James Yeager responds to the controversial training video

James Yeager, the owner of Tactical Response, has posted a video on youtube in response the controversy over the controversial training video which shows a photographer standing next to a target downrange of students shooting live ammunition.

Personally I respect everyone’s right to train how they see fit, as long as they do it far away from me. Although saying that, I think Mr Yeager could have made some better arguments in his video.

Yeager states many people don’t like anybody standing even slightly forward of their muzzle when shooting. That is true, and I can be included in this group of people, but the video showed somebody next to the targets, not just standing slightly forward of the muzzle.

He uses a car analogy in his response. I know driving in a car is dangerous, but I do my best to mitigate the risks of driving as much as I can. I drive a car that doesn’t have any known safety problems, has seat belts, ABS brakes and air bags. If I could afford a new car, I would buy one with those fancy electronic stability control systems. Increasing risk when shooting just because driving is dangerous does not make sense to me.

Lastly, he says you can never be 100% safe. I belong to a rifle target shooting club that has their own private range. The club is over 100 years old and as far as anybody can tell, there has not been an injury on the range in 100 years. There have of course been negligent discharges, but nobody was downrange at the time. Sure it is not 100% safe, but pretty damn close.

Thanks to D. Tanner and Thomas for the link.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Phil

    Maybe that guy with the camera was part of that 80%. Was the shooter was part of the 10% ???

  • Not watching the video. Did he say anything about the allegations that he’s a traitor to the memory of his fallen brothers-in-arms?

  • Don

    I’m sorry but I can’t keep my mouth shut:

    1. “Gasp! In front of the firing line” So Jimmy thinks we are all wusses

    2. Scientific fact, true safety does not exist… I am a research scientist, and that’s the dumbest thing I ever heard. I hate when people use the words “Scientific Fact” as some kind of invocation to add legitimacy to their arguments.

    3. He maintains that the 4 rules were not broken. I realize this will sound nit-picky but stay with me a moment:
    i. Keep finger off the trigger until sites are on target. Between shots during recoil your finger is still on the trigger and your sites aren’t on target….(broken)
    ii. Never let the muzzle cross anything you aren’t willing to destroy. Again during recoil your muzzle crosses all sorts of things that you aren’t “letting it cross” and that you don’t intend to destroy…. (broken)
    iii. Treat guns as if they are loaded. So don’t point it at people you don’t want to kill… (broken)
    iv. Be sure of your target and what is beyond. This doesn’t mean behind. This also means AROUND your target….(broken)

    Now these rules are designed to be infallible if followed, yet the nit-picking loopholes especially in i. and ii. kind of mean that they CAN’T be followed literally when you are actually in the process of shooting. Ordinarily this wouldn’t be a big deal except if THERE IS A GUY STANDING NEXT TO YOUR TARGET. Hence the 180 rule, which he poo poos by saying “that’s not one of the four rules”. Well it’s the only one that you have complete control over when you are shooting. That’s why big national shooting organizations which are comprised of lots of sober minded experts who happen not to think they are beyond fallibility follow it.

    4. “Internet Commandos who are too afraid to get out and train” Let me translate: “web forum viewers who unlike Jim don’t have any delusions of being a commando who are too smart to dangerous things if they don’t have to.”

    5. Irony: GetOffTheX.com… yeah as in get away from my target when I’m shooting at it crazy dude.

    6. “Stress Inoculation” Common knowledge (especially in these circles) tends to be nothing more than oft repeated ignorance. So apparently this guy is a clinical psychologist now. “Stress Inoculation is not new”… So what, that doesn’t prove your point.

    7. Safest training company that exists… didn’t he say there’s no such thing as safety? Doesn’t that mean they have just been lucky?
    8. His vehicle analogy: Most people get in their car and assume that risk because they HAVE to. You don’t HAVE to shoot at a target when someone is standing next to it.

    9. Just because people do unsafe things doesn’t mean they aren’t allowed to point out that standing next to a target which is being shot at is insane.

    10. With regard to this guy’s quoting of warrior poetry, he’s clearly a nut. Just because it’s in a poem doesn’t mean it’s true.

    Again, Sorry for the rant but I can’t help it,

    • Ddfuyghhgfg

      Your rant has done nothing but help confirm what Mr Yeager has shown and stated.
      Did you even read your post.
      You claim to be a scientist. And yet you use gross generalizations.
      I hope your job does not involve anything of importance.
      You say you hate it when people say scientific fact to help the point being made. Yet you use a similar method by stating you are a research scientist.
      Take a clue from your title and do some research in study, lab and practical before opening your mouth and proving your ignorance to the world.
      Good job mr unscientific.

