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By Paul McCain

The CCW class that I took several years ago was expertly delivered and covered basics of safe firearm handling along with legal ramifications, but that was about it. I left entirely unprepared to use my concealed carry weapon effectively. It was not the instructor’s fault. In fact, he repeatedly cautioned us that simply because we have a license to carry a weapon does not mean we have the training necessary to carry it effectively. I must say his warning fell on deaf ears at the time and I figured it was just a sales pitch to get us to take more classes from him, though he was careful to emphasize that we needed more training and to get it from anyone qualified to deliver it. I went on my merry way thinking to myself, “I’ve got this, no problem. I’m a member of a local gun club and I have become pretty good at poking holes in paper at various distances. I’m ok. I’m ready. I can do this.” Wrong, wrong wrong . . .

I didn’t know what I didn’t know. And that is a dangerous thing.

I kept up my “training regimen” with nearly weekly visits to the Arnold Rifle and Pistol Club in Pevely, Missouri (an awesome private club here in the greater St. Louis, Missouri metro area) and along with my recreational shooting I specifically drilled myself on drawing from a holster and shooting at a target from reasonable distances. I watched YouTube videos made by “experts” and many are very helpful to the beginning shooter. Many others, aren’t. I figured I was doing pretty well. I was putting rounds put on paper in a reasonable group relatively quickly. So, I was feeling pretty good about my skill set.

But then I happened to meet the managing principal of Asymmetric Solutions. We struck up a conversation and he noticed I was wearing my gun club membership badge. He asked me, “Do you like shooting guns?” Oh, yes, indeed I do. “Do you?” I asked. He said, “Yes, in fact, I have a facility in Farmington you might like to visit,” and invited me out that day.

Forty minutes or so later, I found myself rolling into a gorgeous piece of property located in the gentle rolling hills of south/central Missouri on 2,500+ acres, including Missouri’s second highest elevation. After looking around at their facilities, their shoot house, the ranges, I realized I was dealing with a whole new level. I found out that Asymmetric Solutions has been offering training facilities and opportunities for military special forces units and law enforcement agencies for a number of years and had started offering training for civilians, too. Their cadre of instructors include a number of former special forces guys. Talk about being in the right place at the right time.

I began taking classes and have now gone through their Basics of Tactical Shooting Class, their Fighting Pistol I and II and Fighting Carbine I and II classes and a few others. Each time I learn more and realize more how much more I have to learn and the need to keep practicing.  It has been a sobering and humbling experience.

Simply put: there’s a huge difference between standing in a bay at a gun club, taking deliberate aim and delivering rounds on paper and training to shoot under stress. Being timed and analyzed for accuracy while you are moving in every direction, engaging multiple threats upon command and drawing from concealment makes a big, big difference.

And here’s my point. I’m sure everyone who has had a similar experience moving from a required CCW class to the “do it yourself” training and then to professional training is either nodding in agreement, or perhaps saying, “Of course, you idiot.” Either way, the point I’m making here for all who might fall into the DIY category is: get training!

Seek it out from people who have the real-world experience and credentials to deliver training that’s as realistic as possible and shows you the huge difference between target shooting and defensive use of a weapon in various scenarios. In real life the moment of crisis comes suddenly, before you have a chance to touch the sidearm you are carrying. If you have to think it over, even for a second, when the moment of crisis is upon you, that’s a recipe for disaster and may well cost you your life, or the life of your loved ones or others you acting to defend.

Professional training equips you with the skills you need to keep practicing effectively. Taking a few classes is by no means the end-all of training. It’s merely the beginning. You have to use the skills or you lose them. At Asymmetric Solutions we heard, over and over again, “These are the skills that we have found to be the most effective in actual combat experiences. We will tell you what we have found to work the best for us and you can decide from there what works best for you. But whatever you do, you need to practice, continually. Dry firing should be what you do 70% of the time with your weapon.”

When you are put in a situation where your heart rate is up, the pressure is on and the adrenalin is flowing you quickly discover that your basic skills with a firearm – stance, grip, trigger control, sight picture – go right into the toilet. Fast. Faster than you’d ever realize without training. So get ready to eat a huge slice of humble pie.

The instructors at Asymmetric Solutions repeatedly drum it into your head: “A well-placed shot from a small caliber is far more effective than a poorly placed one from something more powerful. Remember: mindset, training, then equipment.”

