Panteo Productions posted this video up. Dave Spaulding of Handgun Combatives makes some good points about the state of firearms training. He points out the ridiculousness of Gear Gap. Like the Missile Gap, the Gear Gap is the perception of what latest gear you think you need. Dave also mentions the fallacy that a handgun instructor needs to have been a special operations operator in order to teach proper handgun fighting. Dave Spaulding mentions that Law Enforcement are better trained since they primarily use handguns. While some of that is true, it is also true that LE are under trained and some of them that do not train other than to qualify.

This video follows up a blog post Dave wrote back in February. Click Here to check it out.

Phil Note: Dave as I watched your video I wanted to start clapping. I couldn’t agree more with darn near every point you made!

Nicholas C

Co-Founder of KRISSTALK forums, an owner’s support group and all things KRISS Vector related. Nick found his passion through competitive shooting while living in NY. He participates in USPSA and 3Gun. He loves all things that shoots and flashlights. Really really bright flashlights.

Any questions please email him at nicholas.c@staff.thefirearmblog.com


  • dP

    Youtube summed up in four words: TactiTards and cat videos. This one is a notable exception.

  • TVOrZ6dw

    I’m confused- If I bought all the stuff, including the tac-vest and wrap around glasses, I’m not a combat ready handgun operator? What do I need to buy to make up the difference? πŸ™‚

    • datimes

      Have you got that new “PEZ” dispenser for magazines?

    • veritaz

      Thanks for keeping it light man

  • Michael Dellinger

    Great video, being a gun owner takes a lot of training and responsibility.

  • politicsbyothermeans

    I dunno. While I take his larger point, I take massive exception to his characterization of “the military.” It’s ridiculous to assume that “someone who has been in law enforcement” knows about pistol fighting since law enforcement is a pretty broad category. It’s equally ridiculous to assume that a veteran knows about pistol fighting since the trigger pulling part of the military is actually pretty small. Of course a former LEO could potentially teach a great class and impart invaluable wisdom… just as a veteran could. There’s no need to foolishly call out the entire military and say “The military doesn’t use handguns for any extensive amount…” That’s just ridiculous. I’d ask him to say that again at Coronado, outside the back gate at Fort Bragg, at Camp Geiger or MacDill AFB.

    By the way, I have a lot of nifty gear but when I take a class I wear jeans, my Chucks and whatever smedium t-shirt I put on that morning. The only thing extra stuff I put on is a ballcap and a long sleeve shirt because brass burns suck and eye/ear pro. Chances of me wearing my plate carrier or Exfil during a shooting are approximately zero. He definitely has the train as you fight angle down.

    • Bill

      I’ve said it at Little Creek, Glynco, Bragg and Quantico and gotten a lot of agreement, even from, believe it or not, feds who will never make a traffic stop, go to a domestic or handle an armed robbery in progress.

      • politicsbyothermeans

        I picked SOF locations because they definitely train with handguns extensively. If I needed training on properly conducting a traffic stop, resolving a domestic dispute or stopping an armed robbery, I would definitely want a LEO to teach me. If I am trying to learn how to live through a gunfight, I want someone who has been in one and that could just as easily be a veteran or a retired LEO.

        • Bill

          Understood. There is an issue of weapon primacy – the military focuses on the long gun by default while we focus on the handgun, though that is changing as patrol rifles become the weapon of choice on hot calls. Recall also that a lot of current military practices re hostage rescue, surgical shooting, breaching & dynamic entries etc. stem from knowledge transfers in the 70s and 80s from civ LE SWAT teams.

          Bottom line is that sight picture and good trigger press doesn’t require a particular cut or color of uniform.

          • politicsbyothermeans

            Agreed. And I can’t decide what word/phrase to use: character, intestinal fortitude, determination… whatever, needed to effectively apply those marksmanship fundamentals in a shooting can be taught regardless of whether you learned to do it in Herat, Detroit, Fallujah or Miami.

          • Sandy Reed

            You can teach trigger control(press), front sight awareness, and all the technical necessities for fast and accurate deployment of a handgun…you cannot teach Mindset. Only explerience and downrange time can prepare you for hostile contact.

    • cwolf

      The outcome is the students being able to perform to some well-validated performance standard.

      That requires high fidelity training in realistic scenarios with operational loads & equipment with lots of repetition. Actually shooting the gun is only part of that equation.

  • Tritro29

    Let’s say this. The guy who introduced me to shooting outside of the military was a Soviet Olmpyian hopeful at 50m. He was no Police or military yet he had been in the military. But at no point he would rely on his military knowledge for his purpose.

    I understand his point. But that’s what you get with a certain critical mass. In a sense it was like when the USSR fell and everyone was trying to do business. A lot of crap was happening. Ethics were under zero. And a lot of people wanted a “model”. Well apply that herd mentality to anything. Guns, cars, food. Comes with “success”.

    • Scouse

      Interesting comment on the learning in the area that was not a class! Been involved in those discussions for 40 years.
      But it is quite a true fact, that firearms training, with 25 students on a concrete path at 10m firing 100 rounds twice a year is not going to teach survivorbility, or marksmanship, to the average Police Officer, who after been told to come in full uniform to the requal, roll up in Jeans and sneakers, and whose first question is “What time will we get out of here?”
      Wrap around glasses? When you see the bits of bullets, over a lifetime of live fire on outdoor ranges, where they fly to, and impact!
      You had better be wearing safety glasses that wrap around.