  • Just because no one has been hurt does not mean it’s safe.

    I’ve never caused or been the driver in an auto accident either, and I’ve never been injured in the few auto accidents I’ve been a passanger in, that doesn’t mean driving or riding in an automobile is safe.

  • vinnie

    Mr. Yeager,

  • …He is in a position to know about not “rising to the occasion” under fire. (And credit where credit is due, he is right about “rising to the level of training you have mastered,” if that far).

    But I still maintain that photog must not have been too popular to begin with.

    A number of logical fallacies in his talk, the biggest one being the attempt to contrast one dangerous things with another. Because there is no such thing as “safety,” we must manage our risks. IMO, hangin’ out between targets when people are shooting is an unnecessary risk. So’s shooting at targets when some nitwit is in between them: one manslaughter charge can ruin your whole day.

    Love the “if you’re one of the nine” sales pitch. A lovely fantasy — in practice, he gets the same hundred as the ancient Greek. Or the modern DI.

  • Spook45

    When you engage in these types of activity(real or training) you are exposed to risks. I am an accomplished martial artist, when you get in the ring and start throwing each other around doing joint locks and hold breaks, even with good control it is a force on force continuam and the chances of injury go up. The same is true in this instance. IT is a 360* range and if the camera man does what he is instructed to do the % chance is high, he will be fine, it is a mitigated risk. There are no absolutes, but if you play buy the rules and do things the right way, the percentage is on your side. Break the rules get out of position or out of time or expose yourself and the percent goes the other way. This is fine, they made a plan, followed the rules and made a piece of video that a lot of people never see unless they go out and do those things themselves.

  • MG

    Yeah of course nothing is 100% safe. But some things are still 100% unnecessary. I’d have a hard time explaining to that instructor’s family why the pictures he was taking were worth his life in the case of an accident. Additionally, all the years of injury-free training don’t mean a thing to the person who is the first one to be accidentally shot.
    Simply because something doesn’t break the four rules of firearm safety doesn’t mean it’s a wise thing to do.

  • You can never be 100% safe, you can however be 100% stupid.

    • T.H.

      Hence why you can never be 100% safe.

  • Robert

    Shovelling bullshit doesn’t change reality. If someone is downrange, NEVER handle nor fire your weapon. Period.

    Yeager’s response tells you everything you need to know. He pulled out everything except the excuse that the sun is going to expand in 2.5 billion years and kill us all, so why bother being safe?

    This guy is going to get someone killed at his school. He should NOT be training, period.

  • Warren Peace

    Yeager: “I submit to you that ‘safety’ does not exist.” Yeah, I agree. Not on his range anyway…

    He’ll never see a dime from me or my family.

  • Sean

    can you be 100% safe? nope. can you do something that’s 100% poorly thought out? yep.

    bottom line is, the risk was unnecessary. if you’re in a military or police training environment, stuff like that is probably a good idea because you have to be comfortable shooting around civilians as well as having rounds go past you. but dude, i’m not risking another hole in my head for a picture that i could’ve gotten with a tripod and a timer while i’m shooting with people from a tactical summer camp.

  • Valhalla

    I stopped 44 seconds into it. Saying nothing can ever be completely safe is the core argument for doing everything you can to make it safe. I’m betting his classes are going to get smaller.

  • Sean

    I don’t think there is really anything this guy could say that would change my mind about this. The whole thing just screams “stupidly unsafe”. I don’t care how good of an instructor he may be. This basic violation of safety would make me question anything he may teach.

  • Carl

    Tactical Response has haze zero injuries at their courses over 10+ years of being in business.

  • MrSatyre

    The whole cars and safety excuse is just that: an excuse (and a pretty lame one at that). You don’t invite or expect or desire anyone to stand in front of your car when driving it any more than you would in front of or to the side of your gun. I tapped a lamp post in a parking lot once when I was pulling into a space, because I had forgotten that the bumper on my new van was several inches longer than the bumper on my old van. That was an oversight on my part. Was it intentional? Of course not. Would I have pulled into that space if someone had been standing there? Again, of course not. No different with guns, in my opinion.

  • mr.smashy

    A lot of his arguments were just rehashing what was posted on his forum. I also disliked the advertisement at the end.

    While I accept that training on a 360 degree range has it’s purpose, the video showed a photographer taking pictures, and as far as I can tell, and from what the photographer has stated, that was the only purpose of being downrange. There was zero training value in the exercise, or at the very least no structured training taking place.

  • jdun1911

    I really don’t want to get into this argument but I will say this. You train like you fight and in a gun fight there is no 180 degree firing line.

