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“I have a confession to make. I like guns and gear. If you are reading this website, then you probably do as well. Nothing wrong with that. Guns are cool. Having the latest and greatest new gear makes people happy and drives growth in an industry where many of us make our living. But understand this: cool guy guns and gear won’t guarantee you’ll win your next life threatening confrontation. In fact, spending too much time buying and talking about hardware issues may prevent you from doing the work required to ensure your victory.”

“It’s cool to have the gear. It’s cooler to have the skills to use it effectively.” – Greg Ellifritz in Mindset vs. Hardware

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    • Crap like this pops up usually after the author screws up and has a personal come to Jesus moment. Then they go all anti-first amendment telling everyone to shut their piehole about guns and gear and train more.

      I like talking about guns and gear ….and skills and tactics. And I’m not going to let some dude in recovery infringe on my right to talk smack about guns and gear.

      Damn Glock makes some fine pistols.

      9mm is the best self defense round.

      Appendicks carry.

      1911s are all antiques. And are priced accordingly.

      Gawd that felt good!

      • I don’t believe Greg had a ND, AD, or any kind of “come to Jesus moment”. He’s a police officer, one of the few peace officers still in the country. He’s a self defense trainer, edged weapons, firearms, hand to hand, and first aid for when things do sideways. He’s a blogger and educator, I’ve personally hit his blog numerous times a week for a couple years, & every Friday he throws out about a dozen articles from other sites that are so chock full o’ knowledge that I usually need to loosen my baseball cap like my belt at thanksgiving. He’s very libertarian leaning, and he’ll call garbage garbage & wisdom wisdom. He uses what he sees on the street and in the range to help people make solid choices, & tells others that their choices have serious flaws. Greg seems like righteous dude, & I hope to take a class by him one day.

  1. I got a question for all the tacticool folks.

    Where have you been for the past 17 years?
    You can get all that cool training and gear for free, and get paid.

        • Prudiikal. Military training has risks, up to and including death that would never be allowed in a private company setting. Real tactical style training isn’t available on the civilian market. The regulators and the lawyers will not allow it.

          Civilian training should concentrate on safe gun handling. Marksmanship. And a healthy dose of what is and isn’t legal in your area.

          You’re not going to spend enough money on enough weekend courses to ever be an ‘operator’.

          Don’t sweat it. There are a lot more people out there that couldn’t or wouldn’t serve than there are of those that could and did.

        • I don’t have an issue with folks like you. I see it a lot at ranges dude who takes a class or two.And think they are Spec-op dude. It’s really the shit talking that bugs me. I’d kick butt in Syria my reply ” Go meet a recruiter.” Then excuses start.

  2. Ok. How many DGUs each year? How many defenders were highly trained in self-defense? How many were trained at all in self-defense? How many were trained to defend themselves without a gun? How many defensive attempts would have succeeded if only the defender were highly trained in armed and unarmed self-defense?

    How ’bout more historical articles about guns? How ’bout more articles on all those DGUs? How ’bout more articles on reliable studies on the geographic and demographic data regarding the economics, sociology and political strata of people who are defended against? How ’bout less articles on operating operationally (and training for it)?

    • I train 8 hours a day, minimum 600 rounds. I run mountains in plate carriers. I swim rivers in my full urban battle loadout.

      So I go out on the town carrying open, concealed, and two backup guns and a knife. My light armor vest fits snug. My boots laced tight. Even with my head on a swivel some hipster on a fixie takes me out as he plowed into me while snapping a selfie with his iPhone X plus.

      Will add that scenario to my training regime on Monday.

      • “I train 8 hours a day, minimum 600 rounds. I run mountains in plate carriers. I swim rivers in my full urban battle loadout.”

        “So I go out on the town carrying open, concealed, and two backup guns and a knife. My light armor vest fits snug. My boots laced tight. Even with my head on a swivel some hipster on a fixie takes me out as he plowed into me while taking a selfie with his iPhone X plus.”

        “Will add that scenario to my training regime on Monday.”

        I think you’ve made a good start.

    • Training is nice, but its training to fix the problem.
      Situational awareness is much better and its being able to identify the problem and prevent it from happening at all.

