Women are not a minority in America, gentlemen. There are some 6 million more of them than us – perhaps even a few more since 2010’s census, where that stat comes from. Many female shooters are interested in the shooting sports as well as personal defense. If you are in a gun-related sales field, you would do well to treat them well. If you are a professional trainer, you must be alert to the nuances and differences of the female thought process. To ignore this significant portion of the shooting fraternity/sorority is a disservice to all concerned.
Before purchasing a handgun, take a training course first, the author suggests. Women will then have a much better idea of the level of complication and comfort they are willing to adapt to.
I am going to gloss over the psychological differences between men and women, as they are vast and touched on elsewhere this issue. What I will focus on are a few things I have found interesting during my 20-plus years in law enforcement and instructing people from all walks of life. Women make interesting choices. They are often very independent, don’t have ego problems and progress very quickly.
I do not live and breathe gunpowder smoke, but it is certainly something I love. When the opportunity comes to indoctrinate a young shooter in the proper use of a firearm, I am always ready, and a large number of these shooters are females. In the basic NRA Course, most of these students are interested in obtaining a concealed-carry permit, while others simply want to learn how to use a firearm safely; few are interested in filling a gun safe. When it comes to firearm instruction, I highly suggest turning them over to a qualified trainer. DEAD FOOT ARMS
A father or spouse interested in a female’s shooting progress often diminishes the value of the instruction. I sent my own daughter to driving school, money well spent, in my opinion.
With all due respect to the equality of the sexes, women need self-defense training more than men because women are targeted more often as victims of violent attacks, the author argues.
I have been to gun shops where even I have been offended and I can only imagine a female traveling to one of these alone; it can be a disastrous encounter. The good-old boys could sometimes use a Dale Carnegie course. As an example, one of my daughters, who is a very capable shooter, an NRA-certified firearms instructor, and purposely drives a truck because she had been told all her life what type of cars women should drive, went into a gun store and was automatically presented a pink-handled woman’s gun by a gun-store clerk who was very condescending. Now, putting aside the fact that she actually likes pink guns (my other daughter doesn’t care and the clerk couldn’t have known that), these are exactly the problems women are facing.
Men and women alike make the same mistakes. When many purchase their first gun they find out later that it’s too big to carry concealed. Others might purchase one that is too small for personal defense, and still others might choose a low-quality option. Only with good education and a bit of study behind them will they be able to make a choice that is beneficial.
It seems that the most motivated shooters are those who have been a victim of an assault. Confidence in the handgun and a concealed-carry permit as well as a good working understanding of the handgun go a long way toward aiding these women to defend themselves if need be.
As an NRA instructor I teach the basic handgun course. Often I find that females in my class have no one in their family who is a “gun person.” It’s all new to them, and perhaps that is for the best because they are starting out with a clean slate. Oftentimes, a well-meaning person has taught the shooter bad habits, and those are very difficult to shake. The ladies I have seen – from fledging attorneys all the way to 17-year Army reservists – have impressed me at every turn. One thing I have noticed is women do not care to maintain their firearms as diligently as men. Men are more likely to tinker with what isn’t broken.
It also seems that the most motivated shooters are those who have been a victim of an assault. Confidence in the handgun and a concealed-carry permit, as well as a good working understanding of the handgun, go a long way toward aiding these women to defend themselves, if need be. If you are the right kind of trainer, you should never let the female student’s ability to pay decide if you take them on as a student. Many of these good girls are financially distressed for a number of reasons. When I was in law enforcement, I saw a number of young girls and elderly women who were robbed, beaten and assaulted in my city. I wish they had been better able to defend themselves. Sometimes, though, you hear about the occasional assailant who made a poor decision when choosing their victims. The results are gratifying to right-minded people.
Jesse Duff is recognized as one of the most accomplished competitive shooters in the world. She is known as the first female shooter to achieve the rank of Grand Master in the USPSA (United States Practical Shooting Association).
The choice in handguns for females comes up a lot, and often the choice is made before the owner takes a class, which is a shame. The .38-caliber snub-nose revolver remains an excellent all-around choice for most female shooters, but perhaps the worst performance I have seen from them is when they are armed with some type of .40-caliber subcompact purchased by a well-meaning parent or spouse.
