On self defense authors and teachers: assessing what's right

breamfisherbreamfisher Senior MemberPosts: 13,101 Senior Member
I'll forward this by saying I've never taken a formal SD class, but I have been taught by some experienced people who have taken me under their wing. I've also read a bit on the topic. That being said, I've noticed some things and I've noticed some trends. I could be wrong, but these are my impressions...

1. What a teacher advocates in regards for the use of force can be influenced by their experience set. Those who have served in the military, especially in the higher speed units, tend to advocate a more offensive mindset in personal defense. By this I mean they tend to advocate being able to close with the enemy, deliver crippling blows, and ending the fight by incapacitation or neutralization. They seem to figure that it's better to survive the gunfight and let the legal system hash things out. They tend to view drawing the weapon as just an intermediate step leading to discharging the weapon.

Those with a law enforcement background tend to be more concerned with making sure that the actions are defensible from a legal standpoint and that what you do before, during, and after the confrontation are all within the context of not just the law, but what a jury would find "acceptable." For them as long as the altercation ends with you surviving and in legally defensible ground, it's all good.

Those few who are competitors focus on speed, accuracy, and proper technique.

2. Gear selection among ex-military generally goes in one of two directions: classic service handguns (1911s, a smattering of Hi Powers, Beretta 92s, 4" revolvers, etc.) or modern higher-capacity handguns that have been rigorously tested for reliability, durability, and with low maintenance needs (Glocks, Sigs, XD, etc.) It seems that they advocate using firearms that either have or now are being used to go toe to toe against multiple opponents. Few advocate compact or subcompact firearms. A few have or had advocated the use of hardball in .45 ACP, but most advocate heavier weight bullets in an expanding bullet design.

LE instructors advocate full-size or subcompact duty firearms, usually suggesting that you carry what local LE carries. Ammo selection is usually some LE-used ammo.

Competitive shooters, when they advocate, advocate the platform they use to compete with.

3. When it comes to cover garments, ex-military authors seem to like the traditional techniques, one or two even advocating cover vests. The usual reason is that they claim to have never had an issue with being made while wearing such gear (nevermind that if they've concealed carry while on duty they've been doing it in a foreign land - posse commitatus - and they can just be passed off as some foreigner.)

Ex-LE writers like gear made by companies like 5.11 that are gun-specific but lower key.

Never seen a competition writer talk about cover gear.

4. For training, both ex-military and competition guys like higher round count courses. Classes for ex-military seem to be geared towards the methods they employed in the military. Methods that may not be translatable to the civilian world. Their tactics are aimed at neutralization with a reasonable amount of exposure to the student.

Ex-LE courses seem to advocate a lot of legal considerations for your actions, with lower round counts. They justify the lower round counts with the idea that a lot of shooting is worthless if you do it in a negligent way. Their tactics are geared towards protecting the shooter and innocent bystanders.

Ex-competitors tend to gravitate towards making you shoot better. Tactics may not be a strong suit.

I'll admit that I've painted with a bit of a broad brush, but after reading up on this stuff a bit, these are the trends I've noticed. What that means to me, as a reader, is that the expert you folllow will have some inherent biases built in due to their background. I feel it's important to recognize them so you can understand that while each expert has their own good points, the school or teacher one selects probably needs to be well-considered else you learn some skills or mindset that while interesting, might not be necessary.

Courses are expensive for what I've seen of reputable teachers. When you're looking at putting out a possible $1,000 or more for the course, plus airfare, and taking a week off to go to the course... it's a big investment. A local instructor may be less expensive, but what do you know of that person? What's their background and qualifications? Will you be getting your money's worth?
Overkill is underrated.

Replies

  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 20,617 Senior Member
    It's like you're a scientist of some kind of something!!

    I've nothing constructive to add.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • coolgunguycoolgunguy Senior Member Posts: 6,458 Senior Member
    Zee wrote: »
    It's like you're a scientist of some kind of something!!

    I've nothing constructive to add.


    This is about where I am. Bream does bring up some things I might never have thought of though.
    "Bipartisan" usually means that a bigger than normal deception is happening.
    George Carlin
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 20,617 Senior Member
    Oh, by all means he's pretty right on. I'm just say'n I'm not smart enough to add anything pertinent to the conversation. He's hit all the bases.

    He's smart that way.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • tubabucknuttubabucknut Banned Posts: 3,520 Senior Member
    Good post Bream. I have taken formal classes, with instructors from each of the categories you describe. I gave no real thought at the time, but reading your post, made me think back. You are correct in your observations, at least in the experiences I have had. My thought is chew the fat and spit out the bones. Meaning take the items of value, and discard the rest. I have also learned to be more decearning with who I might spend my time, and money with. There are some idiots out there.
    It's because I hate Trump.
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 20,617 Senior Member
    I have benefited most from instructors with military and competitive backgrounds. Those with legitimate backgrounds and therefore nothing to prove have been very effective instructors.

