Category Archives: training

Can we be a little less judgmental?

(First in a series)

There’s a picture of a woman carrying a pistol non-doctrinally (i.e., a lot of people are unhappy with the way she’s doing it) circulating on the Internet now. The pistol is in a holster attached to her yoga pants and despite being a small pistol, it’s pulling her pants down some on that side. I’m not going to post the picture because it’s unnecessary to my point. The picture has generated almost universal criticism, the following being typical.

The freedom to carry a gun is a great thing.

But you will never, EVER convince me that carrying a gun without training is smart decision. If you’re untrained[,] you do stupid things like this, which actually puts you and those around you in more danger than if you were unarmed.

Carry a gun. But don’t be an untrained fool about it.

My comment about the picture is:

At least she has a gun and her holster has a safety strap.

“Get some training” is a meme in the industry. Unfortunately, both the size and the availability of the training base are very small. This is true even if every NRA and State certified CCW instructor is included in the number. There’s also the issue in my mind of those who make statements like this but got their training from the government while in the pay of the government. That generates an ethical issue you can ponder some time.

Here’s an infographic about the availability of training to gunowners. The concept of ‘the training base’ is something that people who haven’t had to regularly conduct resource intensive training for a lot of people simply don’t understand. Once again, it’s the Tactical Professor with those pesky little numbery things again.

training base w numbers

That tiny triangle where the three circles overlap is the real availability of ‘training’

And my estimate of training facilities is based on those capable of supporting at least NRA Basic Pistol not any kind of ‘meaningful’ training for carrying a weapon. Basic Pistol or its equivalent is as far as most facilities are prepared to go, for various reasons. I wouldn’t be surprised if the number where holster oriented training is allowed is less than 1,000. The good news is that the NRA Instructor base has grown to over 120,000 so we’re probably under 500 students per instructor now. Other good news is that the NRA Training Department has created a CCW course. However, that will take years to generate any significant number of CCW Certified Instructors.

Here’s my first question:

Did the person who took the picture approach the woman and offer to help her out with her knowledgebase, either personally or by referring her to someone who is a trainer?

As a community, we need to do a better job of the way we interact with beginners and novices instead of just being socially maladroit jackwagons and calling them fools.

More in the next installment.

BTW, my Concealed Carry Skills and Drills eBook would have been a nice reference to point her to or maybe even buy for her if the observer actually really cared about her welfare. Or was finger pointing, ego stroking, and shaming the real object of the exercise?

Tactical Professor books (all downloadable PDF files)

Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make http://seriousgunownermistakes.com

Indoor Range Practice Sessions http://indoorrangepracticesessions.com

Concealed Carry Skills and Drills http://concealedcarryskillsanddrills.com

Advanced Pistol Practice http://bit.ly/advancedpistolpractice

Shooting Your Black Rifle http://shootingyourblackrifle.com

Updated version of Boyd’s Aerial Attack Study

The link for the updated version of the AAS changed slightly but is now correct.

Boyd’s Aerial Attack Study is the most useful of all his documents in terms of tactical theory. Hardly anyone has read it, though.

tacticalprofessor

Thanks to Rob Pincus, I have found a cleaner copy of Colonel John Boyd’s Aerial Attack Study (AAS). It was recreated by Mr. Mark Hart from the declassified 1964 version. The recreation is much easier on the eyes than the reproductions of the original mimeographed edition that are generally available.

Prior to Colonel Boyd’s AAS, fighter combat was viewed by the majority of fighter pilots as an intuitive skill rather than one that could be codified. Some conceptual principles had been developed along with elementary tactics such as the Thach Weave, but Boyd was the one who wrote the definitive book. Only Major General Frederick “Boots” Blesse had preceded Colonel Boyd in writing a book, No Guts No Glory, about jet fighter combat. Major General Blesse’s book wasn’t the exhaustive treatise on the subject that the AAS was.

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Factors relevant to church shootings

After my initial thoughts about the White Settlement church shooting, a list of other relevant factors came to mind. The conversation about the incident mostly has centered around the ability to make a 12-15 yard head shot. The tactical factors have largely been ignored or overlooked. That’s a Strategic Mistake.

Here’s my list for those wishing to do their own research and METT-TC analysis.

Continue reading →

Requisite level of skill (part II)

This morning there was a murder in a church in Texas. A few seconds later, further murders were prevented by the quick action of a counter-murderer who protected the congregation. In the incident, it appears that someone tried to draw a pistol but was unsuccessful and got shot for his trouble. It is possible he was trying to get his cell phone to call for help, though. The footage is not very clear.