      A cup of sweat or a gallon of blood?

    • Sam, you’ve asked a lot of questions. Try answering them. I have, and every time I do I find that better trained people are more likely to survive a violent encounter than those that are not.

      • “Sam, you’ve asked a lot of questions. Try answering them. I have, and every time I do I find that better trained people are more likely to survive a violent encounter than those that are not.”

        Interesting. How did you reach your conclusions? Which data set of DGUs were convincing? How did your analysis resolve the hundreds of thousands of DGUs successfully completed by untrained people? We all “believe” better trained people will perform better than the untrained, but it is a “belief” unsupported by analyses that do not differentiate between trained and untrained firearm users.

        I guess my questions remain because there is no convincing “proof” that self-defense training is any factor in surviving a DGU. Wish it were different, but that is only a wish.

  3. All the training in the world won’t guarantee you’ll win your next (still waiting for the first) life threatening confrontation either. If the gods of luck aren’t with you you’re still screwed.

    Training is a lot like magazine capacity. Every extra round you carry has a lower and lower chance of ever being needed.

    • “Training is a lot like magazine capacity. Every extra round you carry has a lower and lower chance of ever being needed.”

      I gotta remember that one.

      • Never underestimate the power of dumb luck. No matter how many skillz you got, no matter how much tacti-cool shit you got, if you get in enough gunfights, sooner or later you’re going to find a bullet with your name on it. Best to just avoid trouble altogether.


  4. Take a class with a disgruntled former Israeli instructor. In 3 days you will hate your gear, have copious amounts of contempt for your operational capabilities, and be tired to a point of 3 double scotches.

  5. Yeah, training is terrible. You learn stuff and you have to pay for it. Luck has gotten the inept by for centuries. I’ll stick with luck…

    I’d invite everyone who thinks training is waste of time to test your thesis. Visit your local boxing/jiu-jitsu/muay thai/whatever gym. Inform them training is a waste of time and you’d like slap on some gloves and spar a bit. Get back to us on the results.

    • “I’d invite everyone who thinks training is waste of time to test your thesis. Visit your local boxing/jiu-jitsut/muay thai/whatever gym. Inform them training is a waste of time and you’d like slap on some gloves and spar a bit. Get back to us on the results.”

      Apples and oranges. We do not have centuries of unfit, untrained individuals just climbing into the ring and prevailing. We do have centuries of the unfit, untrained successfully defending themselves against attack.

      Where is the data demonstrating that except for self-defense training, thousands of DGUs would have unsuccessful. Even highly trained combat infantry soldiers have been known to hesitate that nano second that cost them their lives, or caused them to be less effective. Even highly trained combat infantry soldiers have been killed because something beyond their skills and experience happened.

      Training is good. If you like it, enjoy it, encourage your friends. Just don’t buy into the hype that training makes you successful, whereas being untrained is a disaster waiting to happen.

      • “Just don’t buy into the hype that training makes you successful, whereas being untrained is a disaster waiting to happen.” Go ahead, pick your plumber, mechanic, or doctor on that basis. Competence is competence whatever the field. Competence comes from learning from experts and practice.

        If people don’t believe training is useful, they are free to operate under that paradigm. It’s truly an area where one owns the results of their decisions.

        • Sprocket, once again apples and oranges. Not only that, but the 300Kish annual deaths from trained doctors’ errors is probably not the best example to choose.

          As has been noted by many, training can’t hurt, just like pro driving school. But the fact of the matter is simple, millions of chuckleheads manage not to kill themselves or others, every single day.

          Not to mention that if someone really wants to kill you, there ain’t a damn thing you’re gonna do to stop them.

        • “Go ahead, pick your plumber, mechanic, or doctor on that basis. Competence is competence whatever the field.”

          Apples and oranges. Plumbers and other “professionals” are plying their trade daily. They are not doing “once in a lifetime” things. They are are performing multiple skilled tasks. It is possible for me to perform limited specialist tasks from simply reading a book, or watching UTube videos….all without any training.

          The data so far on DGUs is that thousands and thousands annually successfully defend against a deadly attack, but the defender has little or no firearms training, and zero “tacticool” training. Firearms training has yet to prove itself indispensable, or important in successfully defending life.