    Different schools have different way of training so it up to the student to pick the right one for their education.

    High speed low drag live fire training:

  • James

    There are genuine training circumstances where another person being in front of you is necessary. When I was in the army we had such training drills that were at times conducted with live ammunition to better prepare you for what you are going to face downrange.
    That being said, I wonder what type of real life situation they were training for? Maybe they are practicing for being celebrity bodyguards and if your protectee comes under attack to shoot the attacker and not the paparazzi.
    More than likely, though, the photographer was just taking publicity photos for the course. Since this serves no greater purpose (it could be done without live ammunition, a picture is a picture), then this man’s life was risked for no real gain and therefore the risk was unacceptable.

  • james simons

    he’s trying to rationalize the irrational.. this was a demonstration of negligence..

  • Chris

    I also stopped watching after 1 minute. When someone tells me “It’s a scientific fact!” I unilaterally determine them to be a moron.

    Sorry Mr “I don’t like hate mail” you deserve every loss of revenue you receive.

  • Ken

    Did the camera guy get xtra money for being that close and stoopid for doing so?Ya… Complete stupidity. Maybe because they been in business 10 plus years they are sooooo confident something tragic wont happen. K…Its now a fact too that ccw permit holders dont need to pack anymore because the world is now safe! Ya….trust me…lol

  • Jagur

    Lifeboats? This is the Titanic, God could’nt even sink her.

  • In response to Mr Yeager’s comment that there is no such thing as safety;

    I work for a safety supply house. The products we sell are designed to prevent and mitigate against personal injury. Don’t his students wear safety glasses and ear protection? Sure, that pair of safety glasses could fail, but there is an expectation that they won’t. We play the odds Mr Yeager.

    The photographer chose to put himself in that position. Those students chose to listen to the instructor and accepted the potential consequence of a misplaced shot.

    The car analogy is silly. I drive with the expectation that everyone else is going to be the one to cause the accident. I drive in condition yellow, not that I am going to shoot someone, but rather a vehicular accident can happen.

    We can mitigate the risks associated with being on a live range. Range officers are supposed to be part of that. Not being in front of anyone’s muzzle in a 180 degree arc is another way. With that being said, it’s a personal choice to place one’s self in that position when alternatives exist and it’s not life or death.

  • There are risks in all things, but some risks are unnecessary. Sending people downrange during live fire falls into the unnecessary risk area in all but the most extreme circumstances.

  • Matt Groom

    I’m gonna have to say it. I agree with Mr. Yeager.

    Safety is an illusion, but that’s no reason to be unsafe, right? But what is the most safe form of training one could do? Realistic, non-firing guns which recoil when you pull the trigger. “But that’s ridiculous”, you say. “An airsoft gun is no substitute for the real thing!” Okay. I submit to you that the safest way to train with a real firearm is to remove the firing pin an not use live ammunition. “But that’s absurd”, you say. “You need to be able to master recoil control! There’s nothing that will prepare you for the feeling of firing a gun other than actually firing it!” You wouldn’t handle a loaded firearm to a neophyte who didn’t know anything about guns and expect them to be safe. You train to become increasingly proficient, and as your skill improves, your training advances and exposes you to increasing levels of risk until you can safely handle a firearm under the stress of actual combat.

    And that’s the point. If you go to this school, you are not learning how to fire a weapon for the first time. You are not learning how to fire quickly and accurately, you are learning to fire it quickly and accurately under stress caused by personal peril. They are attempting to simulate the stress of the actual event, which I think is not something for the faint of heart, but not something I would call stupid. Would I stand down range of someone I do not know who was firing a weapon? I don’t know, because I have. Only they were TRYING to hit me. It was not fun, and I did not react the way I imagined I would, but I did better than he did. I don’t want to relive that experience, but I would like to react a bit differently if it were to happen again. That’s something that will require training, and serious training often involves serious risk and the potential for personal injury or death.

    Anti-gunners feel that the mere presence of a firearm in the home is a risk too great to justify any reward, and we all disagree. It is a choice we made when we chose to own a firearm. We considered the possible risks and benefits of our decision before we purchased, and we decided that the benefits outweighed the hazards. Attendance to Tactical Response is voluntary, and I’m sure most of the attendees are aware of the risks and attend anyway. That does not make them stupid, it just make them a bit more reckless than most of us.

  • KenW

    I shoot guns and photos.

    A remote camera release runs from $19 – $150 depending what you want.

    A photographer down range is not smart. PERIOD!

    • Phil White

      Just what I was thinking. In fact mine has an electronic shutter release. The photographer was one of his instructors by the way.

