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Dave Spauldings thoughts on current combative firearms training

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    Dave Spauldings thoughts on current combative firearms training

    What is to follow will fire up a large number of people! So be it. I’ve been doing this a LONG time…longer than most and I know what I am talking about…and I am flabbergasted by what I see…



    I have not paid much attention, in the past, to what is happening in the training industry...I probably should have. I spent the vast majority of my time training law enforcement officers and did not really take notice of what the legally armed citizen was doing. When I decided to start my own training company, I started to focus on what the armed citizen needed, but I was wrong. I should not have looked at what they WANTED. I didn’t take notice…I do now...


    Before 9-11, there were just a few training institutions and about 10-12 traveling instructors...I got to them all and had a good handle on what was being taught. Then our country was attacked, two wars began and a large number of folks came out of the military and changed the training industry, I believe forever. Focus shifted from the concealed handgun to the M-4 carbine and if you were not former Special Ops you didn't know shit. If you weren't former Special Ops and wanted to instruct, no problem! You just act like you were/are.




    Defending the home or what to do in a parking lot attack moved to battlefield tactics. Never mind much of the battlefield stuff was/is inappropriate for law enforcement or the legally armed citizen...it was/is really cool to do! Gear became the primary concern and many felt as long as they looked good, it did not matter if they could shoot good. Many potential students are real gullible, was the thought. They were right…just watch You Tube. What garners the attention of the current shooting community is truly amazing! I recently noted Col. Jeff Cooper’s video on The Combat Mindset had around 27,000 views. However, a young girl in short shorts shooting a rifle had over 3 million! What the hell??


    "Tacti-cool" went from a derogatory term to main stream commentary, "operator" was applied to everyone who trained with a gun and someone decided it was a good idea to place students down range and shoot past them to get them "used to in bound gunfire"…it enhanced their “battlefield experience”. The term CQB was applied to everything from room clearing to hand to hand combat to the type of gloves you were wearing.




    A trend began to start shooting people to the ground with full magazines of ammo instead of shooting for a visual response and then evaluating. Force was no longer judicious, it was terminal! While effective is it wise? Consider the video of the officer shooting the teenage suspect to the ground in Chicago and the subsequent public response. I don’t know if the officer was taught to do this, but is it good idea? Maybe on the battlefield but on the streets of America? A thought only…





    Instructors must now wear 5.11 (Arcteryk, Kuhl or whatever is currently in, I can’t keep up), beards and talk with a certain lingo. If they do not, they are considered "out of touch". I had lunch with a friend recently who is a current member of a Tier One SMU who told me much of what is currently popular in the tactical training realm is not current...the wars have made them reevaluate and create new tactics and techniques and that much of it is not appropriate for anything but the battlefield. Is it important for information on tactics and techniques to be current? Is it important that it should be “judicious”? Is it important that as long as you get to wear cool gear everything is ok? If an instructor talks and dresses a certain way, does that make them qualified to teach? Is it important that we might be spending time and money on skills sets that will not really help us with the threats we are likely to face? Do students know what they need versus what hey want? It’s their money, right??





    Today's younger shooters are some rude folks. All you have to do is read the stuff they post on line. Social Media has made instant fame possible and folks who are now driving the training industry have done nothing more than “type a good game” on line, recycling information they read elsewhere. Few have experienced the lessons they preach which offers a unique perspective when teaching the skills… they just put a video up and their expertise is established. Don’t forget the short shorts or maybe a bikini…those really help viewership!


    Have you taken the time to look into the backgrounds of some of the "movers and shakers" that "rock" (not my term) the training industry? Do you care? Are you a grown up acting like a teenager as you "fanboy" a particular instructor? I’m too old for hero worship…most are but some still do it. This is so bizarre to me…its like being in Junior High all over again…




    I never paid attention to what many of the instructors claim, but some of my friends who are now retired from the military and intelligence communities do as it matters to them when someone says they are something they are not! They have the contacts to look into the claims these instructors make about their backgrounds and I admit to being greatly saddened as it hurts an industry I dearly love. Interestingly, the people who are the rudest, boisterous and in your face are the one's with the least background. They are like bullies, the more obnoxious they act, the more people stay clear of them and let them have their way. Expect an "offensive" by these retired professionals sometime in the future as they are getting disgusted.