  • Joel

    “Dave Spaulding mentions that Law Enforcement is better trained since they primarily use handguns. While some of that is true, it is also true that LE are under trained and some of them that do not train other than to qualify.”

    Excellent point. It seems as though both of your comments allude to appeal to authority. Spaulding is concerned that military folks are given a free pass as handgun instructors due to their service. Your point seems to be that policemen are (perhaps) given a pass due to their primary weapon selection.

    I would posit that a handgun instructor needs to thoroughly understand good technique and also have great teaching skills. Neither of those qualities has anything to do with having been in Iraq, worn a badge, or having used a firearm in self defense.

    But, there may be reasons why someone else wants their instructor to be cooler or badder or have come from this service or that one than your instructor or my instructor.

    • Pistolero

      I agree. Its also worth noting that most Police engagement distances are right around three feet, and military engagements with pistols are damn near non-existent.

  • 11b

    My thoughts on the “Gear Gap”-

    • politicsbyothermeans

      Ha, awesome.

      That makes me wonder how fair it is to ask an instructor, regardless of LEO or mil background, if they have ever actually had to shoot anyone on the square range.

      • iksnilol

        I don’t see the problem with it. If you teach people how to kill somebody, then you should have done it sooner or later in your career. Should you not?

        • m-cameorn

          no not really……and its stupid to think so…

          same with having MIL or LEO background…just because you were in the marines doesnt mean you know squat…..ive know plent of marines who couldnt hit the broad side of a barn….from the inside.

          the human body is pretty predictable……you shoot someone in a squishy bit that flows a lot of blood through it, chances are you are going to kill them…..why do you have to actually have to shoot someone to be able to teach this?

          is some marine who happened to shot a guy in afganistan a better teacher than someone who has no MIL experience, but has a lifetime of training and more rounds down range than any three people combine…

          hell, ide rather take instruction from Jerry Miculek than someone whos only accomplishement is that they shot someone.

          • iksnilol

            Oh no, you misunderstood me. I meant, if somebody is teaching you to kill it doesn’t hurt to have an instructor who’s killed somebody.

            Jerry Miculek? I’d love to spend a day at the range with him. Guy probably has forgotten more about shooting than we mere mortals can dream of achieving.

            Though we also need to remember there’s a difference between shooting and killing/defending.

          • Zebra Dun

            Are we talking killing or shooting?
            The hangman kills a lot of folks but may not have a clue to shooting.

          • nick. v.

            Oh come on…You should have said…..a hangman kills a lot of people but he may not have a clue as to how to tie the knot.

          • politicsbyothermeans

            And you base all of this on… what, exactly?

            Marines are one branch of the US military. And your anecdotal experience invalidates the branch of the US military that is particularly well-known for their marksmanship?

            The human body is anything but predictable. Chances are actually very low that you’ll kill someone when you shoot them. Most GSWs are just that: wounds.

            As to why having shot someone gives you credibility, there are a number of reasons. There is a psychological element to pulling the trigger. Soldiers, LEOs and others who carry in the line of duty have frozen up at the moment of truth. It happens. Receiving instruction from someone who didn’t is pretty widely regarded as valuable.

            As for your comparison of the Marine who shot someone in Afghanistan versus a lifetime of training and lots of rounds downrange being a better teacher, who knows? Maybe. Maybe not. What’s the course? What is the firearm? Who is the audience?

            I would hardly call shooting someone an accomplishment and as much as I’d enjoy a day of training with Jerry Miculek, I would submit that if you were trying to learn how to speed shoot, he would be great. If you’re trying to learn how to live through a gunfight, maybe your time would be better spent elsewhere. If you were heading for the trenches, would you rather have Annie Oakley or Sgt. York teaching you?

          • AirborneSoldier

            His point is that the personnel sergeant from the 4077th Messkit Repair Battalion is not as qualified to teach this stuff as another man may be.

          • politicsbyothermeans

            Sure, I get that but talking smack about a whole branch of the military is silly and uninformed. The opposite is also true, as you point. A guy with 30 years in may not have pulled the trigger once off of a qualification range and probably doesn’t have much business teaching people how to keep it together and land shots when things go ballistic.

          • Zebra Dun

            Sgt York was were he was by Logistics, Luck (good or bad) and circumstance.
            That he survived and in the way he did was more to Luck and Circumstance than any skill.
            He was surrounded with men trained similarly as well as opposed by men the same state.
            Annie Oakley shot for a living and was good at it.
            That’s like comparing apples to eggs.

          • politicsbyothermeans

            Regardless of how he got there, he saw the elephant and performed almost legendarily. If I had to go back and learn how to soldier all over again, I’d much rather him teach me than a trick shooter… even an amazing one.

