Thanks to Tommy Geraci, one of the blog readers for interview!

Interview With Mike Lamb of Stoic Ventures – Text Version

Hello everyone, Tom Geraci here with Today we have the humbling experience to speak to Mike Lamb of Stoic Ventures. Take a listen.

Interviewer: Okay, and we are live so I’ll start with the first question and that is, what do you think about the Remington 870 shot gun?

Mike Lamb: It’s a great platform, I mean, it is the most versatile and most violent platform in the small arms arsenal hands down. And if some weird ordinance came through and you are only allowed to have one firearm, you know, I’ll be inclined to take that 870 because there is nothing else that I could sit there and take dove, quail or whatever, feed my family or to cut a brown bear in half with, you know, with the right munitions choice, it’s so versatile and, you know, it’s kind of a jack-of-all-trades.

Interviewer: What do you think about the use of a shotgun for home defense?
Mike: I think it’s fantastic but, you know, a lot of people will counter that point and what it comes down to is training. If you don’t train, I don’t care what platform you have or don’t have or you don’t have a plan for home defense, you need to have those things. You need to have training. You need to have a plan. I’ve got a firm belief, all my students that I train I let them know we’ve got control over two things in a gunfight in a dynamic stress situation and that’s ourselves and our equipment. And you have got to master both. You need to understand what your body is going to do under dynamic stress. You need to understand inter-participation for yourself as well as other targets and you need to understand the proper munitions, the proper equipment, the proper accessories for whatever you are using for home defense. And shotguns are so fickle?? that you really need to understand you’ve got a friend with it. Your 870 could have a sequential number to my 870. We can both put the same lot number ammo in there and hit different patterns at different distances. It’s just, for such a rudimentary tool there is no more fickle animal out there than a shot gun.

Interviewer: Yeah, definitely. And, you know, one of the other problems that gets thrown into that question is, you know, which type of ammo, you know, are people going to be using in over penetration? So I think you have answered it perfectly, you know, with training, I feel, you know, yeah, you can definitely get away with using almost any type of ammo as long as you know, you know, what’s behind that target, what that round is going to do to your potential target and I would have to definitely agree. And my next question for you Mike is, what upgrade would you recommend for Remington 870?

Mike: Depends on what you are going to do with it. Now, if you’re just a recreational shooter, you are going to go take training classes, different things like that, the best one thing that you can do with that shot gun is get a shorter stock put on it. Most of us shoot a shot gun in the pocket of our shoulder. We put the butt-stock right up against that ball joint of our shoulder and we run the gun. That’s the reason why most people don’t train with shot guns because it’s going to be the living hell out of you if you shoulder the weapon like that. Now, if you square up to the gun you bring it inboard have it below your clavicle on our chest, so it’s flat up against your chest. And even for female shooters, that it’s about the breast issue that they can have the entire surface area of that buttstock square up against them, the better more surface area to better absorb that trauma from the recoil. Now, if that’s a huge thing it’s going to keep you squared on target for a follow-up shot if necessary. It’s going to allow you to cover that target so you can assess, you know, what you just did. Is that target incapacitated? Is it temporarily immobilized or what does it need, and it allows you to problem-solve. So it’s just one of those things that solve so many problems, like I said, whether for home defense or going up there and training. Now, home defense I would caveat that shorter stock with having a light mounted somewhere on that weapon. Now, 870’s specifically, you know, a hand held light is almost out of the question. Is it possible if you are training with it? Absolutely, but some type of weapons mounted light whether it be mounted on the magazine tube or right there in-front of the log of the barrel or mounted on the four end, something you can’t shoot with if you can’t see. And the reason why I name my company Stoic Ventures is that the Stoics believed that emotions were destructive and I have seen, you know, I named my company that because to honor my brothers that didn’t come back or that got wounded. Most of them…a lot of them got hurt because somebody acted out of an emotional decision, whether that emotion was fear or that emotion was rage. For a lot of times in home defense situations where people are not trained or they are not coached or they do have experience in combat they are automatically going to go to fear. The best of knowledge I can give you is, what do you do most people do, when they hear a bump in the night? Yeah, I’m going to get the gun! Yeah, but before that something happens, before that…