That’s worth repeating: Mindset. Training. Equipment. In that order.

What I didn’t know that I didn’t know was dangerous. What you don’t know is dangerous. That’s why competent professional training is key and if the training doesn’t focus on proper mindset, then teaching skills to be practiced, no matter what the equipment is, you are not getting the right training. I was fortunate to stumble on great place for professional training. I urge you to find one, too because what you don’t know may well get you killed.

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  1. What I don’t know is; for the average civilian who will seldom if ever need to use his pistol, how much of this training is actually valid? That’s the hard part, do you teach what I really need to know and them leave it at that or am I paying to be a para-SWAT or some other unreasonable level of competence?

    How do I know I’m getting training in real-world likely scenarios for real-world CCW carriers who stay away from stupid people in stupid places doing stupid things? And then how do I know that what you taught me about Quick-Mart confrontations, etc., is really valid or just your opinion?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

    • Each person has to answer “how much” for themselves. The point of training is to get you prepared. Civilians ike many police officers may never ever use any of their training. My grandfather was a NYS Trooper and never ever had to draw his gun while on active duty. My mother was home doing standard chores and found herself in the middle of a home invasion and had to fight back. Her training was from shooting at rabbits and varmints on the farm, this was her first encounter with a two legged varmint. When the moment came, what she mentally knew was she was going to fight. We never know where or when the SHTF will you be mentally prepared and can be 100% be sure how to handle your weapon?

      I have a Black Belt in Tang Soo Do, I have never ever had to use those skills nor do I go looking for trouble. Now I go to class for the exercise and hang out with friends.

      We have read stories here where someone who probably has kept a gun in a sock drawer for 20yrs and then was able to successfully use the gun to defend themselves. Will that be you?

      It is not question anyone can answer except for you. The journey of the gun is different for each of us.

      I go to training, because I train others and I want to be able to give good answers. I also like the drills especially those with simunitions. I also play gun games (IDPA, USPSA, CMP, 3-gun, Field Clays etc.) for practice and I drill at home about twice per week. I am getting too old for paint ball but the nieces and nephews keep me on my toes with Nerf guns. I believe I have the mechanical skills, we will see how things go if the SHTF. Also, you must know when to shoot and when not to shoot.

      IMHO, you need more than nothing and something less than SWAT. What is that point in between only you can decide. If you feel comfortable with where you are, then you are good. If not, keep drilling, not all training has to cost you lots of money but nobody can tell when it is enough.

    • When you find yourself in the fight…

      There will be no time to “get in shape”. There will be no time to zero your weapon. There will be no time to practice shooting on the move and/or at moving targets, finding cover, reloading or malfunction drills. If any of that makes you uncomfortable, you need to take steps to address it.

      It’s difficult to vet training when you don’t have a baseline to compare it to. I only look at evaluations of training by people I personally know who I consider competent.

      Anyone can claim to have credentials they don’t have. Being a member of an elite unit doesn’t necessarily make someone a good trainer, either. Good fundamentals from a line guy beats “tacticool” any day in my book.

      That’s the best “no b.s.” answer I can craft to the question.

      You go into the fight “as is” and you come out of it based upon how prepared you are, with a certain amount of random chance (luck) thrown in the mix.

      • A couple of general, low cost pointers:

        If your local range has a competition pistol club (USPSA/IDPA), try to shoot with them once a month – you’ll learn a ton and it usually doesn’t cost much. Most of the cost is ammo.

        Shoot skeet. Seriously. I had no idea how hard it was to engage moving targets until I actually had to. Targets on the range go up, stay put, and fall down. That’s bad training. Engaging targets that are moving laterally is important.

  2. It all depends on your threat assessment IMHO. Millions of people don’t even own firearms much less carry them or train with them. Many of them live in low crime areas, many of them don’t. The vast majority of the times you might encounter a sober villain the mere sight of a firearm will quickly defuse the situation. The odds of running into a trained assassin or some naked guy high on bath salts are relatively low regardless of where you live. If you are at a high risk of being involved in a gunfight, proper training is an absolute must, but even that might not be enough when dumb luck is factored into the equation. For most of us though, it’s just fun.

