With this week’s launch of Kris “Tanto” Paronto’s new book, The Patriot’s Creed: Inspiration and Advice for Living a Heroic Life, we reached out with him to discuss the book, and how the values it highlights are relevant for those who use firearms to protect themselves. We also chat about his experiences with the Maxim PDX chambered in 7.62 x 39, and his opinion on it as a home defense weapon…
In case you missed our first article with Kris, you can view that here, where we chat about his experiences with the AR and his feelings on 300 Blackout.
Kris Paronto’s bio via his 14th Hour Foundation website:
“Kris “Tanto” Paronto is a former Army Ranger from 2nd Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment and private security contractor who has deployed throughout South America, Central America, the Middle East and North Africa. He also worked with the US Government’s Global Response Staff conducting low profile security in high threat environments throughout the world…Tanto was part of the CIA annex security team that responded to the terrorist attack on the US Special Mission in Benghazi, Libya, September 11th, 2012, helping to save over 20 lives while fighting off terrorists from the CIA Annex for over 13 hours.
Q: Kris, congrats on the launch of your new book. Can you give us an update on what you’ve been up to, and what your plans are for the year ahead?
Kris Paronto – I’m still training at Battleline Tactical, teaching courses. I’ve been working on my schedule for next year, and I don’t think I’m going to do as many. The travel can be difficult because it takes me away from home. I’m trying to keep the courses within a reasonable distance from my house…Training is great and I love to do it, it’s just the travel.
I also have to balance the training with the speaking events that I do, as those also take me away from home quite a bit too. With the launch of Patriot’s Creed, I’ve also got some book signings coming up, but I love training…we have so much fun. We teach a lot, but we don’t have that “I know everything because I’m an instructor” mentality. We goof and we have fun, and I think people respond well to that. Especially those who are new to shooting.
I also like doing the tactical classes, I like the vehicle defense and the PSD and CQB classes that we do, but I’ve found that what I enjoy more is doing basic rifle and pistol where people are coming into shooting for the first time. You see them gain competence, and to me, that is cool.
Q: Getting new shooters involved and trained is very important for a variety of reasons…
Kris Paronto – I do certainly like the idea of bringing people into the gun community, especially right now in the climate that we’re in where guns are so “awful.” Well, if you put them in the wrong hands they are awful , but if you’re teaching people how to be responsible with them, they’re not awful at all. Especially when they’re used for protecting yourself or protecting your loved ones. I love to see people’s faces light up when they see that it’s just a hunk of metal, and that it does not have a mind of its own.
Q: While the new book you’ve written isn’t a “firearms” book, I do think there’s some good overall lessons about personal responsibility, self-improvement and responsibility in there that are rather relevant to the training you do at Battleline Tactical.
Kris Paronto – Before we go into the range and start shooting, it doesn’t matter if it is a novice class or a class with more experienced shooters, I explain to people that if you have a gun and you have to use it, it’s going to change your life forever. This is your last option.
I always tell people if you can talk your way out of a fight, then do that. Using a gun is the last option you have to defend yourself and the lives of others. Then, I explain to them the fact that even if you do use it, they need to know that they are going to have to explain why you used it.
You might initially feel like you are a suspect and you’ve done something wrong…but if you’ve done everything in your head to exhaust every option you have to save your family and remove yourself from that situation, and that was the last option, well now you have the ability to use the gun and use it confidently. That’s personal responsibility, and that goes along with the Army values in the book…integrity, honor, duty, personal courage, selfless service, respect, and loyalty.
It’s also physical courage, that idea that you might have to put yourself in front of that threat, and stop that threat to save your family, myself or even an innocent bystander that has nothing to do with it but is maybe in the wrong place at the wrong time.
When I talk about integrity, there’s also a moral courage…and that’s the ability to take a step back and think “ok, am I doing the right thing by pulling this gun, or do I just need to swallow my pride and walk away?”
“A sense of responsibility…”
Just having a gun doesn’t make you tougher. If anything it should give you more of a sense of responsibility for human life. Life can be taken so easily…We have a duty to protect ourselves and others, but we have a duty to do it right. We have duty to do it when we need to do it. Not because “I have a gun and I am going to establish justice here.” I’m not the Punisher. I know we love wearing Punisher stuff everywhere…you ain’t the Punisher (laughs).
Physical courage to me is easy. I can go to the gunfire. Rather it’s the moral courage to think about what’s the right thing to do in a situation, and maybe swallow your pride if needed. If you cannot do that, then I do not know if you’re the right person to have a gun.
The majority of guys who carry…they can. They can differentiate. But there are a few out there that give the rest of us a bad name. And those situations out there get slanted and used by those who want to take away our right to bear arms. Now, my right to bear arms is my right to bear arms. Don’t you try to take that away from me…but we have to be careful, because we’re under a microscope.