Interviewer: Most fear, definitely fear.
Mike: We listen as hard as we can, not that we can listen any harder than we already do but we are like, wait what was that? Maybe it is going to happen again, maybe, and we are trying to gather information to process into intelligence so we can form our decision makers. So that being said, we fear that we don’t know and if I hear something, I don’t know what it is , yeah, I am going to be inclined to believe that it is the boogie man or it’s the big bad wolf that’s at the door but it could be a myriad of other things, you know, and recent events we have had just terrible tragedies occurring where people are at home and they might have children of college age or high school sneaking back into the house or, Hey mom, dad, I came home for the weekend from college and, you know, terrible things happen because people act out of fear. And if you don’t have that, like to positively identify the target and identify friends or foe you are in a very libelous position to maintain a firearm for home defense because you are just operating out of a fear basis instead of a problem solving basis.

Interviewer: Right. So with correct training you feel that we can master definitive choices in situations like that?

Mike: You can, because as you are exposed to these different things you are going to have better tools to problem-solve. Now what that does, your problem solving matrix, it’s going to compress that window of time so you can do these things faster. The more time you have in any threat situation time is life so the more time you preserve to make actions against the object or problem-solve or whatever it is, you are going to set yourself up for success. So through training we can master that, you know, through the manipulating of the weapon, through staging of the…how is the weapon staged, where is it positioned, where is it in relation to you, to the door, to where the threat area is or the most likely avenue of approach for a home invasion or, you know, if you’re sleeping or if you are in the living room. I mean, there are so many different venues. A lot of people just have to kind of conceive that, Hey, I’ve got the gun by the bed, you know what, it is going to happen at night time. Well, the majority of home invasions happen right in the middle of the day because they are hoping you are at work but the biggest problem why we are hearing more and more about home invasions is because the economy is tight but too, a lot of people work from their homes now. So the conventional nuclear family where mom and pop, you know, go off to work and the kids are at school, nobody is home and, you know, Mickey the Mets Hat comes in, it’s not the case, people work from home all the time. So they find themselves in compromising positions and it’s like, Hey, wait, I am not in my bedroom where the weapon is for home defense. That’s on the other side of the house. So what’s your plan in that circumstance? You know, a firearm is a great tool to defend but, you know, sometimes it’s best to just relocate yourself and remove yourself from the threat, you know. It’s easy to talk a big game about meeting violence with violence but if I don’t have a family member and my dog is not in harm’s way I’m just going to leave. I’ve got nothing to prove. Okay, and I’ll sit there and, you know, I’ll call the cops, Hey, yeah, there is these three guys, here is what they are wearing, here is the vehicle. Yeah, I’m sitting over here eating a sandwich watching these guys steal my shit. Not worried about it, how am I going to lock up that safe? They need my flat screen that bad, it’s not worth me smoke check the three of them and having all kinds of ridiculous dry cleaning bill, the media at my house. Fire arms trainer, you know, smoked three dudes. I don’t need that and especially if my family is in the house, I don’t need to be paying for their fricking therapy bill because I just dusted three people. You know, stay out of harm’s way, great, and then I will lead them out, you know, a different way from where the bodies are, one, not to stand near to the crime scene, two, they don’t need to see that shit. So, I’m not overseas anymore, I’ve got [inaudible – 9:14] to prove.