  • this guy is insane…
    great post don, i 100% agree.

  • HerbG

    Any attempt to rationalize this kind of stupidity just raises the level of stupidity another notch.

  • Matt Groom

    I never realized so many firearms owners were afraid of guns.

    • I am not afraid of guns, I am afraid of people pointing them at me!

    • Phil White

      Not afraid respectful.

  • Mike Pacheco

    I didn’t know that a bullet had brakes and a steering wheel?

  • Mu

    I wonder how you determine if the famous four rules were broken with a target downrange like that. Target next to the 7 yard target, not broken, target next to the 25 yard target, broken with a pistol, not broken with rifle … The reason people want a 180 degree clear field is that you can’t be safe and play angles of arc. If you can see someone while fixing your sight on the target, you have an issue, unless it’s an exercise specifically designed to deal with a “live person next to your intended target”. And I sincerely hope JY isn’t training “5 shots on the man” as the proper way to deal with a bystander situation.

  • I’ll be honest, I’m disappointed you even posted this contrived response.

    I get that creepy feeling like I get from ‘newbie specialists’ at the range.

    Remind me to stay away from that idiot.

  • It appears to me that his main point is that perfect safety is simply not achievable. Maybe so, but there are some actions that are simply stupid because they increase the risk beyond reasonable levels, particularly if there is no discernible benefit.

    He also says that, if you are squeamish about firing towards a target if someone is even slightly in front of your muzzle, you won’t be able to fire at a bad guy to save your life. Anyone else think this is a ridiculous statement?


  • Mainsail

    Quote: “firearms training is dangerous, because firearms were designed to kill people”…. so if mr photograper was killed, it would be by purpose of design?

    Nice ammunition for the anti’s.

    I’m sure there would be some OH&S issues for that workplace?

  • jdun1911

    A 180 degree firing line will limit your training. The “5 shots on the man” is normal in most training schools. In fact the new Magpul’s DVD that just came out stress it.

  • Nick

    FIGHT! I like saying that, it’s funny.

  • Matt

    I am a certified instructor and I can tell you that this guy is full of crap. He has broken the cardinal rules of safety, and promoted bad habits for new shooters.

    In addition to that, this guy has no common sense. Most ranges have a 180 rule for safety reasons, which is common sense and needed when on a range.

    I would never recommend this guy to anyone.

  • Dalton

    I can’t believe that you actually posted this video. I would still respect you if you would have just admitted doing something stupid. Trying to justify your actions just digs your hole deeper. I will never seek your advice and I will take your opinions on training with a grain of salt.

  • D.D.

    What about the fallen men you left on Irish? Do you have a video post for that????

  • Mike in Santa Fe

    I might add that I’m a former instructor for a major Sheriff’s department, have police instructor certifications in pistol, shotgun, and submachinegun from the NRA, the FBI, and H&K. And, I still teach for concealed carry.

    • Phil White

      Welcome brother:-)

  • Tom

    James, you said that when you put a person in front of the firing line, it made people safer.

    But by your own admissions, you said that your students simply said they were more serious and more concentrated. Although the two of them do have a correlation, this is not causation. Your logic is somewhat flawed in that aspect.

    And because it is dangerous, does it mean we should not taken the necessary precautions? My hair grows. Its inevitable. As you say, its a scientific fact. Does this mean I should not cut my hair? As the days heat up and I sweat, I start to get dirty and grimy and I have BO. This is also inevitable. Does this mean I shouldnt shower since I will get dirty again?

  • PittyPablo

    I love it when everyone fights, dance monkeys dance!

  • Robert Hobbes

    OK, here is my 2cents. I have been shooting guns at ranges and open field areas for 15 years. I have actually seen a fist fight at a range over this topic. I think that the photographer in the video must take full responsibility for any and all backlash over the event, because when it was all said and done, he, and only he, was responsible for whether or not he took those photos. If he thought it was too dangerous all he had to do was say “No”.

    As to whether this was “unsafe” or not is up to the individual. Some people think skydiving is “unsafe”, but people still do it anyway…and they DON’T have to do it. It is completely voluntary just like the cameraman’s willingness to take the photo. I’ve seen Bob Munden shoot aspirin out of the air with a revolver, I’ve seen an old couple, (The Fabulous Topperwiens), shoot cigarettes out of each others mouths. Witnessing that level of proficiency with a firearm, I would have no problem letting them lob rounds at or around me, as long as they weren’t intent on killing me that is ;). Army Delta, as well as other Special Forces groups, practice shooting in a kill house with live ammo and there sure as hell ain’t no 180 degree line. Should they not practice these types of drills with live ammo? The point of the training is to be in total control of a live weapon with others around you, even down range of you. I would assume that the cameraman was comfortable with the shooting proficiency and safety of the shooters on the range that day, otherwise he would not have taken the photo.

