Blades of Grass: What It Takes to be Prepared for a Fight

He was the Japanese Marshal Admiral and commander-in-chief of the Rengo Kantai – Combined Fleet – during World War II. His father was a samurai of the Nagaoka Domain and as an adult he was adopted into yet another Nagaoka samurai family (at the time it was commonplace for samurai families lacking sons to adopt a young man in order to carry on their family name). He came by his fighting, tactical spirit honestly, having gained it genetically, environmentally, and through desire. He was a fighter from day one, attending the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy, serving on a cruiser during the Russo-Japanese war, and even losing appendages – two fingers – to battle. And yet he stayed. His name was Isoroku Yamamoto, and he was the man who understood what many others in the Japanese military did not seem to: you do not – cannot – invade mainland America.

“You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.” (Attributed to Admiral Yamamoto from the Prange Files, but hotly disputed as to its source.)

Although the frequently bandied-about quote regarding how the mainland U.S. cannot be invaded because there would be a rifle behind every blade of grass is disputed by historians as to its source, it certainly does reflect Yamamoto’s stance during World War II. Interestingly enough the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, was meant by the Japanese to prevent our nation’s Pacific Fleet from interfering in their planned military actions against various foreign targets. Of course, when the Japanese kamikaze pilots made their move in what was the first attack of its kind of American soil, all they did was issue the United States an engraved invitation to enter World War II. It was an invitation engraved with the blood of 2,008 sailors, 218 soldiers and airmen, 109 Marines, and 68 civilians – not including the wounded. Perhaps it was not the wisest move after all.

On September 11, 2001, our country was again issued such an invitation. This time it was delivered at the price of 2,977 lives. And while our nation’s president at the time – George W. Bush – responded swiftly and decisively, the War on Terror has shifted rather dramatically at this point in time. Today the War on Terror is unrecognizable due in large part to the person residing in the Oval Office. President Barack Hussein Obama has done it all: broadcasted our battle and withdrawal plans to the enemy well in advance of their implementation, vacillated between withdrawal and partial involvement, and claimed the war is over and the terrorists contained, despite it being ridiculously far from the truth. He’s even referred to the terrorists as “the JV team.” Today we are a nation at risk – a nation still at war – although our POTUS does not care to admit it.

Are we at risk for another terrorist attack on our own soil? Absolutely.

Is the oft-debated quote about rifles behind every blade of grass a reference to a valid deterrent? Yes and no.

“A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” (The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution)

2nd AmendmentWe are, as a nation, quite fortunate when it comes to gun rights. Granted, those rights are being slowly chipped away – with greater speed in certain areas than others – but they’re still there. Thanks to the Second Amendment – thanks to the foresight of our founding fathers – Americans have the right to bear arms. Not only that, we have the right and even responsibility to bear arms for reasons beyond protecting our own homes from intruders. Our homes and lives are not limited to the four walls we eat and sleep in, they include the entire country. This nation is your home, and it is your right and responsibility to defend it.

The argument regarding a legally armed citizen preventing an act of terror tends to be split in two: those who believe an armed citizen can stop such an attack and those who believe not only can they not stop it, they might somehow make it worse. Statistics strongly back armed citizens successfully preventing attacks of all kinds from domestic violence to violent home invasions to mass shootings. Although law enforcement would certainly like to help, the cold, hard reality is they’re there for the aftermath, not the moment itself. There’s just one small detail: there’s more to being an armed citizen than just owning a gun.

Carrying a gun for self-defense, whether for yourself, your loved ones, or those around you, is a serious responsibility. There is far more to it than strapping on a holster and sauntering out your front door. Responsible carry involves training and preparation not just in the beginning but as long as you intend to keep carrying. So what does a responsible gun owner planning to make use of a daily carry weapon need to do?

Know Your Guns

Not everyone has an encyclopedic knowledge of all things firearms, but a decent understanding of guns is a must. Knowing the trigger makes the gun go “bang” is not enough information and choosing a gun based solely on its cool factor is a fairly good indicator of a lack of understanding how guns work. Yes, there are guns out there that look cool, but just as you would not buy a Volkswagen Beetle to do a truck’s job just because it has an awesome paint job you should not buy a gun based on its Cerakote.