These guns are just too much; the same goes for the snub-nose .357 Magnum. Even tough men have problems with these handguns. In my opinion, a shooter’s first handgun should be a good quality .22 caliber. The Ruger Standard Model is close to perfect, but even the aforementioned .38 is difficult to argue against for many reasons. A smaller caliber, such as the .380 ACP, has merit when used as a nasal inhaler for the bad guy, but is lacking the requisite balance of penetration and expansion. If you cannot control a 9mm automatic or a snub-nose .38, I would skip the rest and go straight to the .22 Magnum. A revolver may create a bulge on a woman’s hip like a boa that has swallowed a possum, but the nice thing about it is you can place it against an attacker’s chest and pull the trigger repeatably. It will not jam in the worst-case scenario. Think hard about the choices.
There are commercials that depict criminals breaking into homes, and when the alarms sounds, the criminal runs away. This may be true of the intruder who is only motivated by profit or startled by the sound, but a criminal who is abusive or violent will not be deterred by an alarm. Even in the best situation, police response is about 5 minutes, and a lot of damage can occur in that time.
When many of us began shooting, we were hopeless. But if the student has the will to learn, male or female, they will. AmSJ
Looking down from atop a three-story shooting tower, 12 steel targets stand out along a green hillside, each one further away than the last. They’re all challenging, and the furthest sits at 936 yards.
When the buzzer sounds, you’ll have three minutes to shoot all 12. The problem is, you can’t actually see the targets yet. You’re starting at the bottom of the tower’s stairwell, carrying 200 rounds of ammunition, a coat, a gear bag, a sling, sunscreen, elbow pads, bipod, and a heavy sniper rifle. By the time you get to the top of those stairs and see the targets for the first time, a minute will have disappeared. You’ll be breathing hard, and shooting fast.
“It started out as a way to test the practical use of a precision rifle in a military or law enforcement environment”
This is a Precision Rifle Series match, where extreme accuracy, speed, and physical toughness come together. Sniper matches have been around for a long time, but the PRS is gluing them together into a cohesive, Winston Cup-like string. There’s a $5,000 check at the end for the season points winner, and if you’re the top gun at the PRS National Finale, you could take home a $20,000 purse and prize package, just like last year’s winner, Ryan Kerr of California.
Jim See at the CORE training center in Florida. Note the big pillow-like pad under the foreend, along with the fully adjustable stock and heavy barrel. Items like that pillow pad offer great stability on uneven surfaces like this rockpile. (MICHAEL CAGE PHOTOGRAPHY)
Unlike classic long-range events, PRS has a hard edge – like maybe a 3-Gun competition for sniper rifles. The organizers (notably Rich Emmons) drew ideas from 3-Gun Nation, USPSA/IPSC, and the Bianchi Cup. The result appeals to practical riflemen everywhere.
“It started out as a way to test the practical use of a precision rifle in a military or law enforcement environment,” says Chris Reid at Benchmark Barrels. “From there it’s morphed into a kind of timed field shooting.”
At every match the courses change. The distances aren’t marked, and some of the targets move. Virtually everyone uses a detachable box magazine or DBM in a bolt-action rifle. Mounted to a fiberglass stock or a chassis system, the DBM allows for fast reloading of 10-round magazines. Although shooting a semi auto sounds tempting, experts say the bolt-action rifles with DBMs are more stable in recoil. This platform helps the shooter watch bullet trace and impacts. Seeing the hit or miss guides the shooter to the proper aim for the next shot. Most of the top shooters use 6mm to 6.5mm cartridges, which aid in viewing impacts. The 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5×47 Lapua, and the 6.5 Creedmoor are popular choices, but cartridges up to the .300 Winchester Magnum can be used. Most guns are heavy, but remember, you’ve got to carry it all day – up to 12 hours at a pop. You also carry everything else you’ll need to complete the event, just like you would if you were going afield. There is no going back to the car to resupply – it’s just you and your kit, dealing with changing weather, wind, and lighting conditions.
Jim See firing one of Surgeon Rifles’ guns at the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Range in Arizona. Jim campaigned with a rifle in 6XC in his first season, a caliber that has been gaining support in PRS ever since. (COURTESY OF CHRIS REID)
Jim See shooting a Surgeon Scalpel rifle in 6.5×47 Lapua..
Reid helps run matches in the state of Washington. The hikes from position to position are arduous enough that out-of-shape shooters won’t finish.
“I’ve seen guys hang it up halfway thro6ugh,” says Reid.