          As for “competency”, training does not make one competent. It may make one well-trained, but “competency” in DGUs is a whole ‘nuther country. That takes direct, personal experience. Soldiers are not competent under fire until they have been under fire.

          The point is not that training should be avoided, but buying training should be done with clear intentions and goals, not simply responding to the “cool factor”, or the “fear factor”. If someone wants to train for the next revolution, fine. If someone wants to train for a horde of people waving guns and shouting “Aloha Snackbar”, fine. If someone wants to train to SpecOps level just to see if they can do it, fine. Just don’t insist that any of that is required to ensure a successful outcome to a DGU.

        • 16V
          “Not to mention that if someone really wants to kill you, there ain’t a damn thing you’re gonna do to stop them.”

          Utter and complete bullshit. People have tried so hard to kill me they died trying, and I’m certainly not alone in my experience.

        • “People have tried so hard to kill me they died trying, and I’m certainly not alone in my experience.”

          Yeah, *In Theater*. Where you were kinda expecting it.

          Do you approach stop lights in your truck here the same way you did back in the ‘sandbox’? And if you say ‘yes’, I’m throwing the BS flag…

        • jwtaylor, as Geoff noted, in theater. That was just this thing called “luck” – not your ‘Super Skill’. Apparently you have never heard of an “IED”. Lotsa bros experienced their (unexpected) transition to pink mist in the sandbox due to a random one they encountered. I’m sure they were bad ass mofos, just like you. And yet…

          I hope you make it to adulthood and realize what really happens in the world – if someone really wants you dead they will eventually succeed. When you least expect it.

          Somebody wins the lottery, somebody gets t-boned by a dumptruck running a red light.

  6. I take a lot of training courses because I find them fun and am lucky enough to live within an hours drive of several excellent facilities. Some people like buying up tacticool gear because they find that fun. Once you can reliably manipulate your firearm and hit a man size target while on the move inside of 25 yards I really don’t think any more training is going to increase your survivability in a DGU outside of GSW care or similar med training. Plenty of completely untrained people successfully defend themselves every year and plenty of ooh-rah ubertrained jackasses hurt themselves every year.

    As much as the larping punisher adorned threepers wish it so the vast majority of us wont be going to war. Civil or otherwise.

    Keep your head up and avoid stupid people, stupid places and stupid things. You’ve just reduced your chances of being in a self defense scenario 99.9%.

    All that said I wouldn’t mind reviews of training courses and instructors we’ve all experienced. I know I’ve wasted money on some very questionable “instructors” over the years.

  7. If you read about DGU’s, you see that many are carried out by people who don’t have tacticool training…they just have a firearm and the will to use it to defend themselves. Okay, so dumb luck might be a factor in some unknown percentage of DGU’s. We need more examples of DGU’s and enough information on each to reasonably assess the success or failure of the incident. That may be hard to come by, but DGU’s need to be studied more intensively in order to better assess what “Training” could be most beneficial.

    In the present “real world”, you have 80+ year old Grandmothers successfully defending against much younger thugs with a snub nose .38, and supposedly “highly trained” LEO’s perpetrating bad shoots against unarmed “suspects” time and again. Why is that? Training has value, but the theories and hypotheses of firearms training appear deeply disconnected from reality and highly over sold as a “magic answer”.

  8. What are you training for? If you are training for something that has a near zero chance of happening you are wasting your time. If you are training for the wrong scenarios you may actually be worse off than not taking the training at all. Unless you are a LEO or security professional a good defensive pistol course and plenty of practice is probably all you need to successfully defend yourself against a mugger or in your home. That and having the right mindset.

    • That depends entirely on where you live, and your demographic. For millions of Americans, the likelyhood of facing a violent attack in their lifetimes is 100%.

      • In a country of 330 million 1% is millions. A majority of violent crime occurs in maybe 200 zip codes. There are 42000 zip codes.

  9. It’s good to have aspirations to be as well-trained as you can possibly be.

    It’s also good to have a full-time job in order to pay for things like mortgages, cars, food, water, electricity, and of course guns and ammo. The odd vacation is nice too. And let’s not forget kids, if you have them they can be wonderful but definitely add complications and constraints. The question is one of balance of priorities. Make your choices, live with the consequences.

