Ever Dot Torture?

Suggested starting distance is 3 yards at a slow tempo. Once consistently shooting a 50 out of 50 score at close range try increasing the pace then distance. This 7 yard target would have been a perfect with better trigger control and sight alignment.

Need a good way to spend 50 rounds of ammo?  Try the “Dot Torture” target

Instructions are printed on the target itself reportedly designed by a man named, David Blinder

Firing 50 rounds on this target is just enough to identify areas requiring improvement and to humble those who think they’re top shot!  The drill calls for drawing from a holster although it can also begin from a ready position.  Its a good way to utilize 50 rounds of ammo instead of just blasting away and makes for a good competition between shooters – Head the range and try it out!

Don’t forget the basic rules of gun safety!

PDF VERSION TO PRINT: dot-torture-target PDF









Don’t forget the basic rules of gun safety!
























dot-torture-target PDF


PA Process Server 19562


LEGAL PROCESS is the paperwork which initiates action in a civil, criminal or administrative legal proceeding.  In order to initiate the action documents must be served on the defending individual or entity and an unbiased 3rd party who can attest to completing the service is the Process Server.

DO YOU EVER SAY, “YOU’VE BEEN SERVED”…..?  No, generally not

The stereo-type of serving people legal papers, even within the industry is that subjects receiving legal documents are hostile, threatening or even combative.  While this may be true, I rarely experience this.  Some of the more dangerous serves I’ve conducted were subpoenaing gang members as witnesses for a criminal trial although others have been so cordial and engaging we find ourselves in pleasant conversation.  While you never know how the person answering the door may respond or what their situation may be the way a professional Process Server presents and conducts themselves will influence the outcome of the transaction and possibly the course of the legal proceeding.

“You never know how the person may respond or what their situation may be. The right Process Server may influence the course of the legal proceeding”


Individuals “Evading Service” are difficult although not impossible to serve.  We actually specialize in this and law firms will often contact us when others fail.  Review testimonials here.

I’ve served Medical Doctors who’ve gone off the grid, Foreign Nationals who’ve eluded service around the globe and people who deny their identities.  Oddly enough the most difficult serve I’ve ever had was a geriatric avoiding divorce papers.  Initially the subject fled to China to avoid being served.  Upon their return the the several initial attempts by the Process Server failed.  After dedicated surveillance, I determined this was because the subject was routinely exiting the home via a bedroom window then crawling under the neighbors hedgerow and through a swing set then more shrubbery in order to get to their vehicle and depart the area undetected.  I was then able to intercept and serve the subject.  The budget for that case was on the higher end due to the furtive nature of the subject although the teary eyed laughter from the grateful client as I relayed the story was priceless.


As a licensed Investigative Agency, Nicholas Group can investigate, locate, conduct surveillance and serve legal process in Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

Additional information for Pennsylvania can be found here: PA CHAPTER 400. SERVICE OF ORIGINAL PROCESS

Our clients include: The U.S. Dept of Justice, Law Firms, Attorneys, Paralegals, Corporations, Individuals and other entities with a need to commence legal action.


The agent completing the service will complete the return of service, proof of service or affidavit provided.  If necessary they will generate their own detailed affidavit to reflect the facts and details of the service.  Nicholas Group also has 24/7 notary services available.


Each case varies.  General fee is $65hr + mileage & expenses – a rush fee is applied for service requests under 72hrs and in some cases have had less than 2hr turn around time.  Some clients need to serve an individual they cannot locate – this requires investigative effort and increases the fee.

Our clients receive skillfully executed service with tact, professionalism and attention to detail.  We are not a bulk service provider.  Each assignment is undertaken with the sole objective of effecting service even on those evading service.  Near immediate mobile updates and scanned documents are sent from the field.

If the service is not highly important you may wish to contact the local, Constable, Sheriffs Dept or a budget process server.  If you case is important or urgent in nature contact us.

Nicholas Group – Investigative & Security has experience serving individuals, government, witnesses, corporations, expert witnesses, hospitals, law firms and others with International legal documents, civil complaints, criminal subpoenas, notice of deposition, divorce complaints, civil suits, child custody, family law and other legal matters in Pennsylvania.