Interviewer: So what kind of drills do you recommend most for us and civilians, ex-military, anybody really, what kind of shotgun drills would you recommend most?
Mike: One, I would recommend just maneuverability, you know, working in tight spaces its really easy to get up to an open bay range and you’ve got all the room in the world to move around and not stay tight with the weapon and, you know, all that type of stuff. But, you know, just like how we would do hundreds of rehearsals before we would go on missions, you know, going through structures, clearing structures, things like that, getting in there and, it sounds weird and it’s not quite a tenfold hat but, you know, practice moving throughout your home with that weapon, practice bringing it up, practice shouldering it, you know, whether, you know, you are at a high port or depressed muzzle as you are moving it around, as you are doing your search, as you are going through moving to the objective that type of thing, practice bringing the gun up, you know, moving with the gun so it becomes an extension of you. So many people become foreign with it. I would also, you know, as part of that, practice working at safety, you know, especially on an 870. You’ve got that cross-bolt safety and a lot of times, I have seen it all the time at class when nobody is shooting at you and nobody is trying to kill your wife. We’re just breaking, you know, we’re doing tarmac roles and getting on target, you know, just practice weapon manipulation and marksmanship but guys will forget to sweep for safety. So a part of that, you know, with your shooters checklist is as that gun comes up you sweep for safety. Because, you know, we have our four firearm safety rules. Well some of the other side of the coin for that, the second firearm safety rule, never point your weapon if you do not intend to destroy. Third firearm safety rule, finger straighten off the trigger until you are ready to fire. I’ve got a flip side to that coin. I call them Life Safety Rules. If I point my…I’m sweeping that safety on whatever weapon system I’m running if I point it at somebody. There is no way in hell I’d point a weapon at somebody unless I intended to shoot them. They crossed some lines in the sand that necessitated me to point that weapon at them. So why would I do that with the safety on it? And fingers straight and off the trigger – why would I point a weapon at any target unless I intended to fire? Whether I’m doing dry-fire practice or I am neutralizing a threat it’s the same game. So, you know, getting into that type of practice where I’m working the life safety rules and being aware of that, two, knowing when that trigger is going to break.

Interviewer: Become aware of that.
Mike: Yeah, absolutely! And a lot of people just slam on that gas pedal, they jerk the trigger and, even with a shotgun, you might have a more surface area pattern but at close ranges? You look at what flight control does at five, seven, eight yards, I mean, essentially within a one inch group at those distances. So the minute of, Hey honey, I’m going out of town, shotgun is in the corner, anybody comes in just point it at them and press the trigger is complete and utter nonsense. Joe Biden certainly didn’t help that.

Interviewer: Definitely. So Mike, can you tell us more about Stoic Ventures?
Mike: Yeah! We train vets, civilians, we train law enforcement, we train military, contractors all the same. So it’s whatever platform they want to learn, whether it’s, you know, pistol, shotgun

Mike: Pretty much, whether you’ve got a short-range game or you want to do long-range. Our long-range classes the farthest we take some guys out to engage the target we had students with three awaits, engaging in 18 inch steel play at twenty three hundred and eighty-one yards. So it all comes down to the fundamentals and it’s the same fundamentals if you’re using filler shotgun, it’s all the shooting because fundamentals don’t change. So the more practice you get with whatever platform you have you can apply that to the shotgun, you can apply it to the pistol, to precision rifle, Corbett, it’s the same game. So the more you get out there, the more trigger time you get, you know, it’s just going to make you a better shooter over all. And if you can incorporate that mindset of, you know, understanding that incapacitation, understanding terminal ballistics, ammunition selection, whatever platform you do it, you know, it’s going to put you way ahead of the power curve.

Interviewer: Mike, can you explain just a few of the guns you own personally and possibly your top three favorite?

Mike: Yeah, you know, my favorite, you know, my go to is my M4. I mean, that thing was my teddy bear overseas. It was my primary weapon system as it was with pretty much all of us over there. When you are employed as a sniper, your sniper rifle is sometimes your primary, other time it’s a tertiary, because you are carrying it, you know, to go and search what you’re hiding, doing advanced work, you know, sneaking in there and all that good stuff and then you’ve got your pistol as your secondary. So those are great. Other times, you know, using the shotgun we use that overseas, inside the structures, we used it for EDSS, for maritime missions, shotgun is a great tool. One thing I have noticed about a shotgun, and I don’t have any scientific data to back this up this is just going off my own personal experience, different warzones that we have operated in, inside the structures especially, which is really the only time I have used shotgun in an extensive role in my experience. So inside the structures , you know, the crack of a rifle, the path of a pistol type of thing, the enemy seems pretty inoculated to that but the sound of that shotgun going off inside of a structure seem to have a very damning psychological effect on them.