    In other words … welcome to real life.

  10. No one should reject training if they have the means and resources but talking about training won’t do one much more good than talking guns and gear. I believe just personal training- keeping one’s self in decent physical condition would be almost as good as other training besides being able to clear the weapon without dropping it, shooting yourself, and printing well on the target, what ever that may be. My dog and I run about 5 1/2 miles most days, even winter and we’re both about the same “age”- me 66 and she nearly 10. Working range of motion exercises as well. Chances are any cretin I may be pitted against will be younger but I’m pretty confident I can shoot better and given the chance, just outrun him/her/it. Less paperwork and legal bills that way.

    Which brings to mind: How many of you have thougth through exactly what you’ll do if you’re driving in the city and a masked Antifa jerk decides to yank you from your car and womp on you just because you happen to be white/older(mature)/male? I’m concerned about the already-unhinged left going completely bonkers when their blue wave turns red and the big city mayors still want their cop forces to stand down. Training of the mind is most important, coming up with a mental plan is usually more vital than the physical if one doesn’t have the mindset or will to put it into place. Crazy times.

    • Well, the obvious defense for an older white guy who finds himself stuck at an ANTIFA rally is to self-identify as a short Asian woman until the rally is over. What thugs would get caught on camera beating a short Asian woman?!?

      • ‘Ames
        Iowa’s other obvious out of state cesspool.’

        I can just see it painted on the water towers…

        • Well- I play gigs in downtown Des Moines (you know- “where the first word is DUH”) and walk with other musicians to their cars between 10:30-11:00 pm on Fri and Sat nights. (Backing a Led Zepplin cover band tonight.)

          Have yet to encounter anything other than some panhandlers and I don’t have a problem slipping them a buck or two- look ’em right in the eye. Still, the majority of musicians heading to where we park are chicks, I worry about it but it’s probably good I’m there in the midst. Worst part is most of the chicks would absolutely freak out if they had a clue I was packing… Brainwashed idiots.

        • Legal bar carry is one of the benefits of living in Iowa.

          You’d think that after Mollie Tibbetts and the ISU golfer (who’s name is too long for anyone to remember) you’d think that young women would get the epiphany that there’s a good chance that if they’re attacked that nobody is going to be there to save them. That panhandler might just want a couple bucks from you, but his intentions toward the ladies might be much different.

    • I wouldn’t say “lots” unless you can back that up with some statistics rather than one or two anecdotal examples… What you imply is pure BS. On the other hand, lots of couch potatoes and overweight, sedentary gun owners (and others) do die each year from heart attacks, strokes, complications from diabetes and a raft of other totally-preventable reasons. Watching folks waddle around at the gun shows makes me cringe- a fair number can barely get their arms up over their heads and would have a hell of a time getting up off the floor if they fell or were knocked down. The stats on American obesity are pretty well established. Using one’s thumbs on their cell phone or remote control isn’t exercise…

      It wouldn’t be so bad if only the adults were in this condition but of course their kids take after them as well.

      • Chill Craig. We don’t need no stinking statistics if everyone knows about someone this happened to. And we all do. But if you don’t then you need more friends.

        • Perhaps, but I cannot believe the absolute nose-dive in American fitness from when I was a kid. Obesity was an anomaly then, now it’s nearly the norm. As Ann Coutler said: “We’re amusing ourselves to death…”

      • Actually the “hyper fit” folks are near the top of the list for cardiac events and stroke. There was a whole article about it over on Breach, Bang & Clear after one of them had a stroke.

        It’s essentially an overuse injury.

        • So now, I take it- being able to run 5 1/2 miles makes one hyper-fit? I suppose just regular exercise would, too, in the minds of the couch potato. In that sense, I suppose some poor schnook who tries to run 50-100 rounds through their various handguns per week along with more through rifles will statistically make him/her/it more prone to ND or actually shooting one’s self… Hard to argue that if you handle a firearm you’ll be more likely to injure yourself with it than if you never handle one, even if it’s only an M-1 thumb. Think the CDC used to spout that.

