The Truth About Knives

Greg Ellifritz of Active Response Training has years of experience in the field of knife fighting.  Much more than my very limited experience.

That said, he has come to the same conclusion that I have come to understand.

Folding knives are far less efficient than fixed blade knives.  Take a look at his article and see his reasoning.


Written by: Greg Ellifritz The next time you see a police officer, take a look at the pockets in his or her pants. It’s likely you’ll notice the majority of them have a folding knife clipped there. But what about fixed blade knives? There’s a good chance you won’t see anyone carrying a…

via Should Police Officers Carry Fixed Blade Knives? — Active Response Training

Professional Firearms Trainers CAN Be “Glock Guys”

…..Or “SIG guys”, or “Smith & Wesson guys”, or “XD guys”, or “Ruger guys”, or some kind of combination of all or some of the above.

Let me explain. I recently read an article titled, “…Pro Firearms Trainers are Not ‘Glock Guys’…”

In the article, the author made a few points that, as a “Pro Trainer” (Defensive Firearms Instructor), – someone to whom people pay money in exchange for the sharing of my opinions, viewpoints, knowledge, and skills – I happen to disagree with. Primarily, I am referring to his implication that the “pro trainer” has an obligation to essentially condone less than optimal gear choices made by his or her students, because, presumably, all choices are equally valid.

As a paid professional, my obligation to my students isn’t to coddle them. It isn’t to use words or actions that are designed to do nothing more than make them “feel good” about a poor choice in gear or sub-par performance level of skill. Rather, it is my obligation to use every shred of knowledge and skill that I possess to help them improve their decision-making skills and physical abilities.

The reality is, as a “Pro Trainer”, especially one with a specific focus on the defensive application of firearms, I *SHOULD* have some personal preferences in gear, be it holsters and other carry devices, belts, types of sights, ammunition types and calibers, all the way to specific action types of firearms, specific features of firearms, specific materials firearms are manufactured from, manufacturing processes themselves, and yes, even specific makes and models of those firearms. And every single aspect of those preferences should be rooted in sound, articulable concepts and ideas that are research based. In other words, my reason for having my given preferences shouldn’t just be “because”. Nor should it be, “…because that’s what instructor X, Y, or Z recommends…” or “…because that’s what SEAL Team 6 uses…”.

A student is paying me for my expertise. He or she is paying me due to the very fact that I *DO* have strong, articulable, research-based opinions. And I have an obligation to continually research and study the basis for those strongly held beliefs and evolve as new, more relevant and accurate information and data comes along. My job is to teach my students what I believe are the *BEST* skills and the *BEST* choices in gear. My job isn’t to treat lesser skill or gear choices as if they are equal all for the sake of sparing a student’s feelings.

Now there are a number of points in the article that I do agree with the author on. For example, I agree that a “Pro Trainer” does need to be well-versed and proficient in the operation of a wide variety of arms. In an open enrollment class, students can (and do) show up with any number of different firearm makes and models. I believe it’s imperative that an instructor has the knowledge and skill to operate a large cross section of the type of arms his or her students are likely to show up with both safely and efficiently. Ultimately, even if a student’s choice in gear or firearm doesn’t completely meet the instructor’s preferred criteria, he or she still needs to be able to teach the student how to use it in the most safe and efficient manner. And ideally, if the instructor has truly done a good job in his or her research when forming the basis for his or her preferences, the student will ultimately see the logic in the instructor’s reasoning and realize that his or her chosen gear is, indeed, less than optimal.

It’s similar when the instructor is dealing with armed professionals. Most law enforcement officers are issued specific firearms and gear by their agencies. Whether or not that gear meets the preferred criteria of the instructor is mostly irrelevant. The instructor has a responsibility to provide safe, competent instruction in its use regardless, which means he or she has an obligation to be both familiar and competent in operating and utilizing said gear.

One additional point of agreement that I feel is worth mentioning is in maintaining a high level of professionalism even when the student shows up with what you consider to be less than optimal gear. It is quite possible to articulate a strongly held belief without being a dick. Belittling or ridiculing a student because of the gear he or she brought to class is the sign of a rank amateur, and it’s a guaranteed way to make sure the student shuts down and never listens to another word you say.

In closing, I think it’s a mistake to suggest that a “Pro Trainer” shouldn’t or wouldn’t have some very strong preferences in regards to the gear and firearms he or she feels are most ideally suited for the role of armed personal defense. In fact, I’d even go so far as to say that if a “Pro Trainer” hasn’t developed some very strong gear and firearm preferences during his or her tenure as a “Pro Trainer”, he or she probably isn’t ready to wear that title after all. Still, the true professional has an obligation to his or her students to be well versed in the use/operation of the most common types of gear and firearms those students are likely to show up to class with, and to teach the safest, most efficient use of that gear. And there is also an obligation to maintain a professional demeanor when interacting with students regardless of the gear they show up to class with. At the end of the day, nobody benefits if high quality learning isn’t taking place.

As always, stay safe!

Chris Shoffner

What Does it Take to get into Defensive Shooting?

I am often asked by beginning shooters what it takes to get into defensive shooting.  Many, it seems, are under the impression that the techniques needed in a defensive situation are somehow more advanced and more complex than those typically needed for basic marksmanship.

In truth, these defensive shooting skills are not more difficult to learn.  The same amount of time and energy is needed to set them into neural pathways.  In fact, some of these skills are less complicated than those used in marksmanship shooting.  Learning to use the sights on a gun is a relatively complicated skill.  Kinesthetically orienting the gun toward the target is much more natural (you point at things every day) and, therefore, easier to learn.

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As a trainer, do you have a reason for teaching everything you teach? Do you have a reason for why you include every skill, concept, idea, or tactic in your curriculum? Can you articulate those reasons? Are you prepared to explain, in a detailed manner, why you teach each skill or concept in the precise manner you teach them and why, in your opinion, “your way” is the best for your students? And furthermore, are you able to articulate how you arrived at your current conclusions? Continue reading

The Goal of Training

Missouri law has a very minimal shooting requirement for to qualify for a concealed carry permit.  The entire live-fire exercise consists of a student shooting at a B-27 silhouette target set at twenty-one feet with either a revolver or a semi-automatic handgun.  Twenty rounds are fired as a live-fire demonstration and another twenty are fired as a live-fire qualification.  Fifteen of the twenty qualification rounds must be inside the silhouette portion of the target in order to pass.

For anyone that has even minimal shooting experience this qualification is a breeze to pass.  It can become very easy to take for granted the minimal skills required to successfully complete it.  For the novice, however, the task can require a significant expenditure of concentration and effort.

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AAR – Immediate Action Jiu-Jitsu & Immediate Action Pugilism

Instructor: Cecil Burch
Company: Immediate Action Combatives
Dates: January 21st & 22nd, 2017

I want to apologize in advance to those of you reading this.  This is a pretty long post.  I was trying to capture both the basics of the material, which was all new to me, as well as how this kind of training had affected me both physically and mentally.

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