    I remember when instructors would get together at the large training conferences (ASLET, ILEETA or IALEFI) and exchange ideas. I learned a considerable amount sitting in the hallway of a hotel with a group of like mined people. As a matter of fact, we used to joke about “most of the learning occurred in the hallway”. We would review recent incidents, talk about what we had learned in the past year (or whatever) and talked about where we might have it wrong and what we needed to change. I can’t remember a discussion on how to make something look cool or what type of clothing we wore when teaching.




    Now it seems instructors are at war with each other. What the hell?? "I'm right, they're wrong, my ideas are best and theirs suck" even though...if you look closely...the ideas and concepts are not that dissimilar. Its about money and ego...if not, instructors would not be fighting amongst themselves so much while building armies of followers to "defend their honor" on the internet. They would be exchanging ideas outside of their instructional cliques.




    The number of people who call themselves “instructors” is now HUGE. It is amazing how it has gown in just a decade. From the local folks who are doing CCW certification to the top tier tactical/SWAT/Spec Ops instructors…I have never seen so many people vying for your money in the almost 40 years I have been doing this. What is the quality of their training? Do students know enough to know when they are being fleeced? I have seen some really strange stuff being taught. Students come to me in classes and show me what they have been taught elsewhere and I am speechless…that used to be hard to do to me, but not any longer. I see no reason to teach a barrel roll or back flip with a gun in your hand…




    What about some of the on line debates? Do we really care if one person prefers a red dot while the other likes iron sights? Why do people or groups try so hard to prove that others are “wrong”? Appendix carry, SERPA holsters, Kydex versus leather, irons versus optics…is it critical we try and impose our thoughts and desires about such things on others? Ego abounds. Do you think that maybe…just maybe…what might work for you will not work for someone else? Should it be about SOLUTIONS for the students or imposing our instructional will and satisfying our ego?




    I admit to being a bit mystified about instructor conduct…when did it become important for an instructor to be a cultural icon? When did an instructor have to be this perfect human being? Does an instructor really look that bad if they have an ND or miss a shot? Is their wardrobe really that important? Is it ok to wear a pair of blue jeans and running shoes when teaching a class? Shouldn’t it be more about dressing comfortably for the weather conditions at hand? Shoot good, feel good or look good but not all three? What the hell??





    I admit I am in the fall of my life and the winter of my teaching career, but I still care about the quality of instructors and the well being of the training industry. It’s just too damn important to let it fall into chaos! While certain individuals seek fame and wealth, the people who will be hurt are the good guys and gals who need solid information, tactics and techniques to save their lives and the lives of their loved ones. These people look to their instructors for guidance and solutions, not finger pointing and hate speech…certainly not fashion advice.




    Of course, I’m probably wrong here, as many student level shooters seem to relish it when noteworthy people get into arguments on line. They line up behind their favorite and launch attacks back and forth. At least the instructors stand up as themselves and offer their arguments. The student level offers hate-filled garbage hiding behind a pseudonym. In my generation, we called this type of person a “pussy”.




    Again, it reminds me of junior high where someone talking behind someone’s back did so out of jealousy. It’s the same here…the internet commandos want to raise their status and profile…you know, be “famous”… but do not want to spend years on the street/battlefield, spending time training and teaching while spending money doing so. They want it NOW! Just like a five year old. They want instant Internet fame and guess what? They get it!




    If I fold up Handgun Combatives tomorrow few will notice (well, those that have enrolled in a class this year might get a little bent!) as there are legions of people out there waiting to step in and fill the void. That’s ok as long as what students are getting is what they TRULY need to WIN! Not just look cool on the range or get to pretend they are a commando for a few days. Is that is training to you? Is the course you are taking hour after hour of drills that entertain or are skills being built? Many do not know what the difference is…




    Interesting side note: When I post a blog such as this one, I actually HURT my training business as students who want be pretend to be something they are look elsewhere! I don’t care…the truth hurts and I will not pretend to be something I am not in order to make $$. I must look myself in he mirror every day…