Short sprints are common in PRS, forcing you to balance the speed advantage of running against how out-of-breath you’ll be when you get there.
More than the sum of its parts
Like the original 3-Gun Nation series, PRS grouped together existing freelance events to make a larger contest. Each event has its own history and traditions, and a different local crew gives each its own special flavor; for example, some require pistol shooting. Scoring varies slightly, but course design varies a lot.
Pay close attention to the course descriptions, because sometimes you can make up a miss for partial credit, and other times, missing wipes out your entire score. If you’ve shot a little long-range, or you’re into long-range hunting, you’ve already got most of the gear.
Jim See, who currently shoots for Team Surgeon Rifles, was building custom rifles in his own shop, Center Shot Rifles, when he first heard about the PRS series. He was “a rifle guy” but didn’t have much experience with practical long-range rifle. The PRS series had just started the year before. “In 2012 I was busy raising kids and stuff, but I managed to place fourth at my first match,” he says. “That’s not the norm, but it shows you that it’s actually pretty easy to get oriented once you get started … I was hooked!”
“I’ve seen guys hang it up halfway through”
Thanks to his day job, See rolled up to the line with an unusually good kit – a Surgeon Rifles action on a McMillan A3-5 stock, in 6mmXC.
“That was a gun I had in the shop,” he says.
See’s friends pushed him to try to make the national PRS Finale, so he went for it, eventually placing 13th in the 2012 series. See won the 2015 Bushnell Brawl this year, making him one of the top guns in the sport. “I was 41 when I started, but I had a lot of experience in various kinds of shooting. If you’ve got some experience in long range, you’ll transition pretty easy.”
Unlike the classic long-range events, PRS is 100 percent field based. Common firing positions include uneven rock piles, mock rooftops, kneeling in tall grass – nothing is easy.
“If you take a guy who’s a hunter and have him shoot PRS matches all year, he’ll be able to kill game out to 1,000 yards the following year,” says Reid. “The knowledge and the practicality of it is huge.” If you’re thinking “this isn’t for me,” you might be surprised. Hunters and 3-Gunners deal with unusual firing positions all the time. NRA Bullseye guys have the long-range part down, but often lack the flexibility that practical shooters take for granted.
Awkward terrain forms a big challenge in PRS shooting. Chris Reid tried more-conventional-looking postures, but just couldn’t get settled on this rock pile/shooting position — until he tried laying back. Thank goodness he had a relatively low-recoiling rifle! “I shot that way on the mover too,” says Reid. The rifle is a Benchmark Barrels-built 6.5 Creedmore. Reid runs a suppressor, which helps dampen both blast and felt recoil. (COURTESY OF CHRIS REID)
“An F-class high-master will do great until they have to get into an unusual, nonstandard position,” says Reid. “Without the ability to go prone, they struggle.” People like Shawn Carlock, owner of Defensive Edge, teach long-range hunting classes all over the country, passing on techniques that PRS’ers use. You’ll face the same challenges and more at each and every PRS regional. For someone interested in practical-rifle work, I can’t think of a better training lab than what John Gangl at JP Rifles calls “the anvil of competition.”
“You’re shooting strong-side, weak-side, doing dot drills, moving into and out of positions, and every shot counts,” says Reid.
PRS-style shooting draws ever-larger crowds to what is normally a small, close-knit community. Here’s a typical get-together at the CORE training center in Florida. (MICHAEL CAGE PHOTOGRAPHY)
“This year we have 400-plus guys actively participating in the Precision Rifle Series as competitors,” says See. “These matches cannot be run effectively without dedicated range officers.” ROs set the pace of the match and ensure all participants are safe and receive the points they earned with hits. “It’s nice to travel the country and have fellow competitors volunteer to be range officers on their home ranges. Quality ROs are critical for a successful match,” added See.
A slick member website lays out everything you’ll really need to know, including the dates and locations of all the regional shoots. You can visit them at precisionrifleseries.com. AmSJ
Long distances help make PRS matches distinct. Here a shooter reaches out over the plains at Vantage, Wash. (COURTESY OF CHRIS REID)
Eagle Gun Range has two of the State’s premier gun ranges conveniently located in the Dallas area. We have massive air filtration units that clean and condition the air in the ranges. This enables us to have NRA certified range safety officers in the bay at all times. We feel this makes Eagle Gun Range the safest place you to enjoy indoor air-conditioned shooting sports. We have 24 indoor lanes at both our locations. Check our web site to take your own personal virtual tour of both locations. Our Lewisville location is just 29 minutes North of the Dallas Convention Center; our Farmers Branch location is only 19 minutes North of the Convention Center.