  3. Agree with the above. The other issue I have with the “high speed low drag” crowd (aside from cost) is the general assumption that people looking for training are relatively young, in decent health, and fully mobile. I have NEVER seen any sort of ad, article, or web post describing a program tailored for the senior citizen or the disabled. If you can’t run, can only climb stairs or a hill slowly, if at all, or cannot get back to your feet after a fall without help, a lot of the training available is going to be of limited value.

    • Lead belly-

      If you check out our website you’ll see everything from suburban moms to beer bellies. Earlier in the year we had an 88 year old WWII Pacific vet who got more salutes than anyone who has ever stepped foot on the facility.

      Many people get the CCW and assume they are ready to carry safely but have never drawn and fired their weapon at combat speeds or shot while moving for cover. It’s like buying a big famcy first aid kit. It is purchased artificial confidence. Without training for the situations you may face most will be a panicked mess at the moment it is needed. Yes we can teach people to shoot out of helicopters and raid houses. But we don’t expect everyone to do that. Our basic tactical shooting course is designed to teach the everyday law abiding citizen to be effective in normal threatening situations where their firearm may be needed.

      For those who say it won’t happen to them. Why carry in the first place?

      • but have never drawn and fired their weapon at combat speeds

        You’ve just validated the objection. It’s not combat. It’s self defense.

        • I’m a little confused Ralph. How do you distinguish between drawing a firearm at “combat speed” and drawing it at “self-defense speed”? Maybe I’m missing something.

          Seems to me that if you have to draw your weapon to save your life or the life of a loved one, etc. you are in a combat situation.


        • Paul, in combat you don’t draw your weapon. It’s already in your hands. You almost always have a long gun. If you make a questionable shoot, there’s generally no indictment. The second double-tap you did doesn’t freak out a jury, because there is no jury except the guys back at the team house. In combat SF guys are never (99%) alone, but have buds along. Fast mean buds. I watched them too much, inserting and extracting. Exciting, scary, sometimes sad (dead guys on strings). But it was a different universe. Civilian self-defense is at zero to nine feet, and the tough part is to get your gun in your hand first, but only exactly when you can state why the guy’s a potentially lethal or SBI threat. Once the gun comes out the thing is over in less than eight seconds, three or four bullets or two buck. That doesn’t mean I don’t like Six-Flags Gun Adventure. I do. I like to keep my AR and shotgun skills fresh, for sentimental reasons. But gun camps just don’t teach the things that real people actually f’k up, like drawing too soon or too late, or drawing on the wrong person, or not having a working gun in their pocket or holster, or failing to retreat to cover or from creeps reflexively. I basically agree with Ralph. I’m not against gun camps for future contract-security guys or for fun. They should just feature more quickie marts and NYC alleys, offices and front hallways, with some retired street punks as walk on teachers. Or not? Still, glad you’ve enjoyed your experiences. Every been shot at close up?

        • Respectfully, this is semantics. I don’t think there is any speed slower than “as fast as can be effectively performed with lethal accuracy” that anyone should employ for combat or self-defense.

          Regardless of whether or not I am the one starting it or the one responding to it, I want to be the one ending it.

      • Thanks for the response. I still have my doubts, though. For instance – Due to meds I have to take I can no longer regulate my body temperature. Anything much over 80 degrees, I collapse regardless of activity level. Basically, my excursions are limited to air conditioned house to air conditioned car, and vice-versa. I have major COPD, so walking a half block will put me flat on my back. Because of my heart meds (artificial valve, pacemaker) I can no longer take effective arthritis relief meds, so just standing for more than 10 or 15 minutes is really painful. Just short of needing a wheelchair about describes it.

        I don’t doubt I could learn from your programs, but unless I can find something specifically geared to my situation, I just can’t see making a major investment in training that, in the main, I can’t really participate in. Before you bring up reasonable prices – if your only income is social security, there are no reasonable prices.

        • Sorry to hear about your physical problems, Lead Belly, tough situation all the way around, friend. Maybe somebody who had taken some training could show you some things at an indoor range sometime? Even that would be helpful to you, I’m sure.

          Take care and God bless.

        • Lead if you are ever near Missouri you come on out and we’ll get you in class on us and take good care of your ailments.

        • Shoulder holster. Combat/self defense draw is as quick as you need to do, and no faster or slower. Practice drawing and lining up with an empty weapon in your house, which is probably where you’ll be using the weapon on “that day.” God bless and good luck, my friend.

