Random Thoughts: A Mindful Miscellany

from Marcus Wynne

Archive for April 2019

From A New Novel In Progress…

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I’ve been hitting the cognitive neuroscience and gunslinging stuff pretty hard lately.  I’m going to put on my novelist hat here for my die-hard readers out there (thank you, by the way, for sticking with me all these years) and post a snippet from a new novel in progress.

You can find my most recent novel, WYLDE:  BOOKS 1-3, which is a collection of the first two WYLDE novels with a new and final book.  I went through and cleaned up plot lines, typos, etc. and put it together in a GAME OF THRONES length tome, which you can pick up for a mere $5.98 on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/WYLDE-BOOKS-1-3-Marcus-Wynne-ebook/dp/B07LDZ3JWV/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1548885663&sr=8-1&keywords=wylde+books+1-3

If you’ve already read WYLDE, please consider leaving a review on Amazon.

The new novel considers a recurring question in my fiction:  Who watches the watchers?  With the recent revival of the amazing 80s series THE EQUALIZER in Denzel Washington’s remake, the remake of DEATH WISH and some other higher quality revenge and action series, I thought I’d tackle that sub-genre of action and adventure.

The new series is called THE REVENGERS.  It’s the WYLDE series meets THE EQUALIZER. I expect the first one to be out late May.  Sign up for my newsletter at http://www.marcuswynne.com and you’ll be the first notified.  Later this summer I will be merging my author website with this blog and putting neuroscience, gunslinging, fiction, tactics and Old One Eyed Fat Man meanderings into one online portal.  Stay tuned for that.

Enjoy the read.




Copyright 2019, Marcus Wynne

Romans 13:4 – For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

Exoriare aliquis nostris ex ossibus ultor (Aeneid, IV 625). “Let someone arise from my bones as an avenger.” Queen Dido of Carthage in the Avenida.

When the call came to kill the Achy Man, Salt was in his garage, systematically breaking the bones of the last man he’d killed. He ignored the buzzing of his iPhone. He only answered when he expected a call which was not often. Anyone who knew his cell phone number knew he’d call back.
His usual disposal method was to transport the body to one of his designated dump points, remove the head and hands, then open the torso to expose the intestines. He prepped his dump sites for months in advance. They were all out in the country, on the edges of older or abandoned farms, where feral dogs and coyotes competed for dinner.
He trained the canids by dumping pig carcasses in his site, and returned over a period of weeks to gauge progress. After two or three carcasses, the scavengers knew to check the site, and within twenty-four hours the meat was rent and spread wide. What scraps remained melted into the old farm soil beneath the trees and in the brush.
Heads and hands were different.
He hammered the teeth out and scattered those by the handful as he drove along a country road, or the night highway. The head and hands would go into a spring, or a pond, or a river, to be fed upon by fishes, turtles, water birds.
He enjoyed watching the fish snap at the meat, or a turtle or osprey dive for a treat. Salt found it satisfying to participate in the Great Wheel of Nature, returning meat to the Great Cycle, to feed another one of God’s creatures.
He rarely brought bodies home. Don’t shit where you eat was Marine wisdom. Don’t kill or take bodies home was a logical progression from known wisdom. This kill had become complicated when someone drove through the kill zone and slowed to watch the target struggle against the rear naked choke Salt had laid deep on him. Salt bundled the unconscious man into the stolen car and exfiltrated in a hurry. Per tradecraft the vehicle was compromised, so he finished killing the man in the alley beside his car. With the body stuffed in his trunk, he drove off to beat the sunrise and returned home where he could work in the privacy of his garage.
He liked his garage. He had room for any of his five vehicles. The one that he associated most with this address was a discreet and battered Honda Accord. The USMC globe and anchor flag took up the back wall over a heavy work bench with his gun smithing and reloading equipment set up. Hand tools were mounted on pegboard, each tool outlined on the pegboard in black paint, so that any visitor, and he occasionally had some, would replace any tool they laid hands on to the exact place it came from.
Salt required order in all things.
He didn’t want to deal with blood, fecal matter and urine in the garage, so breaking the big bones would make it easier to stuff the target into the wheeled duffel he’d pulled out of his bin of assorted carriage methods for just these instances. He had a folding tree saw and pliers set aside for the fine work, which he’d do out in the field. The particular one he had in mind had a nice isolated pullout down the dirt road.
He’d already shattered the spine and was dislocating the hips when his phone buzzed.
He was curious who would call him twice. He paused in his work and checked the phone.
He’d return that call.
Her phone rang in his ear. She answered.
“Baby, I got a problem.”
He waited. She, as usual, became nervous with the prolonged silence.
“You tell me not to talk about this kinda stuff on the phone, baby.”
“It’s one of those things.”
“Can you come by?”
Salt considered the remaining tasks. Break the body, pack it up, take it to the dump site, cut the head and hands off, drive those to a water location and dump them…estimated another 2-3 hours. He looked at his battered and scratched USMC issue GSAR wristwatch. 1100 now, be done around 1400, get something to eat and a cup of coffee, swing by and listen to Lydia.
“Be there at 1500.”
“Baby…what is that in regular people time?”
He did the calculation. “Three o’clock.”
“Georgie gets home about three thirty or so…”
“Three o’clock.”
She paused. “Okay…thank you.”
He disconnected the call and went back to his task.

