Monday, June 30, 2014

Training - Drop 'em - or How to retain your gun while you hit the head


This topic has taken a walk through various on-line haunts I frequent lately. It’s one of those topics that folks just don’t talk about – body functions, droppin’ your drawers, heads, toilets, ceramic thrones . . . you get the idea. And yet, every year there are a dozen stories of guns left behind or folks wounded through poor gun handling skills while a person performs a necessary bodily function. So let’s chat a bit about that.

There are multiple modes of carry that can be lumped into two general categories – “off body” carry and “on body” carry. The majority of this discussion will revolve around “on body” carry. That said – let’s spend a few words on “off body” carry. . . .

NEVER LOOSE CONTROL OF YOUR PURSE, BACKPACK, BRIEFCASE, MAN—PURSE OR WHAT EVER OTHER FRICKIN’ OFFBODY CARRYING DEVICE YOU ARE USING!!!! I would think that would make common sense – yet it does not seem to for some folks.

For the ladies – do not set it near stall doors or sidewalls – period! Use an end stall – ALWAYS!! If you need to hold it a bit – HOLD IT!! Use the handicapped stall if at all possible. Set your “package” in the far- away corner against a wall – not the next stall. Get in a position that you can defend it if necessary or grab it quickly if you can. The decision to carry a defensive weapon is a LIFE ALTERATING EVENT – it affects everything from the shoes you wear to the purse you carry. Work with it. Don’t fight it. And, it includes decisions you make when you head to the powder room as well.

For the guys who are carrying off body – there is nothing different here either. Read the paragraph above and integrate it into your life style. One secondary consideration is when you are doing your business standing up. First – consider using a stall anyway. Lock the door and do your business. This will afford you the most protection. In the case you decide to use the wall full of urinals - some of the same rules apply – use the urinal that is against a wall. Put your “package” in the corner where you can defend it. If it is “murse”, backpack or briefcase with a shoulder strap – I would suggest you leave it on, take the urinal against the wall and position the bag so it too is against the wall. And . . . finish your business as quickly as you can.

Finally . . . I cannot begin to tell you how much I dislike off-body carry. I would urge you to reconsider, adapt your clothing to allow you to carry on your person – preferably dominant side or appendix carry. On-body provides you the most control – it is simply preferred IMNSHO.

OK – got off body out of the way – let focus on hitting the head with a defensive weapon that is being carried in an “on body” fashion. And let’s hit the fundamentals quickly.

PURCHASE A HOLSTER THAT FITS YOUR GUN!!! My head nearly explodes every time I hear the words “my gun just fell out of my holster”. REALLY????? YOUR FRICKIN’ GUN FELL OUT OF YOUR HOLSTER???? You’re a DUMB ASS!!! One of the primary purposes of a holster is RETENTION! How do you test for that?? First – UNLOAD YOUR FRICKIN’ GUN (I feel the need to “raise my voice” just a bit because if we are even having this discussion about a gun falling out of a holster . . . and you are puzzled as to why that’s an issue – I sure the hell want to make sure YOUR FRICKIN’ GUN IS UNLOADED!!).


Then, with your holster in your hand, insert your gun, hold the holster upside down by the outer edges and shake the darn thing.


If your gun falls out – tighten any retention screws and repeat until the gun remains firmly in the holster despite vigorous shaking. If it does not . . . if it continues to fall out . . . consider it an indication of divine intervention and BUY ANOTHER FRICKIN’ HOLSTER!! ONE THAT ACTUALLY FITS YOUR WEAPON!!!

Next – your belt. And this rule holds true whether male or female . . . WEAR A DAMN GUN BELT!!! Not a cute little designer belt that looks great with your pants/slacks/skirt – whatever. Wear a real, honest to goodness gun belt designed to hold a couple of pounds of steel to your body. This is typically one of the first changes in clothing that a shooter that decides to carry a defensive weapon throughout their day faces. And, it’s one of the most important. As the old knight said – “choose wisely”. I did a post some time back on “Da Belt” – it might be worth some time for you to review it. “But, but, but . . . those won’t go with my skirt, slacks, pants . . .” Honestly, I don’t care – find one that does or change your clothing. A belt that doesn’t hold up your weapon is worthless.

