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Earlier today, TTAG took the Texas Defensive Shooting Academy [not shown] to task in an Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day award. Our post was based on a report by re: a negligent discharge where a firearms instructor shot another instructor three times. The TDSA contacted TTAG to point out that the instructors were not TDSA employees; they worked for a company that rented the range. I asked the owner for a statement. He forwarded me this news story from The publisher granted us permission to republish it to clarify the events surrounding the ND. TTAG apologizes for any and all misrepresentations in the earlier article . . .

FERRIS –A helicopter airlifted an accidental shooting victim to a hospital from the Texas Defensive Shooting Academy in Ferris on Sunday evening. At 6:10 p.m., the Dallas County sheriff’s office received a call of a shooting at the range on Wolf Springs Road and dispatched a CareFlite helicopter to nearby Ferris High School. According to Len Baxley, owner, of the gun range, the injured man was transported to Charlton-Methodist Hospital in Dallas where he was reported to be in stable condition. The victim, whose name has not been released, is expected to make a full recovery in time. The accident occurred when Saulius Sonny Puzikas [link added, photo above] decided to run a live fire exercise in a shot house.

Since Sept. 1993, Puzikas has been president and chief instructor of Russian Combat Academy, Sarasota, Fla.

Throughout the day, instructors took students, one at a time through a shot house where they would engage targets with live fire.

The last student of 42 had completed the training exercise just as it was getting dark.

According to witnesses, Puzikas had been momentarily distracted when he began the run.

Unknown to him, one of his instructors was still inside when he opened fire with a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol, striking unaware instructor in the hand and twice in the abdomen.

He did not have a light on his gun and didn’t see the instructor.

Within less than three minutes, several students, some former Army and Special Forces medics began first aid and stabilized him.

According to Baxley, this was the first shooting mishap since the private-range was opened in 1995.

Baxley said he had rented the range for two days for the World Class training Puzikas offered.

“Students came for all over including Belgium. One student drove straight-through from Canada,” he said.

Puzikas resume states he provides highest level of instruction in all aspects of close quarters combat, as well as specific training for law enforcement, military and private security professionals.

Conducting intensive training seminars around the United States, Puzikas is of the most sought after instructors in the fields of firearms training, team tactics, Close Quarters Battle training and hand to hand combat training for Military and Law Enforcement, Puzikas, brings unique, non-western approach to the realm of armed/unarmed combat and how it can be represented in the realm of action scenes according to IMDB.

[TTAG ED: click here for Puzikas’ “Gospel of Violence”]

From 1988-1991, Puzikas worked with the USSR Military as operator in special purpose unit (Spetsnaz) in USSR MVD received extensive specialized training in small unit special tactics, urban and mountainous terrain warfare, crowd/ riot control, small arms (domestic and foreign), demolitions, survival in hostile environment and armed/unarmed CQB.

Former Spetsnaz soldier Saulius “Sonny” Puzikas teach the “Systema: Hand to Hand” and the “Force on Force: Urban Gunfighting” seminars. He has been featured on Discovery Channel’s “Weaponology,” Spike TV’s “Deadliest Warrior,” and the smash hit video game “Call of Duty: Black Ops.” Puzikas has become one of the most sought after instructors on Russian Weapon Systems and the Russian Martial Arts.

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  1. This is an example of why ANY initial news report must be taken with a grain of salt and verified. As Oscar Wilde once told a reporter:”I rely upon you to misrepresent me.”

  2. This has been discussed at great length on various LE/MIL forums. Trainer/Shooter isn’t highly regarded and the consensus is surprise that it took so long for this to happen.

    • Yep, and “consensus” = competing firearms instructors.

      From the written word of the actual range owner, looks like they ran a class that followed decent rules up until the end of the day. Daylight was running out (gone?) and Sonny maybe just went a little too fast before validating the shoot house was clear.

      It only takes one simple mistake with safety. It’s very easy to criticize over the web from the safety of your easy chair.

      • I’d have liked a bit more info about just who decided it was a good idea to hang out inside a shoot house which was being used for live fire? I mean, the guy we’re hassling is the boss, he’s responsible. But if I were involved in such training, the speed with which I would be out of that building when my turn was over would astonish you. I mean, you might get shot! 3 times!

    • But you are here commenting…so the goblins that live under the bridge must have given you faulty directions huh? Thats the only reason I can think of that you made you way here since you dont follow the site.

      TTAG-Thank you for the prompt clarification on the previous story. The whole situation sounds terrible. Wishing the victim a speedy recovery.

    • TTAG is a blog, not a news organization per se.

