Where are we going wrong?

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New shooters need good information from the beginning

Daughter, 22, shot by dad who says he mistook her for intruder

Hardly a week goes by that I don’t see an article like this cross my electronic desk, and they bother me. Quite a lot, actually. Why?

Because I don’t think we in the firearms world are doing enough to truly educate people. We do a pretty good job of teaching folks how to pull ...

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Time is running out to sign up for Threat-Centered Revolver in Arizona!

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Just a month from now I’ll be teaching my Threat-Centered Revolver class in sunny Phoenix, and if you want to attend you need to book now!

December 3 & 4 I’ll be at Phoenix Firearms Training, basking in the warm sun and teaching responsible revolver owners how to defend themselves with the classic double action revolver. Whether you’ve got a snubnose you use as a backup gun or a full-size revolver you keep for home defense, this is the ...

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Meaningless increments of precision — and why you should avoid them

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When we talk about self defense (and particularly when gun people talk about self defense), the topic of measurement will eventually come up. In the gun world we love to measure things, and we can measure just about anything. The problem is that the measurements we make may not be important.

I use the term “meaningless increments of precision” to refer to those measurements which don’t add to our self protection knowledge or to our ability to defend ourselves. The measurement ...

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Choosing a defensive handgun: making the best of bad alternatives

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An interesting question came up in a class I taught recently. It had to do with defensive carry firearm recommendations in states which restrict the models available for sale (such as in Massachusetts and California.) How is someone to pick the best of the worst options?

The attributes of an ideal defensive handgun

When picking a defensive firearm, particularly one which is to be carried for personal defense, I always recommend that the gun:

1) Be reliable above all else; the gun needs ...

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Defensive education is changing, for the better. Take advantage of it!

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“I think the late 90’s is where things started to shift because of dash/surveillance cameras becoming much more common and force-on-force scenario training taking huge leaps forward. The ramifications of those evolutionary forces are starting to be seen much more commonly. I hope in 10 years we look back and realize that right now we were only just scratching the surface of getting away from the isolated skill (marksmanship) and choreography (competition) based approaches.” – Rob Pincus

Those who ...

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“We face the same criminals the police do!” Yes, but…

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Every once in a while I see the tired old cliché “we face the same criminals the police do!” It’s usually used to justify some particular type of defensive firearms training, too often centered around the trainer’s police experience.

The idea, of course, is that we need to adopt the attitudes, tactics, and armament of law enforcement.  (If you know anything about typical police training, it’s usually substandard — so much so that cops themselves joke about it. With rare exceptions, ...

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Defensive shooting fundamentals: I do not think it means what they think it means.

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I want you to sit back and think for just a minute: you have 60 seconds to teach someone how to use a gun to defend herself from an imminent attack. What useful defensive shooting fundamentals can you give her in that small amount of time?

This little exercise strips away all of the nonsense, hype, and posturing that often surrounds defensive shooting training. I makes you really focus on the most important parts of teaching someone how to defend themselves ...

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Your Hump Day Reading List for June 15, 2016

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This week we’re going to look at the importance of first aid during a terrorist attack; a man defends himself with a saucepan; some realities your CCW instructor didn’t tell you; why the pistol caliber carbine is a home defense winner; the fallacy behind night sights; understanding flashlights beyond lumens; senior citizens head to the range, for good reasons; why your defensive shooting instruction may not be all that valid; and finally, it’s not just the drug addict on the ...

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“It’s a training issue.” I don’t think that means what you think it means.

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Hoo boy, I heard it again just the other day: “it’s a training issue”. The subject at hand was a discussion about the traditional double action pistol, the kind that has a long and heavy double action first shot and a shorter, lighter single action (DA/SA) for each subsequent shot.

I’m not a fan of the things as a defensive tool in this modern age. They are the most complicated of the autopistols in use, owing to the two different trigger ...

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Boring doesn’t sell, and realistic self defense skills are kind of boring.

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No matter what you’re trying to get people to buy — from cars to breakfast cereals to political candidates — you have to make it exciting, because if it’s not folks will just pass it by. (Yes, political candidates. Anyone remember Scott Walker? He was an early entry into this year’s Republican field and widely regarded as being phenomenally boring. He went nowhere. Older people will remember Walter Mondale; nice guy, smart, pleasant — and as boring as getting socks ...

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You don’t need to be a SEAL to defend yourself with a firearm. You need more relevant skills.

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Last week I got two emails about my front page headline: “You don’t need to be a Navy SEAL just to be safe!” One applauded me for “telling it like it is”, but the other one insisted that I was doing people a big disservice by saying that, because if everyone trained to the level of a SEAL they’d definitely be safer. “It’s a matter of priorities”, the writer concluded.

Sorry, but I really don’t think so.

I believe those of us in ...

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Your Hump Day Reading List for February 10, 2016

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Hump Day brings us more knowledge! This week, we look at kids who’ve protected themselves with firearms; Ian McCollum with a very unique “automatic” pistol; Claude Werner looks at another negative outcome, this time based on unreasonable fear; tips for handloading ammo for your AR-15; why crowds are dangerous, and what to do if you’re in one; Greg Ellifritz has some lessons from a recent series of terrorist attacks; the repercussions of not having a good teacher; and the fallacy ...

