Aggressive defense 

September 15, 2017

Bad guys get the advantage only if you let them. Want to win the fight? Then, you better bring an overly aggressive mindset.

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Reprint. Take a read. Good info

June 26, 2017


Having trained a fair amount of law enforcement snipers and listened to them talk about the shortfalls in their training programs, I wanted to get the facts. Let’s face it: We all gripe, and sometimes we focus on the negatives instead of looking at things objectively.

By Caylen Wojcik

“So I conducted an informal survey, reaching out to 13 local and state agencies to get some visibility on how many training hours were dedicated to maintaining proficiency and readiness for snipers. The survey included part-time teams only, as this makes up the majority of departments and we didn’t want to skew the numbers.

Why? Well, for a couple of reasons. First, I wanted the hard numbers straight from the horse’s mouth. Second, I wanted to be able to identify a realistic amount of training hours from which I could derive a basic marksmanship training plan that law enforcement snipers could use to maintain the highest level of proficiency and readiness within the allotted time. With an average of 10 hours a month to train, we need to get rid of the fluff and cut to the chase.

What I’m about to outline is solely my opinion based on what I’ve come across in my time as a trainer and an operational sniper running a team and a platoon. If what you read is applicable to you or your requirements, great. If not, or if only some of it is applicable, then that’s great, too.

MARKSMANSHIP
The focus is solely on marksmanship, as trying to cover all the skills in which a sniper needs to maintain proficiency could fill a book. Marksmanship is only 10 percent of a sniper’s mission, maybe less. But when the time comes to use those skills, they become 100 percent of your purpose, and failure is far from an option. The moment chooses you, and you’ve got to be ready for a wide variety of situations, so diversity in a training program is an absolute must. However, establishing both diversity and proficiency within a limited amount of time can be tricky at best. We must accept that being a sniper is a way of life. As such, you must source a large majority of your training time and knowledge on your own. It takes dedication, discipline and an innate desire to never settle for average. All of those things should be in our blood to begin with, so let’s get started.

From a marksmanship perspective, snipers require diversity. You never know what you’re going to be presented with on the crisis site, and your training needs to reflect that. You also need some sort of a metric for identifying strengths, weaknesses and progression of skills.

In order to do this, a member of the team should be keeping records of drills, individual scores, times (if applicable) and logging this data in an easy to interpret format. A lot of departments use scenario-based training, which takes a lot of time and effort to put together for the Disneyland-ride effect: Stand in line for an hour to get five minutes of fun. Purpose-built drills are far more beneficial to building the critical skills the sniper needs to be effective. Scenarios are a great tool but should be viewed as a culmination for team interoperability training and used sparingly. Below are some drills that compose a qualification course for law enforcement snipers in our training program at Magpul Core. I’m also going to cover the progression of skills and tasks in my team if I were constructing the training plan.

TAKE INVENTORY
First, before implementing any new training plan, take an inventory of skills and abilities from both the new guys and the senior guys. Spend a couple of hours and do the following: Confirm your cold-shots. Check zeros with both open-air ammo and barrier ammo, if you have it. Confirm zeros with night optics if you have them. Check point-ofimpact shift through glass with both barrier ammo and open-air ammo. The bottom line: That stuff is mission critical, and it’s got to be 100 percent dialed. Next, take an inventory exam of basic sniper marksmanship.

That’s going to be the following drills:

1: 100 YARD FBI FACE TARGET
This is a simple, no-stress command fire shot meant to test the shooter’s ability to apply the proper trigger control for a command-initiated assault. Prone, command fire. Pass/Fail.

2: 100-, 150- AND 200-YARD BARRICADE SUPPORTED POSITIONS
These three drills test the shooter’s ability to rapidly construct an alternate position
and precisely engage a life-size hostage target. From each distance the shooter will sprint 50 yards to the barricade, build a supported position and fire one round in one minute. 100 yards: standing only. 150 yards: kneeling or standing. 200 yards: kneeling or sitting. Pass/Fail.

