?

If you are located in or around Lake City, Florida, check out the training we have available.

Looking for nationwide training, check out training opportunities through the United States Concealed Carry Association.

Looking for in depth defensive training, check the Personal Defense Network.

Byrna Launchers and Other Pepper Ball Guns

The following is an excerpt from a recent posting by Katz & Phillips, PA (

Responsible Florida gun owners know that you must have a CWFL to carry a firearm concealed in most situations.

However, it is not quite as clear whether you need a CWFL to carry certain other weapons.

For example, a CWFL is not needed to carry a “self-defense chemical spray.” See the full posting for details on what Florida law defines as a “self-defense chemical spray”.

So, can a person carry a Byrna launcher and other pepper ball gun without a CWFL?

What are Byrna Launchers and Other Pepper Ball Guns?

Byrna Launchers and pepper ball guns are self-defense instruments which fire small balls containing chemical irritants. Many are repurposed paint ball guns. 

These guns typically fire projectiles substantial distances and at high speed. They are considered non-lethal self-defense tools. Typically, they have an appearance similar to actual firearms.

Do I Need a CWFL to Carry a Byrna Launcher or Other Pepper Ball Gun?

As mentioned above, a person does not need a CWFL to carry a self-defense chemical spray (See the full posting for details on what Florida law defines as a “self-defense chemical spray”). 

Unfortunately, Byrna Launchers and pepper ball guns do not meet this legal requirement.

Because these pepper ball launchers are typically a similar shape and quite large for a handgun, they most likely would not be considered compact in size. Further, while each individual ball contains less than 2 ounces of chemical, these launchers are designed to be loaded with multiple projectiles. These launchers are also much more likely to cause substantial injury than a traditional self-defense spray. The projectiles can cause permanent harm if they strike somebody directly in the eyes.

The Florida Attorney General Weighs In

In 1968 the Florida Attorney General was asked to issue an opinion on the legality of a chemical weapon spray device. 

The AG Opinion contained a statement that may apply to the pepper spray guns available today. 

In the opinion, the Attorney General wrote in the relevant part, “However, if the tear gas fountain pen or other chemical dispensing device is so constructed as being capable of, or adaptable to, firing projectiles in a solid form that are likely to cause death or great bodily injury, it would be prohibited as a deadly weapon.”  Florida Op. Atty. Gen., 068-103, Sept. 23, 1968.

See the full posting for details the option of Katz & Phillips on this topic.