      We base our posts on various sources.

      We don’t take everything at face value, but we do get caught out from time to time. When we get it wrong we issue a retraction and revisit the story to provide more accurate information.

      More than this we cannot do.

      • And I appreciate your response. My irritation mainly stems from tdsa being the only range I frequent. False reports suggesting the owner’s ineptitude have very negative connotations. This is the only place near Dallas that supports tactical shooting. The unfortunate events that took place there last week merely emphasize that even very qualified shooters need to stay vigilant in their safety efforts.

  3. Farago’s quick response to such erroneous initial reports and the professionalism it shows is one of the things that keep me checking this site several times a day. I wish that the liberal consensus of the major media admit their bias and ignorance and attempt to correct it.
    It was the initial news report that was in error for failing to get the story right in the first place, not TTAG’s for passing it on.

  4. Spetznatz, the only military unit I know of that expects a 110% casualty rate on training exercises. And pray you don’t wind up in a place where you have to count on them for extraction. The Beslan school or the theater in Moscow.

    But if you need the essential skill of throwing shovels while you’re backflipping over a fire then Spetznatz is your outfit.

  5. We all screw up from time to time. You did, you admitted you did, and apologized promptly. Can’t ask for much more than that.

  6. Accidents can AND do happen… luckily, there were people on hand who knew what to.

    But yeah, Saulius Sonny Puzikas… that guy is pretty bad ass.

  7. Unlike our SF units, Russia places conscripts into Spetznaz units. I don’t know anything about his service, and I don’t want to denigrate anyone’s service, but there are important distinctions between how US and former-Soviet SF units are organized and trained. One thing I will say for the USSR – they weren’t afraid to beat the crap out of their guys in the process of training, and there’s a lot to be said for physical and mental toughness. Those guys have that in spades.

  8. Man, this is bad. Bad for the guy who got gutshot, and bad for Sonny Puzikas, who was already bad in a good way. I never trained with the dude, but I’ve seen him on the tube a couple of dozen times. He seems like a serious guy and I always enjoyed his commentaries.

  9. Throughout all of this, I continue to wonder… WTF is the guy in the picture doing? Is he demonstrating some kind of bad-ass Spetznaz boot-based technique for applying pressure to two field dressings simultaneoushly?

    • Also, I find it strange and confusing that Ralph posted a serious comment which I immediately followed with a humorous one.

  10. As far as I can tell, Sonny is extremely reckless basically all the time. In his Panteo video, he flags his camera man with a loaded and hot weapon multiple time. I have a friend smitten by Systema and Sonny, and at the last training seminar he went to with Sonny the students held real pistols to each others heads to practice disarms. Sonny himself held a real weapon to my friend’s head as part of a demonstration.

    My friend thought it was great. I tried to explain why we don’t forsake the firearm safety rules because we’re “big boys”, especially with a group of mostly untrained civilians (he’s prior Marine Infantry, currently in the Q-Course) but he would have none of that. And now Sonny has gunned down a friend of his because of his recklessness and complete disregard for safety.

    • Exactly my thoughts when i heard it was Sonny. After seeing his videos, i’m not suprised at all. A massive ND was inevitable given his massive disregard for safety.

      To all you idiots who criticize “safety sallies”, this is exactly what will happen to you. It’s just a matter of time.

  11. This is why I sell a lot of airsoft pistols and rifles. The blow back versions weigh and function just like a “real” gun but do not have such dire consequences if there is a accident.

  12. Just for general information, the truth about guns is that they are a tool like any other. Guns are not the problem, irresponsible people with no self control are. I’ve been shooting since I was 5 years old. I learned how to operate, clean, and use a firearm from my Dad and Grandfather. I was also taught the ethics of firearms.

    Never point a gun at someone unless you intend to kill them.
    Never intend to kill someone unless you are your family’s life is in immediate danger.
    Always show respect towards guns and people.
    Teach your children early about how to live as responsible people.
    Never kill an animal you don’t intend to eat.

    The problem is that people don’t teach these things to their kids anymore. They never learn that actions have consequences and a moment of thought is worth a lifetime of action.

  13. It wasn’t an accident, it was negligent. He fired without identifying his target? Any time you break one of the four rules, it’s immediately farking obvious why it’s one of the rules. No light on his gun? Didn’t check to make sure the house was clear? A real pro we’re dealing with here. I hope he feels really badass for doing the shoot house in the dark..

    RE:Sid Fein
    The Ethics are important true, but it’s pretty hard to shoot someone if you follow the four rules which I know I don’t need to post here.

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