When wearing your weapon on your belt – I always suggest IWB carry. You can do a much better job of concealing it with your clothing. The three most common positions for IWB carry are “strong side”, “appendix” and “center of the back”. For those using OWB these probably settle down to “strong side” and “center of the back”. These are the assumed positions for this discussion. They do not include “ankle” carry – when droppin’ drawers, little needs to be done to retain your weapon. If you have some other creative way to carry on your ankle or thigh – just work on it so you retain secure control of your defensive weapons.

For the guys doing their business standing up . . . center of the back carry simply sucks. If a predator detects you are carrying and decides to take your gun in the head – all he needs to do is to slam you into the urinal and take your weapon from the center of your back. This is one of the reasons I avoid center of the back carry. The other is just plain comfort – it’s not for me.

For appendix carry and strong side carry – choose the urinal on the end that affords your weapon the most protection. Since my dominant side is my right side – I will always use the right side urinal. And yes . . . I will wait if I can or use a stall. This provides you the best chance to protect your weapon should the need arise.

I suppose it should be common sense . . . but news reports all too often prove that it is not . . . while in the head - DO NOT REMOVE YOUR FRICKIN’ WEAPON FROM IT’S HOLSTER EVER!!!!! UNLESS IT IS TO DEFEND YOUR LIFE!!!

Just to repeat in case you didn’t hear that . . . while in the head - DO NOT REMOVE YOUR FRICKIN’ WEAPON FROM IT’S HOLSTER EVER!!!!! UNLESS IT IS TO DEFEND YOUR LIFE!!!

This is one more of the “head exploding” parts of the commentary when some person removes their gun, lays it on the floor, the back of the toilet, hangs it from the coat hook . . . and then forgets it. THAT DRIVES ME RIGHT OFF THE CLIFF!!!

The only time your weapon should clear your holster is in defense of your life, while in use on the range, to unload it for cleaning or to return it to the safe. Otherwise, your defensive weapon should remain holstered . . . PERIOD!!!.

General rules of thumb for when you need to drop your drawers . . .

ALWAYS use an end stall. Wait if necessary. And, when possible, use the handicapped stall. The end stall provides an outer wall for protection and reduces your area of concern to just the door and sidewall.

ALWAYS use a stall that locks . . . if the door doesn’t lock – move stalls or restrooms keeping in mind the desire to use an outer wall stall.


Tuck your holster into the inner side of your pant leg. It will look something like this . . . and yes – the photos are “work and child friendly” (pervert!)


I will then cover the holstered weapon with my underwear . . .


This does a couple of things. It helps secure the holstered weapon so it doesn’t roll forward. And, it hides it should the bottom of the door be just a bit high.

Of course, were I wearing one of my thongs . . . it wouldn’t hide nearly as much. So, I have made the supreme sacrifice and discarded them all in favor of boxer briefs . . . yep . . . that’s my story . . .

This process is adaptable across genders and is workable for both slacks and skirts. It puts your weapon between your legs (DO NOT GO THERE) allowing better control and protection.

After the “paper work is done” I pull my pants up on my dominant side with my hand on the holster. DO NOT just yank up your pants – you simply must control your holstered weapon and the best way to do that is to hold it while you pull your pants up.

Finally, take some time to make sure you have properly rearranged your clothing to conceal your weapon and make sure your gun belt is secure. It’s time well spent.

Probably way too much information . . . but for those folks that carry 90% or more of the time . . . this will simply be part of your day.

As for the photos . . . they were taken at home. They were not staged – simply taken during “normal business hours”.

You are responsible for the retention of your defensive weapon . . . regardless of the time of day, your location . . . or . . .

. . . the “business” at hand.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Range Trip - Some friendly competition between friends . . . via eMail . . .


A bit ago Engineering Johnson posted an E-Postal competition  with an end date of June 30th.  I’d forgotten about it until he posted a reminder that the due date was coming up.  I found a had a few hours free this morning after a much needed haircut so I headed to the range with my trusty Ruger 22/45 range gun and my carry weapon – a Glock 17 with stock sights.

Engineering Johnson is a bit of a Steam Punk fan so the target had a unique look to it . . .

small target

The rules were as follows:


Target size: 8.5x11”

Range:  10 yards (or as close as possible at your range)

Number of shots: 10

Position: Standing unsupported

Time limit: None

Scoring: Each shot counts once as the highest zone touched.  10 bonus points for scoring on all 4 gears.


