What does it take to teach Gun Fighting?

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.”

[su_heading size=”30″]Video Transcription[/su_heading]

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?

Colion: No.

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.

[Both laughing]

Colion: and as kooky as they may come across sometimes, I bet you got what I was trying to put out! You know?

Travis: Right!

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?

Colion: Yeah.

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 laughs]

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.

Here’s what they’re saying about this subject:

Source: NRATV, Colion Noir, Travis Haley

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