3: 21 DOT DRILL USING 1½-INCH DOTS FROM 100 YARDS
The dot drill is an excellent drill to identify a wide variety of marksmanship issues.
It’s mainly focused on the rapid acquisition of a sight picture and the balance of speed and precision. The top dot is shot from the prone, two rounds in 30 seconds. The next row of five dots is shot from the prone, strong side, one round per dot in 30 seconds. The second row of five dots is shot from the prone, support side, one round per dot in 40 seconds. The third row of dots is shot with the rifle staged on the deck and the shooter in the standing position. On command, the shooter will fire one round from the prone, per dot, per iteration in the following time limits: 20, 18, 15, 12 and 10 seconds. For the last row, the shooter will stand with the rifle at the low ready and on command move to the deck and fire one round from the prone, per dot, per iteration in the following time limits: 30, 25, 20, 18 and 15 seconds. Score it 4½ points per hit, 17 hits required for 80 percent.

4: TRIPOD BREAK-OUT DRILL
The tripod break-out drill is used to test the shooter’s familiarity with their equipment and their ability to rapidly deploy said equipment to deliver a precise shot under a time constraint. This drill is shot from 80 yards using 3-inch colored shapes as the targets. The shooter will sprint 50 yards, build a standing or kneeling shooting position with either a tripod or a barricade and engage four shapes with one round each in 90 seconds. This is repeated four times for a total of 16 rounds fired. Score it 6¼ points per hit, 13 hits required for 80 percent.

5: STRESS SHOOT
The stress shoot is designed to test the shooter’s ability to manage breathing, trigger control and fundamentals while under physical stress. This drill is shot from the prone at 100 yards and 1¼-inch targets can be used. The rifle is staged at the firing point with a pile of 16 loose rounds of ammunition 25 yards behind it. On command, the shooter will move from the rifle to the ammunition, retrieve one round, move to the rifle and engage one target. This process will repeat until 16 rounds have been fired or the time limit of seven minutes runs out. Score it 6¼ points per hit, 13 hits required for 80 percent.

6: TRIPOD UNKNOWN DISTANCE
This is used for a variety of purposes. It builds confidence and will show the shooter how to build their own system for gear management when moving into a firing position so they can maximize their effectiveness on the crisis site. This drill uses steel targets ranging in distance from 150 to 500 yards, and uses sizes from 8 inches up-close to man-sized plates at the far distances. The shooter starts approximately 25 yards from the firing line with their equipment packed and callout ready. On command, the shooter will have 10 minutes to move to the position and locate and construct a range card for all targets. At the completion of time, the shooter must be ready to engage the first target. The first fourtargets must be shot from the standing, targets 5 through 8 can be shot from either kneeling or standing and targets 9 and 10 can be shot from standing, kneeling or sitting. For beginners, four rounds can be fired per target and hits are scored 10, 8, 6 and 4. Fourth round misses are zeros. A total of 80 points is a passing score.

These drills are a good baseline to start establishing proficiency within your team. There are 98 rounds fired if the shooter fires four rounds at each target on the unknown distance shoot, and 68 rounds fired if the unknown distance shoot is shot clean. All six of the drills can be shot in a few hours if the logistics are coordinated carefully. They cover a wide variety of skills that each sniper should be proficient in. Looking at each one objectively, you can quickly identify the skills required to accomplish each and how those skills can translate directly to real-world situations. These drills can also be modified to suit a particular
scenario. We can shrink the times to increase difficulty if plateaus occur.

As an example for advanced students, the tripod unknown distance shoot can be made more realistic by enclosing the shooter in an average-sized residential room and placing one or two obstacles in front of them, simulating windows. Or incorporate defeating a barrier into the barricade supported hostage shoots. Use your imagination to incorporate realism into the fundamentals.

Once the baseline scores are established, we can quickly identify strengths and weaknesses within the team. Each training session should begin with a core skill, such as a cold-shot stress shoot or a full-gear breakout to an unconventional position. Next, move into a fundamental warm-up drill. That could be a version of the 21-dot drill, but on a more generous timeline. Once that’s complete, move into an area of weakness that requires improvement from the majority of the team. Maybe that’s tripod breakout drills or building unconventional positions. Every training session should at least include the following:

Kick-off with a core skill, shot cold for score or pass/fail.
F undamental warm-up.
Skill-building drills that focus on improving weaknesses.
Some sort of stress event for recorded score.
If possible, end with another fundamental drill.
The team leader should be responsible for gathering scores and inputting them into some sort of database to track progress. It doesn’t do any good to not track progression, as that’s what allows us to ensure our training time is spent wisely. It also holds us accountable to focus on what we’re not good at, because let’s face it, no one likes to do what we suck at! We learn from our failures with far greater clarity than our successes.