Allentown PA Process Server


Contact the Office.  Documents can be delivered to our office via e-mail, FedEx, USPS or other postal carrier.  Billing is permitted for Corporate and Attorney Clients.  Rush service is available for an additional fee.  Any details about the subject(s) including description, photos, vehicles, workplace etc. are helpful and will benefit the client’s budget.


learn to shoot better

These Four Rules are the foundation for safe and enjoyable firearms use.

” The goal is to ingrain safe gun handling into your subconscious. ”  Want to train to shoot safe and shoot better?


A firearm is a tool and lethal weapon capable of firing a projectile at over a thousand feet per second.  Guns are not toys, props or gimmicks and only an imbecile confuses gun handling with machismo.  Sophomoric knowledge is dangerous – If someone handles a gun in an unsafe manner, simply leave.  Education is key.  Learn to operate and fire a handgun safely and effectively.


Col. “Jeff” Cooper Modernized Handgun techniques and Firearm Safety


Once the gun is in your hand it becomes your responsibility.  Keep it pointed towards something that can absorb the impact and energy of a fired bullet.  If the gun is unloaded, refer to rule #1.   Put things into perspective – the target backstop at the gun range, an earth berm, solid trees, the ground, an unoccupied vehicle, etc. are all better places to point a gun rather than towards another person.

Pointing a gun up in the air may at times be the only option although remember what goes up must come down.  When I’m inside a building handling an unloaded gun, I go so far as to not point the gun towards the ceiling when floors above are occupied.  At the Gun Store professional staff will safety check firearms before presenting to you.  Even though the staff literally just checked the gun in front of you, it’s now your turn to ensure the gun is unloaded (ask if you don’t know how).  This action does three things: 1. Verify for yourself the gun is unloaded.  2. Demonstrate your knowledge of firearms safety and respect for others.  3. Reinforce safe gun handling into your subconscious.  Before handing to another person you’ll want to demonstrate the gun is unloaded.

Index/trigger finger “HIGH INDEX”


“High Index” is a fancy way of saying keep your trigger finger off the trigger and placed above and outside the trigger guard.  There are multiple reasons why.

All good instructors will teach these rules however many won’t explain or perhaps don’t understand the, WHY………My firearms courses explain the specific reasons why and provide insight, real life examples and experiences.



Failing at this rule gets innocent people killed.  Many firearms instructors say, “There is a lawyer attached to every bullet you fire.”  Speaking from experience I say that is false.  As someone who performs investigative and expert support for litigation, private and court appointed criminal defense for homicides and other crimes involving firearms, I can tell you there is not, “A Lawyer” attached to every bullet.  There are potentially half a dozen or more lawyers attached to every bullet.  

Most importantly, people believing they’re home is being invaded too often recklessly and negligently fire without identifying their target – you can likely imagine all the legal liability in the world is nothing compared to the grief of accidentally killing a love one.  Take a handgun safety course.

learn to shoot better
” The goal is to ingrain safe gun handling into your subconscious “

For more resources including firearms safety for young children click here.


“My advice?  Start with a quality Outside the Waist Band holster, professional training and practice to proficiency. “

There we were in Northern Virginia – Surrounded………Dozens of  people, some invigorated, some frenzied, others – despondent.  We were at a shopping outlet and my Wife and I had just entered the COACH® store.  It was a special occasion and were buying her a purse.  My Wife being very sensible would likely never purchase a designer bag herself so this was my doing.  Inside the other men and I exchanged knowing glances however that day I came to realize:  All purses are bags but not all bags are good purses.

Purses are utilized to secure important items.  The best are made of quality materials to suit one’s utility and taste.……just like holsters.

People drop $50 on a bar tab yet balk at spending money on serious things like lethal weapons and training

Buyer beware.  So called “expert” gun writers promote the manufacturers that advertise with them.  No specific brands or models are headlined in this column and there are many holster makers out there.  I will share my current go-to holsters below.


OWB = Outside the Waist Band Holsters attach to your belt and carry on the outside of your pants on the hip, or slightly forward or rear.  OWBs are the most common and comfortable.

IWB = Inside the Waist Band holsters carry inside your pants sandwiching the holster/gun between your pants and body and attach to your belt line.  These offer more concealment and tuck the weapon closer to the body although do compromise comfort and ease of draw and weapon presentation.

