High-Speed, Low-Drag vs. Practical Defensive Shooting


I, like many readers, value my time as a competitive shooter as part of a regime of practice for home and personal defense. However, it does have its limits, as shown by Larry Vickers. In this ‘Self Defense Scenario with a Pistol” video, he showcases how a competitive shooter would tackle a course and how one should in a real defense scenario.

Personally, I think Larry took it a bit slow, but was keen to notice he kept the handgun in a modified ready position while moving. This keeps it ready to deploy but also more controlled and does not risk exposing the defender prematurely during clearing.

Nathan S.

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

Nathan can be reached at Nathan.S@TheFirearmBlog.com

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


  • Kovacs Jeno

    Very eye-opening video. All mall-ninjas should watch it.

    • CavScout

      All ‘Action Pistol’ / ‘Action Steel’ / IDPA people should watch it. Often times they run the courses probably worse than mall ninjas, worried only about scores/times.

      • jng1226

        Because all they DO care about is scores/times.

  • MrEllis

    I think he approached the static targets as individual engagements. A demonstration each unto it’s own. It wasn’t a dynamic or tactical, it was more akin to a home defense. I’d imagine it’s not Corp doctrine, but it’s a more realistic approach to a civilian type of home clearing with the likelihood of there only being one or two bad guys. If my house had that many bad guys in it and no one else, they could keep it.

    That guy from Glock demonstrated some impressive Gun-Fu. Paper doesn’t shoot back though. I think in this instance slow and steady wins the race where you go home with the same amount of holes you came with. I could still watch that speed run all day though.

    • Giolli Joker

      If you check the resume of Eusebio you get why that run was pretty impressive. 🙂

  • Pete Sheppard

    MOST excellent! In the IPSC-style matches I took part in, I was last by a long shot, for the same reasons pointed out here.

  • Will

    That old hypocrite is wearing a Glock cap and shooting a 1911!!
    How funny is that?
    Free stuff!!! My wife threatened me once telling me “Go to all the schools your department will send you to. DO NOT bring back one more cap, T-shirt, coffee mug, pen, coin, binder etc, etc.”
    HAH! I took them to work.

    • Huh? They are both using Glocks.

      • Giolli Joker

        And probably the video was shot some time ago as KC Eusebio is no longer shooting for Glock, AFAIK.

        • The official date that KC left Glock was 10/15/2014. But in reality it was a bit sooner, as he was shooting a 2011 at the IPSC World Shoot IIRC.

    • Will

      Let me back up:
      The one photo shows him HOLDING a 1911. In the film he is shooting a Glock. Good choice either way!
      Not only can he talk the talk Larry Vickers can walk the walk.
      Good video.

      • Pogie bait

        “Walk the walk”

        You’re aware of what’s on his resume right?

  • JumpIf NotZero

    Damn LAV’s just getting bigger every video. He far more likely to encounter a heart attack or stroke than he is a gunfight. Everyone is, but whatever. You can’t tell how people can run / perform by looking usually – but I damn well know he isn’t running a twenty-minute two-mile and that’s embarrassing that he’s making tactical videos.

    I don’t care what the reasoning is, unless he has a thyroid condition (he doesn’t, all his fat is gut centered) there is just no reason to not be fit. The more he rails against temple index / high port and AWIB -while being fat- the more he can be ignored. And he appears to go into a high port at 2:07 when the video cuts out quickly.

    I know a lot of people that were marsoc, or PJ, or ranger, or delta, or contractor, and the one thing that’s truly most important to those guys years after they leave is staying in some reasonable degree of fitness. Because the gun is a crutch, it likely won’t be there every time you need it…. Or that people think, oh I have a gun, surely I won’t have to physically fight before/during/after its use. Two shots will cleanly lay my attacker down rendered helpless.

    • Vitsaus

      That was a lot of text for what was essentially just fat shaming a guy that fought for his country. Good job.