    In summation, if you personally think it would be unsafe to stand down range of a shooter, regardless of their skill, then by all means don’t do it.

  • So why doesn’t anyone get all upset when,

    1. Every week in Army basic a new group of recruits crawls through a fied of simulated artillery fire (which yes could hurt you if you went into one of the depressions and that has happened by recruits that freak out) while Drill Sergeants fire LIVE TRACER round over the heads of hundreds of low crawling recruits?

    2. Exhibition shooters like Bryon Ferguson shoot items our of the hand of his wife. Yes he uses a bow but are you any less dead with an arrow in your chest?

    3. Military units conduct live fire exercises with observers and they certainly break the 90% plane in all of them by as much or more as this training exercise did?

    • Phil White

      The DI’s that fire live ammo have those guns locked down so they can’t be depressed by accident.

  • Mike in Santa Fe

    Robert Hobbes – For US Army Special Forces or Delta, etc. or even a few police department SWAT teams (those who have dedicated teams who do nothing but train), I can see a possible practical application.

    For any other group, including civilians — absolutely and unequivocally — no way, no how, and at no time should that be taking place.

  • Robert Hobbes

    For Mike in Santa Fe:

    “For any other group, including civilians — absolutely and unequivocally — no way, no how, and at no time should that be taking place.”

    Playing Devil’s advocate here, I assume you are grouping the aforementioned exhibition shooters in with this statement. If that is the case, I think one could argue, that these exhibition shooters are as prolific or even more prolific with firearms than Special Operations Groups.

    Let’s say, for the sake of an argument, that these civilian exhibition shooters are “as good” as SOG operators. Going by the rules of your statement they would have never been allowed to develop their shows to full potential due to the fact that they are civilians. Should tightrope walkers be arrested for working without a net. Think of all the amazing things we have accomplished as humans because someone took a risk that was unsafe.

    Not everyone has what it takes to be an operator, but should they deny their God given talent to use a firearm just because they don’t want to enlist or flunk selection/buds or the q-course. Not everyone wants to live through SERE, but that’s no reason to deny that they are master with a firearm. Also, should civilians not be allowed to become as masterful with firearms as SOG’s? From what I understand everyone in the USA is charged with the safety of her sovereignty. Everyone who is able is expected to take up arms and defend her from all enemies, both foreign and domestic. Should those that would defend her not become as skillful as those that make living of it? My point here being…sometime ago, somewhere, someone took that first shot near friendlies in training to evolve their skill level. Why should we deny that level of training in our civilian counter parts?

    We all have the ability to reason and take calculated risks and those calculations will vary from person to person and from situation to situation. Thanks for listening and debating this topic with logic and reason.

  • Mac

    James Yeager is dangerous…full stop. Personally I feel this guy shouldn’t be allowed to run the coconut shy at a local fair, never mind teaching people how to respond to a tactical situation while under fire. The fact that he makes his living by teaching people how to survive is rather amusing though…in a twisted kind of way.

    I would have though it would make for a short course.

    Lesson 1- RUN! when under fire run away as fast as you can

    Congratulations, you all passed!

    He says he has never had an accident in 10 years of training…I would like to add “yet” to that statement as with everything in life, Murphys law finds a way of stamping its authority eventually, and James will end up getting someone else killed.

    For those who don’t know James Yaegers pedigree, check out how he responds to being shot at…


    He is the guy who can be seen at 23 seconds running from the car on the right and hiding at the berm on the left, instead of returning fire or getting his wounded boys off the X…makes you want to sign up for one of his courses huh?

  • VanF

    More accidents probably occur from people jumping out of a perfectly good aircraft with the intention of floating back to earth with the assistance of a couple of meters of cloth.

    They do so based on the knowledge and experience with in the context of sky diving and it’s through experience that they are able to pass on what one would consider best practice to their students in any give situation even if at times they break their own rules.

    It is a given that with in the sport there is a need to have rules that ensures the safety of all involved for no reason other than to have a standard and a level of expatiation of all of those involved. The one-eighty rule is simply there as a means of controlling the direction of the muzzle with out having to trust the individual holding the firearm and trusting in their ability to handle the weapon in a safe manner regardless of the situation.

    With in that context I can see how the rules needs to be applied in any given situation yet the need to properly train someone in the use of a sidearm, and it’s proper handling in a safe manner, at times requires the need to do so that is not consider by many as best practice.