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My job is helping my students discover what’s important. Sometimes that takes guts.

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Techniques, gear, and even concepts can be cool and exciting — but that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily important to your self defense. My job, the way I earn my living, is to figure out what’s really important for my students and readers and then how to explain it to them. How and why do I do that?

Some people miss the point

One of the more interesting comments I hear (and I’m not the only one who gets these) comes in the form ...

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Your Hump Day Reading List for February 3, 2016

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Another great collection of articles for you this week! Rob Pincus shows you how to take your guns with you when flying; Ian McCollum takes apart a Savage .45 pistol; a look at why safety isn’t in the gear you carry; how to recycle range brass for reloading; a detailed explanation of what “going gray” really means; how to keep your defensive handgun in perfect operating condition; and why 100-yard headshots with a pistol don’t make any sense. Read, learn ...

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The problem with defensive shooting is that it’s dominated by enthusiasts. That’s not necessarily good for you.

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I have a confession to make: I once screwed up a lot of people who came to me for advice. Wait, it’s not what you think! It does, however, directly apply to what I do today, and probably why you’re reading this blog. Allow me to relate my short story.

Back in my much-younger days I ran a chain of camera stores and taught photography classes. It was the early 1980s and photography was the fad of the day, spurred mainly ...

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Defensive Shooting Myths and Misconceptions: “I shoot that gun really well.”

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If you spend any time around the internet, whether on gun forums or social media, sooner or later you’ll see someone defending a sub-optimal choice of defensive firearm by saying “I shoot it well.” Now of course everyone is certainly free to carry what they deem fit, and I don’t want to suggest they’re not, but my job is to present factual information to people so that they can make intelligent decisions. I don’t really have any stake in what ...

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Defensive DVD Review: Personal Defense When The Gun Fails

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Personal Defense When The Gun Fails DVD

By Rob Pincus
Published by Personal Defense Network

This DVD was something of a surprise, largely because I didn’t quite know what to expect. When I saw the title “Personal Defense When The Gun Fails”, I immediately thought about malfunctions and remediation drills — and while the DVD touches on those, it goes well beyond them and includes some fresh ideas about how to look at the idea of a failure.

The theme of the ...

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The important role of a training partner in your defensive shooting skill development.

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In the defensive shooting world we talk a lot about carry guns, calibers, holsters, belts, and all manner of accessories from flashlights to scopes. A large reason for this focus on things is because they’re easily understood and readily quantifiable; it’s easy to compare things by numbers, charts and graphs.

We pay comparatively little attention to concepts and ideas. They’re harder to understand, sometimes impossible to quantify, and require thought and reflection to properly understand and apply.

There is a combination of ...

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Your Hump Day Reading List for Dec. 2, 2015

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Hope you and your family had a safe and peaceful Thanksgiving! I know, we all ate too much and are now forced to do exercise penance, but I’d do it all over again — and probably will next year! The holiday didn’t keep me from collecting some great articles, however, and for your reading enjoyment this week Claude Werner talks about changing his mind; the SIG Academy has a different way to talk about the relationship of sight alignment and ...

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What if you disagree with your defensive shooting instructor?

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You’re at a defensive shooting class; maybe this is your first, maybe it’s your twenty-first. Your instructor says (or does) something you disagree with. What do you do?

There are a lot of different approaches to teaching self-defense shooting, and while at least 90% of the mechanics that are taught are the same from instructor to instructor, the way in which they’re taught varies rather considerably. There is very little focus in this business on teaching in and of itself, most shooting ...

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What’s the difference between tasks and skills in defensive shooting training? Does it matter?

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When training defensive shooting techniques, it’s common — too common, in fact — to focus on the skill used rather than the task to be performed. Now some people will say that those are the same thing, but they’re not. In fact, they’re very different.

I recently read an article on the importance of and the procedures for practicing reloading a handgun. The article started from a bad premise (reloading during a fight is a vital skill when the best information ...

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What can a foiled terrorist attack teach us about defensive planning?

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By now you’ve no doubt heard about the tragic incident in Garland, Texas. For those who missed it, on Sunday a “Draw Mohammed” Cartoon show was held in that town; contestants vied for the best cartoon in celebration of free speech. There were speakers who are active in the free speech movement, including a Dutch citizen who has earned a spot on an al Qaeda hit list.

Two men — one of whom since identified by the FBI as having ...

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Just what is a “critical skill”?

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I really should stop reading stuff people link to on FaceBook. I really should. It’s like chocolate chip cookies; you know they’re bad for you, but you eat them anyway!

The latest was a linked article which talked about practicing your reloading skills. In it, the other repeatedly referred to reloading the gun as a “critical skill”. That phrase really annoyed me, because his definition of the term and mine were obviously radically different. In fact, I suspect he (like almost ...

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