          • Zebra Dun

            Well, how does 1914-1919 trench warfare have anything to do with today 2016?
            I was trained first by my Dad then by the Marine Corps I then self trained for the last 45 to 50 years with what I read, saw or discussed on line.
            I can hit what I aim at, and not hit what doesn’t need to be hit.
            I can clear malfunctions and keep a weapon clean and safe.
            Any back alley thug can kill with bare hands or a weapon yet not know squat about safety, handling aiming or clearing.
            Killing is not the answer to training.
            If you are trained to shoot then it is up to the individual whether they can use it to kill.
            I never rode a horse in a race but I can teach someone to ride.

          • politicsbyothermeans

            I submit that WWI TTPs would be of much more interest to a Soldier than Wild West trick shooting.

          • Zebra Dun

            In combat you shoot yet rarely know if you killed or hit what is out there, most rounds fired are for suppression and area denial.
            The average number of rounds fired per dead PAVN/VC in eight years of combat was 50,000 rds to 1 dead enemy.

          • politicsbyothermeans

            That’s not quite as true now as it used to be. Contemporary ROE dictates that troops be much more careful at what they shoot at. I am sure people spray and pray at times but the contemporary professional infantryman is far more selective than his conscript forefathers fighting in vastly different terrain, against vastly different enemies and with vastly different training. Sure, SAW gunners and the rare unlucky bastard lugging a 240 around do suppression but they are landing rounds in the close vicinity to PID’ed target. Not that the numbers back me up… as it is actually about 250,000:1 in Afghanistan!

          • Hensley Beuron Garlington

            Comment for the WIN!^^^

          • Zebra Dun

            Yup. Any ally thug can kill someone, it takes training to do it efficiently. and not shoot yourself, a buddy or the general area behind the target.

        • John

          Just because you can, it doesn’t mean you should and just because you should, it doesn’t mean you can.

          • iksnilol

            True dat, but I still like the extra seriousness that comes with that emotional baggage. If you kill somebody, you understand that it is serious bidness.

      • Zebra Dun

        Those who have won’t tell you, those who haven’t won’t stop telling you.

  • A Fascist Corgi

    What a shocker that a professional firearm trainer thinks that everyone needs to take overly expensive firearm training in order to successfully defend themselves. They act as if drawing a gun from a holster, pointing it at someone, and pulling the trigger is somehow hard to do.

    • The_Automator

      Have you ever done it in a fight?

      It’s pretty hard to do.

      If you’re in Indiana, I’d be more than happy to break out the blue guns and spar a little.

    • Nicks87

      Competitions are great training but it’s a controlled environment. They don’t really prepare you for what you might encounter in the real world.

      • Bill

        Competition is great training for competing. Few if any of the “practical” shooting sports incorporate street tactics, or loose them in short order in the interest of being gamey – see 3-Gun for example.

      • A Fascist Corgi

        I disagree. Top rated IDPA competitors are extremely deadly with handguns. They’d be much more likely to survive a gun fight than most overrated tactical firearm instructors who never have to prove their skills. With IDPA, you can’t fake talent.

    • cwolf

      I agree that shooting competition can be a good training vehicle as part of an overall training program.

      It is very expensive. And it is often designed as a single shooter with competition equipment going through various static target arrays.

      Ideally, you really want force-on-force with the same team and equipment that you use in the real world. Or at least with moving targets that shoot back (yes, those exist).


    • n0truscotsman

      Who are *you* to say his training is useless? what are your qualifications/experiences to make such a ham-fisted assertion?

      Training is critically important not only for skillset, but also *mindset*. It is also a good proving ground for gear to find out what works and what doesn’t (this is *huge*. And one wouldn’t think it is).

      A wise person would make use of a excellent training course by a reputable instructor while also complimenting his/her skill-set with steel challenge or IPSC. Competitive shooting is excellent because shooting is a perishable skill, and the repetition and competitive nature keeps skill sets sharp.

  • Blumpkin

    While I don’t disagree with much of what he said, I find it a little ironic that Panteao Productions, maker of gun training youtube videos and dvds, puts out a rant about gun training youtube videos and dvds.
    Obviously, it is much more effective to train with an instructor in a physical class, but I think other sources are a reasonable (cost effective) supplement. Additionally, most “gun people” are very enthusiastic about the sport/culture of guns. I’m sure TFB knows better than anyone, that enthusiasts just want more content and more discussion points. We are all a bunch of gun nerds.

    • Blumpkin

      Furthermore, if we need to know the make and model of the James Reeves tactical coochie cutters, we can’t be held responsible for a thing like that. They are as high speed, low drag, as it gets.

    • Harry’s Holsters

      Spot on!

    • That we are:-)

  • Harry’s Holsters

    I think for the brand new gun owner or a longtime owner looking to become more proficient this is great advice. But if you have a good grasp of the fundamentals you can learn a lot from free online content. I feel his comments are necessary for some people but over generalizations for many.

    • Big Daddy

      I agree 100%. I learned a lot from Youtube videos specifically Jerry Miculek. I also had some good laughs from some of the videos there. A lot of them are nonsense and should be viewed as entertainment only.

      • OJS

        So Royal Nonesuch and Demo Ranch aren’t good examples to emulate..?

        • John

          Both of them must have guardian angels because “I’m gonna shoot this safe at 25 yards with a .50 cal” is usually followed by “Yea, I got these stitches from a ricochet”.

