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Hex Tactical training at Best of the West range in Liberty Hill, Texas (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

There are two extremes in the self-defense gun world: paper punchers and tactical operators. Paper punchers are newbies with no real interest in learning the art of armed self-defense. If they face a lethal threat they’ll aim the gun at the bad guy and, if needs be, pull the trigger. To prepare for that eventuality they visit the range every once in a while—to make sure the gun works and they can hit what they’re aiming at. Maybe. I’m OK with that. Why wouldn’t I be? The majority of [non-hunting] gun owners are paper punchers; the more of them there are, the safer our gun rights. Tactical types, on the other hand . . .

are also OK with me. Why wouldn’t they be? It’s a [mostly] free country. If Americans want to invest large amounts of time and money to wear military spec gear and learn the silent but deadly skills of Special Operations-types, gopher it! That said, all that molle gear looks a bit silly, pseudo-military exercises scare the gun rights fence sitters and it’s unnecessary—right until it isn’t.

Yes, there is that. If the S really does H the F the high-speed, low-drag (HS/LD) types might come in handy. Anyway, I’m sensing a move away from both square range paper punching and tactical gymnastics. A move towards something . . . real. As in really useful for armed self-defense.

Having surveyed some of the firearms training in the Austin area, having done so behind enemy lines in the gun-averse Northeast, I’m seeing a hunger for something more than standing still and shooting at paper but less than full-on anti-terrorist training. When a operator like the walrus-style guy at Phoenix Tactical Solutions says a drop-leg holster is a bit much for non-military personnel, you know it’s a trend.

Force-on-force training is gaining popularity, as are “advanced” pistol courses that teach skills a shooter might actually need in a defensive gun use. Skills like shooting from behind cover and concealment. Or shooting from the ground. Courses where students are encouraged to wear their normal clothes, use their everyday carry gun and figure out a way to Deny, Disrupt, Dissuade and Defend (as tdiinva reminds us in our Quote of the Day).

There will always be a market for the “good enough” shooter. And I don’t think James Yeager and the rest of the drop-leg holster crowd are going away any time soon. But there’s a coming together of the two worlds that will leave Americans better prepared to defend themselves and their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms.

What are you seeing out there in terms of training trends?

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  1. I think the dropleg, tacticool BLACKHAWK!thigh holster BS is just another trend which will soon, thankfully ,hit the dustbin of history.

    What wins fights is mindset and educated practice, not tactical beards and one handed pushups.

    • Damnit! I was so excited to use my “tactical beard” comment and you just whizzed all over my parade.

    • My beard isn’t a tacticool accessory, it’s a tactical deterrence device. I’ve won fights without even fighting. People see my size, my shaved dome, AND a godly beard, and they sheer off. I’ve seen it happen.

      Respect the beard, man.

    • My wife likes my beard. Nuff said. And back in the day when I worked outside in snow and harsh weather I liked my beard too.

    • My first holster was a drop leg holster… I bought it for my buckmark, I use it for rabbit hunting, I didn’t have my ccw and I didn’t want a felony of trying to conceal a weapon with a heavy winter coat. I used it on multiple rabbit hunts and a back up on a hog hunt before I bought a larger pistol.

    • I used a Blackhawk drop holster in Iraq and loved it, it did not interfere with my Tac-Vest, but I would look ridiculous walking through the mall or even going to the range looking like this. They do have their place, but outside of tactical maneuvers they are just silly.

  2. Spot on! No indoor range I know of will even allow you to practice drawing, concealed or otherwise. What good is that? I’m definitely of the paper puncher variety. The tacticoolest thing I have is a 10/22.

    • Which means you need to practice it at home with either an unloaded gun or better still a training gun that can never fire. Getting the gun out of the holster and into the fight is half the battle. You’ll never hit what you are aiming for if it takes too long for the gun to clear leather.

      I’d also recommend hooking up with IDPA/USPA shooters in your area. Drawing from a holster is a big part of those tournaments and those guys have to practice that skill somewhere. Maybe they know a range where you can do that.

    • Where do you live? Every indoor range (i.e. both of them) I’ve shot at over the past ten years has allowed holster drawing. They just require the shooter to pass a proficiency test first.