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2019/12/29/watch-good-guy-gun-shoots-alleged-texas-church-shooter/

What was the requisite level of skill to end this situation? The shot would appear to be two aisles plus the width of a pew.

white settlement tx church shooting

At the recommended 24 inches per person for 12 people (4 hymnal racks per pew with 3 per), that would be 24 feet for the pew plus 10 feet (two 5 foot aisles). https://www.lifeway.com/en/articles/church-architecture-rules-thumb-space-dimensions

Continue reading →

Claude Werner’s Revolver Operator Class

I like revolvers and I like teaching people how to use them well. It’s only an “arm’s length gun” if you’re incompetent.

Brian's Blog

The trap of specialization is rampant in martial training, whether it is empty hands or tools. The belief that a narrow focus is the path to mastery will often lead to the problem of “functional fixedness”.

In David Epistien’s book “Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World”  uses the 2008 financial collapse as an example of over specialization. He says “legions of specialized groups optimizing risk for their own tiny pieces of the big picture created a catastrophic whole.”

Many believe learning to be linear, in other words a modular progression, and some favor the circular, a continuing cycle of review and depth, both are important, nevertheless a holistic approach, or the master key has the benefit of a quick prioritization of important information allowing adaptation to a new skill. Therefore I am constantly seeking new learning experiences in shooting, and when Claude Werner offered me the…

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Get Ready

It’s often apparent in classes how much time it takes people to switch gears and ‘Get Ready.’ Transitioning our Defense Condition, both mentally and physically, from Not Ready to Ready may be the most important skill we develop. We don’t necessarily have to deal with the Tueller Principle but even if a criminal is moving at a brisk walk, we seldom have 12 seconds to ‘Get Ready.’

Ready to jump

U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Felix Fimbres

Ten to 12 seconds is a common response time to a Ready command during firing squad practice on the firing line during classes. That’s a luxury of time we will seldom have prior to a criminal attack. Often people will look around to see what others are doing before Getting Ready. When a criminal comes for you, others will seldom even notice, much do anything to give you an Alert.

Get Ready is actually what Jeff Cooper’s Color Codes are about. They describe a state of mental readiness to act.

Mental condition comes first and can be followed by increasing our physical Readiness status.

  • Ready positions worth practicing
    • Hands in front
    • Hand on gun
    • Transition from OC (OC canister at arm’s length)
    • Low Ready

When is Low Ready appropriate? Avoiding Aggravated Assault charges is just as important as avoiding the assault itself. Either can change our lives forever. A good guideline comes from the Los Angeles POlice Department.

Continue reading →

Capable v. Likely

What are we capable of versus what are we likely to do?

John Johnston of Citizens Defense Research and I have been discussing this topic in relation to standards in a class. He and I are both believers in having standards and being able to demonstrate competent execution of those standards. Being able to demonstrate means both the instructor and the client.

One of the things I do in private sessions is to have the client take a hostage rescue shot. The target is a complete head next to and not obscured by the hostage head. Only one shot is allowed. The client gets to pick the distance. Most clients, even competent shooters, will close to 3 yards (9 feet) or less. That’s always interesting because the boundary between the near and far phases of Social Space in proxemics is 7 feet for North Americans.

M&P 22C NV CHL qual

Our technical capabilities are limited by what is within our own heads. What we think we can do represents ‘likely,’ regardless of what we’re actually capable of.

As Ken Hackathorn has said for many years:

You are unlikely to do something in a stressful situation that you’re not reasonably sure you can do competently.

The real value of training and practice isn’t gaining technical competence, it’s achieving confidence in your abilities.

If you are interested in bringing your Strategies, Tactics, and Options for Personal Protection to a higher level, please subscribe to my Patreon account for $5 per month. It’s an investment in yourself. https://www.patreon.com/TacticalProfessor

If you are interested in bringing your skill level higher, please purchase one of my books about how to practice effectively. https://store.payloadz.com/results/337896-tactical-professor

Informal Instruction

A colleague of mine had the opportunity to give a short (15 minute) informal block of instruction to a friend of hers. Most firearms instruction in the US is informally done between friends or relatives.

Their session didn’t involve any live fire and was conducted in their office. It was simply a short briefing on basic safety rules, gun handling, and model specific instructions on how to operate her handgun.

An interesting comment came up in our discussion about the session. It’s worth keeping in mind any time we teach somebody something, whether the subject is firearms related or not.

I talked with her not at her.

When we teach an adult, it’s always worth remembering to approach it that way. Even if we are a Subject Matter Authority, the person is one of our peers and deserves to be treated respectfully. They should be treated like a client in an Adult-Adult relationship, not a grade school student in a Parent-Child relationship.

Mutual respect will garner the rapport necessary for the instruction to be effective and add value to the person’s life.