      • Harry’s Holsters

        Jerry is the man. I also like the Trigger Time TV segments and of course Travis Haley. Lots of great free content you can learn from.

  • derpmaster

    Dude needs to invest in some SPF 50

  • Nicks87

    “LE are under trained and some of them do not train other than to qualify.”
    I totally agree, however its not the fault of the officers in most cases, it’s the politicians and the bean counters that want to cut training requirements. My Dept. requires officers to shoot 800 rnds and qualify four times per year at a minimum. Which is a lot compared to most city/state/county PDs but it’s still not enough. Our officers are fairly proficient but we could be much better. We are only allowed about 2-3 hours at the range and I have to train anywhere from 1-5 officers at a time. If I had my way, to really be proficient, we would shoot once a month and around 150-250 rnds per training session but there’s no way our director (politician) would approve of that because of cost.

    • Havok

      So do what the rest of us civilians do. Train on your own dime.

      • Pistolero

        1 out of 10 might, but the rest are not gun people like this crowd, Its just a tool of the trade.

        • And one of less day to day relevence to your average cop than his cheat sheet of code sections.

    • stephen

      800 rounds?

      Thats called an normal morning shoot. Have lunch and after that, shoot some more.


      • Bob

        I was thinking that too. I can burn through that kind of ammo in a couple of range sessions.

        • Big Daddy

          I have to take breaks or I’ll go through 500 rounds all too easy. I found practicing things like mag changes with less rounds in the mag help. Doing specific drills that the range allows also limit ammo expenditure. Even so I’ll fly though a few hundred rounds. With 9mm not so bad, go to .45ACP and it starts to hurt the wallet.

          • Porty1119

            That’s good reason to start casting and loading your own. You won’t necessarily save money, but your dollar will go a LOT further.

  • Bub

    Great video. Couple years ago I took a CQB class. Why did I take a CQB class, because my best guess is that if God forbid I have to use a gun to defend myself and/or family it will be at close range and/or in my home, on the farm, or around an auto. I likely would never have to engage a threat at more than 50 yards +/-. BTW I wore what I wear about everyday cargo pants, polo shirt, and low rise hiking boots. Funny thing was most of the folks wore tactical load outs, chest rigs, and etc. I didn’t realΕ‚y look like I fit in, but I bet I got as much or more out of the class as anyone out there.

    • McThag

      Go to a tactical carbine class with ALICE web gear and they all look at you funny too.

  • Al Wise

    As an instructor, I understand where he is coming from but I find his delivery regarding equipment totally disingenuous. Has he never been to SHOT? Has he never picked up a gun magazine or ever looked on line at any other blogs and such? Equipment feeds the gun world. We’re inundated. Why be surprised by people getting carried away with it?

    • The Geardo Movement in the gun world is no different than any other physical hobby or occupation. Fishing, golf, etc. – every niche has their “special gear” that will fix their problems.

      Because people are lazy, and people are tribal monkeys, and want to be able to buy solutions and look like the cool monkeys.

  • Will

    Eh, leave people be. All of this stuff is a half-step removed from LARPing anyways and they seem to enjoy themselves.

    Although, by the same token, people like the “my dad can beat up your dad” aspect of trainer selection, so carry on.

  • flyfishr

    Sad. Just a defense of why he as law enforcement is “better”.

  • Vhyrus

    “Why does an instructor have to have on wrap around glasses and wear a beard to be relevant?”

    Said by and instructor wearing wrap around glasses and a beard. Hmmmm……

    • Big Daddy

      Yes I noticed that too.

    • Sickshooter0

      He didn’t have a “tactical beard”…

  • Big Daddy

    I learned to shoot well by watching Jerry Miculek videos on Youtube. I learned situational awareness on the streets of NYC. I practice all the time, I go to the range at least 1-2X a week. Most of these training courses for the most part do not address the the average person that uses a firearm for home defense or carry on how to perform in their specific situations. I devised my own training methods for my specific lifestyle and range availability. I will NEVER have to wear anything other than what I have on at 3AM asleep or going to Wally World in the afternoon.

    I have not seen nor heard of a specific course that addresses the everyday needs of the average person. I’ve seen a lot of police shoot, they can’t. Most of the training I see is useless for the average person. If you want to do it because it’s fun or if you think there is a possibility of a breakdown in our society by all means do it. If you want to compete in matches by all means do it.

    But the fact is the average person who carries or has a firearm has a very limited legal reason to use his or her gun. Train for that first and let the other stuff be fun. Learn not only how but when to use that firearm and the legal ramifications to it, that is much more important than anything else other than having basic proficiency. You have to be able to shoot accurately under stress or risk hitting innocent people. In a home invasion or any situation you must know what is behind your target and develop a plan to minimize the potential of hitting anything or anyone you do not want to. Don’t expect the police to know the law they usually don’t.

    If you are in a situation learn what to do in terms of not becoming a statistic and going home alive. I don’t see any training courses for that. I guess reality is not as much fun? What do you do if carjacked, home invasion, robbed in the street or in a store or mall? Develop a practical and realistic plan and practice it. Make sure your equipment is reliable, you don’t need the most expensive and latest do dads, you need quality though it’s your life, don’t be cheap.