Interviewer: Oh yeah, definitely.
Mike: I don’t know why, I don’t teach psychological incapacitation because I don’t know right now if you and I will be standing right next to each other if I reached over and started tickling you , what, you’d laugh or you’d punch me and break my nose, I don’t know. You know, we don’t know what makes people tick. So just in my experience that was a phenomenon that occurred only with the shotgun that did not occur when, you know, when we are running M-4’s, sub-guns, pistols, things like that, you know, it did occur with this jacket once which I always found very interesting and intriguing.

Interviewer: Awesome! Awesome!
Mike: But yeah, my top weapons, my thought, you know, my guilt is that M-Four. The bottom line is I’ve got more trigger time on that than any other weapon.
Interviewer: You are very well versed with it.

Mike: Yeah and, you know, after that I would say, you know, a pumped gun, a good pumped gun. l love my 870’s, I’ve got a bunch of 870’s, you know, I like Maastricht a lot too. I’m naturally a South [inaudible – 16:08] so that time safety. It’s a little easier for me to manipulate when I’m working infrastructures and fighting left-handed, fighting right-handed, things like that. As I am using that angle when we are coming in clear and, you know, doorways and move down hallways, things like that. So, you know, I did appreciate that. Just a little bit more training practice you do have with an 870, both great platforms, both very reliable, not ammunition sense that you can load them up but you can compare and do whatever you need. And yes I do M4, pump gun and then a precision gun. Right now my favorite precision caliber is a kind of a hot rod and one that Rudgar built for me which is a M 375 and that one is doing five and three eights inch groups, like 1400 yards so I’m really pleased with the way that that rifle performs, yeah, so it’s a great rifle.

Interviewer: That’s awesome. Mike, can you tell us about your video, Make Ready with Mike Lamb Intro to Shotgun?

Mike: Yeah, basically what I do it is explaining three things, you know, I go over the weapons manipulation. I go over the marksmanship, especially with the recoil mitigation techniques because that comes into play when you shoot the shotguns because those munitions are moving down the barrel at such a slow speed in comparison to a Carbine and even some cases pistols. But the bill is so much longer that if you don’t have proper recoil mitigation techniques and you are you riding that recoil, it’s going to pull you off target for that ammunition even as it leaves the barrel. So we go over that and then the third part is really just kind of going through myth busting and explaining what makes the shotgun legit or just different tweaks you can do to your existing shotgun to make it, you know, just a great platform for whatever you want to do with it. You know, for the purposes of that video it is specifically geared towards, you know, a defensive application or a military law enforcement application. You know, it’s a great tool. It’s so misunderstood so I like to think I did a pretty good job on kind of myth busting a lot of prevailing erroneous information that’s out there. And I do work with like, you know, a lot of weapons manufacturers as a consulting guy, when I am not doing the training. So when I get a lot of this stuff directly from them so this is not a pseudo-science this is me working directly with manufacturers and we work together to try and make better platforms for people and make shooting more enjoyable and more proficient.

Interviewer: Do you have any other, just random, advice for shotgun users, maybe, you know, really inexperienced all the way to super experienced?
Mike: Absolutely, let’s say guys, I may go over this in the video and we start talking about ammunition selection for home defense, guys, stay away from the slugs, stay away from the slugs. People are like, well what if I need to take a long shot? Well if you need to take a long-shot chances are that guy is probably running away from you. He is no longer a threat so there is not necessarily need to engage, or they are already running away and that goes from defense to manslaughter. So we are staying off that that stuff, we are staying on the good guy side of the house and that’s what it’s about. The other thing too is keep the same load in your shot gun because you’re not going to remember, oh my first one is rock salt, my second one is birdshot, my third one is high brass pheasant load and then my fourth one is buck shot, my fifth one is…. That’s nonsense. You know, just a phenomena that occurs under dynamic stress you’re just, you know, it’s a kind of distortion , things are going to be moving real fast or real slow, it’s called tacky psyche. It just really alters the state of your perception. Because you’ve got these chemicals flowing through your body, you know, you’ve got endorphin, cortisone, adrenaline, all these things flowing through your body and you’re going to feel like the first time you did when you got drunk. You know, it’s like, well, hey, I got only two beers and now my life’s crazy. That’s what’s going to happen and under that you’re not going to remember what you had, what or you know somebody does cross that line, you understand, and you press that trigger you give him a chest full of rock solid one and you are wondering how the hell you got that rock solid load. What birdshot? I mean it’s going to ruin a t-shirt but it doesn’t have to master, penetrate anything, it hit any arteries or major organ in the chest cavity. If it’s human in the face maybe you’ll get his eyes but, you know, family might be found innocent but then civilly they might come after you for maiming their client, and you know, now the poor scumbag that broke into your house can’t see and you’ve got to pay him, you know, 300 bucks a week for the rest of his life because, he is, you know, disabled.