      • Don’t know where the OP lives, but this is (sadly) the general rule at every Bay Area range that I know of. Running a gun from the holster is only allowed during classes, ie under the supervision of an approved instructor.

        It sucks, and I hate it, because it means that I only get to do live fire from the holster 4-6 times/year. The rest is LaserLyte training at home, which is helpful but not quite the real thing.

        • This is true for public Bay Area ranges. Public. Although its not hard to become a member. To get the holster experience, you have to either check out Richmond Hot Shots IDPA/USPSA club or over in Concord, be a member and participate in Diablo Action Pistol. We have action pistol bays and there’s practice every Saturday and a monthly matches. Needless to say, I find it to be much more than the square public range experience, And every time I go to the range, a holster and mag carriers are involved.

  3. Let’s hope that more Americans are seriously thinking about all the aspects of self-defense; restoring our liberties is going to require citizens to recognize that their life, liberty, and property cannot be defended by ceding more power to the state for the purpose of security theater. The more antifragile Americans are, the better, because the government doesn’t look likely to fix itself any time soon.

  4. “And I don’t think James Yeager and the rest of the drop-leg holster crowd are going away any time soon.”

    Yes I know that Tactical Response’s signature course to the general public is the Contractor courses, but most people don’t realize that he has a pistol program that is tailored to the civilian CCW crowd.

    In fact if you ask James Yeager he will push people toward the pistol program first unless they are military (where the rifle is their primary weapon). Until recently (when Simunition expanded availability) they were also one of the few to offer civilian oriented Force on Force training.

    If you are willing to give Tactical Response a chance I highly recommend Fighting Pistol, The Fight, and Immediate Action Medical. In fact they come to a town near you twice a year, Bastrop, and the host is a great down to earth guy.

  5. With all due respect, James Yeager is definitely NOT in the Dropleg Holster crowd. He demands that his students train the way they live. The majority of his trainees are ordinary citizens who carry concealed, and that is the way he trains them. Yes, he offers some advanced tactical courses as well, but most of his students, and he himself, use standard concealed carry protocols all day, every day. I have never seen him ever use a drop-leg holster, and I have many training hours with him.

  6. I think I fall into this camp, and I happen to also be in Austin. Would be great to find some affordable force on force training for civilian types.

    • This is the very problem I was addressing in my post a few weeks ago. Training is either extremely basic and the minimum necessary for gaining legal status, or it is extremely advanced beyond what the average POTG needs or wants.

      I have done some follow up research in my area (northwest Washington) and as near as I can determine there are two facilities that offer serious training, but both come in right at the $1,000.00 range and a minimum of four days on site to complete. There is another right in Tacoma that offers a 4 hour Simunitions course aimed at real life defense scenarios and it is only $125.00 including the ammo. If I had the money I might try that one, but all that protective gear during the scenarios seems distracting to me. Still, as force on force it might be valuable to gain some insights as to how easy it is to get yourself killed.

      What is missing, other than the perfunctory Simunitions classes, are any places that are willing to teach self defense for the average Joe who just wants a reasonably priced course providing a basic idea of what to do in the most likely scenarios he is likely to face in real life. I see this as a serious gap in the training lineup.

      While getting hit with Simunitions may be an eye opener (and apparently hurts more than a little), I also think that Airsoft or lasers would serve the purpose, cheaper, and without all the cumbersome safety equipment. JMHO.

    • I’m actually the one that runs the training that RF attended last weekend. We teach every thing from “intro to defensive handgun” to “advanced low-light rifle/ shotgun engagements” As a 10 year police veteran, I have taught force on force to Law enforcement for years. I would love to teach some of these same courses to Civilians, but it’s amazing, when I tell people that sims rounds will break the skin, cause bad bruises and leave scars and cost close to $300 a day, they tend to lose interest.

  7. my training trend is that I have to balance a full work schedule with a house to maintain, a pregnant wife, and an extended family with health problems.

    sorry that I can’t afford to get all this buzzword-heavy tactical training in the meantime, or even begin to manage the costs of ammo to go with it.

    I guess I’ll just have to prepare to die if I ever have to draw my carry piece, because I didn’t take someone’s week-long jumping-around-corners course.

