In a previous life I was hard at work in the study of CQB, and was an Assaulter in my department's special weapons team. During that time I trained with a senior SWAT sergeant at LA County's SEB named Gary Rovarino*. Gary was not only gifted in his craft, but also a student of karate which gave us a common language and made us instant friends. At a regional school he was teaching, Gary defined tactics brilliantly - "Tactics is the art of maneuvering against an opponent, and toward a specific objective". To add to this, tactics is the physical and dynamic embodiment of strategy. Strategy is a thought process and involves thinking and looking forward to objectives. Tactics are physical and involve taking action to cause things to happen. To put it in practical terms, strategies are conceived at the Pentagon, and tactics are developed by the Marines. To examine tactics we first need to establish strategies. And in the context of our discussions, strategies for the lone operator, CCW-equipped, regular guy. Presented with a potential for danger or... Read more →


Uncertainty Kills. That is one of those truths from the street that, being irrelevant on the shooting range, rarely gets taught to students of the gun. Sure, there is lip service to color codes and so forth, but we address all of that in the self-image discussions don't we? Lions need no color codes. Here we are discussing a certainty of position and standing that clarifies the rules of combat - the rules under which you are justified in shooting another man to death - at a deep and almost cellular level. The moment when the pistol is drawn, when the red dot is suspended on the bridge of the bad guy's nose and your trigger finger begins to feel that first poundage of take-up on the trigger is a moment when we need a deep and clear certainty of action. Hesitation is the mechanism by which uncertainty kills. How can we be certain of our position and process of killing another man? And that is what we are talking about. After all the clever euphemisms..."stopping", "contacting", "defending from" are... Read more →


Thusfar I have exposed the myths held onto so dearly by a large segment of the gun world and the CCW world, I have discussed the all important development of the winner's, the warrior's self image. This self-image is of far greater importance than any mind set, color code, or anything else used to skirt the world of the mind in the fight. Now we will discuss how to train to develop the skills of the gunfighter. Gunfighting and Shooting are not the same things. Gunfighting and gun sports are not the same things. I will bet the average thug who has already killed a few other bad guys will utterly trash the average "grandmaster" sport shooter for whom the street fight is a foreign concept. Why? Because the killer knows how to kill and the gunfight is about killing, not about shooting a score. The concept of shooting for a score, or a "running a stage" is actually detrimental to street fighting skills. And doing one will not make you better at the other. Choose what you want your... Read more →


Fear is NOT a gift. Fear, no matter how many books it sells, it is an emotional reaction that leads to poor decisions and to over reaction. What we want instead is coolness under stress...now that is a gift. But far too many gun people are driven by fear. Their training is based on being afraid and their entire defense posture is built entirely on fear because that is what those who trained them knew best. One generally teaches what one knows and understands. But fear-aggression often leads to fear-shooting. And fear-shooting is rarely clean, well done, or justified shooting. The attitude that is most desirable is not the snarling little fear-aggressive dog with the emotionally-driven outburst of words, and often over-reactive gunshots. The attitude that is more desirable is the attitude of the predator. Now by "predator" I am referring to the animal kingdom example that differentiates the snarling little ankle biter dog, and the wolf on the hunt. The Predator does not show emotional arousal, or anger. The Predator does not yell or posture and does not develop... Read more →


I am writing a five part series on "The Secrets". These are those intangible things that can't be quantified in a shooting test or sporting event, yet the very same things that define the difference between victory and death in a gunfight. I will write the five parts out, with my unedited opinions and let the chips fall wherever the hell they fall. If you like what you read, there will be an opportunity to let us know. Here we go. The first installment will discuss the myths of the gun world. These are things that have been accepted as truth because they have been said so often. The problem is that many of those repeating these things have no first hand knowledge and so they repeat what they have heard. A myth repeated often enough becomes a widely held belief...almost a religious belief. yet, it is still a myth, and myths are not truth. Myth Number One - The presence of the gun is all you need, so have a gun. Having a gun is a good thing, but... Read more →


In the beginning, American shooters trained the concept of legitimate self-defense. Use of force training and de-escalation methods were discussed and trained. Using the vaunted "Big Boy Voice" to challenge the bad guy from ready positions was promoted far and wide. And gun writers admonished the novice gunman about the concerns over legal liability, regaling them with horror stories intended not so much to frighten them into inaction, although they often did just that, but rather to create the need for the book to be bought or the liability awareness class to be attended. And for the most part, unless someone did something stupid (Zimmerman comes to mind), the muggers in the parking lots of America, and the gang members invading homes from coast to coast were dealt with efficiently. But those halcyon days of the J-frame in the side pocket and the "Courtroom Tactics" column in the gun magazine are gone. It is now 2017 and the reality is that within a month of this article being published there will inevitably be another active shooter event in the USA.... Read more →


The old saying, "A picture is worth 1000 words" was as true the day the old sage spoke it in the Chinese temple as it is today. So take a moment and look at all these images. They are a collection of Islamic Terrorists in the process of murdering innocents in futherance of their political, ideological and religious aims. We did not have readily available images of Mateen or Farooq, but if we did, they would look very much like these guys. What are they armed with? Rifles. And look at the last image. That belongs to the CT Operators who eliminated one of the terrorists in Paris. Look at the shield they are using. Do you the impacts on the Bataclan Shield? What made those and why were they deploying a shield of that nature? The bad guys were armed with rifles. Now, I would like you to set aside ideas about fairness, the American way of things, and the way things ought to be and look for a moment with me at reality...they way things really are, and... Read more →


I personally have participated in no less than a half dozen gunfights in reduced light. For 15 years, with few exceptions, I worked between 1700 HRS and 0500 HRS. And I hunted bad guys in buildings and in the street. When I discuss this low light problem, I speak from personal experience. But we are not here to discuss me. The article on using weapon lights was been read quite a few times and it seems to polarize the reader. They either agree with my position, or they question my sanity. The gun world, like most of American society lives in a world of extremes. Everything is either black, or it is white. An all or nothing perspective that is never like life. Extremes only occur at the 1% on either end of the spectrum. Everything in the middle is fluid, and taking the position that life must be "always or never", is an extremely limiting position. It is however a position parroted by many intellectually slothful trainers who cannot grasp (or perhaps their students cannot grasp), that reality is... Read more →


Clausewitz wrote about it as "The Fog Of War". SunTzu wrote about it as "not knowing yourself or the enemy". It is a lack of certainty. It comes from a lack of information about what is actually at hand. Without information, accurate decisions are very difficult to make. What happens is you get a bunch of educated guesses and then a tentative decision based on those guesses. That is why military planners spend more on gathering intelligence than on the weapons to exploit it. How does that play out for the individual operator? Quite simply, if one is denied the suitable intelligence to make a decision, no decision will tend to be made. And at such a time, unless there is an ingrained, and trained default response, the subject will likely freeze in place...as if he is on pause waiting for more information to be provided. One example is the shooting at the nightclub in Orlando by Mateen. Put aside the 4S issues of a midnight drink in a questionable hood for a moment and follow the discussion. Think of... Read more →