Last night, over a course of a couple hours as I was working on the computer, I had a text conversation with another like-minded law enforcement supervisor. All the while, my Facebook feed was post after post about the 7 law enforcement officers from around the country killed within a week of the first fallen officer, Seaside Police Sgt. Jason Goodding, about 1 1/2 hours away from me. First off, I am not writing to criticize anyone. In conversations, I am the first to point out that I think Law Enforcement eats their own. It is bad enough there are groups who instantly criticize us just for the fact that we wear a badge. Yet, as soon as a Youtube video hits or a new story breaks on the 5 O'clock news, our thin blue line starts talking at training classes, on social media posts, you name it, condemning the officer on how we can't believe they did "this" or why didn't they do "that". These are the same officers who should understand from their own experiences and training, things... Read more →

Ian McCollum of InRange TV/Forgotten Weapons attended the Ultimate Combat Rifle Camp back in May and recently posted this video review and interview with Gabe Suarez. My write up of the class is posted on my personal blog here. Left to Right: Russell Phagan (, Gabe Suarez, Ian McCollum (Forgotten Weapons/InRange) Read more →

After having trained with Suarez International (SI) in the past, applying the techniques in real life against thugs that tried to kill me in 2009 and then finally responding to a call where an officer from my agency was shot, I felt inspired to bring the SI methodology to west Texas. What was passing for LEO training, was taught to the lowest common denominator and was not sufficient to make officers and civilians dangerous to the wolves that were hell belt on their destruction. I felt that having experienced the training first hand, I had a responsibility to spread the word. If I didn’t do it, nobody else would. This little thought started rolling a stone that has only picked up speed as we approach the New Year. In November of 2013, I called SI Headquarters with a request to host Close Range Gunfighting in Lubbock, TX. It took only a few days and I was on the phone with Jon Payne. Let me tell you about Jon Payne. Many of you know him and have known him for a... Read more →

While in Czech Republic some years ago we had an opportunity to play with several Czech weapons from SMGs to full-size Machineguns. Very cool what you can really do at a former "secret soviet base" in a former communist nation that is now free. The first submachinegun we worked with in Czech Republic was the infamous Skorpion VZ-61 SMG. "Infamous" due to its use by several terrorist groups around the world. Carlos The Jackal was quite fond of it as I recall. This due to its concealability (no bigger than the typical IPSC game gun), and its controllability. Take a close look at the photo. You will see six shots being fired on full automatic. The brass cases are in the air or being extracted. Notice also the total lack of any muzzle rise at all. We were treated to the "song of the Skorpion". The weapons burns though a stick so quickly that one can hear the whistle sound of the brass cases falling back to earth after the last shot is fired. The VZ-61 is an interesting little... Read more →

I thoroughly enjoyed teaching this class. In a previous article I referred to the Suarez International Force on Force class as a "guided discovery" and that is exactly what it was. As the instructor, I am extremely grateful to my students that attended and put in the work over this two day course. There were two students in this class and they ran every single drill and experiment. They stayed focused and worked hard in the cold then hot, windy and dusty west Texas enviroment. Though, the attendance was low, I am confident that the tribe will grow as the masses learn the value of this training. Day 1 We started the day with a brief lecture on mindset and the proper mental preparation needed to prevail in a fight. In it we discussed the need for a clear mission and focus on winning the fight, aligning ourselves spiritually with taking a bad guy's life and legal and emotional issues that may or may not arise after the smoke clears. After discussing mindset and going through the safety ritual we... Read more →