    • Jeff, I’m pretty sure you won’t die. As the great Yogi Berra once said, “Baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical”. Just my opinion, but shooting is very similar. The very fact that you are here reading stuff, makes you more aware of techniques and skills that the average nimrod shooting aluminum cans 4 times a year won’t know. You will also be ahead of the “gangsta” hoods that shoot their guns sideways. You can mentally practice when out with the family, look around and see what is nearby that is useful for cover, what can be used for concealment, and you probably already know the difference. Just being situationally aware is a giant leap above the typical person in a mall. I have left places, changed routes, altered schedules just because I felt uneasy about where I was. The ideal situation is you and your family leaving an area 10 minutes before the poop hits the ventilator, or being 4 blocks over when the street breaks out into a riot. We all train in our own way, but I’m pretty sure none of us wants to be in a gunfight for the same reason I hope I never need use of my fire extinguisher, my seat belt, my hard hat, my steel toed shoes, or my smoke alarms. DO I train with my fire extinguisher every week? Nope, but enough that I know how to use it, where it is located, and what it will do.

    • If there’s a single attacker, you might be okay. But if you get jumped by a gang of Talibaninjas, you are so screwed.

    • I mentioned local training in my comment above. In one case the $1,000 price tag was in large part due to the requirement that the student provide 600 round of hardball ammo to complete the course! And that didn’t include the 200+ rounds necessary to complete the two prerequisite courses before they allowed you to take the Defensive Handgun course. Not sure how, or if, they expect any average person to finance that.

    • LOL that is funny!

      You see these dudes getting some HS/LD type training, then read in the news about some granny fending off an intruder with a .38. Or an old dude with a Taurus .380 chasing off a couple would-be robbers at an internet cafe. Or the slightly nerdy fellow in Tulsa who ventilated a dude he found in his house.


    • I’m in the same boat as you, I can’t justify spending that kind of time or money on training. I try my best to practice and remain proficient with my firearms through dry practice when I have the opportunity (mostly when my 3yro son is taking his afternoon nap). I am also fortunate enough to have a laser simulator training facility some what close to me, which is very affordable and fairly effective. It does have some limitations, but its way better than nothing. if you are on a budget as I am, and you are lucky enough to be near such a facility, it might be worth looking into. I was very impressed. Here’s a link to the place I’ve been to, with a description of the simulator training.

  8. James Yeager is a walking, talking stereotype. I don’t care how well spoken he (finally) came off when he (finally) cooled his jets last time. The tacti-tools may seem goofy to many of us, but they don’t deserve to be lumped in with Yeager. He’s in his own class of dip-shittery.

    Also, I do want to throw out there that while I would never wear a DLH in public (those people remind me of the folks that wear vampire teeth while they’re running errands), I do like them at the range. For whatever reason it seems to make it much easier to carry a handgun back and forth. I still feel a bit silly though.

    Lastly – Robert, the Southern 3 of the Northeast may not be gun friendly, but you’ll find that Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine are as free & friendly as you can get. In fact, all three are as free as Texas, and have always been, given that Texas was a no-issue CC state until 1995.

    • And i might add that Vermont and NH are Constitutional Open Carry states (you do need a permit to carry concealed in NH, but Open Carry is fine), something that the Lone Star State sadly continues to restrict. Hell, you would have gotten a more gun rights just driving a couple of hours North from RI than you did driving a couple days South West.

      • I believe Vermont is also the only state that’s always been permit free CC. I prefer NH because it’s also a low tax state and honestly, I have trouble complaining about a $10 zero hassle concealed carry permit.

        • I may be wrong, but I am almost positive Arizona is a Constitutional carry state too, where you AZ I.D. is basically your carry permit, open or concealed.

    • Dip-shittery. I love that, and will be shamelessly stealing it for my own personal use. Please provide an address to which I may send royalty checks.

  9. Each to his or her own, but I’ve never seen the utility in a drop leg holster. You sidearm is now too low far quick deployment in a transition.

    If space is an issue, put the FAK on the thigh, and your side arm where it can be unholstered much more quickly.

    • Robocop didn’t seem to have any issues with quickly drawing from HIS thigh holster, and HE had to go through doors to get it done.