  4. While your at it seek out some local first aid and CPR classes. Most of us are more likely to save a senior citizen from a heart attack than being attacked by deranged killer. If you do meet the deranged killer and take fire, knowing how to plug the holes could be a life saver.

        • Uh, I’m pretty sure that the VFD and red cross don’t teach anything related to treating a GSW. That’s where combat medic training would come in pretty handy. There was an article on TTAG a month or so ago about having someone check you over after a DGU, because you very well may not feel an injury. Maybe you have to treat someone who has been shot by a BG, or heaven forbid, you have to treat someone you shot but didn’t intend to. I know that’s not the way things usually go, but there are always those exceptions. Getting something more than minimal training doesn’t mean someone is HSLD, it just means that they want to be prepared for more possible eventualities. Several years ago I took a two day, 16 hour course that looked at several scenarios, discussed how you might handle them, then ran through a course to practice what we had talked about. It was a very eye opening experience, as to what I didn’t know I didn’t know, and I’m really glad I did it. It doesn’t make me an elite operator, just a little more prepared.

  5. Well guys, you make some good points, but all the classes I’ve attended so far have had a good number of older folks, and it’s fine that we run at our own speed. Nobody is trying to win any prizes, just eager to learn and grow in our use of our firearms. Everyone in the classes I’ve attended has appreciated the training and come away with skills appreciably improved from where they started. Seems good to me.

    After all, I’d rather get training I may never use, than need training I’ve never had.

    • No one can argue that such training courses fail to improve shooting skills. Glad to hear you offer emergency first-aid courses. I can guess, though, that they’re not a big part of the income statement.

  6. I was supposed to attend their basic pistol class in June but it got cancelled b/c of flooding . . . . gotta reschedule.

  7. Meh. I am still learning to hit the target at 10.6 feet. In a SHTF moment, I can always opt to flee like those who choose not to carry.

  8. I will sign up as soon as the ammo requirements for one of these classes is only half the cost of the class.

    Most want at least 500 rounds if not 1500 from what I have seen. 1500 rounds of 9mm even just 115gr ball is going to run about $750 if you can find it these days.

    • Look forward to seeing you at the range Larry. Our 9 hour basics of tactical shooting course requires 250-300 rounds. We try to concentrate more on tactics and weapon manipulation than throwing rounds at targets.

    • Larry, unfortunately, ammo prices are high and I can see your point, but:

      (1) You don’t need 1500 rounds at most courses I’ve taken. Mindset. Training. Equipment. The focus is on skills and teaching you how to keep training, dry firing for 70% of the time. 300 rounds will do it.

      (2) Not sure where you are buying your ammo, but if you are paying more than .35 a round for 115grain 9mm ball, you are paying too much. Check out Freedom Munitions. Great reloads, very reasonable. Perfect for training.


  9. When it comes to street crime, if Asym can teach me how to get out of Dodge in a hurry, then I’d consider the training. That’s the whole point, no? Being able to stay alive and get away unscathed.

    • Ralph that is exactly what we discuss and good on your for thinking smart instead of the John Wayne mentality many people find when carrying a gun. Awareness and avoidance is your best option. Stay clear of the fight if at all possible by never going near it or detecting a threat from enough distance to change course or move to safer surroundings. However, if it persists or circumstances bring it to you- we give you the skills to have options and be the decision maker.

  10. I’ve heard good things about both the club in Arnold and the training facility in the story. Sadly money is too tight right now, hopefully things will improve soon.

  11. For those of us that aren’t LEO’s, Military or other high risk occupation like bodygaurds to rock stars or some such our most important training is in safely handling our firearms around our dailey lives so we don’t have ADs or NDs.

    We’ve had a whole string of DGU’s reported here at TTAG involving older people, in their stores, in the cybercafe, in their homes where the people were successful and I’ve yet to see any reports of them paying for combat level classes.

    Feel free to attend and pay for any classes you wish. But if you’re a church going, non drinking or drugging person not hanging out in the ghetto at 2am I don’t see the need.

    • Well, you are certainly free not to seek training to learn how to use your weapon effectively in a high stress situation, but I think you are taking a mighty big risk of increasing the odds you will not come out of an armed confrontation successfully.

      Even if it is the most basic of defensive shooting classes, I urge you to take it.

      There simply is no comparison to poking holes in paper and calling it a day.