You Can't Pick the Time or the Place

This week in Colorado we are starting to feel a little fall in the air a little earlier than usual foreshadowing the onset of winter and with it unique challenges in terms of concealed carry and gun fighting tactics. First of all we are likely to be wearing more and heavier clothing making it potentially more difficult to bring our firearm into play depending on how we carry. If you have trained all summer in shorts and Hawaiian shirt it’s time to start working on digging your tools out from under a heavy coat and sweater. The key is consistency, smoothness and safety. A common firearms mishap occurs when clothing gets caught in the trigger guard when presenting or reholstering the weapon so get in a lot of dry reps and stay focused. The second issue we need to deal with in bad weather is mobility. We train that not getting shot is more important than any other aspect of the gunfight and we facilitate that via explosive, dynamic movement. On dry ground, in 75-degree weather that’s one thing but... Read more →

The Suarez International's CRG-4: Force on Force (FOF) is being taught in Lubbock, Texas on October 11th & 12th by Suarez International Affiliate Instructor, Jess Karren. This is a dynamic course where the gunfighter can put his square range training to use versus live opponents. No fancy stances, no perfect sight pictures, just unadulterated gunfighting using gas operated blow back pistols w/ plastic BBs. The motto for this class is "In Ferro Veritas"; in steel we learn the truth. The Ego Check That Enlightens: No doubt everyone has heard the saying, "leave your ego at the door." This statement was never truer than when attending a Force on Force class. I took my first FOF in Amarillo, Texas back in 2007. Gabe Suarez taught it himself. There was probably about 20 people that were there. I had been shooting for a number of years by now and have even dabbled in the "getting off the X" concept on my own. What was humbling, though, was the speed at which our simulated gunfights happened fast and happened closed. The paper targets... Read more →

As discussed several times before, gunfights are broken down into two categories: 1) Proactive and 2) Reactive. I categorize pistol malfunction clearing or better yet, pistol manipulations, into these two categories as well. An example of a proactive manipulation would be the proactive (tactical) reload. This post is not, however, about proactive reloading. I wish to cover the reactive manipulations and explain why I teach them the way I teach them. The reactive manipulations include the "tap-rack-shoot" and the "rip-reload-rack-shoot" techniques. I know that there are several names for these techniques, but I will refer to them by these names. The “tap-rack-shoot” is often times referred to as the “immediate action drill” because when the pistol stops shooting, we immediately tap the bottom of the magazine to make sure it is fully seated in the magazine well. Second, we rack the slide to eject a bad round and/or load a new round into an empty chamber. If the “tap-rack-shoot” doesn't work, we immediately perform a “rip-reload-rack-shoot”. Basically, we grip the bottom of the magazine, any way that we can, and... Read more →

I love the concept of the concealed handgun permit. I support an armed citizenry 100%. When the title "First Responder" is thrown around it is commonly understood as referring to the police officer, the paramedic or the firefighter. I don't agree that a police officer, as an example, is the first responder in an active shooter event. Furthermore, paramedics and firefighters arrive after you have already been injured or your house has already been burning. No, the first responder in the context of this article and the concept of the civilian defender is you, the concealed permit holder in your community. Despite being a peace officer, I consider myself to be a citizen first and operate like a concealed handgun (CHL) permit holder, for the most part, when I am off duty. In this article, I hope to highlight some common mistakes that permit holders may make. My intent is to offer some advise and hopefully shed some light on things that may put the CHL holder in a bind. CHL Permit & False Security Before I was a cop,... Read more →

As a followup to the Gunfighting Fundamentals article, I wanted to examine how the fundamentals of marksmanship are applied, or not, along the entire spectrum of combat shooting. Most of the Suarez International tribe will, no doubt, identify with these concepts as they are taught in the Close Range Gunfighting series, as well as fought in the Force on Force classes. For those that are new to the tribe, I hope that this article, as well as the first, gives insight into why we do what we do. Its common knowledge that we can put gunfights into two categories: 1)Proactive and 2) Reactive. The proactive gunfight is one that we know is going to happen and/or that we ourselves initiate. Some examples of proactive gunfights include law enforcement officers or a SWAT team kicking a door going after a dope dealer or the home defender lying in wait to ambush the invader. Suffice it to say, we are the ones initiating the contact. The reactive gunfight, on the other hand, is one that we did not know was going to... Read more →