    • They definitely have their uses depending on quantity and type of gear carried, especially for smaller persons with limited space on a belt.

      That’s from a law enforcement perspective. Military or HSLD types may have gear storage options on plate carriers or the like.

      • Maybe my waist is too long and my arms too short, but for me a drop leg holster means actually bending over to unholster, I can lean to that side to draw, but it’s still upper body movement that is required.

        • To properly wear a drop leg your fingertips should be able to reach the muzzle of the gun/bottom of holster while standing normally. If you are having to bend to even reach the gun you are wearing it way lower than it was designed for.

          I run mine slightly lower than recomended with the grip of the pistol at my wrist when standing normally with my arm hanging naturally.

    • Every “shootist” in every old western carried his pistol (or in the case of Sharon Stone, her pistol) in a drop leg thigh holster. Perhaps not as low as the tacticool variety popular today, but certainly not at belt level.

      As noted, if you want to use one (open carry only, obviously) it would be necessary to make sure it was at exactly the right height for your arms and body shape. If you have to adjust yourself to grab the pistol you either have not properly adjusted the equipment or you bought something too cheap to allow proper adjustments.

      • Yes, every hollywood shootist. Forgive me if I wish not to model anything I do after the hollywood experts.

      • Hmmm, ya’ll need to step it up, drop-leg holsters are definitely *not* tacticool anymore. Those are so… 2004? They haven’t been fashionable for a while, since people noticed they weren’t particularly great to run in. I think plate carrier/chest rig mounted holsters (11-o-clock, pointed down, not high on the chest) are currently in style.

      • It’s worth noting, I think, that Wyatt and Morgan Earp did not use gun belts and holsters. They typically carried their handgun(s) stuck in their pants-waist (Mexican carry) or in a coat pocket. Wyatt had the two main pockets of his typical overcoat lined with rubber to protect the metal and the primer/powder.

      • There were scenes in “Shane” and “Quigley Down Under” that addressed the problems in wearing a holster too low.

    • When you’ve got armor, coms, hydration, food, ammo (personal) ammo (SAW) demolition, weapon(s), medical, and mission specific gear to stow somewhere on your body you tend to get creative with where it all goes. Also, loads of weight on the shoulders and the sheer bulk of armor (and it’s position) can make drawing from a belt level holster very difficult. There is also the whole layers thing. Typically you’d want to be able to put on and remove everything but your sidearm without one snagging on the other or the pistol coming off with some other set of gear. The drop leg holsters have their merits, they just start looking silly with you have no other gear on.

  10. A half dozen friends and I have recently joined IDPA. Were all in our early/mid twenties. Have a few females friends expressing interest. It’s more exciting than indoor range shooting, requires almost no extra equipment to get started, and all the clubs we have shot with have been VERY open to our noob-ness. We enjoy comparing our scores against each other, some have turned it into a game. I still wear my hybrid iwb holster and shoot in jeans and a T-shirt. Its what I usually carry in. We describe your article to a t, and that it what we’ve been doing. Been talking some 2 and 3 gun down the road.

  11. I like thinking outside the box. Having access to very rural forest a few miles away, I like shooting from inside my truck or car. If you can, try it. It’s very challenging.
    (special note, an AUG will chip the inside of your windshield from flung brass)
    Make a mock desk with chair and shoot from there.
    Just visualize where you are throughout the day, what you are doing and set that scenario up. Stand on the line holding a grocery sack or box. Drop it and draw.
    Take a cup with lid, like a 16 oz coffee. throw it at the face of your 2 yard away target while slide stepping back then draw and fire.
    Integrating stuff like that makes having fun shooting even more fun.

    • I’ve been meaning to do the same, but thought about the windshield factor as well.

      now what I really want to do next summer is take my Wrangler down to just the roll bar – windshield down and all, and do some long-range and on-the-move “technical” stuff with a friend riding in the back.

      I think it would be pretty fun to rig up a clamping mount for my RPK and set that up on the roll bar.

    • +1000 Tom. Most of my handgun training is done on such makeshift ranges with props. The closer you can make the range to the real world places your frequent and the actual situations your in the better the training is. If you train like a soldier but never wear battle rattle or carry a rifle fight from a two man ready position you’re not learning anything useful for a civilian CCW pistol packer.