AIWB = Appendix Inside the Waist Band are often just IWBs position in the front of your body (appendix) although some are tailored specifically for AIWB.  Carrying appendix positions the weapon in an accessible and defensible position at the front/center line of the body.  The muzzle will be pointed toward the wearer’s groin and femoral artery (yes people have shot themselves “there”) – not ideal for the those without firearms safety knowledge, the faint of heart and those with minimal exposure to firearms and experience.

DUTY HOLSTERS are most often spotted on uniformed law enforcement and armed professionals.  Carried on a heavier duty belt they are more rugged and include security mechanisms to mitigate gun grabs by bad guys.

Some quality holsters are less than $40 but stay away from cheap material

Many moons ago I bought my first duty holster.  It was floppy sloppy nylon junk.

Holster Material should provide rigid support and fully cover the trigger to prevent the trigger from being pulled/snagged while inside of the holster.  Many modern holsters are made of a thermo-plastic called, Kydex®.  Others made with injection molded plastic or synthetic materials.  Some IWB “hybrid” holsters combine materials and offer a flexible flat backing coupled with an outer shell molded to fit the gun- these holsters are comfortable and hold handguns quite well although do have drawbacks.

*Many negligent discharges(accidents) happen while holstering, un-holstering and re-holstering.  Professional firearms instruction is suggested.


LOOPS are the gold standard on OWB holsters.  Your belt runs through the loops of the holster and secures both together.  Loops are good.

CLIPS often found on IWB holsters are designed to clip over top of the belt and snag the bottom lip of the belt to prevent the holster from being pulled out.  Not as secure although provide easy off/on.

SNAPS are designed to loop around the belt and snap into place with a button or snap accessory.  Strength and retention may vary.

PADDLE HOLSTERS have a “paddle” which is placed inside of your pants.  The holster rides around the outside of your pants and the paddle snags the belt line from the inside.  Paddle holsters are more bulky and may not be as secure.  The Pro is they’re easier to put on and take off.


SHOULDER HOLSTERS include a rig which slings around your shoulders with the pistol basically positioned under your armpit.  I’ve never bothered with them although know some folks who spend a lot of time seated or driving like them.  Fans of TV crime drama and nostalgia seem to like this type.

CROSS DRAW HOLSTERS mounted on the belt also provide accessibility and comfort while seated.  To me the cons outweigh the pros.  There are also larger variations commonly used for larger caliber hunting handguns.

ANKLE HOLSTERS are popular with folks not wanting a gun on their waistline.  An ankle holster can conceal small frame handguns under a pant leg.  The weapon is not readily accessible and to me the weight of a gun on my ankle feels funny.  That said they offer concealment for the limber among us.

POCKET HOLSTERS are more like sheaths for small handguns and are typically placed inside of a pants pocket.  They cover the trigger and help protect the firearm and clothing from wear although do not have much retention aside from the natural compression of the pocket.  Over time a good pocket holster molds to the contour in which it is worn.  I sometimes use these holsters when carrying a small sub-compact handgun with a heavier Double-Action(DA) trigger.

CONCEALED CARRY BAGS & PURSES fall into the category of “off-body” carry and should be carefully considered.  They do provide excellent platforms for carry and concealment although are not often within immediate possession and control.  They can be left, forgotten, found and searched.  They can be snatched from a shoulder or rummaged through by children.  If considering off-body carry expect responsibilities not to be taken lightly.  One reference on the matter is posted here by Melody Lauer.

BELTS. Ideal CCW belts are made of strong rigid material.  If your belt folds and flops like a tortilla it may become a liability.  There are plenty of great belts on the market ranging anywhere from $20 – $200+.  The width of the belt(s) and holster attachment(s) should correspond.  Fashion Belts:  I’ve seen many Police Detectives carrying guns on fashion belts and wearing sub-par holsters.  Not ideal.

FIT. The holster and gun should not feel sloppy, flop around or feel top-heavy on your belt. A good holster will hug and move inline with your body.

RETENTION. Refers to the method(s) your holster employs to retain or hold the firearm.  Retention is important.

Place the gun(unloaded) in the holster, hold it by the belt attachment then flip it upside down and shake it – the gun should not fall out.