Interviewer: Definitely, yeah.
Mike: Yeah, so, you know, go up there, check out some loads, when you get the loads, you know, part of your shotguns, we go over that in the video, it’s like zero in your rifle but it’s very specific with the shotgun because [cross talk – 21:00].

Interviewer: [cross talk – 21:01] that you would recommend most for say home defense?
Mike: Absolutely, absolutely, absolutely! And this goes off of Dr. Gary Roberts who is, you know, a great ballistician and, you know, good dude, he comes out and trains with us periodically but yeah, if you are able to read some of his ballistic reports that he puts out for terminal ballistic performance, he’s got the federal number one buckshot, light control, made it as his top choice for the amount of trauma that it induces and it’s all scientific, it’s in pure good backed, it’s not, you know, some guy just he got bored and mixed-up ballistic gelatin. This is quantified data from a medical doctor. So it’s good read, you can get the Dr. Roberts reports and, you know, just look him up. You could find that some of the open source ones, not the culturally law enforced ones available online. You know, I would advocate that for you and, you know, your readers and all that stuff that [inaudible – cross talk 22:00].
Mike: Yeah the flight control is my favorite number one but it’s kind of a Holy Grail, it’s very hard to find. You essentially you get fifteen pellets, it induces a lot of trauma. The double aught buck is also great but you risk more over penetration with that so my number one go to is, yeah, Federal #1 Buck Flight Control.

Interviewer: That’s a very great piece of advice. So, Mike, the last question I’ve got for you is, do you think muscle mass, I know that you are pretty built up guy but do you think muscle mass helps contribute a lot to recoil reduction when shooting a shotgun?

Mike: Yes and no. Does it help? Absolutely! I mean, am I going to be able to take a punch or you know, if a middle linebacker is running out at me, you know, which is better than a hundred pound girl, absolutely, you know, two hundred and fifty pounds. But you know what, these classes, some of the classes we do quarterly classes that are ladies only class and we do those whether we switch it up sometimes it’s carbine , sometimes it’s pistol, sometimes it’s shotgun. We’ll get these gals, my wife included, who is a small gal, you know, they are running 12 gauge with big boy loads that’s shooting double lock buck but the required mitigation techniques that we go over in the video and talk about all that, we’re just using body, you know, our bodies to get a mechanical advantage over the weapon. It is just basic physics. So, you know, more surface area with our stance, with the way we position our rifle inboard, away from our shoulder because our shoulder start acting like big levers taking us off center, so we twist and we are reactive and things like that. And two, the body position, and you know, I teach, you know, on the video, it’s more natural with what you do with the dynamic stress, you know, so it’s kind of, you know, an aggressive stance because your brain does not know the difference between a fist fight, a knife fight, a gun fight. It just know you are in a fight. That supercomputer ticks in and it starts dumping chemicals and it’s game time. So that’s the way it works. So everything we do is teaching you to work with what your body does naturally. So we’re not trying to reprogram the machine but again it comes down to training. And to do the training, we have all heard the term, you bring up muscle mass and you’ll bring up a different term that’s commonly misused in our industry, muscle memory. Muscles don’t have brains, they don’t have memories. It’s a misnomer for saying build it into your subconscious. Our brains are run 80 percent off of our subconscious mind. And what that means is, think about when you are 16 and driving a car for the first time, you are checking the mirrors, doing this, doing that, picture three minutes to get out of the driveway. Now you got, you know, your Bluetooth on, you are talking on the phone, you’ve got a cup of coffee, you’re doing this, you are yelling at the kids in the back, you are switching lanes, and you haven’t been in an accident in 15 years. Just because you are so used to doing it that with that repetition you know it cold. And it’s the same thing with firearms training, the more you can do it, and the biggest thing, you know, I tell people no matter what platforms you are running you can do all this without necessarily going to the range, dry fire practice. You ask anybody that served in the military, we did so much dry fire practice, I mean, to the point where you had nausea. I mean, it was just like, oh my God. I really wish, I just had heat stroke right now so that I didn’t have to keep staff here for another five hours dry fire. You know, so it’s, you know, but you are doing it, but you know it so well that when everything kicks off those chemicals start coming through it doesn’t matter. Your subconscious mind takes over and you’re doing everything exactly as you are trained. So [cross talk – 25:35]

