***** Mindset *****
"Thus, the great irony: the person who is
prepared to kill if they must to stop a murderous
transgression by a human predator, is the person
who is least likely to have to do so."
-- Massad Ayoob
"Yet my pistol is more than just security.
Like an Orthodox Jewish yarmulke or a Christian
cross, it is a symbol of who I am, what I believe,
and the moral standards by which I live."
-- Finn Aagard
At Front Sight Firearms Institute they teach
that you need training because you don't know what
you don't know.
The wise person is constantly striving to
expand his knowledge. He is a lifetime learner.
One of the things we were taught in the Marine Corps
was to be working on a correspondence course at all times.
***** Training *****
"Shooting well is simple,
it just isn't easy."
~ Ray Chapman, first world champion
of the combat pistol
Unintentional Discharge (UD)
Drawing From Concealment
Failing to properly focus on the front sight
is a widespread problem among shooters. Every
good shooter with iron sights (as opposed to red-dot
optics or telescopic sights) whom you know can
probably remember when he or she experienced "the
epiphany of the front sight." The realization,
"So that's what the coach meant when she said to
watch the front sight!"
Watch the front sight hard. Apply your
primary visual focus there. Look at it until
you can see every little scratch in the machining
on its surface. . . . Then you, too, will
experience the epiphany of the front sight, and
will see your shot groups tighten as if by magic.
~ Massad Ayoob
"The beauty of competitive shooting, and
the real reason it did far more to prepare
soldiers like McBride and Marines like Hathcock
and cops like Cirillo to win gunfights, was
that in this seemingly sporting environment,
handling their guns swiftly and surely under
significant pressure had caused that expert
handling to become a reflexive norm."
~ Massad Ayoob
World War I veteran Herbert W. McBride,
Vietnam War veteran GySgt. Carlos Hathcock,
New York Police Department Officer James Cirillo.
So, for those of you planning a career in
the military or law enforcement (or charity
work with the A-21 campaign rescuing sex slaves),
your time in competitions is being well spent.
I attribute all of my one shot kills to
my training in my high school rifle team,
because that is where I first learned the
Before my son left for Marine Corps recruit
training at Parris Island, I took him to Front
Sight Firearms Institute to do a 4-day M-16
course. He had already shot smallbore competitively
for several years, but full auto M-16's are a
little different, and I didn't want his first
experience with one to be at boot camp, where
the pressure is high.
Learning in a club or team environment
with a coach to guide you, taking courses at
gun schools, and competing in tournaments
makes all the difference in the world when
the time comes to use your skills in combat.
[Excerpt from an email to my junior rifle team.]
If you can't do a pull up, you can't shoot standing.
That's the truth.
Tutorial on how to do your first pull up.
Starts at 1:19.
"Exercise. Strengthen your hands and forearms particularly.
The usual warnings about checking with your doctor before beginning
any exercise regimen apply.
I know this may seem odd in a low intensity basic class,
but grip strength is one of the most important, and overlooked,
factors in the ability to shoot well.
'Well' as in quickly and accurately."
-- Steve Cooper, Paladin Training, Inc.
Motivational pull up video.
All of these little girls are older than you and
heavier than you. [Talking to my junior shooters.]
Notice the slow downward release of tension,
negative pull up.
Notice that some of them are doing their pull ups
In case you don't recognize the animal, it's a pig.
"But Coach, I'm too heavy to do a pull up."
Then lose weight by running 3 miles every day.
"But Coach, my knees are bad. I can't run."
Then swim 2 miles every day. (Your knees aren't
bad. You're just lazy.)
"But Coach, the chlorine hurts my eyes."
For a minuscule fee, you can join the
Gordon Jewish Community Center,
801 Percy Warner Blvd. Nashville, TN 37205
They have a salt water pool, no chlorine.
(Or, you could wear goggles.)
No more excuses, just do it.
"I could just eat less to lose weight."
No, that would be stupid. Don't do that.
You will pass out and perhaps die.
A few decades ago after going to Kaiser Hospital for
a check up, my father and little brother were walking
along the pier by the hospital in Waikiki. My brother
fell into the water. My father jumped in to save him.
In order to get out of the water my father had to do
a pull up with my brother clinging to his back (including
wet clothes). [This was a pier, not a beach one could
walk out of.]