Some holsters have adjustments for tuning the retention.  Most often a tension screw.  Traditionally a thumb break/snap was used – currently the most common retention is pure friction fitting tightly to the the pistol and sometimes combined with other methods such as a mechanism depressed by your thumb or finger, manipulating the gun in a specific manner or a combination of these.

There are manufacturers producing holsters requiring a press/swipe of your trigger finger near the trigger guard to unlock the pistol.  I recall these holsters coming to market and thinking them innovative although was curious and envisioned them prone to mechanical and safety misgivings.  These holsters became all the rage and flew off the shelf onto hips of Cops & CCW citizens everywhere……Fast forward several years and the trepidation proved correct.  Now many facilities including LAPD and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center as well as Independent Firearms Instructors, myself included, dissuade or even outright ban their use.

WEAPON ACCESSORIES like Weapon Mounted Lights, Lasers, Red Dot optics and the like may require holsters tailored to the specific accessory.  Some holster makers offer variations fitting popular handgun accessories.  Order accordingly.

MAGAZINE HOLDERS Many folks like to carry a spare magazines.  There are many spare magazine holders on the market.  They correspond with the type/size of the magazine.  My experience is to keep it simple.  

GIMMICKY STUFF Some holsters prove good for very specific and often gimmicky applications.  Avoid gimmicks.

“Open Carry.”  Here’s my take.  The cons of Open Carry outweigh the pros.  There are only a few practical reasons for it.  A: If you’re in uniform.  B: At the Homestead/Farm/Ranch or C: At the range.  Open Carry fits well in few places.

One often overlooked matter is the proper and safe draw and presentation of a handgun.  A quote attributed to Col. Jeff Cooper, “Owning a handgun doesn’t make you armed any more than owning a guitar makes you a musician.”  Learn how to safely draw and manipulate your pistol from a holster with a knowledgeable and experienced firearms instructor.

My Holsters…..


I have drawers full.  Here are the current go-to’s:

A.  AIWB DeSantis or sometimes a BladeTech holster with belt belt clip

B. OWB Raven Concealment with belt loops

C. For the occasional uniform details I wear an OWB Safariland which accommodates a weapon mounted light and has retention mechanisms for added security

LEARN TO SHOOT (click image)

WHERE TO BUY If you know the model there are deals to be found online.  Local guns stores are a coin toss – You may find an excellent selection and the benefit of handing and trying the holster on.  Some stores have a terrible selection with sophomoric staff.

You saw a few of my choices listed above.  My advice?  Start with a quality OWB holster, professional training, and practice to proficiency.

” Start with a quality OWB holster, professional training, and practice to proficiency”

To learn how to shoot handguns and shoot them well contact Nicholas Group for your Private Instruction or Group Course today.

Seasonal Security

You may wish to consider a few Security Tips to maximize your Christmas & Holiday Season.  As you travel, acquire gifts, and experience a higher volume of visitors a few quick tips below will help you.  For more information contact a qualified Security Professional.

Holiday Security Tips for the Home:

  • Maintain communication with a trusted neighbor(s) if you will be traveling out of town
  • Window candles provide decoration and illumination using little electricity
  • Keep packages out of view through vehicle or house windows
  • Limit public social media posts about being away from home
  • Do not discard packaging for expensive gifts in a manner visible to all
  • Conduct a professional security assessment
  • Ask Santa for an Alarm or CCTV system.  Modern technology is plug and play and often smart phone friendly


CCTV image
CCTV Screen Capture from Smart Phone

Business Security tips:

  • Offer customers personal escorts to their vehicles
  • Use the buddy system when walking out and encourage employees to do the same
  • Do not place signs indicating specific timeframes your business will be left unattended
  • Make your business highly visible via lighting, reduced shrubbery etc.
  • Security systems can be effective and offer a savings on insurance premiums
  • Conduct a professional security assessment

With Holidays fast approaching, a Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays to our Clients, Associates, Colleagues and Community!

For these Security Consultant Services and more, contact Nicholas Group today.

Outdoor Exercise and Personal Security

Outdoor athletes have always impressed me.  They push the limits of their body in uncompromising environments and seek the best within themselves.  In groups they never leave a buddy behind and as individuals seek challenges, take the calculated risk and surmount obstacles.  In other words, Grit.