Gun owners should have a solid understanding of guns, and although we all have to learn sometime the best way to learn is not on your own. You did not teach yourself to drive a car by jumping into the driver’s seat all by your lonesome and tooling down the freeway, so why would you wander off with a loaded gun if you do not know what you’re doing? Unfortunately, there are a fair number of people who do just that.

You should understand calibers and how guns work in order to make an educated decision about which gun you want to use as your daily carry. Although finances are an understandable and realistic restriction for most of us, meaning you may not be able to buy the gun of your dreams, you should be prepared to invest in a reliable firearm. Not all guns are created equal. Not all calibers are created equal. And, perhaps most importantly of all, not all guns are comfortable for all shooters. Our hands and builds are different shapes and sizes, so while a full-size double-stack may be comfortable for those of us with long fingers, a compact single-stack might be more reasonable for someone with smaller hands. A trigger one person loves another may hate. Yes, you can customize your gun – and most people do – but customization only goes so far.

Know your guns, and know them well. You may not be a candidate for gun geek status but you should be able to hold your own when it comes to the basics.

Clean Your Guns

Clean GunThis is related to knowing your guns. You should be able to field strip your gun without outside help. No, not everyone is knowledgeable enough to break down every gun out there, but you should be capable of handling your own. The ability to take your gun apart and put it back together is an important part of gun ownership. You should know what the parts are and how to check for wear or signs of damage that could cause problems.

When it comes to the act of cleaning and oiling guns there seem to be two camps: those who feel you should clean your gun every time you shoot it, and those who are proud of never having cleaned their twenty-year-old guns. Should you clean your gun? Yes. Not only will you find a clean, lubricated firearm functions more reliably and performs better, it gives you a chance to inspect the working parts of your weapon. Do you have to clean it every time a single round is fired? No. But don’t neglect your duties. Keep your gun clean, especially your daily carry. A gun you’re trusting with your life is one you should be taking excellent care of, not tossing in the safe gunked up with residue from hundreds or thousands of rounds.

Know Your Gear

Yes, your gear is important. If you served in the military you understand the importance of your kit, and as a civilian – or veteran – carrying a gun for self-defense purposes, it remains a thing of value. You cannot choose just any holster. Not only must your holster fit your gun, it should fit your body. All holsters are not created equal, and all methods of carry do not work for everyone. There is no such thing as a “one size fits all” mode of carry.

How you carry your gun is going to depend on the gun, your wardrobe, and your plans for your day. It also depends on open carry versus concealed carry, which opens up an entire other avenue of discussion. Assuming you plan to conceal carry you’ll be choosing from IWB (Inside WaistBand), OWB (Outside WaistBand), a shoulder or underarm holster, ankle holster, pocket carry, belly band, or SOB (Small Of Back). Some women prefer thigh holsters, corset holsters, and bra holsters. Going into the pros and cons of various methods would take far more space than we have here, so let’s stick to the basics. Your firearm must be secure, well concealed, and available for rapid presentation. Carrying your gun in a location where it is not immediately and quickly accessible is an obvious no-go just as carrying a full-size 1911 on your ankle would be, shall we say, less than subtle. Your gun of choice will play a part in dictating mode of carry just as personal preferences and wardrobe influence it. Concealment and rapid presentation should be your priorities, which might mean making some changes to the way you dress – especially for women.

Train – And Do It Realistically

TargetTraining would seem like an obvious requirement for carrying a firearm for protection purposes but I could rattle off the names of at least a half dozen people right now who carry guns around although they’ve barely fired a shot in their lives. There are certainly levels of skill and not everyone is an expert marksman, but you should know the basics and be able to handle a firearm safely and accurately. Then, if you want to be confident in your ability to actually survive a firefight, you’d better train beyond the basics of just getting your shot on paper.

Knowing and following the four golden rules of firearm safety is an obvious step, or should be. Beyond that, if you cannot reliably hit your target, you should not be carrying a gun. By all means, get the trigger time and training necessary to become a capable shot, but do not fool yourself into thinking you can operate under the incredible stress of an attack if you cannot even fire an accurate shot at the range. In many ways this is where one of the golden rules becomes true in a deadly fashion: never point your gun at something you aren’t willing to kill. If you can’t be sure where that bullet will hit, don’t squeeze the trigger. If you cannot squeeze the trigger due to safety concerns, why are you carrying a gun?