Marksmanship is just one area in which a sniper must remain proficient; there’s also fieldcraft, camouflage, movement and, for some snipers, maintaining a dual-role as an entry team member. With such a short period of time to train, snipers must focus on being disciplined with time, resources and money allotted in order to maintain a high level of readiness. Establish a routine, track progress and focus on building core skills that apply directly to what your team will need the next time you get called out. You will have no idea what tool you’re going to need until the last minute, or maybe even the last second. You don’t choose the moment; it chooses you.

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Tactical shooting thoughts

May 29, 2017

Tactical Carbine Techniques
Richard Nance talks with Special Missions Unit Member, Craig Palmer about using a carbine rifle in tactical situations.
To be a successful shooter, you must have a few things going for you: a good sight picture, a smooth trigger pull and follow-through as the shot is fired. With the general-purpose rifle, or AR as some call it, there are a few other things that can help increase your effectiveness at tactical shooting

Today, I still often see people placing their support hand on the front of the magazine well in tactical shooting. This isn’t a huge problem — unless you’re worried about accuracy, speed and retention of the carbine. As a tactical shooting instructor, I would stack these three as prerequisites for employment of this system.

Many people engaged in tactical shooting feel that reaching farther out on the carbine’s handguard is a nontactical technique. They feel that a more compressed body position is better when pulling the trigger. I could not disagree more with this statement.

As a tactical shooter and a tactical shooting trainer, I motivate our students to be as accurate as possible while pushing their speed to the ragged edge. With the hand holding the front of the magazine well, you’re giving up the leverage you need to move the muzzle quickly from target to target as well as hold it steady when you arrive at the aforementioned target in tactical shooting.


Grabbing the magazine well of the rifle doesn’t help your tactical shooting stance in any way. It will slow you down and is a good way to cause a malfunction if you cover the dustcover.

Couple this with the fact that you will more than likely be operating at night, so a light or laser will also be used while tactical shooting. If you look at your carbine, attaching the pressure pad or light mount to the forearm just makes practical sense. Let’s go a step further.

In carbine competition shooting, the best of the best in tactical shooting will shoot with the support hand pushed significantly out on the forend of the rifle. I believe that the use of this grip in competition is part of the reason tactical shooters have been slow to adopt the technique as well.


Slide your hand forward until it feels comfortable. This will help you drive the carbine and control recoil. Lamb prefers a short vertical grip to pull back against.

Many of those in tactical shooting feel threatened by civilian competition shooters and their abilities, so it makes sense to simply say, “That is a competition thing; I am a tactical shooter.” This is a cop-out. If competition shooters can shoot faster than tactical shooters in a tactical shooting situation with increased accuracy, why wouldn’t we adopt their technique as quickly as possible?

Only you can answer that question. I am a tactical shooter who loves competition, so I want every possible advantage I can obtain from the tactical shooting and competition arenas as long as it fits sensibly into my world.


If you allow your firing hand to slide down, you lose power.

Extended free-floated rail systems have allowed us to easily move our support hand as far out as we deem necessary to drive the rifle quickly in tactical shooting. I also use a short vertical grip to allow the rifle to be pulled stiffly back into my shoulder, which helps with recoil management as well. You cannot totally eliminate recoil with the AR, but you can adapt to it quickly.

As with the pistol, I try to keep my shooting hand somewhat more relaxed than my support hand. Since the strong hand is manipulating the trigger, I need finer control and less tension to help with this process. At the same time, I do try to get a high grip on the pistol grip to help with control. Any space left between your firing hand and the bottom of the lower receiver will work against you when shooting quickly.


Get a good grip. This will help with recoil, accuracy and speed.

Shortening your buttstock is not the answer for allowing the support arm to reach forward. A collapsed buttstock takes away the needed power from your shooting and fighting stance. Some schools teach a completely different stance for tactical shooting than we would generally fight from.

I am of the belief that a fight is a fight, so get into a good fighting stance. This may mean using a rifle or pistol, or, if you live in a state that does not allow law-abiding citizens to own guns, you better get good with your fists. All of these stances should be very similar.


Your shooting stance should be a fighting stance. Keep your weight forward on the balls of your feet.

If you are planning to fight with your fists, put them up in a position where you feel most powerful. Now adjust your buttstock so your fists can stay in the same position with the carbine. An easy way to quickly determine the correct length of pull is to place the buttstock in the crook of your shooting elbow and grab the pistol grip. If your wrist has to be bent or distorted to grab the pistol grip, your stock is too short.