Personal safety is your responsibility and responsibility sometimes requires a bit of planning….…….Years ago in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania a seventeen year old young man thought up an ingenious plan to reduce transit time to a remote fishing spot deep in the wilderness.  He did so by riding a mountain bike in pre-dawn darkness down an ill maintained access road.  Careening down the steep rocky mountain trail proved false move would crash him into certain oblivion.  

It also dawned on him that he was miles from the nearest road, no one in the world had a clue where he was and that being 0’dark thirty in the morning it would be the entire day or longer until someone noticed him missing.  It just so happens that teenager was me and the only actual plans in my seventeen year old brain involved girls, naturally.  

Who knows what disaster could have taken place but you get the picture.  Lets take a few minutes to remember the good habits we already know but may not always practice when it comes to basic precautions and preparedness when venturing outdoors. As Colonel Jeff Cooper said, “Safety is something that happens between your ears, not something you hold in your hands.”

SAFETY IN NUMBERS.  Speaks for itself.

CHANGE IN DYNAMIC.  An overturned kayak, medical emergency, lost car key, stranded vehicle, twisted ankle, shifting weather or light conditions are game changers.  A few precautions go a long way.

CARRY YOUR CAR KEY.  It takes less time to thread your car key through the drawstring of workout clothing than to hide on a vehicle tire or under a gas cap – and by the way there is a far better chance your vehicle will actually be there when you return.  We’ll suggest another reason in a bit.

COMMUNICATE YOUR PLAN.  Going solo – let family or friends know.

A.) What you’re doing

B.) Where you’ll be

C.)When you’ll return and what to do if you don’t.  

A simple note, call or text message is cheap insurance.  There is a true story about a guy in a desert who cut off his own arm with a dull knife to escape a tragic hiking accident.  He didn’t tell anyone where he was going.  They made a movie about that guy.  Don’t be that guy.  

CARRY A CELL PHONE.  Better yet a smart phone.  Now, I know what a few of you are thinking – you’re thinking, But I’m a supreme athlete and way more minimalistically cool than those Power Walking, Sidewalk Jogging New Years Resolution people at the gym.  Yes that is true, but carry a phone.  Benefits include communication, GPS, music, camera, a flashlight and apps – Lots of apps, workout apps, heart rate apps, clock apps, map apps and post work out pizza ordering apps.  A phone in a case, external pocket or Ziploc bag will help mitigate water and sweat damage.  Many phones allow programming of family and friends as ICE(In Case of Emergency) contacts.  Also remember in locations with poor reception standard text messages may transmit clearly even when phone calls do not. 


Everyone who watches TV knows 911 Centers can automatically find your phone’s GPS location and dispatch rescue helicopters within minutes, right?  Don’t count on it.  Even when you’re in the populated suburbs and know your precise location it will take precious time for emergency personnel to navigate and respond.  Which way is North?  Seriously, ask yourself right now – Do I know the cardinal directions from my current location?


While it may not always be feasible to carry a kit with you it is feasible to have some items on you as well as one in your car.  My wife and I each keep a basic first aid kit, tourniquets and Quik Clot trauma paks in our vehicles.  You can get the latter online for $19.99 and you never know when it may come in handy in the field or on the road.


While communicating is a good rule you may want to consider not openly broadcasting plans.  Social media posts could attract the wrong attention so consider posts carefully.  

A number of my law enforcement buddies call unnecessary attention to their personal vehicles with bumper stickers advertising gun manufacturers, “Protected by Smith & Wesson”, Fraternal Order of Police insignias etc.  When I ask whose vehicle is likely to be targeted by a gun thief they typically grumble something unintelligible……


In the great outdoors hazards including four legged and two legged predators may pose a threat.  Humans are gifted with ability of observation, thinking, planning, intuition and instinct.  Use and trust them.  Consider switching a predictable routine and be mindful of music blasting headphones drowning out approaching danger.  Be aware of your surroundings, take natural cues and remove yourself from a situation before it escalates.  Personal space between humans may range three to ten feet depending on the interaction although it should be recognized that humans can close a distance of twenty + feet in less than two seconds and that a rock, stick and even the ground can be weaponized. 