          Again, things have certainly changed over my lifetime…

      • the “waddle around/can barely get their arms up over their heads” masses is why we still have the 2nd. These folks (and old timers) would be defenseless without personal firearms. This is the mass market that has stopped the euro progs in their tracks.

  11. What no one is pointing out here is that MOST (yes, MOST) of this “training” available from tactical Bob with his shaved head and Glock isn’t based on anything other than what this marginally-employed “expert” has made up. Spend a few hours on Youtube watching even the supposedly “serious” ones. Lots of comical forward rolls, guys turtling their head so far down in their shoulders there’s no way they can have a clear sight picture, the Yeager guy even has people punching bags on the ground and then shooting at point blank range after the attacker has been subdued. Much of it would land you in prison were you to carry it out in sane society. Many of these people live with their parents or were only barely employed beforehand. I take as a first requirement of my trainer that he or she has first proven they can handle the stresses of real life. Long before you will have to defend yourself with a 360 degree scan you will have to be able to hold a job. I am sure there are a few serious people with experience in law enforcement, but even they are training for something a normal person won’t typically encounter because they are required by their jobs (God bless them) to initiate encounters. A civilian who initiates encounters will likely end up prosecuted and rightly. Take a moment and think about it. A guy is telling you he is an “expert” on defensive encounters when he spends ALL day making videos or chatting on the internet. He is an expert in Cheetos and mall cop talk.

    • Are you talking about Greg Ellifritz? Because he is a bonafide badass, in the best possible way. He knows his stuff, he lives and breathes it, and he can do it all. And he does. He is one of the rare guys I respect for his knowledge and skills.

      • Ehhhh….well I wasn’t picking on him specifically, but he is the one who lists “attending Burning Man” as one of his credentials. I didn’t do that.

  12. I generally agree with this sentiment, but if someone goes to a plain old square range a few times a year to punch paper they’re probably already better “trained” than the average thug. And there are countless examples of successful DGUs where no one had any formal training. And there are numerous “trainers” running McDojos out there who will give you little of practical value for the typical civilian defensive situation in exchange for your time and money.

    • Betting your life on such a low skill level is problematic, to say the least. You’re fine… until you’re not.

      Nothing wrong with being lucky AND good. I just wouldn’t want to bet on JUST being lucky.

      It’s not the odds, after all – it is the stakes!

  13. Good lord, it’s the charge of the “only read the headline” brigade in here… The quote from the article doesn’t even include the word “training” – just the TTAG-written headline. The article makes no sales pitches. It’s just a guy saying “hey, I was a cop, bad stuff happened once, remember to take some time to learn to use your gear.” That’s not bad advice, and it’s not pushing a class or law or any other words-in-his-mouth nonsense you all have added above.

    I propose a variation of his saying: it’s cool to talk about gun articles and writers. It’s cooler to read the damn source material before you do it…

    • Cops tend to run into situations most of us run away from. I understand his perspective but it isn’t the perspective most of us have. Same with military experienced traners. They train as part of a team. That’s why you only have to shoot 40% on the Combat Pistol Q-Course to qualify. You don’t have to do the job on your own

      • The Lord is good. And speaking of religion Cz, do try and stay on topic. The truth about God is a different website.

      • The story was about something he saw as a cop, not something to do with police training. Again, people took off with their expectations of what a headline meant, I pointed out that the actual quote had nothing to do with the thing they were crusading against, and now someone has apparently taken my word for what was in the article at the easily-accessible link above and again completely missed the point. I tried to inject some sense so people would stop doing the same stop-at-the-headline thing that all the anti-gun numbskulls do to us, but I guess it’s more universal than I gave it credit for. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to sit back and wait for someone else to chastize me that it’s off-topic to discuss medieval warfare here because I used a figure of speech.

  14. We’re guys. Talking and buying shit is what we do.

    As for training. Safe handling of your chosen gadget is much more important than any ‘tier one’ training. We handle our gadgets much more often than we actually use them.