1 – Iron sight rimfire

2 – Iron sight centerfire

3 – Optical sight rimfire

4 – Optical sight centerfire

5 – Open class:  Anything else.  If is unusual then shoot a target and send it in.  Send a picture too…if you and your gun look “steampunk enough” you will get extra points out of it!

Email scans or photos of your targets to my email address (right side near the top) by the end of June.

So, with a stack of 10 printed targets is spent a bit of time “warming up” and then settled in with the final 5 targets to take things a bit more serious.  I was reasonable pleased with the results using a stock Ruger .22/45 pistol with plain iron sights.  And, I ran a couple targets with my carry weapon, a stock Glock 17.  Here are the final results:


Based on the rules I shot a 62 out of a possible 100.  Next up – two targets from the Glock 17


Again, came in at 62 – not bad but I had one flyer round.  One more try yielded my “prettiest” target with rounds on all gears and all rounds hitting gears.  But, the score was a bit lower at 52.  This is what it looked like . . .


It was an interesting way to shoot against friends and the unique target made it all the more challenging. 

So – what did your last range target look like?  Was it a “standard” ring target or a defensive target?  Perhaps it was something unique?  How about sharing it?  Post a link in the comments so we can take a look – or post it to your Facebook page.

Because there are times when just a bit of a twist with your target shooting makes it just a bit more fun!


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Training – Are you making “progress”?


TIMER: “Shooter – load and make ready!”

TIMER: “Is the shooter ready?”

Rick: “Ready!”

TIMER: “Stand by!”

. . . . . BEEP!!!

Rick punches out, 5 rounds – 5 hits. Time - just under 7 seconds – a personal best for him. He displays a big ass grin, looks at me and says “Thanks! That time on the range really helped!” Then he heads to the loading table to load a couple magazines for the next round . . . we’re both happy campers!

Rick had acted as a student in a recent PPOTH Advanced Instructor course this spring and I had worked on his foundation – stance, grip, sight alignment, sight picture and trigger press – pretty hard. He was doing the seemingly typical Glock “low left” (for right handed shooters) thing with his Glock 19 and was well and truly frustrated. His final “key” was to firm up his grip and pay attention to his metacarpal bone of his trigger finger to insure that it had little to no movement when he pressed the trigger. Then, a bit of focus on a smooth trigger press to the rear . . . and the magic happened. Nice groups, no flinch, no “low and left” . . . he made . . .


progress : movement forward or toward a place

: the process of improving or developing something over a period of time

Many shooters seem to believe the only thing needed to do to improve is to simply throw rounds down range. I have watched both new and inexperienced shooters as well as “old heads” send round after round down range, shake their head in disappointment and leave the range with the promise to “do better” next time. Really? How??

How does a shooter improve if they don’t diagnose what isn’t working for them? This specific issue falls – oft times – in the category of “ignorance”. The shooter simply doesn’t know what’s wrong and doesn’t know how to diagnose the problem. They “don’t know” that they “don’t know”. There are many solutions available to them to remedy this.

Gain more knowledge. Pure and simple – the solution to ignorance is knowledge. There are so many sources available to new shooters today. From live course work to a wide range of books and videos from reputable trainers – there is a tremendous amount of information available to give new and experienced shooters alike insights into the particular problem they may be having. One last roadblock that can easily pop its head up here – pride. If a shooter let’s their pride get in the way of their education . . . NOTHING WILL CHANGE!

Another great tool is a training partner. I mean a REAL training partner – not someone to go make holes with, but someone who will push you, critique you, encourage you and someone open to you doing the same. A new set of eyes on a problem can do wonders for your ability to improve your shooting skills!

Video cameras can be another “training partner” – both head-mounted and tripod mounted so you get a personal POV that you can review as well as one from a few steps away. The trick here is to actually review the video, watch what you do, talk to yourself on the video sharing what you did and finally, ruthlessly critique yourself at the end of each range trip. Time consuming? Yep. Expensive? Not really – there are any number of moderately priced pieces of video gear – not to mention that most smart phones offer very high resolution video recording capability as well. If you can’t “see” what you’re doing . . . you’ll never be able to fix what you’re doing.

Break things down to smaller components . . . to the fundamentals. Then, work on them one at a time. It’s tempting to take a course, watch a video, read a book and have a bit of an “ah ha!” moment . . . and then think everything will magically go together. Nothing works like that . . . NOTHING! Identify those things that need attention – stance, grip, gun handling, driving to the threat . . . – whatever – and then WORK ON IT UNTIL YOUR MASTER IT! Then – choose the next component . . . and repeat until you have made real . . .