      • JumpIf NotZero

        Oh right. I forgot that if you serve in the military you’re immune from heart disease, logical scenarios, and anyone pointing that out. That should be in the flyer.

        Fat is not tactical. Tactical does not mean gun.

      • Bill

        Being in the military gives a person a head start on getting fit, and should show them the value of staying that way. A lot of guys let themselves go once they get out, but they have the VA to do quadruple bypass surgery and treat their endocrine problems…..um, never mind that last part.

        • Grindstone50k

          Being in the military means you have time during work to work out. The “real world” out side of that does not often lend that luxury. Including when many vets have disabilities of one kind or another.

          • JumpIf NotZero

            Do messed up knees keep you from eating salads?

            Do messed up knees keep you from doing rows? Hand bike? Walking?

            I get it.:: he can run around in videos, and carry an extra 20-40lbs on his frame every single day, but can’t eat better and do mild cardio – that would be just too hard.

            The excuses you guys are making, make me realize why Americans are getting so damn fat.

          • Grindstone50k

            Who said anything about excuses? I’m just trying to provide a bit of perspective, since you don’t have any such experience yet go around trumpeting your own greatness and flawless opinions everywhere.

            Here’s an idea though, let’s get a poll up: Who would you rather have at your back during a gunfight: JINZ or LAV? Face it, even overweight, the guy is a better gunfighter than you, has more knowledge than you, and has more experience than you, despite how much you’ve forked over for all your classes.

          • Hyok Kim

            We’re talking about the lack of excuse for Larry to dump some extra dead weight. It would be good for Larry if he did, and the students would benefit as well.

          • Hyok Kim

            He can still work out upper body, and eat less, or ride tricycles that uses arm instead of legs.

        • iksnilol

          Many exmil guys (especially of “legit” millitaries) tend to get fat. Simply because they continue eating a ton while moving excercising less due to lack of time.

    • Madcap_Magician

      That would be why no one goes to Vickers for physical fitness training. While you are correct that physical fitness is arguably more important than firearms training, Vickers trains people for the latter, not the former.

      • JumpIf NotZero

        Fair enough.

        Now if you can justify all the clown-shoe nonsense he talks about AWIB and high port, that would be informative 😉 I’m kidding mostly, I get that he has this ideas and teaches them – I’m no so intractable that I think you have to sign up for one dogma. He just has a lot of controversial information he keeps putting out.

        And when you do that, and you’re clearly not physically in any position to do the things you’re teaching – it makes the whole thing questionable.

        • Madcap_Magician

          Honestly though all high-level instructors are a bit controversial in the sense that they’re all very invested in their Way of Doing Things. Even Massad Ayoob has certain strongly held opinions that I honestly think are overblown or probably unnecessary concerns. This goes way back- try Elmer Keith v. Jack O’Connor.

          When lots of people think your opinion is important, there’s a tendency to start mistaking your opinion for fact.

          • Bill

            Truer words never spoken. Instructors don’t make money by advertising that they teach the basics extremely well, and no magazine will buy an article on how to reholster slowly, safely and efficiently.

            I’ve found that a lot of the best firearms instructors are the most unknown ones, who love to teach and learn, and could not care less about fame and fortune.

          • Hyok Kim

            Dave Spaulding for one.

          • JumpIf NotZero

            Yep. I’ve found initially I’ll take a class from anyone, but once I get to liking how someone works I’ll try and stick with them.

            Otherwise it’s too much work to reconcile X vs Y.

            On long range, I’ll stick with Magpul’s Caylen / long range. I’ve taken 4 long range classes and he is the absolute best IMO.

            For carbine or handgun, I don’t care, if they had a spot and I have the money, I’ll try it.

        • All the Raindrops

          Vickers would clean your clock bub

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            Im sure he’s the toughest guy in his jazzer-boxing class.
            Criticizing an ex Delta operator probably relieves a deep seated insecurity about his own inability to achieve anything on the same level in his own life.
            Never mind that LAV would most assuredly beat the living sh-t out of Captain Cardio, fat ass and all.