There are many levels to training which is why even the pros see the need to continue training, honing their skills, learning new things, expanding their horizons. And even skilled shots are not necessarily trained for self-defense. Yes, skill and trigger time count – muscle memory is always a factor, for one thing – but realistic training is vital to your survival.

Train like you may one day be forced to fight. That means training with your defense ammo of choice, training to fire not only with your strong hand but with your off hand, and learning to shoot accurately from various positions. It also means doing your best to train your body to perform under physical stress. Yes, there are ways. Find a good firearms academy – a truly good one is worth travel time – and hone your skills. One day your life or the lives of your loved ones may depend on whether or not you trained properly.

Know the Law

Another key factor in carrying a firearm is knowing the law. Not knowing the law is not a valid defense should the question of fault or breaking the law arise. It is your responsibility to know the law, which absolutely does not mean trusting advice found on Facebook. You should be familiar with the actual statutes, not only where you live but anywhere you plan to travel through or visit with your guns. That means if you’re planning a road trip you’d better be familiar with every state and county you’re going to drive through. If you’re flying, know the laws of flying with guns – understanding that while there are federal laws, each airline has their own set of rules as well – and know the laws in states you will be landing in. “I didn’t know” is not a valid defense.

It would be easy to go on for some time in this vein but instead let’s close with a final thought on those blades of grass. Anyone foolish enough to invade the United States would indeed find us to be quite well-armed. Just remember, if – when – the time comes, you will not have the time to stroll to your local gun store and load up on ammo and spare parts. Be prepared in every possible way. You can never have too much ammo or too much target practice.

Lock and load.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Katherine Ainsworth

Katherine is a military and political journalist with a reputation for hard-hitting, no-holds-barred articles. Her career as a writer has immersed her in the military lifestyle and given her unique insights into the various branches of service. She is a firearms aficionado and has years of experience as a K9 SAR handler, and has volunteered with multiple support-our-troops charities for more than a decade. Katherine is passionate about military issues and feels supporting service members should be the top priority for all Americans. Her areas of expertise include the military, politics, history, firearms and canine issues.
Katherine Ainsworth

2 thoughts on “Blades of Grass: What It Takes to be Prepared for a Fight

  1. Good article, but one minor factual inaccuracy: no kamikaze attacked Pearl Harbor; the Japanese weren’t using suicide attack tactics in 1941! It wasn’t until 1944 and ’45 that they were desperate enough to waste aircraft and throw away lives to stave off inevitable defeat.

    On the topic of Yamamoto’s comment: do you think that idea still holds true today? Given that military technology has advanced considerably since 1941, would an armed populace still be a deterrent to a foreign power invading and occupying the U.S.? For most of American history up through WWII, civilian-legal firearms were equivalent in firepower to the battle rifles issued to most soldiers. (If I’m not mistaken, soldiers used to be allowed and expected to take their rifles with them on leave.) Nowadays, that isn’t exactly the case, as the modern soldier is sufficiently well-equipped to deal with a group of enthusiastic but undisciplined franc tireurs.

    If an attacking force is having trouble with guerrillas sniping from a particular suburb, it would be easy enough for them to call in an accurate airstrike or precision artillery to level a few blocks, to advance in APCs rather than on foot, or to demolish a few buildings with thermobaric rocket launchers. By the point that the U.S. has to rely on armed citizens and militias for defense, it is clear that the military would have been routed or otherwise a non-contender (a day that I pray we may NEVER see).

    Add that most modern miitaries issue level IV armor to their infantrymen, and the deterrent of American partisans seems a lot less believable. 99.99% of Americans don’t have access to anti-armor munitions (to deal with APCs and IFVs), and most don’t have access to rounds that will reliably penetrate level IV vests at long range. Finally, considering that America’s main rivals (especially Russia) have extensive experience with both insurgency AND counter-insurgency operations under the most terrible conditions (WWII and post-war partisan operations, Chechen Wars), the idea of armed American civilians, who have no experience with wars being fought on their soil, resisting a foreign invasion seems a bit laughable.

    Nonetheless, I wholeheartedly agree with your premise on the need for training and familiarity with one’s firearms. If one hasn’t mastered one’s firearm of choice until its use feels as instinctive and natural as that of one’s own hands, then one cannot expect to successfully employ that gun in a life-or-death situation (which would more likely involve an American criminal than a foreign invader).

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