I was hired by a police department in 1983. I realized pretty quickly I didn’t know a lot about being a cop, but I knew enough to know I didn’t know much. So, I went to a lot of training – just about every class I could go to, I did. Because in the very beginning I was a reserve officer, I went to a lot of classes on my own time – the department let me go, it didn’t cost them anything,
and because I was still living at home and had few expenses – talking some time off my other job didn’t hurt me financially.
When I got into law enforcement, there were a lot of training and officer survival movements that were trending. The death of four California Highway Patrol Troopers in Newhall in 1970 was a realization that the good guys wouldn’t always win against the bad guys. Closer to my entry into law enforcement were the Norco bank robbery in 1980, and the growth of the officer survival movement – specifically with the Caliber Press book and police training seminars.
Later, I was able to attend training sessions and de-briefings restricted to law enforcement only. Examples included the hostage rescue operation in London’s Princes gate by the British SAS in 1980, the FBI shooting in Miami in 1986, the Good Guys hostage shooting in Sacramento in 1991, and a series of other incidents including a briefing by one of the on-scene commanders for the North Hollywood Bank Robbery in 1997.
Each of these incidents, and each training course I attended, taught me more about the risks out there, and because I was a police officer – the very real risks I faced. This soon was more than taking classes, this quickly turned into a lifestyle that was centered around getting the best training, the best equipment, and preparing myself not for the theory, but for the day I knew would someday come when I would need to defend my life using the skills and training I had gained,
Along the way I attended several specialized firearm and shooting schools (sniper-counter sniper, full auto weapons, several pistol schools, basic SWAT training, etc.). I first learned, mastered, and then became an instructor in several use of force disciplines. I helped teach firearms, and later was the rangemaster and weapons armorer for the police department where I worked. I specified and approved the firearms, ammunition, and related equipment for the officers of the department based on the research I had done. Along with training the officers and assisting other local law enforcement agencies with doing firearms training, I taught concealed weapons classes for the public.
When what you do to train those who carry a firearm, and the choices you make as to the equipment you recommend or approve, can make the difference between someone surviving an armed encounter, or them dying – you take those actions very seriously. Sometimes, you do more to make sure those around you are better prepared than you yourself are.
I have been involved in many potential and several actual shooting situations. Having your gun pointed at someone, sights lined up, the safety off and three pounds of pressure on a five pound trigger is what I define as a potential shooting situation. Having a gun in your hand – ready to shoot, and rounds start going off, be they from your gun, the bad guy’s gun, or from your partner standing right next to you (because he has a clean line of fire and you don’t) – that’s an actual shooting situation.
I’ve kicked in doors and faced armed bad guys. I worked undercover buying and selling drugs. I know what it feels like to have made the mental decision and commitment to shoot someone as many times as needed to remove them as a threat to me. I had very thoughtfully and methodically planned exactly what I was going to do in the 30 seconds from when he entered the room. Luckily for both of us he was not there to do a rip off, and the lump in his pocket was cash and not a gun.
When the bad guy gives up, and you slowly take your finger off the trigger, or you are making a dynamic entry into a drug house and shots go off – you revert to your training and do what you need to so you can get through the incident. Later, after each of these many incidents where I was directly involved, I spent a lot of time rehashing each and every detail, what could I have done better, what could I have done different, or what can I do to be better prepared the next time.
In 1998 I had taken some time off, and the officer who was covering my shift was killed on duty. Two things came out of that incident – the first was a realization that I could have been in his place, and there was some reason I hadn’t been the one killed that night. The second thing, a question – could I have done something to have better trained that officer, to have spent more time and effort so that his skills would have been better, and would that have made a difference that night.
Based on the nature of the attack and the circumstances of his death, I believe better skills and training would not have made a difference that night. Regardless, it was time for other things in my life, and I left law enforcement shortly after that. Although I am no longer working full time as a law enforcement officer, I still carry a firearm almost daily, and I still continually study to improve my skills and to improve my teaching abilities to help others in developing firearms skills.
Just so you know, I’m not trying to impress anyone. There are a lot of people with better resume’s and thicker training files than have I. I only list this information to explain that I take this firearms and shooting stuff seriously. When I train someone, my goal is to make them more able to protect themselves and their loved ones. As a result, I take training very seriously.
I’ve known and trained with people who only want to impress others – look at me, look at what I can do, listen to my stories, aren’t I impressive, I’m highly trained, I’m a professional… I’ve been in training and real world situations where everything went right – and I’ve been there when things went very, very wrong. I’ve seen people who would be categorized as being “professional” and “highly trained” freak out when in a simulated situation – I could only imagine what they would have done in a real incident.
In one example I watched a very experienced officer struggle in great distress trying to reload his empty semi-auto pistol at the range – instead of a full magazine, he had withdrawn the folding Buck knife he carried on his belt and in that stressful moment could not understand why it would not fit into the magazine well on his pistol. This officer had on many occasions been my back-up on potentially dangerous calls – I can assure you, I was very motivated to help him improve his skills, especially before he was once again my cover officer.
The things I teach are techniques that I believe are the best out there for real world incidents. These are things I used when training police officers, as well as those who wanted a concealed carry permit to protect themselves or those close to them. And, it’s not just my experience on the training side. Although I’m not a “Special-Forces-Ninja-SEAL-Airborne-Division-Killer-Elite” warrior. I’ve actually been there when bullets were going off and felt that stress. I’ve seen felt what happens in actual incidents – what happens when gun shots are going off right in front of you. I know what I’ve done when that happened, and what those standing next to me have done as well. As a result, my goal is to use my knowledge to help prepare you for those situations.
If you train with me I will show you techniques that are not fancy or intended to show-off. I will show you techniques that are reliable. The techniques I teach actually work, and you can do them under stress. I focus on the basics, the core skills of firearms handling and operation. I believe advanced techniques are essentially just the basics – performed more quickly and with greater skill.
I also will tell you that although I believe the techniques I teach are great, there are plenty of things you can learn from others. I know that everyone is different, and what I do may not be the best fit for your needs. I hope to give you a solid platform upon which you can build. Use what we do to start, and then seek out other trainers, sources, and resources. I say that because that’s what I did, I got proficient, and then built upon that base.
If you want to train each and every day or several hours a week, I’ll get you started. Train like that and you will very quickly get your skills to a point where I will have very little else to show you. I can give you some drills that will challenge you, but once you learn and master in the core skills, it will be time for you to move on – either training with those with skills beyond mine – or, maybe, teaching others the basics as I do.
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