In 1995, Kevin Steele, then editor of Guns and Ammo magazine, contacted the founder of Paladin Press™ to inform him that one of his writers had produced an extraordinary video series on combat shooting. As Paladin’s™ Video Production Manager, I was charged with reviewing the videos and immediately realized that the series (“Jim Grover’s Defensive Shooting Series”) and the man behind them (Kelly McCann), would set a new standard in personal security instruction.

After contacting McCann, he invited me to come visit his facility (later to become “The Crucible”) so I could learn firsthand who he was and what he had to offer. When I arrived at his compound in Fredericksburg, Virginia, McCann told me that he had researched my background—and my former security clearance—and was going to give me the “full” briefing on his company and his background. It was clear that Kelly was truly the real deal.

During that visit, McCann also invited me to join him and a select group for one of their Thursday night combatives sessions. I eagerly jumped in, trained hard, drank just as hard, and earned some credibility and trust. Based on that foundation, I was able to negotiate distribution deals for the “Defensive Shooting” series and “Jim Grover’s Combatives Series” and laid the groundwork to personally shoot and produce all of McCann’s subsequent videos.

Shortly after establishing the relationship with McCann, he proposed the idea of consolidating the many columns and articles he had written for Guns and Ammo and Handguns into a comprehensive book. During my next visit with Kelly, I did an extensive photo shoot with him that included all the covers for the “Defensive Shooting” series and several photos for the cover of the book, which ultimately became “Street Smarts, Firearms, and Personal Security.”

I am often asked, “What is the best book on self-defense?” My answer is this book. While there are many books out there on empty-hand fighting and combat shooting, few books address issues like teaching your children how to deal with peer pressure, how to travel safely, and what it really means to be “street smart” in today’s society. This is the one book everyone should read about personal safety. It’s worth its weight in gold.

Michael D. Janich