    • Cymond

      Fwiw, Short Barrel Shepherd blogs about the defensive training classes he & his wife take, and a fair number of them deal with believable scenarios, so the training does exist.

  • Austin

    What’s up with THE RANDOM CLICKBAIT-STYLE capitalization in recent ARTICLE TITLES? It looks PRETTY UNPROFESSIONAL.

  • stephen

    Let be the devil’s advocate for a bit…

    1. Dave – “Its less likely that you will learn something worthwhile on the internet, than you will in a solid well designed program.”

    Reply: Really – what if you record the solid well designed program or block of instruction and post it on the internet? Does that suddenly lessen the quality of instruction? I don’t think so. The reality is if I attend a class I get the instruction one or two times; I might get some ‘do overs’ but the class will go on; if I don’t get it after that, I’m screwed. However with a recorded class or technique I can go over the technique multiple times to check on stance, grip and all the other nuances I might have missed before. Just look at what Magpul (Chris Costa & Travis Haley) did with videos and training = great instruction (granted their live classes were even better than the DVDs because they evolve over time). However the point stands that video instruction is a valuable tool IF its good instruction and IF you use it properly.

    2. Dave – with videos “All you get is recycled information and you don’t build skill…”

    Reply: First, all instruction is recycled information – there is nothing new under the sun when it comes to marksmanship fundamentals. Advanced classes just add more bodies, movement and targets.

    Second, building skill. I know of no class or know of any instructor that claims you can build skill by taking a class – IOW you can’t go to a class and buy case of ‘skill’. Building skill takes time; to build skill it takes perfect practice over many months, continued training, assessment & tweaking things, etc. Building skill takes LOTS of time – skill cannot be had by attending one class.

    3. Dave – if you want to know about pistol fighting talk to someone in law enforcement… they do it pretty well…

    Reply – ok but the majority of LEOs don’t use their firearms and or when they do, their hit rates are dismal. Everyone knows (or should) about the FBI & Police stats/reports showing that the hit rate for LEOs is around 18-20%. That means they are experiencing a failure/miss rate of about 80% – so how is that ‘doing pretty well’?. However when it comes to home & self defense the dynamics change and the hit rates are higher (closer ranged threat/s, minimal shots fired, etc). Should also mention that the majority of the time, when someone pulls a gun to defend themselves, its more likely that no shots are fired and the threat/s run away, so we see a difference between LEO and home/self defense situations = apples and oranges.

    4. Dave – LEOs are better trained since they use sidearms (versus military).

    Ok… it should be noted that the majority of departments don’t have the money to train their officers as they should; most qualify once a year and that is the extent of their ‘training’. I have met lots of LEOs that have problems reloading quickly and efficiently, or perform malfunction drills, and most agree that they don’t practice as much as they should in their department and or personally. I whole heartedly agree that departments need more money for quality training throughout the year. Fact is there is a small amount of people in the military and LEO world that are good instructors. Now do I agree that mall ninja and tacticool stuff is over-rated? Yes but then again if someone wants to put on a full battle rattle and ‘train’ thats fine with me. However the basics of military type training and LEO instruction both focus on the basics – stance, grip, sight alignment, sight picture, trigger squeeze, follow through, reloading, etc.

    As for poking at the military they have similar problems with sidearms – not much training and practice. So that point is mute in my opinion.

    As for Dave’s part about ‘what gear do you have’ I agree that a hat, plate carrier, etc do not make one a skilled shooter. A skilled shooter focuses on the fundamentals. No amount of Blackhawk gear will make you a better shooter. I totally agree that the gun must fit the student; that the majority of what matters is if the bullet hit the target. Kudos to Dave on that. I totally agree about the tacticool lingo and beardiness that has flooded the firearm instruction world. We all know this is true and some have gone so far to lie about their military/LEO experience; they grow a beard and use lingo I never used (and I was in the infantry) to get students.

    On the other side of the coin, on wearing a helmet, plate carrier, etc – I don’t think those things leave training scars. Why? because the fundamentals of shooting are the same no matter what you wear.

    I also see that instructors need to create a need and carve a nitch out for themselves to get students. Perhaps it incorporates using gear and nothing is wrong with that because the fundamentals are used regardless. Now if they start doing stupid stuff and claim its tactical or Teir 3 techniques, thats when my BS flag goes up (remember the guy placing his gun on the ground, doing a combat role then picking up his gun?).

    Some good points by Dave but I don’t agree with everything he says… and thats fine too.


    • Rick5555

      I’ve always told people..if you have good and solid shooting fundamentals You should be able to use ANY firearm, and be fairly accurate with it. Once a person has the fundamentals down. Practicing will be your best instructor. You don’t need to necessarily take classes to become proficient with your firearm(s) per se. I was taught from my father and few friends over the years. I then practice with live fire and do the stuff off range at home. Hence, I can hold my own. And I can pick up any firearm and do fairly well with it and be accurate. Due to the fundamentals. You above comment was well said and thought out. I agree with your comment. Training and instruction can come from multiple sources. These firearm schools, are just trying to generate revenue and bring people to their pricy classes. I get some people attend these classes for true instruction. And then some, have these expensive firearms and they want a place to use them and put a lot of rounds through their guns. Which is fine with me too. I advise people to learn safety and get some training. As well as, go to a range and get very familiar with your gun(s). As well as know the law too. Again, excellent above comments.