    I do not recall learning anything firearms related from a cop.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • tubabucknuttubabucknut Banned Posts: 3,520 Senior Member
    Zee wrote: »
    I have benefited most from instructors with military and competitive backgrounds. Those with legitimate backgrounds and therefore nothing to prove have been very effective instructors.
    Most definitely.
    Zee wrote: »
    I do not recall learning anything firearms related from a cop.
    Learning how not to do something can be very instructive.
    It's because I hate Trump.
  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Posts: 13,101 Senior Member
    Zee wrote: »

    I do not recall learning anything firearms related from a cop.
    From what I've read and heard, most of the LE-related stuff is procedural/legal and less about shooting.

    The problem, to my mind, is that really all 3 disciplines are probably relevant to self defense shooting....

    1. From military, the use of personal tactics are a good thing. Threat identification and not getting shot is a good thing.
    2. From LE, the consideration of the legal ramifications of an encounter need to be considered beforehand, and some sort of logical and legal reasoning should probably be worked out to justify your actions.
    3. From competitors, the need hit quickly and accurately should be self evident.

    However, there are some issues...
    1. The chances of going toe to toe with 4 bad guys in a mud hut is pretty unlikely here in the states, so what works there might not be applicable here.
    2. As non-LE we are under a different set of protections and in a different situation than those who wear a badge.
    3. Competitors will naturally game rules to get an advantage, and personal defense encounters don't come with a pre-planned briefing.
    Overkill is underrated.
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 20,617 Senior Member
    Part of the reason, I believe, is that most LE shoot very little while being inundated with legal and administrative implications. Ergo......that's all they know.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Posts: 13,101 Senior Member
    Zee wrote: »
    Part of the reason, I believe, is that most LE shoot very little while being inundated with legal and administrative implications. Ergo......that's all they know.
    Oh yeah. I know a few LE folks and other than those who aren't in a SWAT-type unit, firearms training is low. They spend more time learning other stuff than they do with firearms use, unless they practice in their off-time.

    On the other hand, some of the military guys tend to view their firearm as a hammer and potential conflicts as nails. Sometimes they're not... sometimes you come up with a situation that's a screw or a bolt, and while a hammer might work, it's not very efficient and can lead to more trouble than if the proper tool were to be applied.
    Overkill is underrated.
  • Diver43Diver43 Senior Member Posts: 8,665 Senior Member
    Having worn a green uniform for a long time and then a blue and grey one for a short two years, I can say that Firearms training for both was not very good and minimal in quantity. The green uniform the training was to qualify and move on. The blue and grey uniform we were taught over and over shoot no shoot scenerios. Sometimes that type of training can really hurt you. Why? my very first round on the similator I shot the lady holding a baby when she came around the corner. That made me hesitate for several rounds of training which got me shot in most of them. Good bad I am not sure.

    I am thinking that one of Alphas graphs might be interesting for this subject. Type of training compared to performance in the field.
    Logistics cannot win a war, but its absence or inadequacy can cause defeat. FM100-5
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    From what I've read and heard, most of the LE-related stuff is procedural/legal and less about shooting.

    The problem, to my mind, is that really all 3 disciplines are probably relevant to self defense shooting....

    1. From military, the use of personal tactics are a good thing. Threat identification and not getting shot is a good thing.
    2. From LE, the consideration of the legal ramifications of an encounter need to be considered beforehand, and some sort of logical and legal reasoning should probably be worked out to justify your actions.
    3. From competitors, the need hit quickly and accurately should be self evident.

    However, there are some issues...
    1. The chances of going toe to toe with 4 bad guys in a mud hut is pretty unlikely here in the states, so what works there might not be applicable here.
    2. As non-LE we are under a different set of protections and in a different situation than those who wear a badge.
    3. Competitors will naturally game rules to get an advantage, and personal defense encounters don't come with a pre-planned briefing.

    Your initial post was excellent and brought up some good points, and this post is a good summary of what you said before.

    I'll add my own thoughts...

    I'm approaching this from a 100% civilian view -- I've never been in the military or LEO or anything similar. And all training I've had, whether informal or class oriented, has been self defense. So...

    My personal training was from my Dad who'd been a "special deputy" when a young man in the deepwoods mountains of Kentucky and had therefore been in gunfights. He was a crack pistol shot and a natural as much as anyone could. His instructions to me were earthy: "Never point a gun at a man unless you're going to kill him." and "Aim for just above the belt buckle. It's the center of gravity and stays on target the longest, is easier than a head shot, and works just fine."