Written by marcuswynne

April 19, 2019 at 9:02 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Random Gunslinger Neuro-Hack For The Day

with 4 comments

2) One of the most important things we learn when we do “snap shot” drills CORRECTLY, is exactly how much precision we need in order to get as fast as we can get, at different ranges. I need a lot less precision to get a head shot in less than one second at 10 meters than I do to get a torso shot in less than one second at 100 meters… This carries over to target-to-target transitions, because our neural pathways between eyes, brain, and trigger finger, are being exercised and trained to recognize how much precision is “enough.”
3) Building the neural pathways to build a solid, stable, durable firing position that will allow you to get a first-round hit at various ranges, as fast as possible, will facilitate all the other shooting skills you need with that particular weapon.

This quote above from the link below:


I like this guy Mosby.  And not just because I’m an Old Paratrooper and fond of paratroopers, and he are one.  He’s literate, speaks his mind and on occasion admits he’s wrong and corrects himself.  Not a common attribute in the ego-driven “tacti-cool industry” in my opinion based on my observations.

I enjoyed reading this particular post, and thought I’d dip into my much battered bag of Old Dude Neuro Hacks for Gunslingers and share something specific about how to build more efficient pathways between visual processing, decision making and pressing the trigger.

As always, don’t take anything I say for gospel. Approach it all with doubt and trust only your own experience. Nice thing about these drills is that you can do them on your own.  Once you  have YOUR  experience, you can decide if you don’t believe it or not.  And incorporate it, or discard it, or go argue with yourself (not with me) about why your experience doesn’t line up with your previous experience and reality map.

Some of the old studies I had translated back in the 80s when I started studying how to enhance fighter performance under stress focused on how mental rehearsal alone can dramatically improve and retain performance IF there’s an existing skill set in place.  That’s what lead to this article I wrote back in the 90s that shaped quite a few instructors back in the day.


Here’s some more to learn and do.

PRESUPPOSITION: that you have basic  handgun skills. Defined here as:
A. Carry a loaded firearm concealed in public safely and legally.
B. That you can present that handgun, on a static range, and fire one shot to hit a five inch circle at 7 yards within 2.5 seconds. (Ideally 5 times in a row)

Away from the range, inside your home: walk off 7 yards. Outside your home, like on your porch or backyard, walk off 7 yards. Out in public (discreetly, please) walk off 7 yards.

Then, WITHOUT TAKING YOUR WEAPON OUT, utilize the techniques described in THE MIND’S EYE article to visualize having your pistol in your hand, and seeing your sights aligned:

  • Inside your home, from 0-7 yards.
  • Then go outside and do the same.
  • Then go out in public, sit in a coffee shop or in a shopping mall and do the same.