          • JumpIf NotZero

            There is an amazing amount of pole-riding going on here.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            Dude, are you going to cry all day today too?
            Get off the internet and go be productive or do some cardio or something.

        • Hyok Kim

          What things that Vickers can’t do physically is he teaching?

    • TheNotoriousIUD

      The reason he gives for not being super fit (and its a good reason) is that his years as a Delta assaulter basically ruined his body and left him in some form of pain constantly. I suppose he could be a Jumbo Jack scarfing liar but I am willing to take him at his word and cut him some slack on the issue.

      • Phil Hsueh

        He also posted a video a while back, which was linked here iirc, that shows him at a gym trying to get back in shape, or at least stay healthy. He realizes and acknowledges that he’s overweight and is trying to do his best to deal with it, hence the gym visits. I also suspect that his schedule makes it difficult for him to visit the gym regularly and eat properly all the time, he probably spends a good deal of time on the road since I believe he does traveling classes and he probably gets booked for appearances here and there, not exactly conducive to keeping in shape, esp. when you’re already overweight and/or out of shape.

        • TheNotoriousIUD

          Look, I don’t know the guy and have never taken one of his classes or bought any of his crazy expensive guns (and probably never will unless a relative dies and leaves me an oil well) but I think its an established fact that the guy was in Delta Force for many years which is deserving of respect just on a basic level even if he is the worlds biggest d-bag (and im not saying he is). People can say what they want but leave out the weight stuff because you cant know the physical toll that hes racked up. Its kinda hard to work out when youre in pain. My father is a former Marine/Vietnam vet and he suffers every damn day because of his service and has also put on weight.

          • JumpIf NotZero

            I’m so confused as to why people are equating body fat with working out!?

            Fat is diet and not lifting. You do cardio to create a calorie deficit – not lift. You lift to build muscle which for most people is the athletic physique as a goal. If you are lifting to lose weight – you’re very much going to be disappointed.

          • Budogunner

            That isn’t entirely true. Muscles burn calories. More muscle mass means more calories burned during physical activity (like competitive shooting). True, lifting alone is a bad strategy for losing weight, but it can be a useful component of a larger fitness program (diet, strength building, cardio, stretching, etc.).

          • Goody

            100% correct. Think V8 burns fuel faster than a 4 cylinder. Not only that but the actual metabolic process of building muscle requires calories. Anyway…

          • Hyok Kim

            Have you ever seen a fat pro marathon runners? I see quite a number of fat world class weight lifters

          • JumpIf NotZero

            I can lift for an hour or I can run for an hour and burn 5x the calories. Everything you do burns calories, but lifting isn’t even remotely as efficient as cardio.

          • iksnilol

            Yep, it is a simple equation.

            Energy in minus energy out = X

            If X is positive you’re gonna gain weight, if it is negative you are going to lose weight.

      • JumpIf NotZero

        Calories in > Calories Out == Fat. Lifting weights has NOTHING to do with anything.

        Your going to be a LOT harder on your body if you’re fat than if you are not. That’s lazy reasoning on his part. I’ve seen a 700lb guy who couldn’t walk up a flight of stairs because of pain loose 425lbs. So that’s BS and even more embarrassing.

        • TheNotoriousIUD

          Has it ever occurred to you that maybe his physician advised against exercise due to a previous injury?
          Try to put a little thought into it before posting just to insult a man.

          • JumpIf NotZero

            No. There are 500-700lb people who can eat right and do a little cardio to create a calorie deficit which then allows them to lose a lot of weight.

            There is no doctor in the world that will tell you you’re too fat too lose a little weight. This is a lifestyle choice – nothing more. You’re being apologetic for something a little will power would fix in short order.

            In Lav’s case it’s probably only 20-30lbs would make a huge difference. The only thing you need to do for that is to just stay under your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) for a couple months.