    A police office for example should only pull their sidearm if they have the intention to use it and such use is generally not under the safety rules as governed by the controlled environment such as an organized firing range.

    This changes the rules that differs from a paper target and handling the weapon in an efficient and safe manner to focus of what is occurring down range that requires the unobstructed decision making of when to use deadly force.

    Granted range safety rules should be followed at all times but an office of the law needs to learn how to handle their sidearm and that needs to included the ability to do a full 360 degree turn safely and effortlessly and look upon their weapon as an extension of law enforcement rather than applying rules that are best suited as part of the sport aspect.

    What is safe and safety on the other hand is not inherent from the rules but based on the individual and their confidence to make the right decisions when there are no rules that apply to a given situation.


    I’m not all that concerned that someone was standing in front of the firing line as I wonder about the qualifications of the shooter. Overall not the smartest thing to do but I don’t see it being any less dangerous than jumping out of a perfectly good aircraft.

    • Phil White

      Pardon me!

      “A police office for example should only pull their sidearm if they have the intention to use it and such use is generally not under the safety rules as governed by the controlled environment such as an organized firing range.”

      Building searches, felony stops and the list goes on. I can’t even guess how many times I’ve had my service weapon out!

  • meat_tornado

    You’re taking safety advice from a man who didn’t follow protocol, didn’t have enough situational awareness to know how his vehicle was running, and in the process decided to abandon his vehicle and his fellow “employees” for the safety of the median. By abandoning his vehicle, he left his entire convoy stuck in the killzone, which unfortunately for the men who died that day, fulfilled it’s nickname. He is the only one according to the After Action Report who didn’t know or couldn’t identify the target, which was a white Suburban.

    “Mindset of the Warrior” my foot. This guy has shown his true colors and shouldn’t be trusted to train me, you, or anyone about how to respond tactically in a firefight. If anything, he’s a perfect example of a man who thinks his Magpul accessories and ACU patterned doohickeys make him a tactical genius.

    Do you want this man shooting near you at a range so you can take pictures of him?

  • 9mm of sense

    Saw the videio,…. now I have witnessed idiocy. Not worth the effort to argue of justify. The crowd looked a little “off” as well.

  • Just’

    There is no way I would have participated in this exercise. Not as a cameraman, shooter on the line, or person in charge (trainer or RSO).

    Cameras have tripods, remotes, and timers. There is no need to put people at increased risk. If you want to destroy a few hundred dollar camera setup, it is fine by me. People shot not be placed in locations where they may be “accidentally” shot.

    I bet his insurance company would not like to see that video. If the cameraman was killed, i wonder how his wife and kids would feel?

    The response video is full of lame excuses. He has dropped into my “no go” list of firearms instructors.

  • Jon

    I know this has long been a dead thread, but if you read all of the after action reports and write-ups, Yeager exited the vehicle when he thought it was disabled according to standard operating procedures (his car was in neutral, which is an obvious mistake). He bounded to the berm to try to return fire, and he himself couldn’t see the attacker and none of the team was communicating directions so he didn’t fire. Within the first spray of armor piercing RPK rounds that entered the vehicles, at least of one of his mates was dead and the armored Mercedes was disabled.

    They were on a low-profile mission and his team leader was seen earlier shooting his MP5 in the roadway, so they had already been compromised and shouldn’t have been parked on that road to begin with. Before you spew vitriol about someone you don’t know, at least take the time to read the facts.

  • Jose De Leon

    How many people from this blog have actually trained with James Yeager?
    I have… I can even say his training (and Lady Luck… who made me enroll in the course) probably got me through the night in sunny Guatemala, a few years back.
    I won’t get through the specifics and can say in retrospective that I fumbled through the incident in a less than stellar form, but it was good enough to go back home physically unharmed (sic…). What worked was the no nonsense automated response to violent encounters ingrained by endless repetitions drilled to numbness upon us by James, his brother and John… what did not work so well was the non rehearsed part of the response: The get out-of-Dodge part of it and the getting-over-it portion…
    If you just want to play with your hardware, maybe James’ school of thought is not the way to go. But if you are really concerned about your ability to fend for yourself in a hostile environment (I’m talking real, in your face 24/7 life threatening environment… not fantasy, no make believe, no wanabe dream) then I can vouch for what he has to say and the way he trains you to deal with it on the spot. Worked for me…

  • tbark

    It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt…….

  • Nathaniel

    I understand the need to train people to keep a cool head in strenuous situations. You take your teen out in the car in the parking lot first (range) and practice starting and driving forward. You practice driving on a closed course (IPSC course or other tactical training course). You practice accident avoidance and brake control. You practice these things. Then you let them drive in the real world.