  12. Hey RF when you visit joizy for the debate you should try to make your way out to heritage guild in easton pa (about an hour and ten min from princeton) they just opened their tactical range and have alot of different rentals so no need to risk arrest from being armed in nj. From what I’ve read it looks like moving targets. Since I’m still a paper punching newb I’ve yet to go but fully intend on doing so at some point after working on the basics and accuracy some more. I feel like I would struggle with target acquisition on a range with moving targets.

    • Thanks for the update on Heritage Guild range. I drive by within 200 yards of the place everyday on my way to work. Unfortunately my work is in NJ, so I can’t risk carrying any firearms in the car with the idea of shooting after work on my way home. I might try a rental though, that would work for me. I was there about a year ago, they just had the standard range with lanes to shoot at targets. I’ll be checking it out soon.

  13. All training is good. But anyone who peruses “Guns Save Lives” on a regular basis will find that almost none of the good guys had any training beyond what was need to obtain their CHLs, yet they won their gunfights. In many of those cases, the bad guys could not be even the slightest bit deader.

    So training is good, very good, but better still is the determination not to be a victim and the having correct tool in your hands.

    • It should be extremely obvious, but needs to be stated anyway, that in general the bad guys have neither sought nor received ANY kind of training. Except in instances of gang violence I strongly suspect that they don’t really believe they will ever need it. They fully expect that their attitude, demeanor and the brandishing of their gun (sideways) in your face will get them everything they want without having a gunfight. This is obvious in every video you see when they are confronted with an armed victim. In the majority of those cases it is their obvious desire to be somewhere else as quickly as their little feets can carry them, NOT to engage in and win a gunfight. We, the POTG, do not necessarily have that option and so we must make SOME effort to learn how to engage in and win an armed confrontation. One of the things that makes this site so extremely valuable!

  14. Practice basic marksmanship. Didn’t a little Finnish guy cause the Russians bunch of trouble with a Mosin Nagant?

    I’m not saying that all the tacticool training is a bad thing, it’s just not always a necessity. I can’t see myself in a situation where I would need those skills anytime soon.

    I can clear my own house, I’m not kicking in doors in a warzone.

    • The Red Army could certainly have benefitted from a little bit of tacticool training in those battles. Instead Stalin and the generals thought they could rely on their massive numbers of expendable troops rather than intelligent tactics. Damn shame for all those poor soldiers, on both sides.

    • The Mosin he was using didn’t have much more than the receiver in common with the ones the Russians were carrying.

  15. First public range in New Jersey just opened a simunition shoot house and is offering classes.

  16. I’m closer to a paper puncher than an operator. The main barrier in going from one to the other is time and money, especially as I have mostly lived in urban and suburban areas since I became a gun owner. Still, most criminals aren’t even paper-punchers, and tend to have crappy guns poorly maintained, so I have some advantages at least.

    • You’re spot on about the time and money. It’s not that the average person needs anything like that level of training to be competent for self defense. You have to love doing it or have a professional need to train to the HS/LD level. Look at the FBI numbers, most ‘gunfights’ take place so close and so fast cover and movement have nothing to do with it, it’s stand and deliver and who ever does it faster and with accuracy wins.

  17. Meh on the tactical training. I’d rather practice for 3 gun and USPSA. I think if more of “us” competed vs the idea your prepping for the end we’d get a few more fence sitters to not think we gun owners are nutcases. It makes it easier to digest the “why”….sometimes I think that’s a lot of the reason why hunters get a pass…most people understand why hunters own guns. I know my own brother in law was very unhappy when I bought my first handgun…now that I shoot “matches” and practice, he is far more comfortable with it. He could digest the idea that I own guns because of the sport, vs for self defense.

    Not that the 2nd amendment needs anyone’s approval.

    • You’d be surprised how useful tactical courses can be in skills development for 3-gun. I just took Costa’s Carbine 01 class last week and it absolutely developed my knowledge and ability in many areas directly relevant to competition.

      Carbine 02, on the other hand, is more focused on working in pairs/teams and rifle/pistol transitions, so I feel it would be less directly beneficial in a competitive context.