    • The biggest advantage of “in person” training with a competent instructor is people are really bad at seeing what they, themselves, are doing wrong. A good instructor can go, “You’ve *almost* got it, but try this little change…” and make a world of difference.

      Even taping and reviewing your performance from an “outside observer” perspective won’t help if you can’t tell he difference between what you’re supposed to be doing and what you actually are doing because you simply aren’t good enough at doing it to tell the difference.

      I’ve had that occur in several different areas, most recently, packing parachutes. No matter how many times I watched genuine experts (in person and on video), it wasn’t until a great rigger said, “Try moving these fingers down a little, to *here*” that I could do it with any competency.

  • 40mmCattleDog

    Love how he pushes being proficient with a pistol but gets all
    condescending when people want to be proficient with a carbine. Oh and I
    wouldn’t make sweeping statements about LE being extremely competent
    with firearms either considering the number of screw ups cops have with
    firearms every year. Example: NYPD and the empire state building, mistakenly drawing handgun instead of taser etc etc. Cops being in “gunfights every day” doesn’t mean the situation was handled proficiently, it just means it happened. Yeah
    he is technically right about how its ridiculous how people think gear makes them a better shooter but
    he needs to take a step back from the ego and stop whiffing his own farts.

    • stephen

      “stop whiffing his own farts”


  • TheNotoriousIUD

    Me at the range….

    • Rick5555

      When I saw this, it made me laugh. Thanks for posting. Was having a louse day and needed a laugh. Though it’s the weekend. I’m on call, which means I will be spending this weekend at the hospital. And be interrupted through out the night from residents who are unsure of what to do. Oh well, it is what it is. Thanks, you always have a good comment/come back. Which is appreciated from my end.

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        Thanks, I like to inject a bit of levity now and again. Things get so serious around here sometimes.

  • Bob

    The cops suck/are awesome pistol shooters angle is amusing to me. My first training came from a couple of LE. Of course, they were responsible for training other police officers and I have seen nothing in my further firearms learnin’ to indicate anything they taught was incorrect or foolish, so that all worked out for me.

    • Nicholas C

      No doubt there are some that take it seriously and train. Just like civilian firearm owners, Not all of them are trained properly or take it serious enough to seek training other than shooting small groups at a stagnant piece of paper.

      • Big Daddy

        Spend a few days at any range and you’ll see how many desperately need some instruction on the basics. Of not only how to shoot but just plain safety.

  • Don Ward

    Yeah. I don’t need to waste my time watching this video or reading Nicholas SEE to know that James Yeager is a moron and a poltroon.

  • Paul Joly


  • MarkVShaney

    “the fallacy that a handgun instructor needs to have been a special operations operator in order to teach proper handgun fighting”

    Or that “x” number of years in the military makes one an expert on “y”. Case in point- I was at a big retailer and wanted to do a side by side comparison of several mid-to-high end red dots. The ‘operator’ behind the counter informed me that all red dots are pretty much alike. Excuse me? Um maybe I need to talk to someone who knows the product a little better. “Well *I* was in the military for 15 years.” “look- I appreciate your service but I don’t think they issued y’all Fastfire III’s or Aimpoint Micros for your hand-built 22LR Race guns in Fallujah”

  • dhdoyle

    I generally agree with Dave. For civilian carry, a lot of the stuff being taught isn’t really relevant. I’m particularly concerned about “offensive” weapons training versus defensive training. Building clearing, closing with an adversary, and everything else that moves the fight forward is really sketchy in terms of civilian tactics. You should always ask whether a technique passes the “I was defending myself” test.

  • Pod

    I believe for classes where real-world stressful situations come into play, it’s probably best to have folk with LE or military experience teach, provided they’ve been through it on their side. For basic CC licensing qualifications, I don’t see an issue with a civilian teaching as long as he or she knows the laws, the basic techniques for manipulating a pistol, and of course safety safety safety.

  • Jim_Macklin

    A good teacher can be taught ANY skill and then learn to teach others.. The first skill a teacher needs is empathy and observation. Being an IDPA or IPSC champion does not make someone a teacher. Being a military firearms instructor may not mean that person is a qualified teacher.
    The NRA certifies Instructors. The skills and knowledge required by the armed citizen cover basic firearms safety, some advanced shooting skills, a clear understanding of WHY the rules of safety always apply.
    A few weeks ago in Augusta, KS a licensed man was attending a high school graduation ceremony. He was carrying some sort of 380 IN HIS SOCK without a holster. It was uncomfortable [duh] and he decided to fiddle with it. He shot himself in the foot and the bullet bounced off the floor and hit a in the leg.
    The Feds decided to not file charges but the local DA has filed two charges, Aggravates assault and illegal discharge within the city. No doubt he will face a million dollar lawsuit too.

    Obviously the man did not listen, hear and learn the basic rules, always use a holster. Don’t fiddle with it. He will spend some time in prison on the agg assault charge and pay a fine on the AD . Every penny he might have saved for his family is gone.
    Double taps, El Presidentie, tactical reloads, and all the NINJA teachers “essentials” make sense only after all the real skills are second nature and reviewed regularly.

