Firearms instructors are periodically asked the question “Why should I take training?” The answer often comes in the form of a list of skills that are taught or the reasoning behind using a certain technique. However, these do not address the underlying fundamental reasons for taking firearms training at all.
- You don’t know what you don’t know.
- Much of what you know is wrong.
- It’s good to have some of the answers to the test before taking it.
These issues relate to both technical competency with using a firearm (gun safety and marksmanship) and the ability to use the firearm correctly in a personal protection situation (legal and tactical).
You don’t know what you don’t know.
Shooters who only take their gun to an indoor range once a year “to sight it in” generally have a highly ‘cocooned’ knowledge of firearms. They know how to operate a firearm in a…
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At 11:55 p.m., April 5, 1970, two Officers of the California Highway Patrol stopped a car for brandishing a firearm at another vehicle hours earlier. Minutes later, they and two other CHP Officers would lie dead in the parking lot of the restaurant where the stop took place. Their murderers would escape into the night, virtually unscathed in the gunfire.
The officers were all young; two were 23 and two were 24. They were all married and had seven children between them. All of them had been CHP officers for less than two years.
The murderers were hardened criminals. Both had served prison time and one had killed another prisoner in self-defense while he was confined in Alcatraz. They were heavily armed with revolvers, autoloading pistols, and shotguns in preparation for committing bank robberies and armored truck heists.
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Yesterday was the anniversary of the Medina Shootout. One of the main lessons is how devastating long guns are when used at pistol distances.
Thirty-five years ago today, on February 13, 1983, a violent gunbattle took place in Medina, North Dakota. Although less well known than the Miami Massacre in 1986, it was every bit as bloody and violent. Something it had in common with the Miami Massacre was preparation for conflict and the decisiveness of long guns at pistol ranges.
On one side was a task force of US Marshals and local law enforcement officers. On the other side were members of a local Posse Comitatus group. Casualties were high on both sides. Four months later, a second related encounter, hundreds of miles away, brought more loss of life.
Gordon Kahl was a Midwestern farmer and Federal tax resister. He was a member of a loosely knit organization called the Posse Comitatus. The Posse recognizes no authority above the county level and held many hateful beliefs. He had been imprisoned for…
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In a broader context, the Telephone Game issue has just surfaced in Broward Sheriff Scott Israel’s ‘suspension’ that was reported in the national media without actually having happened.
Telephone [in the United States] –is an internationally popular game, in which one person whispers a message to the ear of the next person through a line of people until the last player announces the message to the entire group. Although the objective is to pass around the message without it becoming misheard and altered along the way, part of the enjoyment is that, regardless, this usually ends up happening.
Often, a message that starts out like “My uncle shook hands with the Mayor once” eventually turns into “President Reagan’s grandmother slept with Batman for years” or something equally mistransmitted.
Telephone game issues plague the firearms training industry and are a problem. Several occurrences of it have been brought to my attention just this week. One of the most important things I’ve learned in the training industry is to assume everything that anyone tells me secondhand is wrong. Whenever possible…
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Gary T., formerly of the 3d Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, the email address you gave me doesn’t work.
Still a great deal of confusion and misinformation about this topic floating around.
A few people drink from the fountain of knowledge but most only gargle.
Gun Digest recently published an online article about holster retention systems. The article begins by referencing Safariland’s retention holster rating system as being the standard. Unfortunately, the author, Corey Graff, should have done a little research and contacted Safariland about their retention rating system before writing about it.
That system, devised by Bill Rogers, the inventor of the modern security holster, has nothing to do with the number of mechanisms that the holster has. Corey’s interpretation is a common misconception in the industry. Safariland’s system is based on a series of hands-on performance tests in which the holster is physically attacked and tested. The holster must pass, in sequential order, each test to achieve a given level of rating. A holster can have several mechanisms on it and still not achieve any rating at all…
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As Instructors, we’re in the adult learning business. The firearm is merely the tool that we use to facilitate the learning.
In a recent class we had a scary incident.
A student got hot brass down his shirt and did the “hot-brass dance”. Unfortunately, in this version of the dance he turned 360º and muzzled everyone on the range.
Some of you aren’t going to like how I chose to handle the incident.
Thankfully one of my assistants was right on top of him, physically restraining him to stop and control the student – and his muzzle. It looked a little harsh when it happened, but it was the right response. Sorry you’re getting burned, but muzzling everyone cannot happen. Get that under control, then we can deal with the hot brass.
Yes, it sucked this happened in class. No, I’m not happy it happened on my watch. It was a scary moment for sure.
At the end of every class, we go around to each student and ask them to tell…
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I’m often asked what the value of competition and demonstration is. Here is one of the best answers I’ve heard.
To compete or demonstrate has a level of risk inherent to it. When challenged, you could perform perfectly or fail to demonstrate the skill necessary.
Why would any instructor or shooter take such a chance?
I recently attended the 20th anniversary Tactical Conference (Tac Con) hosted by Tom and Lynn Givens of Rangemaster. This is a smorgasbord of talented instructors from across the country where attendees can take 2-4 hours blocks of instruction in pistol, rifle, shotgun, legal, medical, combatives, and much more.
I was able to train with, or work the line with, many of the top instructors like Claude Werner, John Farnam, Ernest Langdon, and Gabe White. They all had many commonalities in their teachings, and they all demonstrated drills and skills they taught.
Many of the trainers also competed in the Polite Society tactical match where they competed with all…
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