Don’t become discourage . . . become determined! You’re a better shooter! You can “run your gun” better than you do today! You can move better! You can move quicker! You know you can! I know you can! There is lots of room for improvement . . . in ALL of us.

Then, when you have a break through like Rick . . . take a few moments, look at the target/timer/range drill . . . give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back, add it to your stack of “range stories” to tell over a cold one . . .

And get back at it . . . because, as a shooter, there is always more progress to be made!


Monday, June 23, 2014

Review - NRA Basic Pistol 6-22-2014


Had a great Basic Pistol course this past Sunday. Small, but that makes for plenty of back and forth – and I like that.

We had an interesting mix of folks – a photographer, an electrician and a young woman at the beginning of a career in law enforcement. Two were looking to fill Iowa’s requirement for their carry permit. The young woman was just gathering foundational information.

There is always the temptation to think small classes go quicker . . . yet that never happens. There is specific material that must be covered . . . and that simply takes time. From a “basic information” point of view – a new shooter simply cannot do better today than the NRA Basic Pistol course. Everything from why a cartridge fires to the components of virtually every type of handgun on the market today is covered. Add to that fundamental firearm safety, storage of the gun and its ammunition, shooting stance, grip, sight alignment, sight picture, trigger press, cleaning . . . and live fire on a range . . . it’s very hard to beat the material presented.

That said – unless a new shooter is willing to set aside what they “know” and really jump in and do the course, very little information is actually transferred to the student. I actually experienced that in an experienced shooter at a training I took recently. Frankly, it was stunning to watch. The gent resisted the new material for the entire course. As far as I could tell he didn’t budge a bit from the way he did things when the course began. What a waste of time, money and – frankly – of the effort the instructor spent on him.

Happily, my experience was just the opposite in this weekend’s course. The photographer had been pistol shooting but was fairly new to foundational information this course is intended to teach. The electrician is a hunter but had limited handgun experience. Both were open to learning and was willing to jump in, work hard and “play”. Our young lady embarking on a law enforcement career was simply a sponge. She had never touched a handgun before. Once past some initial quietness, the questions came and her effort on the range was great.

The range work was . . . well . . . let’s just say it was WET, WET, WET!!! But, we had made some changes to our range recently that enabled the folks to stay relatively dry. We started out with pie plates and progressed to a qualification target I like. As I said above – they did great!

So – congrats to Cory, Carter and Raechel . . . GREAT JOB folks!


Friday, June 13, 2014

Training – After Market Gear


The majority of “gunnies” that I know are well past the point of being just “gun owners”, or “gun enthusiasts”, or “gun aficionados” . . . they have moved well into the category of full blown “gun geek”. And, as is the tradition with most folks this level of “enthusiasm” . . . they love to “tweak” there guns and their gear.

The discussions enter the arena of the “microscopic” detail about – first and foremost – the “BEST” gun.  And then comes the “BEST” sights, “BEST” trigger, “BEST” grip, “BEST” magazine release, “BEST” safety . . . pick a component or a subsystem on your firearm . . . and these folks will be more than happy to tell you what the “BEST” components are, the “real” reasons why that’s true and who makes that specific item.

Expand the discussion to caliber and type of ammunition . . . well . . . God help ya! Lay in some snacks, crack open a cold one, find a comfy chair . . . cause you’re going to be an ear full!

Add to this discussions on modes of carry, holsters, mag carriers, belts, “ears”, “eyes” . . . and a host of other “shootie type things” . . . it can get real deep real fast.

Let’s just stick to the gun . . . in fact, let’s just stick to your defensive carry handgun. The gun you depend on to protect yourself, your family or anyone else in your charge. Why?? Because this is where the “rubber meets the road”. If this firearm fails to do its job properly . . . your day will end badly.

My general advice on “aftermarket” modifications – components that actually replace original factory components – it to simply be careful with your choice. Some components may well have consequences down the road – while others may well help you defend your life.