  • mazkact

    Love it “Assholery” ,Sir you are a wordsmith. This video was a breath of fresh reality. I am weary of the tactiassholery that permeates our group. Fortunately I see the tacturd movement slowing down. We can be civilians that are efficient,proficient and knowledgeable on firearms and defense without being tacturds.

  • politicsbyothermeans

    If folks are worried about the SHTF situations, they might be better off spending their shekels on food, water and other preparations. Chances of shooting it out with the Federales when the dollar implodes seem low. Chances of running out of potable water seem much higher.

    • raz-0

      Like I said, I don’t know that it is rational. In lieu of supplies, probably not at all. After more practical and imminent stuff is taken care of?

      Regardless of rationality, there’s a difference between getting ripped off and deliberately buying something other than the dude in the video thinks they are.

  • William A Palmer

    Outstanding! I couldn’t agree more. Absolutely the best truthful opinion about firearms training on the Internet. Dave, you deserve a standing ovation.

  • Bob Nailer

    “Tacti-stoopid” and “Assholery”… he’s my hero.

  • Dave514

    Sadly, the state of defensive marksmanship technique hasn’t progressed since the days of Big Bear Lake and the Southwest Combat League. It’s still the same old Weaver or modified Weaver or Isosceles or Modified Isosceles.

    There has been one fundamental change that has yet to catch on, the Turnipseed Technique. Kent Turnipseed is a former 82nd Airborne LAFD, has used what he teaches to funeral of several LA gang members. He has been installed as member of the Martial Arts Hall of Fame for the Martial Art of the Gun. He is unique in that no one else has ever been so honored.

    Even sadder, are the four reasons that the current Trainers and PD instructors will not change:

    1. Ego.

    2. NIH

    3. That famous Egyptian river….Denial

    4. Professional Jealousy.

  • AirborneSoldier

    Getcha a beard, black embroidered shirt, and a d3sert tan cap, and you be an expert! Most tactical training i have observed is quite flawed, especially the over emphasis on not using cover or concealment when possible.

  • The Concerned Conservative


  • Roha Waha

    I will give you a perspective of a Marine of 22 yr.s 1975- 1997 , twice deployed to combat.
    First in Beirut in 1984 and again in 1990-91. I will assure you Marines are well trained in rifle marksmanship and fire team tactics , we know the difference between cover and concealment. Marines receive very little pistol training, but we dam sure know that sight alignment and sight picture get the job done. In both combat deployments I was fired upon
    and my training kicked in immediately and I believe that training is why I am alive today.
    In both cases I took the life of other men, there was no glory to it and being a man of faith I believe it wounded my soul. Twice since I retired, while living in Arizona the fact that I was carrying a pistol and made it know saved my life. The last thing in the world I wanted to do was kill another man , but I think the fact that I was prepared to defend myself stopped the aggression and saved my life and others. Neither time did I have to draw, brandish my weapon, or make threats.
    Gy.Sgt. R. Walters U.S.M.C.rte.

  • Bob

    So, he should charge $25 for two days instruction and one box of ammo or some such nonsense? Is his skillset not worth what he charges? I ask because I’m in a completely different profession where everyone wants garage-sale pricing and don’t want to pay me for what has taken me 35 years to learn and achieve.

  • Bob

    Even though I said this guy is my “hero”, I wonder if I took his course and I showed up with my cargo shorts on, my firearm in my front right pocket in its pocket holster that has no retention strap, would he take issue with that or not?

    • Zebra Dun

      I knew a Police Chief circa 1960’s who was former Airborne WW2 who shot bad guys as a beat cop and while chief carried a 1911A1 Mexican style in his waistband.
      A killer with Army and Police of the times marksmanship training on the job in America.

      • Bob

        Look at the Old West gunslingers… black powder pistols, single action, each round covered by some waxy concoction to prevent chain-fire, carried crosswise in the pants, no holster, no fancy sh*t, and they were dead shots, most of ’em. I’m sure a few blew off their “boys” and or a femoral artery got severed, but for the most part, they carried them where they could access them in a heartbeat. I can’t cross carry, I have Dunlop’s disease… my belly done lopped over my belt.

  • Zebra Dun

    There is an old rule, found out during SALVO studies.
    Of 100% of men in combat 25% never fire their weapons ever even if in a fight, 25% fire but aim high or don’t aim at all, 25% will fire only to save their lives or their buddies and 25% will shoot too much, too often and will try to kill anything in range.
    Most men never see or shoot a live enemy soldier and watch him fall and find his body.
    With everyone shooting everywhere or not how can any one man know for sure he shot anyone dead unless the rare case of aimed, targeted fire on an enemy.
    You can take a horse to water, some drink, some do not and ya can’t make them drink.

  • McGeezer

    I’m sorry, you cannot effectively defend yourself if you aren’t wearing 511 cargo pants.

  • cwolf

    Training transfer is a viable issue in any profession. It is also difficult and complex.

    Any analysis of police or military shootings shows very high miss rates. This really isn’t surprising since many shootings are a surprise.