Back to the task at hand. What is the correct distance to slide your hand forward on the forend of the carbine? This is a question that only you can answer. I like to reach out pretty far, but then again, I have long arms. When I reach, I do not twist my elbow up and over so that I become contorted, as this adds stress to the support arm and does not allow for speed when driving the gun. It is also slower to conduct manipulations with a contorted arm and elbow. I do clamp the forend with my support-hand thumb riding down the side of the rail, and sometimes I place it over the top of the rail if the circumference of the tube is small enough.


Don’t over-contort with your support arm; added tension will slow you down. Get comfortable, and drive the gun.

Ideally, you must also be able to access your light and laser switches if you are operating in the tactical shooting world, so be aware of how you will make this happen. I have tried many different setups, and I always seem to come back to an upper-left or lower-right mount.

If I have a 12 o’clock laser in place, I use the white light mounted on the lower right, which allows the thumb to reach past the vertical grip and activate the push button on the rear of the light. When shooting with the support hand, I can still reach the light by loosening my grip and reaching forward with my thumb. If I’m not using a laser, I can use the same light positioning or place the light on the top left edge of the rail, allowing the right and left thumbs to reach the light’s tailcap if things get dark and scary.


If you are using a laser, the forward hand can access the pressure pad. Simply swing the thumb under and around the vertical grip to access the rear pad on the flashlight.

The last technique is the positioning of the shooting-side elbow. In the past, we would see a lot of shooters with the shooting elbow held relatively high, and this continues to transcend from rifles to ARs even though it is not necessary for a great tactical shooting position.

Lowering the shooting elbow will help you maintain cover as well as allow for smooth movement in and around obstacles. If you need to throw an atomic elbow during a close-quarters confrontation, having the elbow already low will allow you to step into it and throw a very vicious blow.


When you get into your aggressive shooting stance, ensure that you get your elbow down. You don’t want to provide a target for the bad guy.

Head out to the range, and see what works for you. Try sliding your support hand forward, and practice pushing the carbine quickly from one target to the next. You will soon see how much quicker you move and better you will be able to control your carbine once you arrive on the next target in a tactical shooting situation.


Deadliest Snipers and their tools of choice.

March 20, 2017

These Are the 10 Deadliest Snipers in History

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Extreme marksmanship has been a part of war ever since firearms became the tools of choice. There are just some people who can do things with a rifle that others cannot.

The following list contains what we believe to be the 10 deadliest snipers of all time. The list may not be ordered based on the number of confirmed kills or the longest shots made, but by taking into account an entire career.


10. Senior Sergeant Roza Shanina, Soviet Red Army

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Shanina was one of the more well known female snipers in history. She joined the Soviet Army after her brother was killed in 1941. As a marksman she amassed 59 confirmed kills in her very short career. She rose to command the 1st Sniper Platoon (184th Rifle Division). She was awarded the Orders of Glory and Medal of Courage. She was killed while shielding a commanding officer during an artillery attack at the young age of 20.

9. Sergeant Fyodor Okhlopkov, Soviet Red Army

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Okhlopkov is credited as being one of the most effective Soviet snipers during World War II. He is credited with 429 kills. His service earned him the Hero of the Soviet Union in 1965 as well as an Order of Lenin. Okhlopkov was initially passed over for these awards due to his ethnicity.


8. Billy Dixon, American Civilian

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Billy Dixon is one of only eight American civilians to receive the Medal of Honor. Dixon helped found the Adobe Walls settlement in Texas during his time as a buffalo hunter. When the settlement was attacked by hundreds of Native Americans, Dixon ended the battle by using a borrowed .50-90 Sharps rifle to shoot and kill the chief of the attackers nearly a mile away. Dixon took three rounds to make the shot and later acknowledged it was a “scratch shot”. However, that didn’t stop the rest of the country from naming it “The Shot of the Century”.


Following his time as a hunter, Dixon became a civilian Army Scout. During this time, Dixon and four Army Cavalrymen were surrounded during the Battle of Buffalo Wallow. Dixon’s sustained, accurate rifle fire held the enemy off for three days until weather forced them to end their attack. For his actions during this battle he was awarded the Medal of Honor. Dixon’s total kill count during the battles is unknown.

7. Major Lyudmila Pavlichenko, Soviet Red Army

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Major Pavlichenko is regarded as the most successful female sniper in history with 309 confirmed kills. Pavlichenko was a 24 year old university student when Germany invaded Russia in World War II. She was one of the first sets of citizens to volunteer for service and specifically requested infantry service. She refused an offer to become a nurse. Due to her accuracy with a rifle she became one of the first 2,000 female snipers in the Soviet Union. She was one of only 500 to survive the war.