Mind you, this doesn’t require (past the first few iterations) that you MIME pointing your gun. Just look and visualize perfect sight alignment and recall the feel of the weapon in your hand.

Now…in a public place, like a food court at the mall, or a restaurant, or a coffee shop, visualize the max distance you’ve trained at, for this we’ll say 7 yards. Now look at the people who are in there, moving or static.
Visualize the weapon in your hand, your sights aligned.
Then ask yourself these questions.

  • Could I hit that person 7 yards away? If so, where on the body?
  • Could I shoot past that person to someone behind them at 7 yards? If so, how long is my window of opportunity to make that clean shot?
  • Where would I have to move in order to get a clear shot at someone in the door, at the cash register, across the room?
  • What if I had to shoot through window glass at someone shooting from outside?
  • What is critical is KNOWING in visualization. In other words, it’s one thing to make a clean hit at 7 yards on a one-way range at a 90 degree angle. The world doesn’t quite line up that way, especially for a civilian gunslinger. So when you do your visualization, SEE your sights lined up, and FEEL for the gut check you have when you KNOW you’ve made a good hit at the range (somatic markers, anyone?). And when you FEEL the perfect alignment and timing, press with your trigger finger. Not a whole lot, just enough to create and reinforce the chain of visual processing, evaluation as to distance and doability to the kinematic chain of muscles pressing the trigger. 
  • Rinse and repeat.

What I’ve just described to you is the actual cognitive process EXPERIENCED gunfighters — private sector, law enforcement, military and “tactical” shooters — go through after sufficient experience. It’s deeply automated and engrained below the level of consciousness, which is why so many of them can’t articulate it nor teach it well. And honestly most survivors of violence don’t like to mess with a process that has kept them alive.

I get that.

So when faced with the challenge of transferring expertise from an experienced gunslinger to a novice, modeling then replicating then automating a proven superior performance cognitive and neurological sequence (or neural pathway in plain-speak) is a proven pathway to superior performance.  It’s not just faster, it’s far more robust in ensuring performance when it’s time to Kill The Bad Thing.

Don’t take my word for it.  Try it yourself.  You might like it.  Or not.

PS:  experiment combining this technique with what passes for “traditional” firearms instruction.  Or better yet, combine it with the methods I described in the previous post.  You might be astonished with the results.  Or not.  I’ll leave it up to you to decide.  I’m biased after 30 years of success with those methods, among others.  YMMV.

Written by marcuswynne

April 17, 2019 at 7:01 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

New Training Paradigms and The Courage To Go Outside The Box (read to the bottom for free e-book till Wednesday)

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Just this morning I received an e-mail from a veteran who is a long time reader of my fiction, and a follower of my training research.  After a distinguished military career, he’s now doing other things which include teaching civilian CCW classes.  Out of respect for his privacy, I’m going to excerpt a snippet from his e-mail here:


    Just wanted to drop you a note to say thanks.  I was filling in for a friend on a [state level] CCW class the other day and, for the first time, had two first time shooters in the class.  I thought, “what the hell, let’s give it a go.  I went back and pulled up the post you did on rethinking teaching the novice shooter.  When it came time for the qualification shoot, I put them in the last firing order and, when everyone else was gone, I went through your method.  It worked like a freakin’ charm.  While they weren’t anywhere near prepared for an actual encounter with the Bad Man (no one is on a mere CCW qual course), they were shooting as well as the, ahem, “experienced” shooters in the group.  So thanks.  I’ll be using that again.

Can’t wait for the non-fiction books.

Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army (Ret.)


As I often mention in this blog, my research work in training, especially in firearms and “soft skills” like situational awareness has been adopted at the national level in Sweden, Norway, South Africa, and Israel.  Individual units and regional LE/military organizations in many other countries have adopted some of it.

It’s always refreshing to me to get an e-mail like that (I consider those e-mails to be of more value than all the certificates and contracts I can hang on my wall — to me these e-mails represent lives saved now and down stream) from people out in the field.  And especially so when it’s a (now) civilian instructor teaching newbie civilian shooters as I set out below in my older blog post from three or four years ago.