    Generally, the wounded to killed ratio in combat is roughly 15:1. The reality is the human body is a complex target with a wide variety of tissues and generally bones protecting the important stuff. Which is why first aid training can be as important as shooting training.

    Generally, the best training looks as real as the job. Obviously, you ramp up to that (crawl, walk, run).

    Military experience is highly variable. The military, after all, believes in recon-by-fire and suppressive fire. Everybody likes full auto, but the accuracy rate is very poor. Given a basic load of say 8 mags, those don’t last long with a heavy trigger finger.

    The FBI qualifies in duty clothing and shooting from the draw (I’m sure their range officers had a cow when that was suggested) and collective shooting tactics (some % of wounds are fratricide).

    One service tested highly qualified shooters on moving targets. The shooters missed. Another service told shooters there was a downrange BB gun that would shoot at them until they hit it. Rate of fire went up and accuracy went down. One service went to qualifying in IBA. Qual rates dropped dramatically. Or military ammunition varies from lot-to-lot by several mils. Sights are relatively fragile; how often do you zero? One commander had all zero before every mission; kill rates went up.

    Equipment interface issues are common. Oh the helmet hits the IBA collar and prevents shooting at an upward angle. Oh the butt slides off the IBA since there is no shoulder “pocket.”

    And, the most critical part of police shooting is the part before they shoot: deciding to shoot. Hmmmm.

    Even more difficult is a wide variety of unconscious beliefs resulting from hundreds of hours of TV/movie shootings. People start believing that a tiny bullet picks a 200 pound human up and back 5 feet. Or they shoot center mass at a running target at 200m and conclude the caliber is no good when the target keeps running.

    Ok, so we design a high fidelity training program that trains people to shoot well under stress in a wide variety of realistic scenarios with all their operational equipment. You introduce errors based on historical shootings. That’s lots of time and lots of money. Then, you have learning decay. How often do you re-train?

    So, it is a difficult issue that most organizations simply don’t invest the time and resources in.

    Trying to find instructors who have shot/killed somebody? That’s pretty hard.

  • nick. v.

    As an instructor who has never been a Leo or mil. I know that I have a better understanding of firearms LAW than an unsettling number of the police in my area. I also know that I am better with a gun and them…just because you aren’t on the force doesn’t mean you are just a shlub and its this mentality that intimidates people from seeking training.
    I don’t teach my students how to kill….I teach them to survive.

  • n0truscotsman

    I actually enjoyed watching that video, waving my arms, yelling ‘preach it!”

    All of it goes back to mindset and *why* exactly, do you own a gun?

    Is it just for home defense? is it for strictly hunting? or is it for “2nd amendment” eventualities to ward off the regime or warlords if things get dicey? or is it just a collection?

    The problem I see is that most folks really dont know, and believe their use (home defense), matches somebody else’s use (which is 2A eventualities), which leads them to taking a course centered around the later. Nothing wrong with taking carbine courses or SMU-type stuff, but without the proper context, it really doesn’t make a lot of sense.

    Of course there is a huge prevalence of controversial, ‘edgy’ dojos trying to build brand names. We are in a interesting time in firearm ownership which is rife with charlatans and opportunists, but also amazing access to awesome experiences and excellent training.

    From my experience in taking courses and actually training others, people get wrapped around the axle about gear, while missing the entire point behind certain specialized pieces of gear to begin with. I love 5.11 and TAD stuff as much as the next guy, and frequently wear it tbh, although I can see the temptation to be distracted by such things when the forums people lurk on are inundated with gear and “new stuff”.

  • shooter2009

    “…tactical ass-holery…”


    Good stuff, Dave… I agree wholeheartedly.

  • shooter2009

    BTW, I was shocked to have a SEAL team boat guy in my Gunsite 250 class. Then, it was explained that they don’t get much handgun trigger time.

  • scaatylobo

    Retired LEO and firearms instructor here.
    Good points and while I dont totally agree on everything,better than 95 % is in my book too.
    Too many do NOT actually train because they dont want any to see how sad they are with their tools.
    Also will admit that too many LEO’s do not train or compete due to the knowledge that they might not come out as number 1 ,or number 2 ,or 3 etc.

  • guest

    Hear hear!

    On other thing that really needs to go – or rather be set aside as a “hobby” that have very little to do with firearms proficiency is what I call “modding fa**otry”, where people think that some piece of gear, or preferrably a myriad of gun mods (practical or otherwise), camo paints, some select type of sunglasses etc can make them better shooters.

  • Cmex

    The only thing I can say is train at least once a year in a reputable class, compete once a month to stay sharp, and practice once a week to not get dull.

  • disqus_XlYouOiadt

    In Toronto, Canada, the former Police Commissioner (and private gun owner,) Norm Gardner, owned a bakery. One day an idiot decided to hold it up. Our Commissioner walked out and put one round into the guy’s knee. Surrender was instant, making a deadly follow-up shot unnecessary. No mag-dump into the center-of-mass, just the cool head that came with his confidence to hit exactly where he wanted. Practice. Naturally, the commissioner was savaged by the press and sacrificed by the politicians. Ironically the only complaint that stuck was him honing his skills on the police range when he was in fact a civilian.