6. Staff Sergeant Adelbert Waldron, United States Army

Waldron served in the Vietnam War and racked up 109 confirmed kills, the most of any marksman during the conflict. According to Sniper: Master of Terrain, Technology, And Timing, He Is A Hunter Of Human, Adrian Gilbert:

Waldron_Adelbert_Sniper

One afternoon he was riding along the Mekong River on a Tango boat when an enemy sniper on shore pecked away at the boat. While everyone else on board strained to find the antagonist, who was firing from the shoreline over 900 meters away, Sergeant Waldron took up his sniper rifle and picked off the Vietcong out of the top of a coconut tree with one shot (this from a moving platform). Such was the capability of our best sniper.

5. Master Corporal Rob Furlong, Canadian Forces

Furlong, for a time, held the record for the longest confirmed sniper kill in military history at 2,657 yd. According to Wikipedia:

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In March 2002, Furlong participated in Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan’s Shah-i-Kot Valley. His sniper team included MCpl. Graham Ragsdale (Team Commander), MCpl. Tim McMeekin, MCpl. Arron Perry, and Cpl. Dennis Eason. A group of three Al-Qaeda fighters were moving into a mountainside position when Furlong took aim with his Long Range Sniper Weapon (LRSW), a .50-caliber McMillan Brothers Tac-50 rifle, loaded with Hornady A-MAX 750 gr very-low-drag bullets. He began firing at a fighter carrying an RPK machine gun. Furlong’s first shot missed and his second shot hit the knapsack on the target’s back. The third struck the target’s torso, killing him. The distance was measured as 2,430 m (2,657 yd). With a muzzle speed of 823 m/s (2,700 ft/s), each shot reached the target almost four seconds after Furlong fired. This became the longest sniper kill in history at the time, surpassing the previous record set by his teammate, Master-Corporal Arron Perry, by 120 m (130 yd).

4. Captain Vasily Zaytsev, Soviet Red Army

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Zaytsev took part in one of the most iconic sniper battles of all time – The Battle of Stalingrad. During that battle, Zaytsev racked up 225 of his 400+ confirmed kills. This includes the killing of 11 enemy snipers which earned him lasting acclaim. Many of Zaytsev’s kills are credited at distances of greater than 1,000 meters. He often used a standard Mosin-Nagant rifle during battle. For his service, Zaytsev was awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union award as well as the Four Orders of Lenin award.

3. Chief Petty Officer Chris Kyle, United States Navy SEAL

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No list of the deadliest snipers in history would be complete without Chris Kyle. Kyle is credited with being the deadliest sniper in United States history with 160 confirmed kills and numerous other unconfirmed kills. He received two Silver Star Medals, five Bronze Star Medals, one Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals. Kyle wrote a bestselling autobiography, American Sniper, which was later turned into one of the top grossing films of all time. Kyle, along with his friend Chad Littlefield were shot and killed by Eddie Ray Routh at a shooting range in 2013.

2. Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Norman Hathcock, United States Marines

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Carlos Hathcock is regarded as one of the most prolific US snipers in history. While his kill count isn’t as high as Kyle’s and his shot distance may not be the longest ever recorded, Hathcock is considered the best sniper in US history, even by Kyle, who once said “I had more kills, but that doesn’t mean I’m better than (Hathcock) is. I was just put into a position where I had more opportunities. I definitely cheated. I used a ballistic computer that tells me everything to do. So, I was just a monkey on a gun.”

Hathcock once rigged an optic to an M2 machine gun and used it to record a confirmed kill at 2,500 yd, which is still the 5th longest confirmed sniper kill in history. Hathcock amassed 93 confirmed kills during the Vietnam War.

1. Second Lieutenant Simo Häyhä, Finnish Army

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Simo Häyhä is the single most successful sniper in military history. Nicknamed the “White Death” for his totally white camouflage and eerie white mask he wore in combat, the Finnish marksman amassed at least 505 confirmed sniper kills during the Winter War between Finland and the Soviet Union. He recorded an additional 200 kills with a submachine gun. More amazingly, Häyhä recorded all of his sniper kills without using an optic. His Mosin–Nagant rifle was equipped only with iron sights. Häyhä died of old age in 2002, living to the age of 96

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Fun fact

March 16, 2017

The number of civilian-owned firearms in the US grew 66% between 1991 and 2011, leading the firearm murder rate to decline 52%. #guns #2a

Wisdom

March 16, 2017

You can pass all the gun laws you want, but criminals are going to ignore it because they are criminals. – Marco Rubio

According to the Journal of Quantitative Criminology, US civilians use guns to defend themselves and others at least 989,883 times per year.