[su_heading size=”30″]A growing number of law enforcement agencies depend on the National Riﬂe Association for supplemental ﬁrearms training, from classroom and range settings to sanctioned competition events.[/su_heading]
STORY BY STEVEN PAUL BARLOW PHOTOS BY NRA
The NRA’s Tactical Police Competition, or TPC, events, held across the country, require officers to use duty weapons and gear, and can involve transitions from one type of weapon to another.
[su_dropcap style=”light”]T[/su_dropcap]he officer entered the room, heart rate elevated, his carbine leveled and at the ready. He tried to control his breathing. There! Three to his left – two armed terrorists and a hostage. He found the trigger and squeezed. He’d eliminated the threats, but there was no time to lose. He worked his way quickly, but methodically, through the maze of rooms, careful to use available cover as he scanned for more threats.
A range officer follows a competitor through each TPC course of fire to time the stage, to watch for rules violations and to ensure safety.
This time around the scenario was simulated, part of a competition. But there was more than a trophy at stake. The competition served as training, preparation for a time when lives would be on the line, when the threats and hostages would be real. The competition was tailored speciﬁcally for police officers, for the real situations they face, and it was conducted by the National Riﬂe Association.
When we think of the NRA, we often visualize the organization at the forefront of protecting our Second Amendment freedoms; the group that ﬁghts against the often absurd proposed legislation by elected officials who believe the government should be our only protector and that we don’t have the right to take on the responsibility to defend ourselves.
TPC competitors are often forced to shoot from unconventional positions.
As more officers carry patrol rifles in their vehicles, training and competition in their use have been increasingly important.
Unfortunately, because of this vital and public phase of the NRA’s work, the organization’s other programs can often go unnoticed. There’s the Eddie Eagle program on gun accident prevention geared toward children from pre-K through the 4th grade. About a million people attend ﬁrearms training courses each year that are taught by NRA-certiﬁed instructors.
The NRA has multiple programs for women, including Women on Target shooting clinics, Women’s Wilderness Escape and Refuse to be a Victim. There are youth education, training and competition programs. Add in the NRA’s gunsmithing schools, range planning services, the Hunters for the Hungry program that helps to feed the poor and the hunter safety programs that many states have adopted and you begin to get the idea.
But there’s more. To preserve our ﬁrearms heritage, the NRA also operates three museums in Virginia, Missouri and New Mexico that showcase historic ﬁrearms. When it comes to civilian competitions, the NRA sanctions about 11,000 shooting events, including 50 national championships each year. Shooting disciplines include air gun, muzzleloading, pistol, riﬂe and silhouette. While the media seems to seek out politically motivated, high-ranking police administrators on the side of strict gun control to interview for their reports, it’s been my experience that the average cop on the street is pro-gun.
Once an officer receives final instructions, he is on his own through the TPC course of fire and must make splitsecond decisions on how to “solve” the tactical problem.
THE NRA HAS BEEN PRO-LAW ENFORCEMENT since its inception. It created a special Law Enforcement Division in 1960 and has been active in training police ﬁrearms instructors and fostering police ﬁrearms competitions ever since.
Most police agencies have their own ﬁrearms instructors to train and requalify their officers, but who trains the instructors? Often, it’s the NRA. In fact, the NRA has trained and certiﬁed more than 55,000 law enforcement ﬁrearms instructors over the years. Currently there are more than 12,000 NRA-certiﬁed law enforcement ﬁrearms instructors across the country.
TPC courses of fire can entail anything a police officer might face on the street.
The NRA training is centered on the use of handguns, shotguns, patrol riﬂes as well as select-ﬁre and long-range riﬂes in tactical situations. Instruction is conducted both in the classroom and on the range. In recent years, military personnel and military contractors have also been trained in police tactics, as their roles sometimes include policing as well as combat missions.
Because maintaining a police agency’s ﬁrearms often falls on their ﬁrearms instructors, the NRA Law Enforcement Division often coordinates their training with the armorer schools of several manufacturers, including Heckler & Koch, Beretta, FNH, Glock and Smith & Wesson.