    He also taught me to be observant of my surroundings, which is elemental to ANY armed defense, whether LEO or military or civilian. Know your surroundings and such, rules that we all know are very beneficial to survival, whether armed or just avoiding a flood or tornado. Duh.

    Dad taught me to respect my weapons and keep them clean and lubed and such, of course. He always carried a 1911 (he'd said it was the year he was born, so he wanted to show loyalty) and he trusted that pistol to do its job, which apparently it had, all that early time in Kentucky.

    When CHL was introduced in Texas I was among the first to apply and take the class. Our instructor was ex-LEO and a reserve deputy when he taught the class, but he didn't use any LEO type tactics. He instead focused, as bream says, on the legal aspects of concealed carry and how to apply the general rules of awareness of surroundings into armed SD. Considering the requirements of the license and the fact that about half the people had zero armed experience, he did a great job. At the range we were taught basic safety and general rules of aiming. I already knew this of course, and those of us who were already shooters helped the newbies with the basics. I really didn't learn anything new except the specifics of where you could and couldn't carry, and a couple of other laws applied to concealed carry (it was new) but the class was really spot on for its needs.

    I later took an "advanced seminar" for CHL folks and it was okay, taught by a former Marine but he still didn't use any military stuff, and instead focused on our own experiences in concealed carry and what the new law meant to us. It was a very helpful bull session and worth my 20 bucks in that we got free donuts. And the shooting session was okay too -- he helped folks with questions and everything, a nice seminar.

    Later I also took a "tactical" course that was mostly a waste of time. It was taught by another former military guy, I think Army but I forget. He was, as bream says, trying to teach us about how to deal with 4 bad guys in a mud hut stuff -- essentially military style advancing on a target in the field and such, when this sort of forward movement was generally not useful to civilians for self defense. Yeah, maybe in that zillion-to-one chance you're clearing a house of a dozen invading bad guys, but in the real world, a self defense gunfight lasts maybe 30 seconds and sustained fire is very rare. I had fun roaming around on an open ground range and pretending to be a ninja and so on, but there was very little gained that could be applied to my real world city-living experience.

    I then took another "advanced" seminar and this one was better -- it dealt with drawing from a concealed stance and we practiced draw and presentation (unloaded first) to see the flaws in our stance or grip or whether clothing got in the way, etc. This cost $100 but I got my money's worth -- real world situations as they applied to our own personal carry stance and arms. We were advised prior to wear clothing we'd normally wear and bring our holsters and whatever that we used, and the instructor (another LEO) was excellent, pointing out how certain clothing might hinder our draw, how to better draw and aim and deal with everyday items. He'd apparently thought all this out ahead of time and was very well prepared with good advice and smart criticism. On the range we then were allowed to actually draw and fire live ammo (often not allowed in an indoor 50-ft range, unless you know the owners as I do where I go, but anyway...) his hands-on instruction was first rate. I learned a lot.

    Aside from his one class, gear and clothing was never discussed. And in all the classes, the actual firepower or ammo was not discussed as to its efficacy, except that we were urged to use conventional store-bought SD ammo of whatever type worked best for us, whether slow and heavy vs light and fast.

    Summary, all my classes mostly dealt with when to shoot and when not, where you cannot carry, and so on -- the requisite legal aspects which are of course mandatory.

    I never had any really effective tactical training because the military-slanted tactical course taught me nothing applicable to a civilian living in a big city. Other than that one class, all the instructors whether ex military or LEO or whatever, all did a fine job for the task at hand.

    Understand, classwork only provides you with the basics and rules of the road. Only by using your own brain can you then apply those basics to the real world. A classroom about guns can't teach you real life self defense, it can only give you the general outline of this. Same exactly as a calculus class cannot teach you how to design a steel cantilever 120ft long that supports an arena roof, although you do have to use that calculus you learned in class to create that design correctly. Same for guns.

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 10,240 Senior Member
    LE shooting courses are almost strictly about shooting. Legal issues are covered elsewhere in training. And need to be, as it's important. Civilian shooting courses, which I have never attended, do not address this issue because civilians are less likely to get into a shooting situation. And, while there may be a lesson plan for civilian legal implications, you don't hear about it being taught. All that running, shooting bowling pins, engaging multiple targets, etc. doesn't leave much room for legal issues, which should be addressed at some length, IMO. Why?

    It's a given that if you shoot someone, whether you're a LE or civilian, you will get sued. Probably the family of the Jihadists in Garland will sue the officer. Doesn't mean they'll collect, but they have nothing to lose by suing. If you're a civilian and shoot someone, you are not covered by "Color of Law." Which means you'll have to pay for your own defense.