    What you DON’T do is take your teen and all your friend’s teens, and have them drive around you while you take pictures. Something is liable to happen. Maybe it won’t 9 times out of 10 or even 99 times out of 100, but woe is the cry “I did it a hundred times before and no one got hurt!”

    The reality of this situation is that Tactical Response wasn’t training their students to be cool when they are faced with a differential target area, they were staging a photo op. The two situations look very different. One has a dummy victim, individual shooters, not a group, an open course, and highly trained students. The other has a cameraman, a bunch of dumb first timers, and a huge opportunity for hurt. All the students should have walked out.

    Even without anyone putting their muzzle over the cameraman directly, he could have been severely injured or killed purely by ricochet.

    • Dakota

      Having a “Dummy victim” would defeat the purpose. Students would know that there is no risk even if they shoot the dummy — big deal, it’s not a person. Having a real person there is the only way to ensure the students understand the seriousness of the situation.

      By your logic of ricochet, the students are at the exact same risk as the camera man. Also, what is there for the bullet to ricochet off? Do you honestly think a bullet will ricochet from a paper target or a sand pile?

  • G

    Imagine feeling the stress of a gunfight for the first time and on top of that the stress of people screaming and running around….including…in front of you….you think you’re gonna instantly be a one shot one kill action hero?

    you think the SEALS ever have to shoot past a buddy?

  • Jordan

    Let me break this down for everybody:

    1. There is nothing imoral or evil with standing next to a target while someone else shoots at it.

    2. There is nothing imoral or evil about not wanting to stand next to a target while someone else shoots at it.

    1+2 = Do what you want, I don’t care and I would appreciate you returning the favor.

    It’s so funny to hear mall ninjas and couch commandos debate this issue and make it sound like Tactical Response is responsible for genocide.

    “I didn’t say it was imoral or wicked, it’s just stupid!”. I know, just know, that one of you is about to say that. Well, forgive me, I forgot that you are in fact the universal authority in charge of defining all words and ideas, and that if you say it’s stupid then it must be so.

    • Clint Eastwood

      Don’t be a dope. If we all lived in a world where certain standards and practices were not adhered to, some of us would be driving on the wrong side of the road.

      When 2 pilots see their aircraft on a mid-air collision, they both peel to their right. Certain standards need to be upheld by everyone so that there is some predictability where safety of others is concerned.

      You and James live in some make believe world where you think freedom means the right to put other peoples’ lives at risk just so that you’re not bothered by pesky rules. Insist on those freedoms around me and jeopardize the safety of me and mine, and I’ll knock you on your ignorant ass.

  • DS

    I hate to be the one to break it to you… (but way back in the 90s when you first started teaching the “360 degree scan” “the most dangerous and crazy things ever in the history of mankind”)…

    BUT… H&K back in the 80s trained with hot weapons and 360 degree movements on the “flat range”. You weren’t breaking any new ground… pioneering any new concept!

    It is so funny when some of the young trainers think they are “pioneering” training and coming up with “new concepts”… Magpul Dynamics is another example in their new handgun video. I am not saying you or Magpul are not conducting quality training… I am say don’t think you all are doing ANYTHING new!!!

    You all need to do a bit of homework… and realize you all are not pioneering ANYTHING new!

    Here is what it comes down to… marketing. All this is marketing tactics… and nothing more. The goal is not to put out the ultimate of training. The goal is to keep the flow of business rolling to stay in business. Period!

  • Billy Waugh


    “They were on a low-profile mission and his team leader was seen earlier shooting his MP5 in the roadway, so they had already been compromised and shouldn’t have been parked on that road to begin with. Before you spew vitriol about someone you don’t know, at least take the time to read the facts.”

    How is it that you are defending the guy by saying:

    1) They were on a low-profile mission (and)
    2) His team leader was seen earlier shooting his MP5 in the roadway
    3) they had already been compromised
    4) shouldn’t have been parked on that road to begin with.

    If he was lead driver and was in charge of the route, you just indicted him, not defended him.

    If those facts were all evident, why wasn’t the great tactical instructor long gone before? The best way to leave an ambush is drive out!!! Why was he parked and sitting still when they were compromised and shouldn’t have been there?

    From the ERSM AAR: Lead/Advance Vehicle James Yeager – Driver

    He did not do his job.. To drive…


    “According to James Yeager he could not identify enemy forces and 
thus he attempted to suppress the general vicinity of where he suspected 
enemy fire was coming from.  After having fired an estimated half a 
magazine of ammunition out of his M4 Yeager broke contact from the rear of 
his vehicle and maneuvered to the median to the south of the engagement”

    Then why was he firing?