Q: Have you read Violence of Mind yet? It’s by an author named Varg Freeborn, and it was a book that I learned about via Primary & Secondary. It reminds me a lot about what you’re saying.
Kris Paronto – Yeah, I have heard about it. I have not read it yet. I need to read it. It’s definitely on my list.
It reminds me of what you’re saying…and I think it’s good because it gets into the reality of violence and its ramifications. If you walk around posturing like tough guy, you may be tested, and that can only end badly. To me, Violence of Mind is a great reminder of the need to just walk away, and to have a plan before things happen.
Kris Paronto – People need to not think they’re the big, bad bully on the block. You actually have to be more caring, more responsible for your fellow man. It goes back to idea of selfless service. You need to be responsible, because you can potentially be affecting someone’s life, and not just the bad guys. You’re definitely going to affect your own. That’s so, so important for people to know.
Q: Violence of Mind came out at a very good time for me and for others who I have shared it with. When it comes to the idea of values, and raising the next generation, your book also feels like a very timely reminder.
Kris Paronto – The Army values I talk about in Patriot’s Creed were not new to me. It was things that I had been taught as a youngster, just living. There was the idea that you give of yourself, you try to be truthful. Did I live up to that all of the time? Hell no. But discipline and having integrity was big in my family.
Honor and courage and sacrifice were things I learned early on…these were things I learned by reading the Bible. It’s things that we have always had within us that perhaps we’ve just lost in the social media age. But, it’s nothing new…
“It’s easier to do the wrong thing…”
I think when people are watching you, it’s real easy to do the right thing, but when no one is watching, it’s really easy to let things slide, to cheat on something or not give your best effort, but then tell somebody that you did. It’s easier to do the wrong thing and tell people that you’re doing right. That’s part of the book too. It goes back to discipline…teaching how to deal with adversity.
Q: Before we wrap up, I recall that the last time we talked, you mentioned the Maxim PDX. I wanted to mention that I finally had a chance to play with one at Triggrcon 2019. It was rather impressive.
Kris Paronto – It is, and having 7.62 x39 in that short-barreled platform is extremely effective. We’ve been talking about personal responsibility, and related to that, I would say that if you are going to have the PDX in 7.62 x 39 as a home defense weapon, you do need to be responsible, have training, and be astute with firearms.
I say that due to the size of that round and my personal experience with 7.62 x 39 over the years…From what I’ve seen, my personal opinion is that it’s going to go through everything. It keeps going and going and going.
The Maxim PDX in 7.62 x 39 shoots great though, and I find it’s effective to about 200 meters. To me, the gun is that next generation thing that we always asked for when we were in the service.
I recall many, many times saying “I wish I had the AR platform with a 7.62 x 39 round,” because we saw what that AK-47 round could do to both vehicles and people. It stopped them. One round would stop them, whereas sometimes 5.56 didn’t.
With that 7.62 x 39 round on that platform, you also can conceal it. For the guys downrange, they could put the PDX in a vehicle and cover it up, and it sit in the front seat of the car by the console, and it would be something that they could get out and utilize it quickly.
“Knowing your gun and how to use it…”
Again, to me, it’s the kind of thing, we’ve been asking for, for years. I would restate though that if you are going to use the PDX in 7.62 x 39 as a home defense weapon, I really would make sure you have some time behind the weapon. It will punch through a 2 x 4, and if you are in a suburban environment, you need to remember you are responsible for the round that comes out of your gun, and how far that round travels. Knowing your gun and knowing how to use it also means knowing the caliber you are using as well.
But just for sheer fun, shooting that thing…it’s awesome. (laughs). And when you take that rifle and combine it with the Maxim buttstock, which you can quickly extend and get a good cheek weld on, I believe it sets it apart from everything else that is out there.
I pair the gun with Fort Scott Munitions 7.62 x 39 ammo, and I have no problems. I think when you put those two things together it’s like a cheeseburger and French fries (laughs). I highly recommend it. It’s pricy, but it’s for a reason…it’s made well, and Maxim stands behind their parts. If there’s a problem, it gets taken care of.
Thanks to Kris “Tanto” Paronto for taking time out of his schedule to speak with us. Patriot’s Creed is on sale now…
“In The Patriot’s Creed, Kris Paronto uses the seven core Army Values that all soldiers learn in Basic Combat Training, and the experiences of other servicemen and women and First Responders, to explain how anyone can improve themselves, the world around them, and live a heroic life. The stakes are dramatic for the brave men and women who put their lives on the line to fight for America, and too many of their acts of courage and honor are unknown. The examples of their persistence and discipline will be inspiring to anyone facing seemingly insurmountable obstacles.”
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