            Here is the thing… If you can’t run a 1/2 marathon in 3 hours (slow), or can’t run a 1 mile under 10, a 2 mile under 20, that’s fine, I don’t care if you suffer the consequences of being fat.

            But when you can’t and are presenting yourself as a brand of self-reliance – well, that’s just silliness. I that event,everything you put out should be looked at extremely critically.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            Dude, my GF is a physician and a nutritionist so I know how food works.
            You seem to be missing the point repeatedly which is this: The guy has said that his combat injuries prevent him from working out because of constant pain.
            Unless you are his doctor and know his personal medical history you should lay off because you are just starting to sound pissy.

          • JumpIf NotZero

            Dude… If your GF is a nutritionist, you should ask her about losing weight – because if you think losing weight means you need to go to a gym or work out – you clearly don’t get any of this. You need to eat less, that’s all (simplified, it may be difficult or impossible to meet nurtition goals if you have a daily cap of 1400 calories in order to meet your weight goal, this is where macros (protien, fat, carbs) and cardio of any difficulty come in).

            It’s a VERY simple formula, your basal metabolic rate and total daily energy expenditure, must be higher than your caloric intake. If not, you get fat. That’s all there is to it. The words “Lifting” or “Gym” or “Working out” do not apply here. You work out / do cardio to create a deficit that allows you to eat more and still stay under your TDEE.

            You should probably ask your GF before you come back again.

            Or you’re making the argument LAV can teach classes, make videos, run a gun well, but can’t walk on a track and eat less. Makes sense.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            So by that logic Phil Jackson shouldnt be a basketball coach because he cant cross up LeBron.

          • Phil Hsueh

            Look up the LAV video/article here where talks about trying to lose weight. As I mentioned, he’s aware of his obesity and is trying to take care of it, I don’t know about his diet but he is working out and by working out I don’t mean just lifting weights but cardio. As I also mentioned, it’s also hard if you have a job that keeps you on the road and away from home a lot where you don’t have access to your gym (not everybody belongs to a major chain gym), and you don’t have access to a kitchen to cook your own meals or are in area that has healthy restaurants. LAV, from what I’ve seen, travels on occasion to make some of his videos and when he’s not doing that he’s traveling to teach classes, kind of hard to lose weight when you’re already overweight and at home 6 months out of the year, at best and then probably not 6 months straight either but a total of 6 months spread throughout the year.

          • Giolli Joker

            I’m not LAV nor fat, but I can get that a big muscular guy, used to eat like a tiger and burn at the same rate, would have pretty hard time to keep himself fit when ahead with age and forced to inactivity by injuries.

          • Hyok Kim

            Yes, I have seen that a lot with former football players and wrestlers.

          • I’m curious, how does your GF’s field of expertise make you an expert? You know, you mother is a woman so would that make you an expert in women?

            When people use this argument, I never get it. If she is an MD/DO/PA she would have had years of classroom and clinical training that qualifies her as an expert. Listening to her day, over dinner, is not a substitute for that training nor does it qualify you as an expert in that subject.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            Figured that one out on your own huh, Shaft?
            I hear enough about the subject to form an educated opinion.

          • Well, you said something kind of ridiculous and it’s pretty funny. I’m still curious how your GF’s profession makes you an expert in the same subject. You could probably spend like an hour reading WebMD and say that makes you an expert in nutrition too.

            I love when people use their relationship with a degreed, qualified, and experienced person as justification of their own expertise in a subject they are not degreed. licensed, or experienced in.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            Lets say I know more than you and leave it at that.

          • Know it alls usually do know more than everyone else. I’m loving your comments.

          • Grindstone50k

            There is more than one know-it-all here.

          • Hyok Kim

            Father knows best?