March 16, 2017

Did you know?

March 16, 2017

People with concealed carry permits are 5.7 times less likely to be arrested for violent offenses than the general public.

Interesting article. I agree

March 15, 2017

Professional Firearms Training – Who needs it?

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This article was originally published on DRTV on Aug 27, 2010.

There is a considerable difference in knowing how to operate and discharge your rifle or pistol and knowing how to fight with it. I recently taught a Defensive Handgun Course which was attended by a top competitive shooter who had placed second in the world in his discipline. Several times every day this fine gentleman would mention that he was learning a great deal more from the class than he had expected to learn. As skilled as this shooter is, he understood that knowing how to use a firearm extremelywell and knowing how to fight with a firearm are two different things.

Suggesting to most people that they might benefit from professional firearms training is often taken as an insult. When firearms training is suggested we usually hear comments like, “I think training is a great idea but not for me because I was raised around guns, I have been around guns all my life, we always had guns in our home, my dad taught me about guns when I was six years old, I am a life member of the NRA, I was in the military, I was in the Air Force 50 years ago, I was trained by a police officer, I worked as a security guard, I have been hunting since I was a toddler, I have seen every John Wayne movie ever made.” The list goes on and on and we have heard it all. Without taking these “impressive qualifications” apart one at a time, may I simply say they are largely irrelevant to the defensive use of firearms.

There are a few special operations military units which generally receive excellent firearms training. However, having been an Infantry Light Weapons Sergeant in the Air Cavalry in Viet Nam, a Police Officer for nearly 35 years, a Firearms Instructor for 42 years and a SWAT Instructor for 14 years, I can assure you that most military and law enforcement firearms training is sadly lacking. Being a skilled hunter can be helpful if your self defense scenario is one involving sniper skills. As for the relationship between any of these other “qualifications” and the skills required to survive armed combat, I cannot find a connection.

I started riding motorbikes when I was quite young. I started riding motorcyclesfor daily transportation in 1965 when I was 18 years old. I owned several motorcycles off and on throughout my adult life. I thought that I knew how to ride a motorcycle. In 1994 I attended a state sponsored Motorcycle Safety Course and discovered to my surprise “I did not know anything about riding a motorcycle.” Yes, I could start my bike and ride to work or ride off for a weekend trip, but once I received professional training I discovered that I knew nothing about staying alive on two wheels. I soon learned that I did not even know what there was to know. Almost 30 years of riding and I did not have a clue. The fact that I was still alive was a coincidence. I went on to attend numerous additional motorcycle courses, became an instructor for MSF and later for Harley Davidson and I am still learning. Now I appreciate how much I still have to learn.

Would you buy a motorcycle and teach yourself how to ride? Many people do just that. Of the 30 riders killed in “accidents” in the state of Utah in 2008, how many had attended professional training through MSF? Not one. Each of those riders who were killed was self taught or assisted by well meaning friends and relatives. Riders killed who had professional training, zero. Riders killed who had not attended professional training, thirty.

When I was 11 years old my father, who was an airline Captain flying cargo on military contracts, had me “fly” a (4 engine) DC-4 across the US. I did a fine job of holding course and altitude for 10 hours as I recall. If you had asked me then if I knew how to “fly” I would have said yes, absolutely. I did not know how to start the engines, take off, land, raise and lower the landing gear and flaps, navigate, communicate, deal with any emergency or the hundreds of things that a pilot had to know. It was not until I was in my teens and attended flight school where I received my commercial pilot’s license that I fully realized the difference between holding heading and altitude and actually being able to “fly” an airplane. I did not know what there was to know, so how could I have been aware that I did not know it?

Would you buy an airplane and teach yourself how to fly? It has been done but not often. Would you teach yourself how to Sky Dive or become a SCUBA Diver? If you wanted to become a “Concert Pianist” would you seek professional instruction or just figure it out yourself? Why on earth do people believe that they can teach themselves how to win a gunfight? I can only assume that most people know so little about defending themselves with a firearm that they cannot even imagine what there is to learn.