  18. I look at the tactical training as a hobby. It’s fun, you’re learning a skill set and you’re probably never going to actually use it (until you do, like RF implies). I’ve also thought of it as “modern” martial arts (Martial=Military). I do think that if you CC a pistol, then you should probably lean more heavily towards pistol classes than Secret Squirrel Carbine Training. However, it doesn’t hurt to take those classes either. Just be aware that if the SHTF that it’s going to take more than speed reloads and malfunction clearing to see you through the storm.

  19. I don’t like the drop leg holster. Makes it far too difficult to respond to the call of nature. Also, they are very uncomfortable when you have to run as they shift around your leg. Everyone I’ve ever seen wear them is constantly adjusting it when the sit, when they stand, when they walk, when the run.

    In Iraq and Afghanistan I wore a paddle holster at four o’clock where it was comfortable and it fit very well below my armor and easily reached at all times unless you’re in a vehicle. The side arm is a last ditch self defense weapon. I found no need for it to be on the leg.

    • +1. I had a Safariland, and it didn’t take me long to get the straps shortened so I could wear it on my hip instead of my thigh.

    • I scrounged up an old military pilots chest holster. We had flak jackets which were only worn for inspections and Alice gear. No molle or real bullet resistent body armor.

      • Interestingly, a emergent practice among vehicle-centric patrol troops is to secure a pistol holster into a 2-mag rifle pouch on your chest rig or armor carrier. Sure, you give up 2 rifle mags, but it does provide good access to the pistol in anything but full prone. Kind of the modern version of the pilot holster.

    • Asked an instructor (former SEAL sniper) I take some classes from about the drop leg- to use for hunting, as a way to carry below where the backpack hip belt fits on waist. Said you’ll get sore hiking with it after only a mile or two.

  20. I haven’t looked for training yet. Regardless, I believe there is enough of a demand for “next level” training that I seriously plan to investigate it as a business. I agree that most people do not want full blown special forces training. I also agree that many people want more. That is why I am going to investigate constructing such a range and offering such training.

      • Well, I had thought about doing it near my home initially but I guess I could do it in just about any of the 40 (or is it 41 now) shall-issue states in the U.S.

        I would say where but I don’t want to provide personally identifiable information on the Internet. Although at this point I am questioning that idea because we all know that the NSA is tracking our activity and they already know who I am and where I am anyway. (For that matter the administrators of this site know where I live within about 30 miles simply based on my source IP address.)

        Is there a way to send private messages to specific contributors?

  21. If the Tacticools (TM) want to take on the terrorists, all the power to them. With my physical limitations, I am not up to the task, or for the training it would require, thank you very much. As an aside, the chances of them coming to my little town are slim to none, so preparing for a threat that is unlikely to materialize is a waste of money. So I’ll stick with my paper punching in the event some crackhead punk tries to strong arm me or my wife or attempts to burgle my house. The only thing I’ll miss out on–which I don’t think is available around here (or perhaps anywhere)–is shooting at moving targets with a handgun.

    • Mark, I recently discovered that a pistol with a laser trainer insert, or a SIRT pistol, are both great for training on moving targets while my dog is doing his evening patrol around the back yard after dark.

      $29 remote control trucks from Fry’s also work well, either for laser/dry fire practice or as range toys if you have private property to shoot on. First one to disable the truck instead of hitting the target it’s carrying buys the replacement. 🙂

  22. About as tactikewl as I’m likely to get would be to corral a feral walmart cart, throw a beater golf bag in and hang a 3 wood head cover on the muzzle of an M1 in the bag. Then trick the cart and me out as street folk. Do the wildebeest and look like the rest of the herd.

      • Likely more efficient but I’m thinking protective camouflage. Who looks twice at street peeps with grocery carts? I’m all for picking a shopping cart with wheels and bearings that work smoothly (can be pretty rare, no one pays to maintain the carts anymore…) If you want to blend in to a herd of wildebeest, don’t dress up as a thoroughbred. 😉

      • Jogging strollers with rifle/shotgun holders are a common sight at 3-gun competitions. The “seat” area is a dandy place to carry ammo and gear bag.