      Oh, and I’m a church growing, non drugging person and I’m glad I have had training.

      : )

      • Paul, the chances that you’ll have a DGU in your lifetime are very slim. When and if it happens you’ll be squared off against a tweaker with a sharpened screw driver or a rusted gun that may not even work. How much extra training do you need?

        We citizens aren’t going to face well trained and equipped gangs of bad guys like we see in the movies.

        If you want to spend money on a possible future DGU get one of those pre paid lawyer plans. You’ll need a lawyer a whole lot more than classes on urban battle tactics.

        • My first DGU was after dropping the kids off at the sitter. Residential street, about 8:30 am. Guy trapped me in traffic and tried to rob me with a tire iron.
          Second one was at a 7-11. 9 at night. Wife needed something in the way home. Guy tried to car jack me. Kids were asleep in the back seat, so no retreat again. Third time was at another 7-11. About 4 pm. I left my gun in the car cause I needed something. I came back out to her sitting there, shaking, holding my G-17. Local meth head tried to jack the car. He retreated.
          Last time was at a boat ramp on the river. About 11 am. 3 locals tried to rob me and my two co-workers. My gun was 11 miles behind my on the dash of the boat. Fortunately, my navigator was armed. We mostly talked our way out of a robbery/shoot-out. We drove away at warp speed. Bad guy went to prison.
          I’ve been fortunate to have been to a lot of really neat schools. It’s especially nice when faced with a really bad situation, training kicked in.
          Knowing when to run when you can felt the best, after the dust settled.

        • Correct me if I’m wrong here, Tom. But you are or were a cop? Not counting my military experiences in here my DGUs consist of the following.
          1. Killing the lead dog of an agressive dog pack with a .22 rifle.
          2. breaking a lunatic in a van(this was before the term road rage) off me as he was attempting to play bumper cars on the freeway by showing my gun to him.
          3.Hearing breaking glass downstairs at 0dark30. While my wife grabbed the kids and got them to our room and then called the police I took position at the top of the stairs. The racking of the shotgun I had caused the bad guy to unass the place. I know, I know, according to the interwebz experts i should have died in a hail of full auto fire when I racked that shotgun.
          4. Again at 0dark30 stumbled across a guy with a crowbar attempting to break into a store in my hood. He advanced with the crowbar and I dropped back and pulled my gun. It was a snubby .22. I know, I know, according to the interwebz experts I should have died when my bullets bounced off him. But at the sight of the gun, he made no inquiries as to caliber. He just beat feat.
          5. In what I still believe was mistaken ID or an attempt to settle a score against dads side of the family I was shot at as I exited a bar in WVA. I shot back. I don’t know if I hit him but he ran and left his gun, a .22 laying.

          Outside of an NRA hunter safety course in my youth and my military training I’ve never had a formal self defense class.

        • Was. Yes. I stayed a bit too long and put in 25 years. (And no, retirement pay ain’t that great). Crap, I forgot about bean bagging a rott. That worked great!
          JWM, you’ve been through more than most. One would surmise that after the first one, statistically, you’re golden for never again. I’ve found that its not usually the case. I’ll let the theologians argue that one.

        • Time and place Tom. Blue collar worker with no advanced education. I worked and lived in those parts of town where it was easy to find trouble. A large part of my work life was nights and weekends in places that just weren’t nice. I had a family to feed.

          A lot of the time I carried a gun even when not legal. Shall issue is a fairly recent thing in a lot of the country. It’s one of the reasons I’m not a rabid cop hater. There were times when i could have went to jail, which would have been a disaster for my family, but the cops i dealt with looked the other way.

        • Hahaha
          Parallel universe. I’ve worked as a roughneck on a drilling rig, and a fry cook. Then I got smart and saved and went back to school. Private paramedic school.
          I got busted by the CHP for carrying. But after a roadside discussion, he let me keep my older brothers colt python, (he still has it), and my freedom. I made the decision then, in 1977, that I would be a cop. And I would be the cop who did me right. I like to believe I was. I truly tried.

        • JWM, I’m sure you are correct, or, at least I pray you are, to be sure; however, there is a fairly low chance of any number of things happening to me but I’m still prepared for them. I guess I’d rather be prepared and never need it, than to need it and not be prepared.