          • Hyok Kim

            Expert through association

          • Bill

            NO physician has EVER advised against exercise. MANY physicians have recommended a SPECIFIC type of exercise due to a pre-existing condition

            Not busting your chops, but I’m overweight and out of the shape I’d like to be in and have been in and out of physical therapy for duty-related injuries for the last 30 years. I’ve outlived my parents and while I’ve slowed down, you don’t ever quit. I’m still in better shape than half the guys half my age.

            Staying fit sucks and hurts and is boring, to me at least, and everyone has an excuse for why they can’t do it, but it beats the alternative.

          • JumpIf NotZero

            Excuse is right. Not only has he appently convinced himself fat is Ok, but he has people on the internet confused.

          • All the Raindrops

            Actually I know that physicians will tell otherwise healthy people with certain liver issues to not lift weights at all because of body chemistry. And that’s not “physical injury” related at all. I am sure there are other examples.

          • Bill

            If they are that sick, they probably shouldn’t be running around teaching firearms classes.

          • JumpIf NotZero

            Wtf. How are so many people ignorant about this!?

            Lifting is not what you want to do if you want to lose weight. You want to eat right, and if you can’t eat little enough to meet your goals you need cardio too.

            Lifting != Cutting

          • Grindstone50k

            Listen here, scrub. JINZ is a tier zero operator (and part-time fitness instructor at Planet Fitness, specializing in dynamic entry spin class) who has deployed to many, many Magpul operations and has thousands of hours down range resetting targets. If you had spent half the money he has on operator elite dynamic high performance concept real-world training, you’d solve the national debt crisis.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            The dude definitely has a corn cob up his ass.
            I’ve been shot at and its not a game. If he can say the same then I’m open to any advice.

          • Grindstone50k

            Does being shot at by fireworks count?

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            Of course.

          • iksnilol

            Energy in – energy out = fat

            you can lose weight by eating less. I know people who lost weight that way without ever setting foot in a gym.

            Note: I am on neither side here. I don’t carry for Larry Vuitton or JINZ.

    • Budogunner

      You really had to go and insult the entire TFB readership?

      • JumpIf NotZero

        Didn’t realize how many people would make fat excuses! Only thing that makes sense is that it’s people using LAV’s excuses as their own.

  • Dan

    Unless I need to get a family member to safety, I wouldn’t even attempt a house-clearing. My master’s bedroom is well-protected and well-armed. I’ll let the fuzz deal with those intruders.

  • How about redoing it with simunitions and active shooters who return fire. Speed and accuracy are a hell of a combo, which KC showed. Most defensive shootings involve one aggressor and rarely do they require a reload (Google Foo is not with me today, the NRA wrote about this after decades of collecting self defense shooting cases). So, a gun fight can be won by recognizing the threat early, quickly getting out of the holster, and getting your first shots on center mass. Participating in action shooting sports is far better to hone defensive skills than standing in one place shooting bullseye.

    • Tassiebush

      I think the point is that in the fighting context you use speed only at the point where you see and shoot the target. At all other stages you move at a speed where you control your exposure to the target. Larry made sure he was only exposed to one threat at a time.

    • Hyok Kim

      Life is not a video game, and neither are you a cat. You only have one life. There is no start over.

      You prepare for the worst case scenario, not most scenario, just like engineers use proof load a lot higher than usual load shooters use in their guns when designing guns.

  • Gabe

    One of the reasons I love the Vickers Tactical channel, they keep the video short and sweet. Some people have no idea how to edit.

    • Hyok Kim

      No annoying, distracting heavy metal thunder, either.

  • JumpIf NotZero

    Excuses. I see them everyday and I hear about them every time I talk to someone about getting in shape.

    LAV excuses are remarkably similar to everyone Wales. Imagine that!

    Eat less. Walk, then run. Lose weight.

  • iksnilol

    That getting beat up in your sleep scenario is one I’ve been thinking of. How do you get out of that one?

    No matter whether it is a big heavy guy or a skinny methhead woman, they all are bad news if they are in your house at that time. They also all bleed the same. NOTE: I am not trying to sound like a tough guy here. It is just my objective view of it all.