Police Pistol Combat (PPC) events divide shooters by gun type and skill level classifications.
Police SWAT units normally train frequently, but time and money enter into the equation for the average cop on the street. As a result, many police departments conduct in-service ﬁrearms training and qualiﬁcations only once or twice a year.
Officers who want to train more frequently to increase their proﬁciency are often on their own, and the NRA helps ﬁll this gap by offering opportunities for officers to keep their ﬁrearms skills sharp through their numerous competitions. POLICE PISTOL COMBAT (PPC) events are sanctioned by the NRA, and are open to full-time active law enforcement officers and, more recently, to military police. An officer doesn’t have to be a member of the NRA to compete. There are divisions for both semiauto pistols and revolvers and shooters are divided into various classiﬁcations according to their results in previous shoots.
The NRA also sanctions Tactical Police Competition (TPC) events across the country that require the use of actual duty guns and gear, as opposed to competition-speciﬁc “race” guns and holsters. These competitions are open to law enforcement officers, military personnel and private sector officers.
While certifying police firearms instructors, the NRA works with firearms manufacturers, which often provide armorer courses on maintaining specific duty weapons.
“The officers that participate in the Tactical Police Championships not only get to put their training to the test against other LEOs, but get to see where they can improve,” said Marc Lipp, the NRA Law Enforcement Division competitions manager. “This isn’t like competitions where shooters bring in customized guns and gear – they’re using the same gear they use in the line of duty.”
Each of these matches consists of four to seven courses of ﬁre for handgun, riﬂe, shotgun or combination of those. There are skill-based courses of ﬁre to test an officer’s handling proﬁciency and accuracy with a particular type of gun.
Certain custom features are allowed on firearms used in PPC competitions.
There are also scenario-based courses of ﬁre that place the officer in hypothetical situations that the officer has to solve. These courses of ﬁre might include assessing threat and nonthreat targets, shooting from various unconventional positions and making tactical decisions on how to move through the course using cover and navigating barriers, managing the available ammo, and ﬁnding the right balance of speed and accuracy.
Competitors in NRA-sanctioned PPC events come from agencies across the country.
“We aim to present scenarios LEOs would face on the job in order to accurately evaluate their skill level,” said Lipp. “It might be a competition here, but it could be a matter of life or death on the streets, and being able to respond to realistic situations is the best way for officers to train.”
These competitions can be eyeopening experiences for officers.
“The TPC is intentionally uncomfortable to navigate, and a lot of newcomers aren’t prepared for how challenging it is,” he said. “That’s good, because it forces the officers to face their training deﬁciencies head-on and make improvements in key areas. In the ﬁeld, they’re not getting commands from a range tower on how to solve a problem – they need to know how to approach ﬂuid scenarios in fractions of a second to deescalate potentially dangerous situations.”
PPC events entail shooting from different positions too.
THE NRA’S NATIONAL POLICE SHOOTING Championships will be conducted in Albuquerque, New Mexico, beginning September 16 this year. The national shoot is open to law enforcement professionals from around the world. Unlike other national competitions, there are no qualiﬁers or invitations needed. You compete against officers in your own classiﬁcation. Unclassiﬁed shooter can also compete.
Reloads are often part of shooting stages in the PPC events.
TPC events are often very challenging, both physically and mentally.
So, the next time you get pulled into a debate with a gun-control advocate and the NRA is mentioned, you can help set the record straight. More than just a special-interest lobbying group, the NRA is deeply committed to ﬁrearms safety, training and competition, with special devotion to our nation’s police officers. ASJ
To learn more, visit the NRA Law Enforcement Division at le.nra.org.
The National Rifle Association created its Law Enforcement Division in 1960, and has been training officers and conducting competitions ever since.
BLACKHAWK!’s commitment to quality, reliability and durability are reflected in every item it produces. That includes BLACKHAWK!’s new fall apparel line for 2017, which launches at the NRA Show on April 27 to 30. The line features eight new clothing styles, including shirts, pants and jackets— everything needed to feel comfortable and confident while performing at the highest level.
“We are excited about the extensions to the apparel line for Fall 2017 season,” said Jamie Lindberg, BLACKHAWK! Senior Manager of Apparel Merchandising. “We feel confident we have a comprehensive line that really aligns with our consumer expectations of performance and quality, as well as brings a modern design aesthetic to the market.”
