Is “blended learning” really the “future” of firearms training?

I recently read a blog post where the author opined that “blended learning” is the “future” of firearms training. As someone who has provided countless hours of in-person firearms training to a few thousand students, and who has also taken part in “blended learning” formatted instruction, this line of thought bothers me a bit. Continue reading

The Greatest Gift… Almost

Kimber Meme

Every year as we near the Christmas season, I see memes such as the one posted above all over Facebook.  Honestly, I would love it if someone bought me a new gun for Christmas and, admittedly, I get the slightest twinge of jealousy as I see my friends posing with their new “toys” in front of the Christmas tree.

But does giving someone a gun really tell them how much you care?

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AAR – Martial Arms Tactical Vehicle Gun Fighting Skills

Date: 9/26/2015
Instructor: Steve Collins

Some have asked why I would spend my time taking a course like this a second time.  The answer is simple; there’s no way to adequately remember the lessons learned in such a course by going through only once.  Too much time passes from the beginning of the course to the end of the day and there isn’t sufficient time to take notes even if note taking were more practical on an outdoor range.

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A Little Less Talk and a Lot More Action

Tactical Ted is my favorite hypothetical person.  Despite his complete and utter lack of any formal training, he considers himself to be an “operator” and, unlike me, he knows every answer to every question in the defensive shooting world.  Sometimes Ted shoots only occasionally and sometimes he shoots every week.  Sometimes he shoots competitively and sometimes just for fun.  In spite of all of his shooting experience (or lack thereof), Ted is all knowing.

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Are You Training or Practicing?

The words we use to describe a particular activity are important.  If we use the wrong terms it can lead to a gross misunderstanding by others of what we hope to convey.  This is especially true in the use of text since there is no variance or inflection of voice to help get the point across.

With that in mind, I have noticed many people in the “gun world” using the wrong words to describe all sorts of things.  One pair of such misused terms is training vs. practicing. Continue reading

AAR – Suarez International: CRG-4 – Force on Force Gunfighting

Course Title: CRG-4 – Force of Force Gunfighting
Organization: Suarez International
Instructor: Steve Collins
Dates: August 29th & 30th, 2015

Having taken (and taught) many defensive shooting courses over the last several years, I have a level of skill with a defensive handgun that is generally superior to that of the average person that has taken nothing beyond their state mandated concealed carry course and has spent no practice time since then.  I don’t mean that to sound boastful or arrogant but it is difficult for one to achieve a higher level without putting in additional effort.

That said, I am pleased to discover that this course challenged me in many ways.  It was able to confirm many of the beliefs I have had for quite some time and it also answered some of the questions I have had about real world defensive situations. Continue reading

AAR – Suarez International: HITS-8 – Defensive Knife

Organization: Suarez International
Course Title: HITS-8 – Defensive Knife
Instructor: Steve Collins
Date: August 28th, 2015

I decided nearly twelve years ago that I would carry a gun to defend my own life or the life of another person if necessary.  That said, I typically do carry a knife as well but have never considered it to be of much use to me as a defensive weapon.  I had absolutely zero knowledge on the defensive use of a knife and had always viewed the knife as a last ditch weapon if other, more familiar, options failed to be effective. Continue reading

Your Most Effective Weapon

If I asked you what your most effective weapon in a dynamic lethal force encounter would be, what would your answer be?

Would it be pepper spray…
A Taser…
A knife…
A gun…

I have often heard people that practice martial arts and other fighting techniques claim that if you can’t win a fight without a gun, you won’t be able to win it with a gun.  Most of them use this claim due to their desire to get more people involved in hand to hand self-defense techniques. Continue reading

An Alternative To The Top 5 Excuses

In my work as an instructor, I get the chance to talk to a lot of people who are taking state mandated firearms training in order to qualify for a state-issued CCW permit.  My organization “polls” every student after every class in the form of a verbal “debrief” and through the use of a printed Feedback Form that is handed out for students to provide an evaluation of the training they received.  On the form, we ask them, A) if they are interested in taking more training, B) what additional classes they are interested in taking, and C) if they would like for us to contact them when those classes get added to our schedule.  Around 90% of respondents indicate that they do wish to take more training, and about 75% of those ask to be contacted when those classes come up on our schedule.  While those rather large numbers seem like something to get excited about, unfortunately, the number of those people who actually elect to take any follow-up training is much lower.  While I can’t account for students who go on to take additional training from other instructors, the number of them that return to my organization for additional training is only in the 5 – 7 percentile range, and I believe it’s reasonable to assume that, at best, only an additional 1 – 2% seek out additional training from other sources.

On that note, I’ve made it a point to ask people why they don’t take additional training, even though they, at one time, recognized the need.  Continue reading

Expanding on The Plausibility Principle

It’s something I see and hear pretty often.  As someone who conducts a fairly substantial number of Instructor Development Courses throughout the year, it is fairly common to discuss various training experiences with the candidates who come through these courses during breaks or over lunch.  Most everyone likes to talk about the different classes they have taken from different instructors; what they liked and didn’t like, what kind of gear everyone was using, the different scenarios presented in the training exercises, the kind of techniques taught – as gun people, and especially as gun people who like to train, these are things that interest us.

So it came as no surprise when, during a recent conversation I was having with a young man attending one of my classes, he started talking about a “Tactical Carbine” class he attended earlier in the year.  Continue reading