  • Toxie

    Ipsc and the like are gun GAMES and now often have little to do with being about training for a real defense shoot. The dawn of the ” race gun” is ample proof of that.

  • eeric

    I like how the second shooter carries the weapon. It is ready for use but he has it down slightly so he can look around, up, and especially down. He is more likely to notice a blood trail, moved furniture, or someone hiding under the line of sight along his weapon.

  • jng1226

    Back in the early 2000’s, some Delta guys held USPSA matches on Range 14 at Ft. Bragg one Saturday a month. They openly invited anyone on base to come shoot the matches, and if you were active duty they provided the ammo, and even guns if you didn’t have your own. They used the matches to promote marksmanship and the technical proficiency with handguns, necessitated by the competition. They taught others the “best practice” techniques of the time in the hope they would go back to their units and spread the word. They even did some scouting for talent by seeing who would come and measuring aspects of their capabilities and demeanor, in addition to shooting skills. Bottom line, the Army’s greatest real-world shooters saw tremendous value in the shooting sports. The Unit guy who worked with Larry while he was consulting for H&K to introduce the HK 416 used to compete in USPSA, IDPA and 3-Gun, and sometimes used team equipment in them as part of his testing and evaluations. For all those who poo-poo what can be gained “real world” from competition in shooting sports – you’re just flat out wrong.

    On another note, KC Eusebio is a former member of the Army Marksmanship Unit, and taught his USPSA Grand Master skills to many high-speed, low-drag units in the military, along with legends Max Michel, Travis Tomasie, Lee Dimaculangan, and many others.

  • Hyok Kim

    Are you implying house clearing is a good idea over staying put, calling the cops and waiting, provided the intruders have not come inside the bedroom yet, and all the family members are already in the safe room with you?

  • Hyok Kim

    I appreciate Mr. Vicker’s service to USA, and his indepth knowledge to tactics.

    However, he could have done more effective and efficient exercise than he participated in the video.

    The exercises he recommends are all hard impact exercises. Why can’t he do lower impact exercises? Such as swimming, row bikes, handcycles, dynamic tension using no weight, but muscle contractions?

  • Hyok Kim

    “Personally, I think Larry took it a bit slow,…..”

    I think he just took the right amount of time. Any faster than that, would have the ardeline pumping, and stopping the forward movement a little slower in case of ambush. More likely to get hit. It’s almost always more important not getting hit than hitting.

    If I were setting up an ambush, I would have more time to hit the person clearing outisde the cover, if he moved faster since he would expose his body more and needs more time to backtrack behind the cover.

    ” but was keen to notice he kept the handgun in a modified ready position while moving. This keeps it ready to deploy but also more controlled and does not risk exposing the defender prematurely during clearing.”

    Ditto, did you notice how much more the first shooter exposed himself while moving fast?

    Now, with this out of the way, I think I would have done a little differently than Larry.

    When Larry was slicing the pie, he put his foot/leg closer to the cover forward, exposing both his lower and upper body wider angles of incoming fire. He also tend to use his dominant eye while slicing the pie instead of using non-dominant eye when using the non-dominant eye would have exposed far less of his face to the incoming fire. (At that range non-dominant eye would have been just accurate as using dominant eye.

    He also used use the gun in the dominant side when using the gun in the non-dominant side would have provided more cover during some of the courses. (Here I am not talking about changing the trigger hand, I am talking about using the same trigger hand, but just positioning it at different side of the body for optimal cover at the moment.)

    Also, sometimes clearing building take a long time, as much 30 minutes, and using modified ready stance he used gets awfully tiring to the point pistol’s muzzle start point downward bending the wrist, increasing the response time.

    Spaulding recommended different modified ready stance, by sticking the elbow the ribcage while pointing the muzzle forward, this makes one a lot less tiring and not sacrifising the response time.