  23. This paper puncher got some real world, very useful training at Sand Burr Gun Ranch in Rochester IN, taking two very useful day long courses in snubbies. (Basic snubbie and advanced snubbie). Dennis Reichard and his daughter and son-in-law are top notch, patient instructors.
    The courses taught shoot from cover, rapid fire shooting, draw from holster, on the ground shooting, speed loader reloads, NY reload, hostage scenario, night shooting, etc.
    They even have a course in defensive use of the level gun that I took. (It is good for preppers and those who want to share ammo effectively to have a level gun chambered the same as their pistol, so my lever gun is a 1894C 357 Marlin.)
    Paper punching is OK, but serious instruction under the guidance of experts like those at Sand Burr Ranch make those who carry concealed better prepared and safer shooters.
    Hats off to the Reichards for supplementing my paper punching training.

    • Bruce – Two day class. After travel, lodging, meals, ammo, what was your actual per-person expense for this training? I would like to compare it with the similar training available in the northwest.

      • Actually, the courses are given as separate one day courses of about$150 each as I recall. Some times they are offered two days back to back, but I did not do that to have so e practice after basic snubbie.
        I did have a night of lodging each time as I wa driving from SE MI.

  24. How the hell do people manage “tactical” training? I see multi day courses with a cost 1k plus, not including travel, time off work, food, etc. How do you manage that, particularly several times a year?

    • Priorities. We all have hobbies. I take a few vacation days every year for Mustang Week. Spend a few nights in a decent hotel, and bs about a car I have a few too many thousand dollars sunk into. But I love the car and the friends I’ve made.

    • If you can afford a $1k gun (aka a mid-range AR or shotgun plus accessories/spares) then you should be able to save up the same amount within a year or two for training, including ammo. Priorities.

      I’ve come to believe that if you spend more than the purchase price of a decent gun on ammo without getting any training, you’re just dumping rounds down the tube for fun. This can be offset somewhat by using drills such as the ones at (highly recommended!) but the longer one goes without any decent training, the more likely one is to reinforce bad habits.

      • Oh, I’m going to ask the guy that did my CHL class for some basic instruction, but it won’t be something that requires me to drive a day+ each way, or shoot 1000 rounds or anything like that. I’m hoping for 1-2 hours at the range a couple times. Don’t know what he’ll charge–maybe 100ish, maybe 150; I’m waiting till I have a modern handgun rather than my old Walter P1 though.

  25. A rather forced article, IMO. Attempting to draw false lines of division. Like… who am I thinking of? Oh! The anti-gunners!

  26. I attended a two-day NRA Personal Protection Outside The Home course this past weekend at an outdoor range.

    It was one day of classroom work and practice and one day on the range drawing from concealment, shooting from behind cover, etc., etc. (about 200 rounds worth).

    Now, its back to the indoor range for my weekly 50 round regular practice session with my carry gun.

  27. Full on tacticool training is a waste of time and money for folks that aren’t going to work as security specialists or mercs. Real world training for us non military and non LEO is a good thing if you can find a reasonably priced option out there.

    When I have time to travel it’s usually some family oriented or obligation type trip. Being able to invest 3-4 days in the desert with an instructor and class just is low on the list of priorities for me, and I imagine for a lot of the family guys.

    • I agree 100%. Not only that, the people most likely to need this kind of training because they live in an urban gun free drug war zone, are also the least likely to have the $$.

      I am not “clearing my house” in the middle of the night.

      What I have personally found more informative are the dvds, articles, etc., by Massad Ayoob et al on what happens #after# you pull the trigger. Very sobering.

      • If you’re interested in what happens after you pull the trigger, read “On Killing” by Dave Grossman.

    • Having just done exactly that last week, I respectfully disagree. That said, I will admit that I’m not your typical paper-puncher, and I did conserve substantial cash by (1) waiting for a class within daily driving distance, and (2) running a very well tuned and reliable 5.45×39 AR to greatly reduce my ammo costs.

