Gunfighters I Have Known

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Gunfighters I Have Known
And Why They Are Still Around To Tell Their Tales.
by Bob Kolesar

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Ballistic Masturbation: Just Say NO!

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Good points made here. I’ve discussed this before:

Of course, the entertrainers genuinely believe they are offering skill building, real-wold training as do their paying students. Some novice-level shooter decides to be an instructor, puts together a curriculum along with a slick web site and marketing videos and he’s a trainer.

Of course such entertrainers eschew competition or any other organized means of skill measure because it would conclusively reveal their poor skill. Instead of improving personal and student ability, they concoct excuses as to why attempting to measure skill isn’t realistic or will getcha killed.

The core, paying sycophants students will gladly back up their sensei well beyond reality or common sense, even after said entertrainer’s credentials were shown to be questionable or possibly falsified.

Example 1:
Example 2:

Ballistic Masturbation: Just Say NO!
by Chris, Salt and Pepper Samurai

Ken Hackathorn, one of my firearms training mentors, has spoken on multiple occasions about the rise of people who bill themselves as firearms instructors that engage in nothing more than “entertrainment” (full credit to Ken for the term). Instead of teaching their students what they need to know for the realistic use of firearms in real world situations; these entertrainers run their students through fantasy warrior camps where the weekend is spent in their favorite color of camouflage while sending lots of rounds downrange with little, to no, accountability of where the rounds are impacting. Basically, people in these “classes”, and I use that term loosely, are not held to any real accuracy standard and are simply partaking in some feel good ballistic masturbation. Sadly these students don’t realize that they aren’t doing anything expect wasting money, creating training scars, and giving themselves a false sense of what they can accomplish with a firearm.

When you go to firearms training class, or engage in firearms training on your own, you need to held yourself accountable for every round you send downrange. This is accomplished by having a demanding accuracy standard for yourself. Instead of settling for rounds impacting anywhere in the head of an IDPA target, only accept rounds hits to the small rectangle inside the head box. By forcing yourself to perform at a higher level on the square range (or other training environments) you are setting yourself up for success when things go sideways for real.

When you decide to take a firearms training class (and everyone should); make sure you aren’t engaging in masturbation at the hands of an entertrainer. You can do this by checking out the background of the instructor(s) for the course and the number of rounds to be fired (though this isn’t always a good measure). If the instructor’s resume’ seems like that of Ray Mysterio then walk away. If you are supposed to shoot almost 1,000 rounds per day for each weapon you have on you; you likely need to run away as well. Following these steps should help to make sure you are actually learning something.

Pistol Prone


I’ve been looking at some of the videos you linked for the USAMU Small Arms Championships. I noticed in particular that the prone pistol shooters did not have a uniform position. Some appeared to be “roll over prone,” some used flat-on-chest and two elbows, what I will call the prone isosceles .

Why no uniformity? The “roll over prone” allows the shooter to use the ground as a rest, thereby greatly stabilizing the pistol for more precise aiming … nice for longer ranges. This position also moves the pistol’s sights farther away from the face, allowing more refined sight picture. Finally, this position puts the head lower, and therefore less vulnerable to incoming hits.

I’ve worked with a lot of folks “who cannot be retrained” and they will not change from the prone isosceles. But the other position is, to my way of thinking, far superior.

Your thoughts?

- John Tate

The rules for this particular event require certain shots fired prone, even if it doesn’t make sense to go prone in the first place. At Parks range where this was held, the firing line is lower than the target line and the targets are posted in frames five feet off the ground. At 25 yards, many people (me included) can’t get into roll over prone and elevate the muzzle high enough to get on target while having an aiming eye still behind the sights. Other ranges where these sorts of events are held have similar issues.

The targets we use (AMU E-type EIC target as used in this event or a Commonwealth Figure 11) typically have a four-inch five ring and anyone in a position to win these events can typically shoot groups that size standing unsupported at 25 yards. In these events, prone is being used because the rules require it, not to increase stability and hit potential.

Roll over prone is better and I’d use it at these events if the terrain/target set up made it possible, but I’ve found that usually isn’t the case.

Yes, I wish these matches didn’t have odd issues like this. For whatever reason, the AMU (and other military match course of fire designers) sometimes manage to create some courses of fire I don’t always agree with. Until various competitor suggestions to change this are implemented, rather than complain about why it isn’t realistic/tactical/practical/whatever, I just accept the challenge as presented and train to meet it. It doesn’t hurt my feelings too much because the USAR Marksmanship Program often has me on orders to compete and teach things like this. Not a bad gig if you can get it!

USAMU Small Arms Championships 2014


TV show about the USAMU Small Arms Championships featuring members of the USAR Marksmanship Program.

Famous Tactical Trainers


Replace the movie entourage and looks with a beard, tattoos and slick marketing videos, and you’ve just learned how many “name” tactical trainers garnered their fame.

Faking Famous

Tactical Fire

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Best part is how similar a video like this looks and sounds to “real” training.

Tactical trainers are easy to make fun of because they insist on coming across as douchebag clowns.

Folks, stick to working on and improving fundamental skills and abilities. Set and achieve measurable goals. Learn how to learn. Participate in shooting, fitness and other skill/capability tests and/or competitions to validate that you have in fact gained improvement.

The very fact you are willing to organize your effort, search for a yardstick to measure improvement and actually follow through with something puts you ahead of more than 90% of the crowd, including those pretending to be instructors and taking money from the unsuspecting, gullible “tactical” public. When/if you are presented an actual task/mission to prepare for, you’ll quickly be able to ramp up to meet it. The difficult task of developing fundamental skills and abilities will have been done and your mental fortitude will be bolstered by developing the discipline to see difficult work through.

Or don’t. Why listen to me? Put on your MARPAT Multicam Nomex ninja suit and have fun at Tactical Fantasy Camp!

A Forgotten Training Aid


A Forgotten Training Aid
by John Tate

Regardless of the splendid benefits of dry fire training, eventually a shooter needs to shoot – to send lead down range. However, there a many valid factors that constrain those opportunities, such as access to a shooting range; inclement weather*, and lately, inability to find .22 ammunition.

Friends, there is a cure: The Air Gun..

Whether air rifle or air pistol, air gun practice is good practice! Some of the benefits:

  • There are some entirely adequate air guns on the market for a pittance of what firearms cost.
  • The propellant for pump actions is free.
  • .177 or .22 pellets are not hard to find … and with a good bullet trip, some can even be re-used.†
  • You can shoot airgun in your own home: in the basement; down the hall; even across a room.
  • Follow through is dramatically reinforced, because, especially with an air rifle, you can begin dropping the arm before the pellet gets out of the barrel.


* On the other hand, warriors will do well to take advantage of opportunities to shoot in foul weather. Wars don’t stop for storms. And for competition, there are a lot of folks who won’t train in the rain. If you know how and thus don’t care, you’ll have a definite advantage!

† I’m told this is not recommended. Not sure why. When not materially deformed, used pellets work fine for me.

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