Sights are probably one of the most frequently changed components. Their purpose, of course, is to allow you to accurately place rounds on a threat. Honestly, within the range that +86% of all defensive shootings occur – you will never have time to use them. Yet, at distance and with time – there is value in finding a combination of front and rear sight that will work well for you. Do your homework, read the reviews of various combinations, try different setups on your friends guns. Just remember what your defensive handgun is for – it’s not for “Bulls Eye” shooting but rather engaging a threat at far closer range.  And . . . be able to clearly articulate why you installed those particular sights on your defensive handgun.  “They just looked cool!” simply isn’t going to cut it if you need to defend your actions in court.

Magazine Releases

Many handguns have fairly short release buttons and shooters may well have difficulty in pushing the mag release with a single digit (typically the thumb) while they are simultaneously reaching for a full magazine. One “fix” for this is the installation of an “extended” mag release. This is a magazine release button that is a bit longer, sticks out a bit farther and makes it easier to push the mag release. My only caution here is make sure it’s not so long that you accidently push the mag release while simply gripping your handgun. You could suddenly drop the magazine from your gun just when you need that next round the most.

Ambidextrous Safeties

On some handguns it’s possible to replace a factory safety with a safety that has a lever on both sides of the rear of the gun. If you are a left-handed shooters and shoot a semiautomatic handgun, working the safety on a traditional semiautomatic can be a pain since virtually all semiautomatic handguns are designed for right handed shooters. There is no convenient way to work the manual safety with your left hand as you extend towards the threat. Answer? Either purchase a semiautomatic handgun that comes stock with an ambidextrous safety . . . or have one installed if that is possible.  This is one modification that may well let you run your gun more efficiently and safely.  Again – make sure you can articulate your reasons for this modification clearly should the need arise.


There few other topics, when you begin talking about “tuning” your gun, that generates more conversation than “trigger jobs”. Let’s set those aside and focus on a single topic . . . what’s the purpose of the trigger?

There are a couple. Obviously it either releases the hammer or the striker depending you the type of firearm you have.

In some handguns, there is a component of the “safety” built into it as in Glock “Safe Action” pistol. Some handguns that are “double action” only (typically with fairly long trigger pulls) have triggers that need your finger to travel a fair distance to set the hammer before you can be released to fire the cartridge – adding a layer of safety simply because of the time and strength required to set the hammer.

The typical “pull weight” for a defensive handgun is 5-ish pounds. It’s typically not less than 4.5 pounds and not over 8 pounds. There are some law enforcement agencies that require 10 pounds pull weight – helping officers avoid negligent discharges under stress.

Mix all of this together and you are talking about how your trigger “feels” when you press it to the rear. You don’t want it to be so light that the slightest touch sets off a round. And, you may not want it so stiff that your finger simply cannot work it at all. You may not want the “travel” to be so long that you begin to wonder if it’s ever going to fire as you press the trigger . . . and you may not want it so short that the slightest movement discharges the firearm.

Again, keep in mind the purpose of this particular handgun – it’s for your personal defense. My typical advice . . . go with the trigger that comes with the gun when you purchase it. Try it out before you purchase it. Find a friend with the same model, rent one from a range, try a bit of dry fire in the store. If you don’t find it profoundly unusable or uncomfortable . . . stick with the factory trigger. And, if you choose to “upgrade” . . . stick with the 5-ish pound trigger pull weight.


Finally to the component that actually generated the thought for this post . . . “spare” magazines. Any shooter who does any amount of consistent training on the range will have number of additional magazines. Obviously, for every day carry, you will carry at least one spare, possibly two. For range work . . . and another half dozen or so.

And, as with virtually every component in your handgun . . . somebody else makes that same part other than the original manufacturer. These are called “after market” components. “After” a manufacturer builds a handgun the “market” will seek to find bits and pieces that they believe they can do better . . . hence the “after market” component is born. With respect to magazines for specific handguns – there are innumerable manufacturers out there that will make the “perfect” magazine for your handgun. They don’t always care if their product works well in your handgun . . . they just want you to buy it. Sometimes this is done through some kind of “bling” that’s added to make their product standout. But, most times, it’s simply price . . . their magazine is just cheaper. And, after all, “more is better”, right? If I can buy more magazines for the same money – that’s a good thing, right? MMmmmmm – not necessarily.