  15. I’d love to know what people include in their gear bag for target shooting. I had my first squib (name brand factory load) and had no tools to clear it. In fact, I had to google the process just to make sure I wasn’t damaging the handgun. If i hadn’t brought 2 weapons my range day would have been cut short. I’m including a hardwood dowel and a small hammer from now on.

    • When I go to the range I usually have quite a few guns to review. Sometimes I’m able to take a personal gun as well. I typically have platform or caliber-specific range bags plus a toolbox that lives in the truck. Also, tourniquet, QuikClot, and other items in an IFAK. But yes, my toolbox is always there. It’s taken a long time to collect those tools and now I’m working on a second set.

      • “I typically have platform or caliber-specific range bags plus a toolbox that lives in the truck. ”

        At my local shooting gallery, if you suffer a malfunction that requires tools (or field stripping) to clear, you are asked to leave the area. Intent is to avoid someone committing an ND while “fiddlin'” with a firearm. So, people usually bring more than one firearm.

    • IMO, for CCW, training provids learning of new/improved skills. Practice prevent one from becoming rusty. I CCW train once a year, practice drills monthly, practice dry fire weekly, and practice drawing and SA daily. This is how I make my luck.

  16. I have a safe full of guns and “stuff” that I take to the range for giggles, but I carry one gun and know how to use it. That’s training enough. We’re not trying to capture Fallujah.

    I’m not down on training. I do it. It’s fun. Expensive fun. Well, most fun is expensive. But most training is not necessary.

  17. The picture screams all kinds of wrong to me. Obviously it’s staged, but it’s done poorly.
    The hand-to-temple block is fine for unarmed fighting, but it would do nothing to stop a knife held in the attacker’s right hand from going into his neck. The defender is in a retention stance and has no visible holster, so he’s had time to clear his cover garment, draw, get to a high retention position, and his clothes return to normal. That shows he recognized a threat and had time to draw and pause before the attacker got close, but he’s hasn’t fired yet. Even if he fires now, he’s going to get at least one hilt depth stab wound to the gut or chest unless he uses his gun hand to block, but he’s out of position to do it. He’s protecting his gun and taking potentially lethal damage. His first priority should be the knife. All in all, it looks like someone who waivered instead of taking decisive action, and then either failed to recognize the threat or chose the address a lesser threat in a poor manner. I think I’ll look elsewhere for training.

  18. Training is good and someone with a Blacker Black Belt has a better chance of coming out on top then the guy with a yellow belt. That’s the physical part, however someone who’s a true gunfighter will beat them. Even if all that guy does for exercise is eat chips and play fast draw

      • You are an absolute meathead. Unfortunately, the gun community is full of fools like yourself. Who do you think will drive better? A 17 year old pimply faced geek that just got his license or a nascar driver who has been “trained” in high performance driving? Who do you think will fare better in a fight, the lard ass couch potato or the ufc champion who “trains” on a regular basis. Gunfighting is no different. You cannot replace lack of skill with equipment and expect to survive. What a moron!

        • “You cannot replace lack of skill with equipment and expect to survive.”

          Tens of thousands of successful DGUs every year, by untrained people means nothing?

  19. The professional training community has a problem. They would to love to train you in using an expensive firearm. A glock, Sig, ruger or a CZ are all ok to be trained in using for Self-defense.

    But not a Hi Point. Not any 32 caliber or smaller hand gun. Call your local trainer and ask them if they will train you in using a Hi Point or a Bond Arms Derringer??

  20. Based on the picture, the big guy with the gun is about to die from a knife would in the heart. He is wide open.
    He’d better fire several shots into the “assumed bad guy” with the dark glasses, hoodie and ball cap.
    His left arm is blocking a right hook, he should have been stepping back as he was pulling the trigger.

  21. So, I scrolled through the comments and only found a few and I have to ask: What is the context of this picture? Like, what is going on? Is the guy on the left the ‘good’ or ‘bad’ guy? If he is the good guy, how did this situation go down?

    Mugger: Hey, look at this giant guy who is taller and more muscular than me. He will make a great mugging target! How should I do this? Come up behind him? No! Got it! Walk up to him, pull my knife with my off hand, and take a swing at him with my main hand. It’s genius!

    Maybe cocaine is a hell of a drug, I don’t know.


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