I’m reminded of this YouTube video on leadership.  It starts off like one of my post-training parties when I was younger, and the lessons become self-evident.  This very much applies to the willingness to go outside of the box, to safely experiment with new training concepts, and more to the point — be among the first to do so.

Thanks, LTC!

This post below is from 2016.  The truth is out there:

Here’s a few training hacks derived from our going research (and the research of others) into training for performance under stress.

Scroll down for some recommended fundamental books that should be read by anyone who wants to discuss “cognitive neuroscience” in the context of firearms and combative training before they start slinging “most scientific” in their marketing material (hat tip to Alfred Bester in THE STARS MY DESTINATION — “Very quant! Most Scientific!”)


Whether you’re a gun enthusiast or seasoned tactician, you’ve probably run across some of the many new gun owners at ranges. Many experienced people have taken it upon themselves to offer training (familiarization) and experiences on ranges to those new to firearms. These ideas are offered from research into learning that applies to beginning firearms students.

As usual, don’t take anything said here (or by anybody) as gospel unless you verify it through your direct experience. Don’t recycle and remouth what somebody else says until you’ve done it for yourself. Feel free to read the books listed below and come to your own conclusions, or ask questions (please don’t e-mail them to me, just post in the comments, thx).

Here’s a recommended sequence of instruction for a new handgun shooter:

1. Determine status of weapon (loaded, unloaded? External safety or no? Magazine in or out, loaded or unloaded, external safety or not?
2. How to make a weapon safe: If safety,look for F/S, engage safety. Remove magazine. Lock back slide and visually/physical inspect chamber.
3. How to load the weapon.
4. Muzzle awareness — guns are geometric instruments
5. Trigger finger awareness — location of finger trigger at all time.

The only safety briefing necessary for an experienced instructor and a novice is: “Do what I tell you to do. And only that.” At this point.

The above steps are all hands on. No lecture, just show them one time, then let them do it. Don’t do it for them, let them make mistakes and figure it out by themselves. You are standing right there and you are responsible for safety. You can use snap caps/dummy rounds if you want; using real ammo under your close supervision increases stress for the student. Keep it simple, brief sentences, positive reinforcement. Don’t lecture, don’t preach. Maximize hands on by the student and hands off by the instructor. That includes talking them through. Let them figure it out. Doesn’t matter (at this point) if it looks like crap.

Once they’ve gone through this sequence above (should not take more than five to seven minutes max) go hot with the pistol. Let them do it. If somebody is really a stress wreck, load it for them and put it into their hand.

Then let them shoot. No instruction on grip, stance, aim, breathing, blah blah blah. Just make sure their fingers don’t get caught in the slide. Bring the target up close. Let them shoot like 5 rounds, take a break, shoot five more. Doesn’t matter at all what the target looks like and don’t coach. Just let them go bang. No more than ten rounds.

Then have them determine the status of their weapon, unload, make it safe.

And shake it off.

No negative comments, no coaching, no endless mouth noise about trigger control and grip and stance blah blah blah.

Then go through the whole sequence again. No talk, no lecture, just do it and let them work through the whole sequence, hands shaking whatever. It’s your job to ensure safety at this point, do so. Muzzle awareness and trigger awareness, and save the four rules lecture for another time.


Then pick ONE thing, and one thing only. I suggest starting with grip. Fine tune their grip and spend no more than one minute doing so. Don’t talk about it, just adjust their hand and have them feel whether it works for them or not.

Five shots. Let them notice improvement. If there’s no improvement by fine tuning their grip, then you better work harder as an instructor.

Then trigger. Put a coin on the front sight and have them do no more than five slow presses. if they’re able to keep the coin from falling, that’s good enough for now. No more than a minute.

Five shots.

Then stance. No more than one minute.

Five shots.

No improvement? Shame on you, instructor. There should be.

Eye-sight-target alignment. No more than one minute.