During a recent course I had an experience with “after market” magazines. You can read the details here . . . but the bottom line is that when that magazine was inserted in you Glock 17 the gun simply wouldn’t function. I experienced failure to feeds, double feeds, failure to eject, my slide would lock . . . all in abundance. Yet, I had only one of these magazines so it didn’t come through my rotation of magazines inserted in my G17 all that often. I wrote it off to bad ammunition from a new vendor. As you can see in my previous post – the instructor “diagnosed” it quickly and remedied the problem by chucking the half-filled mag down the back of the range while informing me to NEVER USE THAT MAGAZINE AGAIN!!!

How was it different from a standard, factory Glock magazine? The images below will tell the tale. The plastic was thin and softer – meaning that it would flex a bit more than a standard Glock magazine. The biggest – and most fatal flaw in it’s design . . . no steel sleeve insert. Looking into the bottom is the disassembled mag you can clearly see it is simply a plastic sleeve. Add the tension of the spring . . . it’s no wonder the cartridges couldn’t exit the top of the magazine smoothly.




The lesson? It’s simple really . . . each and every component of your defensive handgun is important. It’s what you will use to defend your life should the need arise. If you can’t “feed” the gun . . . your day will not end well.

Pay attention. Remember the purpose of those 30-some ounces of weight on your hip. And, as the Old Knight said . . .

“Choose Wisely”

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Review – Combat Focus Shooting Course with Rob Pincus


Group Photo 

Say the name “Rob Pincus” in the “gunny” community and you seem to hear two general story lines . . . “Isn’t he the guy who has you flop your hands all round and get “off the X”?” . . . or . . . “Best class I ever took – you need to go . . . NOW!!” I’ll share my thoughts on that later, let me get down my reflections on Rob first, then the course and then whether you could add Rob’s CFS course to your list of “to dos”.

Were I to sum up Rob Pincus in a single word it’s PASSION!!!!! (Caps, Bold, Underline and explanation marks fully intended). From his first words on the pad as we started our morning brief to the last conversation I had with him during the exit brief – it was crystal clear that Rob is passionate about CFS, passionate about teaching and passionate that you learn, absorb, integrate, demonstrate and are successful at learning what the CFS course has to teach.

He is equally passionate that you understand the “whys” of what is taught as well. He’s NOT a “do this because I say so” kind of guy – there is depth, experience, research, understanding, behind each and every component of the CFS course – from the distances that most the shooting takes place (12-15 feet), to the simulated “flinch” response, to moving during the response, to moving during reloads, to real – honest to God assessment prior to your reholster. There is a reason for everything, backed by a broad range of knowledge that is shared liberally throughout the course.

“I am NOT your life coach!!” Yep, that was pretty damn clear within the first few tens of minutes of the very first shooting drill. I’d been having “problems” with my ammunition for a while. Double feeds, failure to eject, failure to feed . . . I’d begun to purchase from a new Iowa manufacturer and I was certain it was the ammo. After all, I’d run countless thousands of round through my Glock 17 with a 99.99999999% success rate – until I switched ammo . . . now the problems. This issue poked its head up a few rounds into the first set of drills.

“What’s your name!!” asks Rob – his FULL “outside” voice on display.

“Bill, my gun seems to be jamming a lot here!” I explain as I am trying to free the slide enough to eject the round and the magazine.

“What the hell!! You’re making Glocks look bad in front of the 1911 guy!! Cut that shit out!! Clear the damn gun!!” (paraphrasing here just a bit).

Finally . . . “Oh for God’s sake – give me the F’in gun!!!!!” Rob grabs the slide, smashes the shit out of the grip and the round flies free. Then he drops the mag and gives the gun back – then examines the magazine.

“HERE’S THE F’IN’ PROBLEM – YOU BOUGHT A GREAT GUN AND THEN PUT A SHITTY KNOCK-OFF MAGAZINE IN IT. LOOK AT THIS!! CHEAP PLASIC, THIN BASE PLATE, IT IS NOT STEEL LINED!!!” Then as he draws his arm back and launches the half-filled mag down range says “NEVER BUY A PIECE OF SHIT MAG FOR YOUR GUNS – THAT’S JUST F’IN’ STUPID!!!” . . . he then returns to the end of the line . . . and our drill begins again . . .

Well shit – not the way I wanted to start the day . . . yet it was perfect. Let me explain . . .

There was no malice in his words and while there was some anger – it was directed at what could have happened should I engage a real threat in a real place with a piece of shit magazine in my gun. Not good. It also acted as a starting point to let the class know he was not there to be our “life coach” . . . but that what we were learning was serious shit, we needed to get our head in the game and that he was determined to make sure each and every one of us understood the content – and “in your face” would be a learning tool – not the only tool, but part of the “kit”. And so it was.