Interviewer: So can you tell me a little bit about your….I’m sorry, can you tell me a little bit about your military history?
Mike: Yeah, I was a force reconnaissance marine, I work for some other places while I was in the Marine Corps and I had some good experiences, I had some bad experiences. I ended up getting injured and after 13 years I got medically retired. I didn’t have to get out but it was one of those things like, hey man, here is your desk, you can hang out and write this thing or you can go do something else. And yeah, as far as was concerned after 13 years I was extremely fortunate with my experiences and, you know, my deployments the fact that I am still alive and I had on my arms and legs I got medically retired from the marine corps and I do a lot of work now helping disabled vets because, believe it or not, I’m 100 percent disabled veteran and, you know, it’s one of those things that when I got out it was hard for me to walk up the stairs, it was hard for me to do a lot of things. And working with guys out there, you know, just switching up different things, keep training, keeping your mind strong, you know, and being willing to help yourself instead of falling into that victim mentality. You know, using the same skill sets that we learnt, me in the marine corps, you know, just keep mentally tough. When I was out there it’s the same mental skill sets I used to keep up here and, you know, I’ve had seven knee surgeries, I just got a new hip, you know, I’ve got nerve damage on my right side and I’ve got titanium on my left…my right arm, I’ve got all kinds of cadavers and graphs on my left side but pretty much on my left side I’m all organic but, you know, I’ve got some actual mark on parts on me on me on the right side. But, you know, it’s just, you keep pressing forward, you know, keeping that mindset with the guys and it’s doing that with them. When we are out on the range we are just working, you know, doing consulting work, developing products and trying to make tools better for the guys that are still out there in the fight. I can’t fight anymore but I can do my damndest to help out the guys that’s still are and, you know, the guys that are coming back, you know, might not have a lot of guidance or, you know, are terrified because they see stuff in the media about how shitty the VA is and all these other things. You know, again, kind of going through, you know, hey man, different experiences and sharing with them, talking with them about things and just listening when they need to be heard, you know.

Interviewer: Man, I cannot imagine what, you know, you’ve got to go through and all the other heroes and mariners out there have to go through and I personally have never served but I have a lot of respect for you guys and what you do. And the fact that you, you know, lend a helping hand and an example for other warriors to come to and if they need something I am sure, you know, or they want to train with you guys. It’s awesome and you know, I respect you a lot for that and thank you for your service.

Thank your service, I mean, that means a lot. I guarantee you ask any of us, you know, it’s definitely, I mean, looking back, I mean, hey, it’s great, I get to still help people and do stuff but, you know, me serving in the military is the coolest thing I’ll ever do in my life and it was my greatest honor to do so and, you know, a lot of my training counterpart guys will probably tell you the exact same thing. And it’s really cool that, you know, I’ll still be in the position to help people and, you know, you are still there to kind of help and to mentor the guys that are coming out. So it’s a…You never leave the family, man and it’s a really cool thing, yeah, absolutely!

That’s great, that’s great, you know, they can come to you for training and, you know, and also somewhat of a family support. You know, that’s really awesome, man, and again thank you. Thank you for serving, I appreciate that.

Mike: I really appreciate it, thank you.
Interviewer: And that basically conclude all my questions for you, man. Thanks again for your time, I appreciate it.
Mike: All right, take care.
Interviewer: Alright Mike, have a good one.

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