    Some will like what I have said, some will MF me as they are more interested in what they want reality to be, not what it is and what I have written here interferes with their view of combat (reality)…or they are just playing their role of instructional fan boy. Good boy, good boy…come here and let me scratch you behind the ear! Good boy…




    That’s ok...it is their right...a right I spent my adult life defending, but do me a favor…take a close look at the haters and fan kiddies and see why they disparage what is said here. Do they have a “dog in the hunt”? Hopefully you will take the time to give critical thought about what you are spending your time and money doing to defend your life! It’s a real ‘what the hell” moment. Combative firearms training is a lifestyle commitment to personal security…its not the same as playing golf or idolizing a movie star…


    http://handguncombatives.blogspot.co...n-current.html


    #2
    Good timing. I was researching some training courses earlier today and saying to myself, how do I really know what I'm paying for...

    Comment


      #3
      Holy crap, this guy really nailed it.

      "Tactical Assholery" is golden. Pure genius.

      Being on the range several times a week and (just another) instructor, I say most of these things numerous times a week to gun-owners.

      Thanks for finding and posting this.
      "The Open Carry guy is my decoy."

      Comment


        #4
        I've gotten crap from some people because I take classes from an instructor who isn't former LEO/MIL, hell he doesn't even have a cool beard like all the Tactical Timmys are wearing these days. But his classes are taught based self defense for an ordinary citizen. He makes no crazy claims about his past, just a straight forward instructor.

        Some of the other instructors aren't teaching anything I would use. I heard of them forming six-man teams to storm and clear a three floor structure. That's not something I would ever do in a self defense situation. I have a hard time getting one guy over to help me remove the hard top from my Jeep, where am I going to find five guys to clear a house? My "Team" consists of Myself, the Wife, and a Cat. She don't listen to me and the cat can't be trusted.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by SlowTime View Post
          and the cat can't be trusted.
          Dogs bring two way companionship. Cats gon't give a shit. Get a dog.
          NRA LIFE | SAF | GOA | UTAH / NH / FL / PA / NY CCW | APPLESEED RIFLEMAN | RSO | FREEPORT R&R | NSCA | NYSRPA

          Comment


          • LazyLab
            LazyLab commented
            Editing a comment
            Cats are more geared to the covert operations, dogs are more of the storm the beach go for it types.

          #6
          I don't know who David Spaulding is but I assume he's awesome and well respected within the community.... And by his own admission 'old school'.

          The core of his article was sound. What it lacked was "here's the absolute five things armed citizens seeking training should look for, likely ballpark training costs to, a list of well respected schools (excluding his own)", and finally "knowing when to cut it short and abandon the course if <list here> happens". Knowing the signs of poor training.

          His well meaning article came off as a rant and not specifically helpful to new shooters - who may indeed be gullible to the "tacti-cool and take ya money" Beardo + 511 short-ter, crowd.

          my 2 cents.
          NRA LIFE | SAF | GOA | UTAH / NH / FL / PA / NY CCW | APPLESEED RIFLEMAN | RSO | FREEPORT R&R | NSCA | NYSRPA

          Comment


            #7
            Originally posted by SteveT View Post
            I don't know who David Spaulding is but I assume he's awesome and well respected within the community.... And by his own admission 'old school'.

            The core of his article was sound. What it lacked was "here's the absolute five things armed citizens seeking training should look for, likely ballpark training costs to, a list of well respected schools (excluding his own)", and finally "knowing when to cut it short and abandon the course if <list here> happens". Knowing the signs of poor training.

            His well meaning article came off as a rant and not specifically helpful to new shooters - who may indeed be gullible to the "tacti-cool and take ya money" Beardo + 511 short-ter, crowd.

            my 2 cents.
            True. I'd like to read a follow up article with those issues you spoke of addressed.
            Just Another Reason For Me To Retire in Tennessee.

            Comment


              #8
              I've done MDTS pistol 1,2,3 and low light.

              Excellent instruction and I left a better pistol shooter because of it.

              Comment


                #9
                Originally posted by mossy930spx View Post
                I've done MDTS pistol 1,2,3 and low light.

                Excellent instruction and I left a better pistol shooter because of it.
                I don't doubt it. MDTS, I've only heard good things about.