When someone tells us why they would not benefit from professional firearms instruction we can only say that none of us know what we do not know. How can we. If you are interested enough to be reading this, then I must assume you are one of the rare exceptions.

No one knows everything there is to know about armed combat because there are infinite variables involved. Despite having considerable training and experience, Stacey and I continue to attend additional training as often as we can and we live by the adage, “Sometimes an instructor, always a student.” There is always more to learn.

We hope that you will be wise enough to seek professional firearms training. If you do, you will have a life changing experience. You will gain peace of mind, knowing that you can protect yourself and your family. Such confidence will be based on “skill at arms” and not some illusion about irrelevant past experience. What you may have done once or twice in your life is the not the measure of your preparedness. What you can do now, today, on demand is what matters.

Self defense is not only a right but it is aresponsibility. Your family believes that you are their protector. Is that true or is it merely a fantasy? Hundreds of Americans each year must live with the fact that they were unable to protect their loved ones from unspeakable crimes because they were unprepared. As retired police officers we can tell you from experience, “when your life is in imminent danger and the outcome will be determined in the next three seconds, the police are only minutes away.”

The safety and survival of your family is in your hands. This has always been true and it will always be true. Accept this truth and learn how to provide your loved ones with the protection they expect and deserve. Seek out and attend professional training. You will find such training to be hard work requiring discipline. You will also discover thatDefensive Firearms Training is an “enjoyable and addicting” experience. You will be planning to take your second course even before you finish your first. Contrary to the popular misconception,“You will not rise to the occasion, but instead you will default to your training.” How relevant is your training?

Larry and Stacey Mudgett

**************

Larry Mudgett is a long time Rangemaster and Instructor at Gunsite. Larry and his wife Stacey also run classes in Utah through their own school, Marksmanship Matters. Larry retired from the LAPD after nearly 35 years where he served as the Chief Firearms Instructor at the LA Police Academy for 13 years and the Chief Firearms Instructor and team member for LAPD SWAT for 14 years. Larry also served as an Infantry Light Weapons Sergeant in the First Air Cavalry in Viet Nam 1967-1968. Larry trained the first USMC Special Operations Training Group at Camp Pendleton and was an adjunct firearms and hostage rescue instructor for the DOE Central Training Academy for 10 years. He currently teaches Rifle, Carbine, Pistol, Double Action Revolver and Single Action Revolver.
Learn more atmarksmanshipmatters.com.

6 Responses to Professional Firearms Training – Who needs it?

  1. Rob Pincus

    August 27, 2010 at 10:10 am

    Excellent Article.

  2. Gary Snowden

    September 1, 2010 at 10:47 am

    Larry I totally agree with your statement I am a 3 yr firearms instructor of a government agency most of our employees never fired a weapon until they came to work for us. So it goes without saying most would not be able to react in a life or death situation I believe the old adage learning is life long. never quit training if that makes any sense to you.

  3. Jim Fullenlove

    October 11, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    Larry; Excellent.
    I just returned to Kentucky after attending the Gunsite 250 course. I have been shooting for 35 years, a KY certified law enforcement firearms instructor for 22 years teaching KY’s concealed carry courses for the last 14 years since retiring. I do all the teaching but don’t receive much for myself.
    My first day on the range 2 weeks ago with Jerry, LaMonte, Ron & Ken, I was told I was standing WRONG, and holding my pistol WRONG. You can teach an old dog new tricks.
    Even though I was still chasing the pistol on Thursday and making other minor mistakes under time pressure, I saw a drastic improvement in my gun handling and my ability/ confidence. I am now definitely a sheepdog!

  4. Len La Cabeza

    February 29, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    Wow…this a great article on who needs Professional Firearms Training and why. Please take the time to read this article and many of the other great ones on DRTV. Thank you.

  5. Sheri Herson-mudgett

    September 11, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    Wow this is a wonderful article. I am looking forward to taking your class and soon Sammy. A true professional!!!

  6. GregWasHere

    June 22, 2014 at 7:31 am

    I’m very much pro-gun control/anti-NRA …and I loved this article.
    You did all of us a big favor by writing a sane, clear, spot-on article that doesn’t sell paranoia and hype like so many other sites. I imagine that we may disagree on some things, but I also imagine I would not lose the respect that you earned from me today.
    I’ll probably never spend the time and money on fire-arms, but if I did, I’d hope for a teacher like you.

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