The line includes a distinctive “perfect” shirt collection. The Purpose Shirt, Precision Shirt and Verity Shirt were all developed off of consumer insights on what makes a shirt perfect for concealed carry. The Purpose Shirt features Tac Flow 2.0 fabric, a lightweight, quick-dry fabric that is designed for continuous movement and breathability. The Precision Shirt includes a stain resistant coating to resist oil, water and stains, while the Verity Shirt features plaid fabric to reduce imprinting and breakaway snap plackets to allow for quick access. A new polo in the line called the Cool React Polo features a sweat activated technology on the interior of the fabric, which creates a cooling sensation keeping you both cool and dry.
In addition to these items, two jackets and a pair of pants will also be available. The garments are designed for operators and personnel who demand a reliable blend of function and security. The balance of the 2017 apparel line is designed to make every-day concealed carry more comfortable with well-designed features and innovative fabrics. Non-printing casual shirts and polos are designed for daily wear and to retain BLACKHAWK! functionality.
BLACKHAWK!’s steadfast dedication to quality traces back to the roots of the company, and the attention to detail shows in every stitch. That tradition continues with the 2017 apparel line. BLACKHAWK! apparel fights hard and wears easy.
BLACKHAWK!, a Vista Outdoor brand, is committed to providing the best class of tactical gear. For more information, visit www.blackhawk.com.
About Vista Outdoor
Vista Outdoor is a leading global designer, manufacturer and marketer of consumer products in the growing outdoor sports and recreation markets. The company operates in two segments, Shooting Sports and Outdoor Products, and has a portfolio of well-recognized brands that provides consumers with a wide range of performance-driven, high-quality and innovative products for individual outdoor recreational pursuits. Vista Outdoor products are sold at leading retailers and distributors across North America and worldwide. Vista Outdoor is headquartered in Utah and has manufacturing operations and facilities in 13 U.S. States, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico along with international customer service, sales and sourcing operations in Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe and New Zealand. For news and information visit www.vistaoutdoor.com or follow us on Twitter @VistaOutdoorInc and Facebook at www.facebook.com/vistaoutdoor.
In this segment of NRATV, Colin Noir and Travis Haley of Haley Strategic are discussing the subject of “teaching gun fighting“. But, more specifically “can you teach gun fighting, if you’ve never seen a gun fight?”
For those who aren’t familiar with who Haley is, here’s a quick bio taken from his site:
“Travis Haley is a veteran Force Reconnaissance Marine with 15 years of dedicated real world experience including: combat tours in Middle East, Africa and Central Asia. After leaving the military, Mr Haley served as a special operations and security contractor before partnering with Magpul as founder and CEO of their training division, Magpul Dynamics. Mr Haley also served as CEO of the parent company, Magpul Industries, before breaking off to form the endeavor that would become Haley Strategic Partners.”
Colion Noir: Alright folkes, and we’re back, and joining me live is Travis Haley from Arizona, and before we went to break, we started to touch on the aspects of actually teaching people how to shoot. And so I’ll just ask you flat out: What do you think it takes to teach the way you do?
[su_heading size=”30″]Bottom line its the Student Instructor Zen relationship[/su_heading]
Travis Haley: Whooh, um, well I think– First off, as I’ve been saying, understanding people is the number one attribute to a –and I use the word ‘teacher’ or ‘instructor’ very carefully, and uh, kinda like Bruce Lee did, and I just recently started reading and studying him in the last year or two, and I was like ‘wow, there’s a lot of crossover here from his mindset’– Where, -and I agree with what he said, it’s, he finds it almost impossible to actually teach somebody something. And I know that sounds crazy, it’s like, ‘well why would I want to spend my hard-earned money and time to go to your classes if you can’t teach me something’
Colion: Yeah, ‘you tricked me’.
Travis: Right! [Chuckling] And it’s because only you can really follow through on the teaching aspect, right? It’s the student and teacher combination, it’s not just the teacher, coming in and saying ‘Hey man, here’s my resume, this is how many combat tours I got, this is how I’ve been shooting, how many millions of rounds, here’s my program of instruction, now you better keep up!’ and that’s what– I see that. That has to happen in some regard in the military, and law enforcement, because you gotta see who can hang with that stress and mentality, but when I’ve got three days or five days or six days to work with somebody, attrition is not my mission. It’s upholding a higher standard of care for everybody. And so I think that’s where the understanding of people comes into play, so I always use like a GPS analogy. When that GPS tells you to turn right in 900 feet because you’re trying to get from point A to B, is it actually physically attached to the steering wheel? Does it turn the car?