          Plus, I’m a former Boy Scout, so…

          : )

    • The only times (yeah, more than once) someone has touched a firearm to my head and threatened to kill me “If I don’t…”, I was working. I was high on nothing, and I was in a semi-ok neighborhood.

      Belief in some deity, nor hanging out in a taxpayer-funded (because they are exempt from taxes) building had sweet FA to do with any of it. I’m still breathing because I dealt with them as was situationally appropriate.

  12. We struck up a conversation and he noticed I was wearing my gun club membership badge.

    I must not get out enough: Who wears a gun club membership badge around town?

    Former SF guys on staff? Those guys don’t defend against home invasions, they DO home invasions, with cherry grenades and night vision. And I mean that in the nicest possible way. They do them well.

  13. I see both points here. Training is expensive. My online Oregon CHL class cost $10, and taught me nothing I didn’t know. It just meets the bare minimum. There is great live fire training available in Oregon, but it ain’t cheap, especially when you factor in ammo. Watching the numerous and often contradictory macho dudes on Youtube may not hurt, but it’s no substitute for real one-on-one time. At the same time, Oregon, and probably other states, are trying to legislate mandatory live-fire training and a competency test (basically the same qualifying test cops use) in order to even get a CHL, and I think this will price a lot of people out of their right to armed self defense. My argument would be that if we’re going to require people to have a cop level of competency (which I gather is not that high), the cops (Sheriff’s Dept. in my case) should provide the training gratis or cheap, because they’re basically lightening their own load, and they should have competent instructors. I know I’m dreaming.

    • You are correct. The minimum training level is not very high. It’s getting better, but as an instructor in one department, you argue for more days and more money against other training departments. Then toss in the state mandated stuff like first aid and diversity training….
      Try checking with your local gun club for classes or just ask some of the folks. I’m an OK shooter, but I’ve been told I’m a pretty good teacher. My ‘classes’ are always free. Heck, any range time is a good time, and survival skills should never be a secret.

  14. I attended a course with these guys. It was well worth it. I intend to do more with them when funds are available. I hope the prices stay as reasonable as they are.

    On a side note the Intro class I took was not an operator fantasy camp. Nor was it a completely static experience (like most of frontsights 4 day course for example which has its place). Its certainly top notch for the area.

    • Thank you for the comment Fingers. We have recently lowered our prices slightly and are running a 35% discount until Sept 11. Check out our Facebook page for details. We will continue to leave them low and make this type of dynamic training with highly experienced instructors affordable and available. God knows we need as many put together red blooded good guys as we can get.

      • Can we still get the discount if we were around in the days of Friendster and MySpace, and have quit social media because we learned darn well how it plays out?

        That, and revisiting Farmington is like revisiting Ste. Gen,P-Ville, or Festus. I need some serious motivation…

  15. Training is like sex. When it’s good, it’s very, very good. And when it’s bad, it’s still good. You may never need basic combat training, but like ammo, when you need it, you really need it.

  16. I have a metric butt ton of life insurance due to my father’s either very poor or prescient investment decisions.

    My lady knows I carry and knows to run away in a crisis.

    If I ever deploy my sidearm, before/as I do, I will run fullspeed (Which is pathetically slow, but hopefully fast enough) away from her, a safe exit and my family and towards danger while drawing.

    I am a bullet magnet. It is not my job to survive. It is my job to enable my family to survive. I hear, anecdotally, that bullet wounds happen so fast they don’t actually hurt that much. I very much hope that’s true.

  17. The element of surprise cannot be understated. Criminals depend on the element of surprise in the execution of muggings and robberies, home invasions and the like–they want to catch their victims unprepared and unable to respond. Thus, the mental element of self-defense is to be sufficiently aware of one’s surroundings that one does not get taken by surprise. If you see the guy trying to mug you before he attacks, then you have time–and not much is needed–to flee or avoid, to draw your weapon if appropriate, or at least have your hand on it ready to draw, shifts the element of surprise to you. If you are taken by surprise, all of your physical reactions, from the simple acts of clearing your holster and drawing, will go all to hell. And, as it has been repeatedly stated, you can’t outdraw someone who has a gun in his hand.

    The shooting part is easy by comparison. What you have to learn is how to shoot without getting your mind involved in the fundamentals, only the tactics. Let your eyes be connected directly to the hand, and the speed and accuracy can be astounding. The brain regulates the shoot–don’t shoot decision, but not the act of shooting.