      Even so, my direct costs for this class including tuition, range fees, ammo and so forth probably hit $950. I decline to answer any questions regarding cash spent on magazines, gear and gizmos for this class on the grounds that my wife might find out…

  28. A 2:42 video telling me about a drop leg holster, without ever showing me one or showing how it works.

    • You’ve seen them on the news. Holster strapped on at mid-thigh. To me, an invitation to damage or loss if you really do indulge in the whole tactininja thing. To me a shoulder holster in public is the best compromise, especially if you make use of public restrooms. I can think of one or two instances to date of mouth-breathing TSA sorts putting their belt holstered piece on the TP rack and walking off, and at least one who let their belt holster hit the floor where it was promptly swiped from an adjoining stall. Just how fast are you going to leap to pursue in that scenario?

  29. ” the high-speed, low-drag (HS/LD) types might come in handy…”

    Perhaps, but the taticool training market is similar to the martial arts market… there are plenty of bullsh!t purveyors around with a shingle on their homepage and it’s difficult for a layperson to tell them apart from the ‘good’ ones without investing a great deal of time into research…

    • This is a market where lower price = greater risk for the consumer.

      Put another way, if you pay the premium for training from Vickers/Hayley/Costa et al, you are pretty much guaranteed high quality training with proven tactics and procedures. That’s been my experience, and it’s consistent with dozens of AARs I’ve read on carbine and pistol training courses.

    • Exactly…I’d damn sure ask to see some credentials before plunking down hundreds of dollars for a course and ask for some references from past students. Too many booger pickers passing themselves off as experts on this or that shooting discipline. Ask to see some trophies. And as far as all that goes, I know a guy with an ICORE and USPSA championship under his belt and he is a current corporate security trainer with all kinds of teaching/training creds and yet he is still a total effing idiot that I would not want to be around if he paid me.

  30. I shot IPSC years ago with the likes of Larry Vickers, Kyle Lamb and big Dave Harrington. Now those guys are getting big bucks teaching courses, doing TV shows and taking checks from sponsors. More power to them. Those guys back then were a little faster and a little more accurate than the average IPSC shooter. Nothing too special. Great guys to hang out with though. They obviously have been shot at by and shot back at bad guys in Iraq and Afghanistan. Something I thankfully have never had to go thru. I guess passing on their experience as warriors in spec ops is worth something to somebody. I’m too old to worry about that crap anymore and getting too old to do “tactical” training or shooting exercises like I see some of these jokers putting people thru. Most of the “training” I see being offered for $300 to $600 a day is nothing more than throwing a lot of lead down range at card board cut outs while some guy yells at you. I can’t see a lot of tactical knowledge and experience being gained from shooting card board with an M4 at 25yds. To each his own and I guess there is a market for that sort of thing. Me, I go to the range 2-3 times a week and shoot pistol, rifle, carbine and shot gun as much as I can afford to.

  31. You’ll be pleased to know I don’t use a dropleg,

    I mount that sh*t right on my plate carrier! Tacticool FTW!

  32. I agree with people who URGE others to train but I am getting pretty annoyed by the “you’re an idiot if you don’t train” guys. While some won’t come right out and say it, I’ve seen the attitude on here and in public more times than I can count.

    Yes, training is a good thing. I get this, as do others. We do however live in a world of political pandering and agenda driven lawmaking, one where it may not be the best idea to scare off the fence sitters… Fence sitters who will likely NEVER train but WILL likely vote.

    As for me… I train when and how I can as I deem necessary. I believe EVERYONE should know the 4 rules from a young age regardless of their(or their parents) views towards firearms. I also believe having a firearm with only safety and “paper punching” skills puts a person well above the unarmed masses in the safety category.

    That’s just me, you can’t please everybody.

  33. Wow, a lot of people missing a crucial element here – the non-paper-punching training isn’t just about mechanical ability or knowledge, it’s mindset. Developing that mindset, building controlled aggression, the will, commitment and endurance to win, training with stress and malfunctions, creating a person that is more capable, quicker to the right decision, and quicker to the punch is a HUGE component of this stuff. I’m actually pretty taken aback and concerned to see virtually nobody mentioning this or qualifying their “I don’t need that” statements along these lines – this stuff is learned, bred in, and can make the difference when chips are down. No, I’m not saying you need to wear a DLH and Oakleys every weekend while you learn outlandish dynamics or fast roping. But acquiring the mindset component is no minor detail, and it’s disturbing that it isn’t coming up here from most commenters.

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