Travis: No, you turn the car, right? So all we are is a GPS that– we come in and we give you the information which has a lot of data, a lot of research, a lot of failure, a lot of success, a lot of roads, ‘cuz not everybody wants to take the same road, you know? And that’s what I think other instructors or ‘teachers’ out there need to understand is that, don’t ever try to twist somebody into our own preconceived notions or experiences, even if it unquestionably works for you, it may not work for that person. And so, again, my biggest responsibility as a teacher is to protect people from my own preconceived notions or patterns. Because again, some things work for me, but that’s why I get into the science of what we do, that’s why we study biomechanics, why we study the brain. Because as you know, like you and your partner, we talked about it earlier, are two totally different people. So why would I come into a classroom and say ‘Hey, here’s my two cents, now keep up’. My job is to share information, share our research, share our failures and success, and then spend those days keeping up with the student population. And I think that’s what, a lot of times, people don’t know that when they get into the training community, and they want to be an instructor, because I know some guys that’ve got some phenomenal experience when it comes to shooting and runnin’ and gunnin’ and combat, but they can’t articulate. But they will if they learn. I didn’t, man, I couldn’t speak. If you heard me in my first course, my first company, I was like-
Colion: [Makes ‘bumbling’ noises, chuckles]
Travis: And so I had to go ‘Well ok, well that didn’t work out. Now what do I do about it?’ you know? ‘Now how do I be more resourceful and become a better person?’ and I learned through these years that really paying attention to people, really understanding people, and what motivates them, what’s their belief system, and then how do you help them execute that belief system is critically important.
Colion: I’ve taken my fair share of courses, and, you know, for me the biggest thing is the communication aspect, because like you said, you can have all the abilities in the world, but if you can’t tell me how to– not necessarily how to do it, but how to teach myself how to do it, and how to walk away with information that I understand, you know? Like I was always taught, you’ve got to speak in a way that people can understand whatever complex notions or thoughts that you may have that you’re trying to communicate with someone means nothing if you just talk over people’s heads and they don’t get it. And for me, when it comes to instruction, that’s the biggest thing for me. Which I think is a lot of the time why I speak in analogies. Quite a bit.
Colion: and as kooky as they may come across sometimes, I bet you got what I was trying to put out! You know?
Colion: And that’s the point, when you’re talking about something as fluid and elusive as an emotion from shooting a gun, right?
Travis: Right, and I think something else that people need to keep in mind is, like, you know, you’ll hear it a lot, ‘keep it simple, stupid’, right? The KISS method. Absolutely 100%. If I pck up this device, okay, which everybody knows what that is–
Colion: Shameless Apple plug.
Travis: That is– What’s that? [Laughter] Sorry, we’re Mac guys. So, that is a ‘keep it simple, stupid’ device, but not because I told, or they told me ‘hey keep it simple, stupid’. It’s like the Fighter Pilot where the analogy actually came from, when they’re building a Lockheed Martin S or 71 Blackbird or the U2 spyplane, they said ‘Keep it simple, stupid’, and programmed development as an engineer, as a teacher, as a developer. Not as get up to the Pilot like ‘Hey man, before the cockpit closes, just keep it simple, stupid, alright?!’ Because he’s gonna be like ‘Dude I’m a high-performance– Get out of here! who is that guy?!’ you know? So he needs to have performance, but he does need his machine to work around him, so we don’t have to work around it, which is what was their biggest marketing pitch, right?
Travis: So that’s where we use ‘Keep it Simple, Stupid’. And I see a lot of guys sayin’ ‘Hey man, just Keep it Simple, there’s no way you’re gonna be able to do that under stress’, well, I’ll prove you wrong. Because of science, not just because I was able to do it, but because we know what the human body’s capable of doing. And everybody’s different, so we gotta tweak everybody different again, and that’s where I always come back to, understand the student you’re talking to, not just the group of them. Everybody’s different.