    If he could identify a target he should have been returning fire from the median…

    So.. He allowed a team mate to violate low profile mission? Allowed his team leader to fire a weapon in the street and then stayed on mission and didn’t abort? He didn’t abort after being compromised? Allowed himself, as the LEAD DRIVER, to end up on a road he shouldn’t have been? Then he failed to simply drive? Render Aid? Return Fire???

    This is what you are saying?

    And he is teaching this subject???? High Risk Civilian Contractor? Tactics..

    SOP’s? Wasn’t he supposed to pop smoke to mask his call-sign and protect his wounded?

    “Simon in accordance with team SOP’S deployed a smoke grenade to the 
north of the motorcade in order to mask the callsign.

    Or attend to his wounded? Is that an SOP? He didn’t leave the ditch until coalition forces arrived.

    You will default to what you mastered I believe he says in the video…

    Obviously he hasn’t mastered driving stick… So he shouldn’t be teaching.

    “Ian Harris and Mark 
Collen, each under heavy enemy fire, were the only two individuals during 
the contact who attempted to suppress enemy forces. ”

    “James Yeager was in a 
location at the median where he could not engage enemy forces as he did no 
have a line of fire from his location.”

    And from Yeager himself:

    “I never knew during the firefight which vehicle (or house, or person, 
etc) was shooting at us and I was the first one in position to deliver 
accurate, sustained, and deadly return fire and I didn’t know where to aim 
my gun. ”

    Get in the game champ!!!

    What happened to finger off the trigger until the sights are on the target James?

    How about be sure of your target and what is behind and beyond it???

    Lots of video and AARs here:
    h t t p : // mountainrunner.us/2006/01/edinburgh_risk_.html


    • Phil White

      Perhaps that’s why he was only over there 8 months? This from his own resume.

  • Albert

    James Yeager is a coward in every sense. Of the dangers around him and in facing himself. Don’t take my word? Fine, then have a brief search of the youtube for soldier who were caught in ambushes in Iraq. Especially the ones where the troops were wounded, taking fire from unknown directions. Watch how they react.

    Haven’t found one yet where you cannot be in awe of their efforts and bravery.

    Yeager is a coward but having opened his mouth he shows he is a fool too.

    Condolences to those that lost their lives in that ambush. Deepest sympathies that such individuals spent their last few moments far from home and the presence of such a scumbag.

  • Aaron

    In my opinion, there was nothing unsafe in the 1,000 round video… at least not to the extent that people are blowing it out to be.

    People who are propagating the “unsafe” argument look to me to be pretty egotistical.

    I’ve seen unsafe things, and the conduct in that video doesn’t quite meet that criteria.

    If you think the stuff they were doing was unsafe, you should just stay away from outdoor ranges.

  • Frank

    Having join a training with him and see how other real instructors work (like Kyle or Larry) make me feel angry wasting that money on such a typo!

  • John Rambo

    To each their own.

  • FabioB

    I stumbled by chance on Mr Yeager’s videos…
    I was NOT well impressed at all from the video on this link:
    To see a PKM GPMG (loaded with FMJ belt and with cocked bolt) pointed straight between the eyes of the cameraman makes me feel somehow unconfortable. No, actually, makes me shudder and cringe.
    Possibly I am missing something, but even with safety engaged, finger off the trigger, etc… that goes against the n°1 safety rule I have been taught: you simply NEVER point a loaded gun straight to somebody unless he’s your target and you are going to open fire.

    • Phil White


      Oh he has fired a pistol at a target right next to the cameraman!

    • William

      The camera is on a tri-pod, he makes that pretty clear

  • Isaiah

    I have not seen Mr. Yeager’s video. However, being in the military you learn certain things about how one conducts oneself at a range. Many of these notions, to my surprise, where challenged in my time with Task Force North by men with much greater skill than my own. That’s not to say just any old shooters can modify the “rules” but don’t assume because you learned it one way, it’s the only way. Just throwing that in. Again, i have not seen the video. We did do drills where a group was 100 yards (not meters) from our targets and another group was to our left or right, 15-25 yards from the targets. Just saying train as you ACTUALLY fight. Disclaimer: no, i am not a cool guy, just an infantryman….trained by some cool guys for a year.

  • Clint Eastwood

    Hey guys, I have it from a credible source that JY will indeed be confronted at a gun show (I’ve been asked to remove the name of the show) he’s attending. Rumor is it will be smart phoned for YouTube.

    Sure seems like a lot of gun guys want to expose him.