Thinking about what’s important

Man shot in neighbor’s home charged after allegedly undressing in 12-year-old’s bedroom during break-in

https://www.wdrb.com/news/man-shot-in-neighbor-s-home-charged-after-allegedly-undressing/article_184841ce-5f90-11e9-be1f-e328e3b39e3e.html

Although this incident occurred in April, it recently re-surfaced as an example of a Defensive Gun Use. As is frequently the case, Internet common taters had numerous things to say about it.

  • Needs more practice.
  • Only six? Should have emptied the magazine!
  • Too bad the dirtbag’s not in the morgue.
  • Etc.

It’s easy to focus on the unimportant aspects of an incident. All of the commentary focused on feelings, which are unimportant, instead of Lessons to be Learned (LTBL), which are important.

How do we focus on what’s important? One way to start is to identify who was involved by role rather than name. Most the time, news stories use last names but that tends to obscure who did what. Substituting a role for names in the story leads to more clarity about the actions of the participants. For this incident, it would look as follows.

Cast of characters in the drama

Donald Oliver – Intruder

Tina Burton – female of household (Female)

Ali Bracey – male of household (Male)

Daughter

Important aspects of the incident

  • The Male knew there was an actual intruder because of the Daughter’s text.
  • Despite knowing it wasn’t just a ‘bump in the night,’ the Male went to confront the intruder unarmed.
  • The confrontation between the Male and Intruder started verbally and then turned physical.
  • It was either an entangled fight or within arm’s length.
  • When it went physical, the male employed an improvised weapon, to wit: a broom.
  • The broom was apparently ineffective in the confrontation, so the male continued using unspecified improvised weapons.
  • They had a gun but didn’t think initially to bring it to the fight.
  • The Female eventually brought the gun to the Male to use.
  • There was a weapon handoff from the Female to the Male.
  • Shooting the gun caused the Intruder to flee.

Unimportant aspects of the incident

  • The intruder wasn’t killed.
  • The householder didn’t practice enough at the gun range.

Lessons To Be Learned (LBTL) and other important aspects

Guns are not useful if you don’t bring them to the fight. Have a plan ahead of time about how to handle an intrusion.

You can’t practice appropriately for an entangled or close range fight at a gun range anyway. This would most likely have been best handled as a retention shooting situation. Retention shooting is a skill best learned by taking a class from someone who knows what they’re doing. Few instructors are qualified to teach this task. I can recommend Brian Hill of The Complete Combatant, Greg Ellifritz of Active Response Training, and Craig Douglas of Shivworks.

Males of the household will often confront an intruder unarmed. It’s not uncommon for another family member to have to access the firearm and bring it to the fight. A handoff to the Male periodically occurs at that point. This means that several implied Personal Protection tasks for the other family member come into play.

  1. Know where the gun is.
  2. Be able to access the gun. Is it in a safe and can the family member open it?
  3. If the gun is not stored Ready to Fire, be able to place the gun into Ready to Fire condition.
  4. Move safely from the storage location to the fight location. Having an Unintentional Discharge en route will probably be a Tactical Disaster.
  5. Either be able to engage the Intruder with the firearm, or
  6. Safely hand off the firearm to the Male engaged in the confrontation. If the confrontation is physically entangled, a handoff may not be safely possible.

Whether the Intruder is killed or not is completely irrelevant. Let’s keep in mind The Cost of Killing. Achieving a Break In Contact is our objective as Non-Sworn Citizens. Note that in this incident, the Intruder had to be taken to court in a wheelchair. That probably means that he has some serious injuries, perhaps debilitating for his entire life.

We need to focus on the important tasks in Personal Protection incident analysis and not our feelings, which are unimportant. That is what I will be doing in the monthly incident analysis on my Patreon page.

https://www.patreon.com/TacticalProfessor

Training Opportunity

Brian Hill of The Complete Combatant will be conducting Pistol Essentials and Beyond in Raymond MS on Saturday, October 26 & Sunday, October 27, 2019. Raymond is just west of Jackson, MS.

As a Rangemaster Certified Instructor, Brian is one of the up and coming trainers in the firearms community. His block of instruction at the 2019 Rangemaster Tactical Conference was well received by all 20 clients who took it. He is a very thorough and patient trainer; a teacher of my own style.

More information about the format and goals of the class is available here. Note that this particular class is in Raymond MS not in Dahlonega GA.

Registration information is available here. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/boondocks-october-26-27-2019-pistol-essentials-beyond-in-raymond-ms-tickets-59855488377

For those interested in moving to the next level in your skill development, I highly recommend this class.

Screenshot_2019-09-25 Pistol Essentials Beyond