                Side notes:

                1) I chatted briefly with 'Dan<number-forgotten>' at the recent LIGC beer meetup, he's clearly experienced in LEO matters. I said I was looking to do some force-on-force training locally and he largely gave me a summary of his concerns that matches Spauldings perfectly. In short, the market has a lot of bullshit people doing bullshit training, I should be careful.

                2) I also had an interesting side-chat with MikeM, same beer session, and he was going through some crazy stories of local training horror stories.


                NRA LIFE | SAF | GOA | UTAH / NH / FL / PA / NY CCW | APPLESEED RIFLEMAN | RSO | FREEPORT R&R | NSCA | NYSRPA

                Comment


                  #10
                  My first reaction was, "Who is Dave Spaulding?" and my second was "Holy S%$t!, I just had that conversation with Dan 0351 (again) this weekend."

                  I've taken a number of classes with different trainers, three this year (hey, I'm single and have time), with former spec ops guys:
                  • Tactical Med with Wil Willis. It was basically a two day version of the CTCC (if I got that right, have to check my notes) course on treating trauma. Tourniquets, clotting bandages, etc. It was excellent though the guy who was supposed to give it had a stroke and Willis stepped in.
                  • A two day handgun class with Pat McNamara & Mike Pannone, both former Delta guys who usually each do a two day class. In this one we spent a day with each.
                  • A two day handgun class with Kyle DeFoor, former Dev Gru/SEAL Team 6 operator.

                  Lucky for me, all of these were vetted by friends who took classes with them previously. I've also taken classes with Chris Costa (Cost Guard Spec. Ops. and Larry Vickers, Delta. I also routinely take classes with a guy in CT who was in the Navy but not in a combat role and his Navy experience has no bearing on his instruction.

                  What Spaulding writes is spot on. I learned something from all of them but some of what they taught was inappropriate for a civilian and some of the drills they ran I wouldn't document. It would only get me in trouble. The same goes for the "mindset" talks several of them gave. Chris Costa talked about being prepared to "vaporize" someone when you draw your weapon. Umm, no. I only want to stop the threat. DeFoor wasn't as blatant about that advice but it was along the same lines. Yeah, no, I only want to defend myself. Chris Costa has us doing team movement drills. It was fun, sure but I could hear the prosecutor as I was doing them: "Isn't it true that you were just itching to kill the poor innocent lamb, so much so that you were out playing war in your training!?"

                  So yeah, there's a lot of crap out there and even with the good training there's a lot that is inappropriate for civilian needs. I think it's up to us to discriminate. I run everything they tell me through a filter in my head. Some of what they teach might get incorporated into what I do at the range on my own (Kyle DeFoor taught an interesting modification to my pistol grip and simplified turning to engage targets) and some gets flushed out the other ear immediately (like vaporizing bad guys, 4 shots to the drills, and team movement exercises) but that's just me, YMMV.

                  At any rate, some of the stuff is fun if nothing else. I've never seen anything dangerous, thank God.

                  "The devil doesn't come dressed in a red cape and pointy horns. He comes as everything you've ever wished for.”
                  Tucker Max

                  Infirmitate Invitat Violentiam
                  Finicky Fat Guy

                  Comment


                    #11
                    Originally posted by mossy930spx View Post
                    I've done MDTS pistol 1,2,3 and low light.

                    Excellent instruction and I left a better pistol shooter because of it.
                    I just took Practical Shotgun 1 with MDTS - I also thought the instruction was excellent, and I felt more proficient and confident in HD shotgun technique after taking the course. I would recommend...
                    Peaceful Lives Will Not Deliver Freedom. Jon Anderson

                    Comment


                      #12
                      Originally posted by SecondThoughts View Post

                      I just took Practical Shotgun 1 with MDTS - I also thought the instruction was excellent, and I felt more proficient and confident in HD shotgun technique after taking the course. I would recommend...
                      Pistol 2 you're gonna be fighting for retention of your firearm and shooting off your back and extreme close quarters - fun fun fun

                      Pistol 3 - fighting with spouse to a safe location and in the field emergency tourniquet. And you get to shoot out of Chris' car. Dont shoot his car!!! - super fun!!!!

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