The human body’s natural alarm response to a threat has been honed since the dawn of man and commonly known as fight, flight or freeze.  When facing a threat we typically experience an adrenaline dump, increased heart rate, tunnel vision and impaired fine motor skills.  This in turn prepares your body to take action.  If an attack is imminent only the involved person can decide the best course of action.  Techniques often effectively employed to counter an attack vary although could include:  Creating a scene, dominating and escaping.  Something as simple as a car key clutched in a fist makes a decent improvised weapon and defensive tool.

” Remember, if you are attacked there are no time outs or do-overs.  Commit to your actions and never give up – if necessary, flip the crazy switch “

Defensive tactics and items: This is an entire topic in itself as self defense is an everyday consideration with numerous philosophies.  Take a moment to develop your own philosophy and ask yourself: Is my life worth defending?  If self defense poses questions or concerns talk to a professional, better yet talk to five professionals and question their motives, ideas and reasons.  Get full and comprehensive answers, information and experience to satisfy your curiosity.  Should you wish to carry a defensive item become knowledgeable, comfortable and proficient with that item.  The mere watching a video, scanning the internet or taking an introductory class does not create proficiency.  Remember, if you are attacked there are no time outs or do-overs.  Commit to your actions and never give up – if necessary flip the crazy switch.


Next time you venture out consider this information.  We all want to maximize enjoyment outdoors for ourselves, our families and companions and whether it is a small mishap or serious emergency a few simple precautions will provide peace of mind and lend to a favorable conclusion.

Organized Retail Crime in Pennsylvania

Originally published by Pennsylvania Municipal Police Officers Education & Training Commission, Volume 37, Issue 3 September 2014.  Abridged.

Does your jurisdiction have a Shopping Center? Retail theft arrests? On the surface, retail crime can be regarded as petty — yet often enough offenders are linked to activities on the radar of professional law enforcement (regional and interstate organized crime, gang activity, and narcotics to name a few). The FBI has consistently linked revenue of Organized Retail Theft (ORT) groups to terrorist organizations since September 11, 2001.

On December 23, 2013, Pennsylvania again strengthened its retail theft law by passing Senate Bill 731 (Act 131) into law. The retail theft section of the law, being a cooperative effort led by Sen. John Rafferty (R-Berks/Chester/ Montgomery) and Rep. Todd Stephens (R-Montgomery) provides a stricter penalty for burglary, robbery, and theft by specifically amending the grading for the offense of retail theft. Act 131 comes on the heels of the 2010 passage of HB 1720 (Act 33), which added §3929.3. Organized Retail Theft to the crimes code, a felony offense for individuals guilty of managing an ORT “Enterprise”.

The FBI estimates merchants lose in excess of $30 billion each year due to this activity, the revenues of which have been linked to terrorist organizations. Theft activity also poses a significant health risk to consumers who unknowingly purchase stolen infant formula, medication, and healthcare items which could have altered expiration dates or may have been improperly stored.

The good news is that agencies in the Commonwealth are now prosecuting offenders under §3929.3. The passage of Act 131 also reduces the felony threshold for retail theft from $2,000 to $1,000.Doing so brings Pennsylvania more in line with other states in the U.S. with lower felony level thresholds.

The spirit of the law is to discourage organized crime from viewing Pennsylvania as a target-rich environment as they have in years past. The average shoplifter requires a substantial haul to reach this level and the summary and misdemeanor thresholds remain $150 for first-time offenders. Another section of this act provides language that now constitutes the use of an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program as a prior offense, stating “…the court shall include a conviction, acceptance of Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition or other form of preliminary disposition, occurring before the sentencing on the present violation, for an offense under this section…”

These two recently updated laws have given Pennsylvania law enforcement additional resources to combat retail crime. “Whether or not you signed up for the first time offender program, it is still a prior offense and this law will help clarify for the patrolman and district magistrate where sometimes the law is interpreted differently”, said Detective Gary Hammer of the Colonial Regional Police Department, who has a number of retail locations in his agencies’ jurisdiction.

It is clear that Organized Retail Crime (ORC) has links to gang violence, drug activity, and even terrorism. This puts our children and our communities at risk. Hopefully these laws will provide law enforcement officers with the correct tools needed to prosecute offenders to the fullest.” With up-to-date retail theft statutes on the books, Pennsylvania retailers and police agencies have the ability to continue combating and mitigating the persistent issue of retail crime, which adversely affects citizens and government across the Commonwealth.