Colion: Gotcha. Now, I wanna get into kind of a more concrete aspect of firearms and shooting, is basically is talk about the guns. And I get a lot of questions from people who are like, I have friends, for instance, when it comes to the AR-15. They typically only have money to put down for a pretty decent AR, but then questions then become– and then they have really no intent on buying multiple ARs. So they kinda wanna get something that kinda can do a bit of everything well. Does that even exist? Is that even possible? Or, in a sense, are you forced to buy multiple ARs to fill certain specific roles, as a civilian? Of course I know when you start talking military applications and things like that, that’s a little bit different.
Travis: Right, no, absolutely. Obviously, look at the world out there, of rifles today. I mean, there’s some phenomenal manufacturers out there, there’s some that aren’t doing the best that they could do, there is always the time or the money aspect, the research that these companies either can or cannot put into their product development, so that’s the big part, and I only advocate companies that– and I think for that customer, that you’re specifically talking about, and this is where the whole ‘Milspec’ thing gets out of hand and stuff, but it does mean something, and if you could go into some of these manufacturers like Bravo Company or Daniel Defense or some of these other great– I can’t even name ’em all, so I apologise to all those guys out there– but they’re doing the work, man. They’re doing the research, they’re doing the testing, they’re scoping stuff out, everything’s micro-Viewed (?), That simple platform, that ‘Keep It Simple’ gun, gets out to the market at a really good price, and it works all-around, for the most part, you know? So I think that you don’t need to go crazy and spend thousands of dollars, just go with a reputable brand that you know is proven, you know. And that’s, that’s again, a full-time job.
Colion: Yeah pretty much. [Laughter]
Travis: And uh, you don’t need to go Whiz-bang on everything, you know? You build up in steps, just like you go out and buy –a lot of people like to go out and buy jeeps. They’ll go out and they’ll go buy a baseline Jeep and then what can you do to– you can built it, build it, build it, build it; specific to how you’re going to go out and drive it. You may never take it off-road, ‘but I just want it to look cool!’
Colion: Yeah I have a friend like that, he literally could drive through Hell, and he literally doesn’t drive anywhere except his parking garage.
Travis: Yeah, and there’s a guy that has the same vehicle that takes it offroad, and I think a lot of that comes back to our industry, it’s like ‘well you don’t need all that crap!’ or ‘Oh you need all that crap, but you’re never gonna use it’, it’s like ‘Well, wait, I can do whatever I want because; it’s my right, number one, and I enjoy it.’ It’s a lifestyle, it’s a hobby, and I think that’s where a lot of the risks and stuff start to happen, but it’s like ‘well, what works for you?’
Colion: Hell, I had the biggest Poser gun on the planet: I have an SBR HK MR556, made in every shape and fashion to look like a 416, for what? I have things on there I’ll probably never use!
Travis: Because you shot a real 416.
Colion: Exactly. That was– that was actually pretty fun. That was pretty fun. And I just, only wish I had that switch that went all the way around so that I could make mine do that, then I’d be all good, I wouldn’t even need another rifle!
Travis: Right. And a lot of people say ‘What d’you need that for?’ [shrug] ‘Cuz I want it.
Colion: I could come up with some reasons! When people ask me questions like that, I’m like ‘do you know who you’re talking to?’ I could come up with some reasons. I sat on the phone for thirty minutes one time, and he’s like, ‘I want you to come up with a reason for every rifle that you own’. Thirty minutes in he’s like ‘Alright! I get it! I get it! I get it!’ So, if you force me, I can come up with a reason.
Travis: you’re about to get a lot of Emails. [laughter]
Colion: I’m pretty sure I am. [laughter] But I really appreciate it, it’s always a pleasure talking to you, and I always learn so much from talking to you and having our conversations going back and forth, I hope this isn’t the last time you join us, I don’t know if it’s one of these kinda like ‘one time’ things, where you’re like ‘I’m not never going back on that show again’, but um, it’s open-door policy here for you, so, just so you know.
Travis: Thanks man, just like with you, I’m gonna text you the day before, and I’ll be there. I’ll text three weeks before.
Colion: [Laughter] Don’t text three weeks before, ‘cuz trust me, I’m gonna come up with some issues, but I really appreciate you Travis, and thank you for joining us on CN Live, and you have a good one.
Travis: Thanks for having me guys.
Colion: Absolutely. And that was another wonderful episode of CN Live, this is Colion Noir, and I’m out.
[su_heading size=”30″]The NRA put together an Infographic to help your shooting Fundamentals[/su_heading]
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