Being able to do a pull up was the difference
between having something funny to talk about over
dinner and a tragic death in the family.
Statistically speaking, several children die every
day. Often with the parent or guardian present. I'm not
talking about the mother or baby sitter smoking meth.
I'm talking about the adult unable to rescue the child
because they lack basic physical strength (not even
basic first aid skill, just strength). [I used to
look at this data all day long every day as part of
If you are out of shape, you won't be able to
run down those 43 flights of stairs to escape the
burning building where you work. And you certainly
won't be able to carry your child if you brought
her to work with you that day. The others in the
stairwell mean you no ill will, but they are
scared and panic. So, don't take it personally
when they trample you.
Or, you could be leading them to safety.
The choice is always yours. Failing to train
is choosing to be a victim. Neglecting to do your
pull ups is just as much an act of volition
as is the self discipline to work on your
pull ups daily until you can do 20 on demand
at any time.
Who Dares Wins!
"When the breath wanders the mind also is unsteady.
But when the breath is calmed the mind too will be still,
and the yogi achieves long life. Therefore, one should
learn to control the breath."
-- Svatmarama, Hatha Yoga Pradipika
***** Tactics *****
"If you need to get to one side or the other of the
car when you're [seated] on the wrong side or in the middle,
lean forward and then pivot your upper body "gun turret"
toward the threat! This can give you more range of
movement and allow you to safely extend your handgun
past a passenger on either side of you.
Use your feet, extending them sideways. This will
allow you to push much more toward the window on either
side, and give you far more range of movement with which
to engage the threat."
-- Massad Ayoob
***** Techniques *****
The single most likely place we're going to be hit
may well be somewhere in the gun arm. It is imperative
to a "full survival skill set" to be able to shoot fast
and effectively "weak hand only." Kudos to IDPA for
making that "part of the program."
-- Massad Ayoob
***** Gear *****
Carry what you practice with
SIG Sauer MCX Recall
***** Instructors *****
"Trainers: Have you trained lately?" by Tom Givens
***** Pedagogy *****
Share your skills when the opportunity develops,
it will make you a better practitioner yourself.
Teaching is instructive in both directions. At the
Society of Law Enforcement Trainers, our motto was
qui docet, discet. From the Latin, it means
"who teaches, learns." When you deliver hands-on
training in particular, you quickly lean which
techniques are the most intuitive and the fastest
to pick up, and which are so complicated that only
the most dedicated student will be able to master
them. Teaching forces you to delve deeper into
the source of each concept or technique, and to
deeper research its validity and applicability.
When you learn to diagnose technique failures in
others, you better grasp how to perform those
techniques yourself. Teaching sharpens the
instructor's own skills as a practitioner, as
double-stamping sharpens the imprimatur on a coin.
~ Massad Ayoob
***** Education *****
Gun Digest has many free downloads for you.
"Essentials in Firearms Training: Safety, Practice and Getting Started"
is good for beginners and has lots of high resolution pictures.
No author is cited, but I suspect the author is a student of
Front Sight, based on the techniques he teaches and the people
he chooses to quote.
"Concealed Carry Guns"
The first page has some interesting history. The rest of
the book describes pistols suitable for concealed carry.
A bit dated, 2014, but lots of good information.
***** Legal and Political stuff *****
“Capitalism harnesses human self-interest. . . ."
My mother said she took me to the opera to balance out
my "Mad" magazine reading. She took us to church to
balance out all the lies we are exposed to in worldly
May I invite your attention to
to balance out all the propaganda you are exposed to
in the media and the government schools. Church
may not be sufficient, because many pastors are
scared of the IRS and so won't speak out on cultural
issues for fear of losing their tax exempt status.
The tax collectors abuse their power under color of law
today just as they did in Jesus' time.
Several of the Republican presidential
candidates had promised to abolish the IRS if
elected, and for good reason. The Democrats use
the IRS to oppress their political opponents (Ever
heard of Lois Lerner?). So, the conservative Republicans
are always trying to reign in the power of that bureaucracy.
President Reagan cut all funding to the IRS,
but could not make it permanent.
***** Survival Tips *****
"If you live where a CCW permit is available,
get the damn permit. If you don't, move to someplace
that does. Yes, it IS that simple."
-- Massad Ayoob
***** Miscellany *****
Lesson plans may be found at
or send me an email requesting the latest