That also amped up the energy on the range as well. It’s impossible to simulate the stress of being involved in a real “dynamic critical incident” – but, you can increase the stress on a range, you can push students until they make mistakes, you can demand excellence and allow them to fail and correct . . . and Rob had no hesitation to push us to be perfect, to do better, to have us expect to make the shot – not just “hope” to.

For those of us from military backgrounds – this is NOT an unfamiliar leaning environment. THIS is where you want mistakes to happen, THIS is where you want to learn from them – not in some Wal-Mart parking lot at 9PM at night. Ya just go with it, push yourself hard and learn everything you can.

Those not experienced with a high energy instructor, a demanding instructor, a “LOUD” instructor quickly learned to listen to the words, understand the reasons for the demands being made on them – and then get with the program, do the work and learn what’s being taught.

If you’re looking for a shooting instructor that can also be your “life coach” . . . Rob may not be your guy. BUT, if you’re looking for a shooting instructor that possesses the PASSION to teach you a skillset that could save your life . . . Rob should be on your instructor list.

“Layered Drills”

The course was “layered” – beginning with a “by the commands” – “extend” (your firearm), “touch” (the trigger) “press” (the trigger to the rear in one smooth motion).

And, ending with a “Figure 8” drill with 6 different targets with numbers, shapes and images spray painted on them in red paint. As you walked around two paint cans in a figure 8 Rob would yell out “The coolest F’in animal ever invented!!” and you had to . . .

  • Simulate a startle response while drawing your gun and moving
  • Scan the targets for the “coolest F’in animal ever invented (it’s a unicorn BTW)
  • Engage that specific target with 4-6 rounds
  • Bring your gun back to the high ready
  • Finally – scan for more unicorns on other targets


So I extend and send one more round into the target.


My magazine runs dry on the next target . . .


Reload complete, I am back at the high ready looking for more threats.


So I began walking again . . .

And so it went for all of us until our loaded magazines were empty.

Look at the difference in complexity between the first drill on day 1 and the Figure 8 drill on day 2 . . . orders of magnitude more difficult . . . but much more realistic than the overwhelming majority of drills most firearms teach as their stock and trade.

Balance of Speed and Accuracy

Most gunfights are close and fast. It’s imperative that you be able to get combat effective hits quickly. For close distances, 9-15 feet, sighted fire is simply not needed. Look at the threat, focus on center mass, drive out to the threat and engage with 3 to 5 rounds. Assess your situation, look for other threats . . . repeat as necessary.

That said – there are times when sighted fire is necessary - longer distances or the specific need to take a difficult shot under stress. These were integrated throughout all the drills – rapid engagements of boxes that simulated the center mass of a threat with the sound of “5!!” interspersed meaning a single round was to be placed in the center of the circle with a “5” on it.

Stress the Shooter

In addition to verbal demands, pushes, challenges . . . there were physical stressors as well . . .


We all ran towards the middle firing line (about 21 feet) as quickly as we could . . .


We turn, run toward the 30 foot line . . .


We stop, do a startle response, draw our firearm, move left or right and engage our target with 3-5 shots. Then we assess our situation and reholster . . .


We run to the front line


Startle response, draw your gun, move left or right, engage with 3-5 rounds, assess the situation, reholster . . .


Startle response, draw your gun, move left or right, and place a single round in the 2-inch circle that is the “Number One”, assess the situation, reholster . . . .

At this point we were being stressed mentally (follow the commands), physically by running back and forth and finally – we were still expected to hit the target . . .

And so it went.

My round count for the two days was 1,100ish.

Worth the time and money?

There are no shortcuts – ever. If it is your intent to be the best defensive shooter you can be – you need solid course work, consistent training on your range and a dogma that is designed to actually respond to the way your body functions and then provide you the ability to roll with that and “stop your threat”. I am convinced that as to today – Rob’s “Combat Focus Shooting” provides a solid foundation to do exactly that. Still – it’s a starting point. Past that it’s up to you to train on your range to cement what you take away from his CSF course and to continue to learn.

Bottom line . . . save your pennies, stock pile your ammo, save your “rewards points” . . . and then find a CSF course near you and take it . . .

Period . . . end of story!