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09 Mar

Better Living Through Violence

Posted by Craig Nugent

Better Living Through Violence

There wont be any cool training montage for me.  No cheesy 80’s music with slow pans over me panting on the side of the mat between rounds, or close ups of the sweat on my brow and concentration on my face with a bar across my back.

The montage for me, for most of us, for the non-professional athlete living in the real world of course would look much different anyways.  It would have to include some dramatic shots of being stuck in traffic trying to get to class after a 10 plus hour workday, waking up 2 hours early to lift sluggish and standing like a zombie next to the coffee pot, there would have to be all kinds of panoramic views of the range while I plod away trying to fit 50 rounds of bulls eye shooting into the only hour I have free that week and my phone going off behind me.  Reality isn’t so glamourous.

And there we are at competition day.  Ive managed to get the day off.  We have freeze frames of getting choked out, of running right past a target I forgot on my walk through, of checking for my name on the bracket, the score sheet, of going home and auditing the experience and setting goals over and over.

This isn’t easy.  Living a real life and attacking with every ounce we have a multi-disciplinary approach to interpersonal violence.  Grappling, striking, strength, conditioning, pistol, rifle, shotgun, and don’t forget the knives and emergency medical training!  The reading list alone would kill most people!

Whats the driver?  Why do we do it?  Why do we love it?

” We just had a near-life experience”  ~Tyler Durdin

I can tell you for me.  It makes me a better person.  Im more capable every day, more secure, stronger, healthier, smarter, faster, more aggressive and more peaceful.  Its problem solving on another level, and outside the experience of most people.  And it’s the people.  There are few closer friends than my training partners.  There are guys whos names I cannot recall but who I respect for their demanding top game or whom I only ever see by name at the top of the score sheet after a match.  The people who do this kind of work are some of the best people in the world.  Its better living through violence.  Its experiencing intimacy and empathy and doing the hard long work and improving while getting to be a part of that process in another’s life.

Who are my heroes?  My inspiration? Its the guy who brings his newborn to the gym so he can get some rounds in.  The single mother sneaking away to swing a kettlebell in the living room.  Are you working and going to school and finding the time to do what drives you?  The 40 year old dude who never played a sport in his life showing up for his first class?  That dude has my respect!

Do work!

Article by Shawn Lupka of www.anti-fragile.net


18 Feb

KNOCK KNOCK, REAPER’S HERE - Graham Tradecraft

Posted by Craig Nugent

"The trouble is, you think you have time"  -  Buddha’s Little Instruction Book

"On January 15, 2009, shortly after takeoff, US Airways Flight 1549 suffered multiple bird strikes that caused both jet engines to fail. When Captain Sullenburger safely landed that passenger jet, unpowered, on the Hudson River, he didn’t have time to practice; he chose the best option available at the time. Regardless of the way a crisis or event manifests itself, the reality is there won’t be time to practice and we don’t get to choose the time or the place. We set ourselves up for success by having a plan and tools to implement that plan. If we recognize now there is never enough time, we need to practice our plan. Captain Sully had practiced flying gliders for thousands of hours so when the time came – and his big passenger jet decided to become a glider – he made the only choice he could: he glided. Perfectly. He not only had a plan, but he had trained and tested his plan. Having a plan is great, having a tested plan is better. Mike Tyson used to say “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

I have a close friend of mine that has trained with me for years. He is a traditional white-collar guy that has studied and practiced combatives his entire life. A lifetime of combative training makes him no stranger to getting punched in the mouth. The differing size of burn scars on his body from hot brass show he knows his way around a wide variety of weapon systems. He trains extensively with weapons and fighting concepts and, as far as skills go, he is pretty good. His weapons and his gear are solid. He is a professional, a thinker, he’s “switched on”, if you will.   He called me the other day to talk about a gunfight he almost found himself in. Almost. And almost without a gun. Seems The Reaper decided to make a house call, unannounced. And all of that high-speed gear and equipment that he carries and trains with all of the time? It decided to sit this one out.   You will fight with what you carry.

The other example I will use comes from another great friend, a cop. This guy is SWAT trained and SWAT tested, and now serves his country in the deepest and darkest corners of the world. He is – hands down – one of the most highly trained and operationally experienced guys that I know. He met The Reaper once and punched that bitch in the mouth. He, too, found himself – with his family – in the middle of a gunfight without a gun. Sitting at an intersection with his family, a man steps out of a vehicle a few cars in front of him, buttons his jacket, pulls an AK47 from his trunk, and begins walking through the lines of traffic shooting. The trouble is, you think you have time.