Five shots.

Take a break.

Nothing negative, just chat, let them process. No feedback from you or fine tuning at this point.

After about five minutes or so, have them go through the whole sequence (determine status, load, muzzle awareness, trigger finger, grip, stance, eye-sight-target alignment).

Shoot 10 rounds in this sequence (hat tip to Claude Werner, Tactical Professor) Fire 1 from ready, lower to low ready, fire 2, low ready, fire 3, low ready, fire 4 to slide lock, go through sequence (determine status, etc. etc.).

Take a break and congratulate them on their improvement. No improvement? Shame on you, instructor.

50 rds, about 30 minutes. See targets below.


Handgun target — 7 yards, last 25 rounds of first 50 rounds from a handgun Evah.


Student being coached by some old vagrant.


Works with ARs, too. At CQB range 10 yds — notice group on targets. First time with AR. First 20 rounds.


100 yard target.

Total AR rounds — 60 rds. Never handled one. Can identify weapon status, make safe, load, engage targets, make weapon safe. Total training time on AR platform — 30 minutes.

9mm handgun — 50 rds. Never handled one. Can identify weapon status, make safe, load, engage targets, make weapon safe. Total training time on pistol platform — 30 minutes.

One hour, 50 handgun rounds, 60 AR rounds.

Can you do this? Why not?

Dudes and dudettes, this is why this works, every single time, if you do it this way (which requires you instructor types to rethink your presuppositions, biases and perceptual framework that defines your definition of firearms instruction)

The student has no first hand experience of firearms. All her presuppositions, imagining, biases come second or third hand delivered through the opinions of others or perceptions from media like TV, movies, and the Errornet.

Biases and presuppositions come from our experiences and training. Every word that comes out of an instructors mouth comes from previous experience/learning/knowledge.

In this case, the student is a blank slate with NO EXPERIENCE to build any sort of cognitive framework on which to build a perception or to acquire skill.

So, dudes and dudettes, how about we CREATE an experience for the student, so they have some kind of cognitive framework in which to hang all the learning you expect them to get? In other words, how about building a box for them to put the learning in, and make sure that box from day one will translate to the self defense application?

Give them the experience WITHOUT you interfering, only guiding and doing the minimal necessary to provide safety (you’re responsible during this particular first session). Let them work through errors on their own. Then get on with it.

So here’s an example: devout Muslims and Orthodox Jews. The subject of your lecture? The Joy of Virginia Ham. So you gots your PowerPoint, you gots your training AIDS, you gots your lecture notes all set out. So now…describe the taste of Virginia Ham to an audience that has no experience with eating ham.

C’mon, you’re an instructor. What’s so tough about that?

So now explain (use your words, now, as my fellow FLETC instructor Raylan Givens once said), to an audience with no experience with real firearms or shooting. Use your words only. Now go have them do what you TALKED about. Or maybe skip the lectures till you BUILD a cognitive framework based on EXPERIENCE so the students can then hang your abstractions and lecture onto their experiential framework.




And then ask yourself this question: What’s more important in a gunfight? Being able to rattle off cognitive neuroscience, or do the skill in real time under real stress? What’s more important to a teacher of gun fighting? The ability to rattle off “Yerkes-Dodson! Hicks Law! Most scientific!” Or the ability to take a chance and reshape the paradigm of firearms training which dates back to the 1700s and incorporate some simple and extremely proven research (which is just now creeping into firearms training) so that you can SAVE SOME LIVES and make sure that new shooters start off right?

Food for thought, dudes and dudettes.

Have a good ‘un.

PS: Shout out to the Achy Man haters! Hope you’re enjoying yourselves in Minnesota! Drop by any time, and bring your catamites — we’re very gay-friendly in Minneapolis. Say hi to Uncle Rico next time!

PPS:  Go here for a free e-book/Kindle copy of my best selling first novel NO OTHER OPTION.  Free till Wednesday! https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004YKUE6M/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_taft_p1_i1

Written by marcuswynne

April 15, 2019 at 12:33 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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