    One thing I learned from my agency's "Familiarization" half-day course is the instructors (my colleagues) did not know how to hold a revolver for loading. I guess we're in the auto age now. And "trigger reset." Back when, this was not taught on any level.
    Not too many problems you can't fix
    With a 1911 and a 30-06
  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Posts: 13,101 Senior Member
    You get that with some authors, too. One in particular is one is an example of some of the thinking I've noted.
    Overkill is underrated.
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 20,617 Senior Member
    You get that with some authors, too. One in particular is one is an example of some of the thinking I've noted.

    56FA3DA0-E702-490C-8287-8FF6F4B98F8C_zpsrz8xlmx5.gif
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • tubabucknuttubabucknut Banned Posts: 3,520 Senior Member
    :whip2:
    It's because I hate Trump.
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Gene L wrote: »
    LE shooting courses are almost strictly about shooting. Legal issues are covered elsewhere in training. And need to be, as it's important. Civilian shooting courses, which I have never attended, do not address this issue because civilians are less likely to get into a shooting situation.

    Well. no, at least in Texas. Even the elementary first-level CHL class includes shooting. at least a rudimentary aim at the target at 50ft, 25ft, and so on. Not a very comprehensive course of course, but yes, civilian shooting capability is required, even on a fairly low level, mostly just to ensure that the person is not going to shoot himself.

    But there is absolutely a lesson plan for civilian Texas CHL classes, and it's mandated for the license, with very specific lists of what must be taught. I have zero idea about other states.

    And in Texas, and far as I know, other states having their "Castle Doctrine" law, wrongful death civil lawsuits are forbidden if the shooter is nobilled for criminal liability. This one of the great benefits of the CD laws and I think that most of the new CD laws have this clause.

    I can say that I never really got into any sort of tactical shooting, such as running around past obstacles and reloading on the run, etc. I thought it would be fun however to attend a class like Thunder Ranch but never got the money plus time in sync. I've got zero idea if these classes are beneficial to civilians who are not forest ninja material and simply go to work days and Walmart Saturdays.

    I was also not taught anything that sounded stupid or wrong. Most of the classes were however not too helpful -- I already had the CHL booklet and could shoot fine, so the required class (first shooting class I ever took) was similar in difficulty to getting a driver's license, written exam about passing school busses and showing that you can parallel park. Very low skill stuff. My gun owner pals considered it a moral loss if we got less than 100% on both the written and shooting tests. Thankfully I aced both.

    And the other classes were moderately helpful, as I previously mentioned.

    Like others have said above, I cherrypicked and got some benefit from the classes, just not a lot. Newbie shooters would have learned some good stuff however, and I never was told anything that made me go "Huh?"

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Wambli Ska wrote: »
    The only class that is truly a waste of time is when you get an instructor that is more interested in telling you how great he is and then insists on illustrating it with ENDLESS personal anecdotes...

    Agree totally. Thankfully, I never got one of those where I paid money to listen to listen. I've of course heard tall tales at the range, as we always do.

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • N320AWN320AW Senior Member Posts: 648 Senior Member

    Those with a law enforcement background tend to be more concerned with making sure that the actions are defensible from a legal standpoint and that what you do before, during, and after the confrontation are all within the context of not just the law, but what a jury would find "acceptable." For them as long as the altercation ends with you surviving and in legally defensible ground, it's all good.

















    Ex-LE courses seem to advocate a lot of legal considerations for your actions, with lower round counts. They justify the lower round counts with the idea that a lot of shooting is worthless if you do it in a negligent way. Their tactics are geared towards protecting the shooter and innocent bystanders.




    aa
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Ex-LE courses seem to advocate a lot of legal considerations for your actions, with lower round counts. They justify the lower round counts with the idea that a lot of shooting is worthless if you do it in a negligent way. Their tactics are geared towards protecting the shooter and innocent bystanders.

    That pretty well makes sense, in that the majority of outside-the-home SD shootings will occur on the street where passersby can be hit. And of course, civilians who really have no prior shooting knowledge are starting from a blank slate, and they might get the idea from TV or movies that "spray and pray" is the way to do it. Therefore focusing on legalities and responsibility is maybe an okay idea for newbies.

    In all the classes I took, most by ex-LEOs or current LEOs, we were told that we are responsible for every bullet. This was of course something that I'd already been taught by my Dad.

    And we all know that actual real-life shooting is always worthless if done negligently, no matter the circumstances.

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • NNNN Senior Member Posts: 23,967 Senior Member
    cpj wrote: »
    I do not recall learning anything firearms related .

    We can fix that this year
    A Veteran is someone that served in the Military, it does not matter where they served.
  • RazorbackerRazorbacker Senior Member Posts: 4,646 Senior Member
    NN wrote: »
    We can fix that this year
    Well Ned, best to watch yourself around the wee folk and guns.
    Teach your children to love guns, they'll never be able to afford drugs
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