There has been chatter recently about “ tactical minimalism”, and the idea that having less than a full load out makes a person inferior or less capable. When I talk about minimalism I am specifically referring to living as a minimalist within the context of personal protection and the use of available tools, i.e. firearms, knives, gear, etc. A better term comes from the military and is “line gear”, and is referenced as first line gear, second line gear, and third line gear. First line gear is described, simply, as gear you will never be without or gear that you have with you at all times. Quiz time: knock knock, Reaper’s here…what is your first line gear? Remember the rules: it must be gear that you have on you at all times. For me in my life I want to say that my first line gear is a gun, a light, a knife, and a tourniquet. But I’d be lying. So would most of you. Do you fly commercially as a civilian? Do you go into restricted areas, either government buildings or school zones? Do you swim in a pool or spend time at the beach? If you do, the chances are, like me, you aren’t carrying a gun. Maybe a knife. So that makes my first line gear – the gear that I have with me at all times – simply a light and a tourniquet. Seems fairly benign, yet it is realistic. When confronted by people who say they always carry and have tons of gear and equipment every time, all the time, my response is two-fold: they are either full of shit or they don’t get out very much.

Regardless of whether you train with a lot of gear or with very little, you need to become comfortable with fighting with nothing.   For those that train on the mats – do you restrict one arm or both legs and practice fighting? For those that train with firearms, do you train with it when it won’t shoot anymore?   When Cain killed Abel – whether with a rock, or a bone, or a spear – he picked up a tool from the ground and went to work. Knock knock, Reaper’s here. You fight with what you carry.

No matter what our path in life, recognize how the basics apply to our circumstances. In the end, you will fight with what you carry. You are either ready or you are not. Be a realist; don’t worry about things that aren’t real. Have a plan that will survive getting punched in the mouth. Recognize the bigger issue: the trouble is, we think we have time.

During the analysis of an event, regardless of what it is labeled – after action report, case study, debriefing – the most important factor is setting the stage: painting the picture of the narrative through context and circumstances. The label we use is irrelevant, because here is the important distinction: you don’t get to choose the circumstances or the context. The three examples above illustrate equally that the event chooses you. You want powered engines? Nope, you get a glider. You are used to training with a ton of gear and equipment? Nope, you get pajamas and a pistol. Oh, you slapped The Reaper? You don’t even get a rock. You go into the event with what you have, not with what you want to have. And the kicker is: the event is going to happen whether you are ready or not. In the end, you will fight, work, survive, conquer – whatever label you want to put on it – only with what you carry.

Knock knock, Reaper’s here.

– Matt"

Source - http://www.grahamtradecraft.com/knock-knock-reapers-here/

15 Feb

A great post on the USN by NewYork about a Zirc DDC he purchased from us

"Just drove up to meet one of my best friends, Craig from Empire Outfitters who is a dealer nearby. He is a new ddc dealer and on the sticky as a Strider dealer. Fast growing as a known man of his word and for having excellent customer service.

He just got a new batch and I have to say Duane is knocking it out of the park. This batch is incredible. Seriously." - NewYork

Zirc presentation 
ti lock side 







Source - 


15 Feb

We love feedback! Here's a great comment from customer Nick Williams

Posted by Craig Nugent in Custom Knives, Customer Service, We Love what we do
"I just want to say that this company is very professional and care very much about their customers. I ordered a beer defender and it arrived today. I opened the box and I found the beer defender, a decal, a hand writen note personalized to me the customer and candy. In all the online ordering I have done over the years I never received this kind of treatment from a company. I will be recommending to everyone to buy from this great company. Thank you Empire Outfitters I will be ordering more items from you guys." - Nick Williams (source - Facebook)
15 Feb

Principles of Knife Carry by MDTS

MDTS Principles of Knife Carry: 
“Possession does not equal proficiency” – Clint Smith

Carry your knife, it's useless if you don’t have it when you need it.

Conceal your knife. A pocket clip provides those who are looking with information about you; you are armed, you are right/left handed and more. Do not export any more data to the public and people in your environment than is absolutely necessary.

Limit cover garments to one layer over concealed knife.

One of the few elements we have absolute control over in a fight is the equipment we bring to it. Invest in good knives that won’t close on fingers when pressure is exerted on blade vertically or laterally. Invest in good sheathing for fixed blades that allows easy concealment, fast access and the ability to re-sheath easily with one hand. 

The knife must be legal, reliable, serviceable, ready and accessible to both hands.

Carry more than one. A small "public" knife is recommended along with a defensive knife. 

The opening mechanism of a folding knife should be relatively simple; it may not always be you utilizing it (i.e. wife, son, daughter).

Sheaths should be rigid, secure, familiar and compatible to the carrier’s personal and environmental circumstances.

As a general rule, primary tools (tools you rely upon to protect your life i.e. a defensive edged weapon) should be carried at the hips forward. Secondary and tertiary gear carried hips rearward.

Situational awareness, environmental awareness, physical awareness and proper concealment are the primary means of weapon retention. 

For defensive purposes a knife is only as good as you are at accessing and deploying it.



-Chris Fry of MDTS http://www.mdtstraining.com