    • I hear people call it “point shooting” which is pretty much exactly as it sounds. In a self defense situation you simply point and shoot without using the sights on the handgun. That may sound “dangerous” or “irresponsible” at first until you realize that you employ shooting in a self defense engagement at a few feet. At such close distances, if you can point your finger at someone, you can point a handgun at someone.

      With no training and all of 15 minutes of practice, I can now put at least 95% of my shots into a human torso sized target at 10 feet while moving and point shooting. And keep in mind that the 5% or less of shots where I don’t hit the torso just barely miss and would not be a danger to bystanders.

      This is part of the mindset element. I already know that I won’t be using the sights on a handgun during a defensive engagement. And since I already know that, I practice without using the sights on a handgun. This simple fact alone could be monumentally helpful to people. But many people will never know this if they do not attend formal training.

      Another example of the importance of formal training: almost no one knows that a bad guy is physically capable of fighting for at least 10 seconds after taking a large caliber bullet to the heart. If your mindset is that you can put one well-placed shot into the bad guy and relax, you stand an excellent chance of sustaining life threatening injuries.

    • my uneducated guess would be that doing simunition training is about the closest you can get to train for that, as both the shooter and the target are moving.
      of course training the muscle memory of getting your gun out and to the point of pointing and pulling the trigger is not a waste either

    • Have to agree with Mark and Uncommon, although it is rare that ‘formal’ training emphasizes point shooting. As for the 10 seconds danger, that’s been known at least since the days of the Earp brothers. Some physiologists say the reality is “up to 13 seconds,” but who’s counting?

      I remember basic training, circa 1970. After seven weeks of rifle practice shooting at distance, we spent several days point shooting our rifles at 25 yards, and also shooting tossed-up silver-dollar-sized disks with BB guns. The army had become worried that all that sighted shooting would induce soldiers to take time to aim, rather than getting off shots very quickly. Fairbairn worked on the same assumption in Shanghai in the ’30’s. As did many others, I qualified expert, but that was aimed shooting. The most valuable instruction for me, though, was the ungraded “speed on target” shooting. And skeet shooting, later in life.

      I wish I had saved the citation: The FBI’s journal had an excellent article a few years back summarizing details of shootings in which the LEO lost a gunfight, either being wounded or dying. The overall result seemed to be that who ever had their gun up and fired first usually won. The other result was that career violent felons go to practice shooting at local dumps or abandoned properties more often than was generally believed. Sneakiness, getting close, drawing and firing first…were the successful felon’s tactics, and are the things to be aware of. The crimes studied were urban.

  18. Zimm, you put it very succinctly with the statement: “taking deliberate aim and delivering rounds on paper and training to shoot under stress” is very true. I hunted with people whose only practice was a bench-rest range session a few weeks before the trip. They would laugh and snigger at my 2+ MOA rifles off the rest. But when it came to actually shooting in the field, I could see them visibly shaking from “buck fever”. From my many years of service rifle shooting with timed exposures (50 seconds for 10 aimed shots from a bolt-action at distances of up to 300 metres), single and double-taps at snap targets (4 or 8 second exposures), moving targets, and numbered targets that could appear at random locations across 20 bays, I knew how to shoot under stress and perform slick fumble-free reloads. Guess who brought home the bacon with 8 pigs downed for 10 rounds in about 40 seconds, with 2 reloads from stripper clips.

  19. Last summer when I was dog sitting at my son’s place the dogs made a move to the front door. I was down on one knee behind semi-concealed behind the couch with my gun drawn and finger off the trigger in about a second. The last time I had dynamic training was so long ago as to be irrelevant. Effective self defense measures for the tactical situations faced by private citizens are as simple and effective as what I described. Fortunately, it was false alarm but if it wasn’t the bad guy would have been a world of hurt when kicked down the door.

    Training is fun but what you know can be just as dangerous as what you don’t know if what you learned in training is inappropriate for both the tactical and legal environments you face.

    • You might be a nutcase if…

      “Last summer when I was dog sitting at my son’s place the dogs made a move to the front door. I was down on one knee behind semi-concealed behind the couch with my gun drawn and finger off the trigger in about a second.”

      You find yourself doing crap like this.

  20. Unfortunately. I see that the Amsdorf Virus is spreading to TTAG.

    Paul McCain. Don’t you have a bunch of crappy videos to try and spread around to a 100 different gun forums for Youtube ad revenue?

    • Jack, so nice of you to mention my YouTube channel, and thanks for interest. The channel is doing great, and we are picking up around 900 new subscribers each month and are fast approaching 8,000 subscribers and 3,000,000 total views.

      Always room for more views and subscribers, just head on over to:

      The revenue stream from the channel is amazing. I’m posting this from my yacht docked at St. Bart, all paid for with YouTube revenue.

      ; )

      Actually, at last check, at the rate the revenue is going, I’ll be able to retire in the lap of luxury when I’m 167 years old.

      Oh, by the way, the video posted here was done by Dan Zimmerman, but it does feature my Ninja-like skills.

      • Oh look, sarcasm.

        I noticed that you didn’t deny your blatant spamming of gun forums.

        What’s your ban count up to these days?

  21. This P McCain does seem to spam a lot of message boards in hopes of generating some revenue; probably not who I would choose as a spokesman for my training company.

    • So far as using Paul as a spokesperson- he is not a spokesperson. He did not entirely describe his encounter with us with total candor.

      One of our instructors had a vehicle fuel filter failure and Paul without knowing who he was or what he did, other than seeing an American flag on his cap, offered to help and ultimately took him 40 minutes out to the range to make a meeting with one of our professional clients. For that we have given him some very open access and allowed him to make equipment review videos of some things most civilians won’t ever get hands on. He has written about his experiences. We are happy to have that sort of person associated with us and appreciate his comments about what we are doing.

  22. What blows me away the most is that the folks in this thread are constantly deriding quality firearms training. Is that out of the contrarian handbook or something? What in the world could be wrong with getting excellent training?


    • David, THANK YOU for saying that. I wanted to, but since I wrote the article, it would only appear to come off as defensive, but speaking of defensive…. [insert David’s comment here].

      • Heheh… no defensive reply here, sir! As far as I am concerned, GET TRAINED. It can only make you better. That being said, I’m not sure you’d like that I have taken most of my excellent training from Mr. Yeager…

        He encourages all of his students to train with as many different trainers as possible, to get a good overview and to get away from the idea of having one “training guru” that you worship. I also train at Armed Dynamics in Philadelphia with Jeff Bloovman.

        I respect everyone’s opinion, however, including yours, my friend.


    • Unfortunately most American males believe they are predisposed to throw a knockout right cross like John Wayne and shoot up bad guys like James Bond.
      This isn’t true by any stretch. While there are circulating stories about the folks who have warded off hapless intruders with a gun there are many who never get to the gun and never get to brandish or fight or have a story written about them. No data is collected on those with concealed carry permits or guns in the home who are killed during a criminal action. The data on police officers is kept however and even with their training it is tragically not uncommon for those same inept criminals that were written about above to get knives, shanks, or fatally placed rounds off on a professional police officer before he can access his weapon or make lethal shots of his own. There are innumerable reports of police officers firing off double digit rounds under fighting conditions without making a hit that will stop the criminal fighting back.

      Personally, if I am going to have to fight someone I prefer to have them 2 miles away and facing the other direction while armed with a LTD and overhead JDAM or at least a dialed in precision rifle.

      Since those circumstances are rarely available, I find it best to go to the fight or potential fight with the odds and balance of capability as unfairly skewed in my favor as possible when my well-being or loved ones are the stakes.

      There is room for debate with most things, but with unremitting certainty, the first time you grip your weapon in a circumstance that is about to count for real, you will wish you had every advantage available.

      Whether its with us or someone else, if you own a weapon for defensive purposes you are ill served not to have some sort of training past a static range and action movies.

  23. It may sound silly but I learned this in video games. When I would play single player I would be versing idiotic AI enemies and not really care. However when I went online I’d notice how different it was when you actually cared, wouldn’t want to die. Instead of consistently placing well aimed shots, I would just hold down the trigger and inevitably die.

    I assume this reaction is compounded in real life. I know damn well it will be different when at the range shooting stationary targets with my ear plugs in in a friendly atmosphere vs trying to shoot someone who wants to kill/harm me while he moves and I may not even have ear protection and there will be innocents around us that I will care about but the perp might not. Totally different.

    Honestly it’s obvious.


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