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TACTICAL TRAINING/H2H: 80% of Your Tactical Training Should be H2H

Keep dreaming dude – This will never be you

What is more likely to happen to you:

– Some insecure ass-hole hassles you on the street outside your office or in a bar and you are forced to go H2H with him?

– You get into an epic gunfight burning through half the AK mags in your chest rig?

Unless you are Military, a Civilian Contractor working in a hostile environment, LE, or employed in some sort of high risk profession the chances of you getting into a shoot-out where you use the high speed skills you learned at some tactical ninja school are about zero.

But the chances of some douchebag, “tough guy” or thug forcing you to defend yourself using H2H are damn high if not guaranteed to happen at some point in your life.

I know guys that are hot-shit in a rig loaded with 8 mags and an M-4 because they have taken like 30 tactical firearms classes (and spent tens of thousands of dollars in the process).  When I ask them why they have spent so much time and money taking those courses they inevitably say something like “So I can defend myself and my family”.

I usually say something like “defend them from who dude, the entire North Korean army?”

Now the same guy above who will max out their credit cards taking classes on how to fight like some sort of Hollywood version of a Civilian Contractor will take exactly Zero classes in H2H the same year (or one at the most).

“Man, after I finish this mercenary shooter course I will surely be able to defend my family living in Wisconsin against Iraqi insurgents and IED threats on the way to soccer practice”

To me that makes no sense at all – why spend so much time and money training for the least likely tactical scenario?

Even for a guy like myself that works, travels and lives in a hostile environment the majority of all the times I have had to defend myself has been using H2H (I have been in way more fistfights in bars in the Middle East with drunken Arab dudes than I have been in shootouts).

Now I am not saying to stop training with the gun – any skill can and should be improved whether it be tactical related stuff or pushing papers in a cubicle, I am just saying that you should spend the majority of your time and training funds on the skill you will most likely have to use (H2H).

So the next time you are thinking about signing up for the latest “cool” tactical ninja shoot em up course maybe you should consider spending that money on boxing lessons for a year.

Note: If you take tactical firearms courses as a recreational hobby then disregard the above. But if you are taking “mercenary shooter” classes so you will be better prepared to defend yourself and your family then you may want to heed my advice.


~James G
Founder – Editor in Chief

James G is a Veteran Civilian Contractor who has worked in the Middle East and Southeast Asia for way too long; he has traveled to over 50 countries chasing fortune and glory. He spends his off time in Indonesia and Virginia getting drunk, shooting guns and writing poorly written articles.

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  1. Quality stuff, James. Here in my college town, I’d say 95-99% of our violence is h2h, not gun violence. Fights downtown are a regular occurrence – shootings, not so much.

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  2. Great article James. You are spot on with this one. I was lucky enough to grow up in various Martial Arts and have a more than solid base in H2H. And I have been in way more fights than shootouts as well. And though the majority of classes I take are firearms related, I do still take a number of H2H courses of various styles and types.

    I have to because working EP in the states though it would be nice to use use firearms sometimes, the majority of the time you are tossing someone out of the way.

    So my suggestion would be like as James says. Take H2H classes, take a variety, from combatives to traditional Martial Arts. Mix it up, take what you like and what works for you and combine them, train them and stick them in your tool belt. And it will generally cost a lot less than what you will pay for so called “high speed” firearm courses.

    And it will still probably be cheaper if you take them in the country of origin. Want to really learn BJJ head to a week seminar in Brazil, Sambo? head to Moscow, Krav Maga, head to Israel. A lot of people say it is the same training anywhere. But I have taken courses and studied all over the world.

    And believe me, A Krav Maga course in Netanya or Tel Aviv is completely and drastically different than here in the states. Same thing with BJJ in Rio or Sao Luis. And you get in a little vacation and some site seeing as well.

    Also, if you have a decent base in something and no money. Get some friends together that actually want to learn and make their skills better and work with each other. Repetition helps. If you think that class you took years ago prepared you, it might not.

    But repeating it and storing the moves in your muscle memory increases your chances of survival or a trip to the ER. Or in some parts of the world and the US the morgue.

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  3. “I usually say something like “defend them from who dude, the entire North Korean army?”

    Fucking classic!

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  4. Great post. I never would have thought that needed to be spelled out for people, but could totally see it.

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  5. Excellent article as usual.

    Great information and for the record, I’ve got more H2H training than I do live fire training. But I definitely want to start picking up a few sessions here and there.

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  6. He speaks the truth. With so many lawyers running around, I sometimes catch myself thinking what would be worse…dying or the aftermath of a deadly force encounter that you might win with a gun. (only half kidding)

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  7. You know we are starting a security and protection company and have been getting all our training lined up and I’m so glad I read this post! It makes alot more sense now and I can see we need to change somethings up now. Getting caught up in all the paperwork and trying to get the training that we must have has been more crazy than I have ever thought it would be, but we are about there! If anyone has any useful info the help would be of great help.

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  8. any recommendations on a good, practical H2H martial art? i’m watching fight quest on nextflix streaming and i see a ton of non-practical (as in, you can’t strike the head or face) martial arts. i’ve heard good things about systema and krav. any others you guys would recommend?

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    • Krav’ and Systema are essentially the same thing, practical attribute based self defense concepts. They are much better as a place to take your training than a place to start it. Avoid jumping on the “MMA” bandwagon, If a place is touting “MMA” training..look deeper at what they are standing on. If I was looking for a place to start MA training.. I’d likely look for a good Wing Chun school, or a Jeet Kun Do shop that can draw a line back to Inosanto. . But ‘I’m a sword geek so what do I know….

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  9. Your article brings up another very important fact I would like to bring up. I see a lot of people spending tons of money on guns and classes, yet are overweight and out of shape. If you want to protect your family, start working out so your heart can handle a “North Korean Attack”.

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    • ^ Yet another positive attribute of regularly attending H2H training classes!

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  10. Here is an article I wrote that has some suggestions for guys looking to start or improve their H2H skills

    Also you may want to check out our other H2H Articles:

    ~James G

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  11. Good stuff James, as always. Couldn’t agree more on all counts.

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  12. Awesome stuff man!

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  13. James, what are you thinking? H2H is totally useless against zombies (Unless you can Judo-chop their heads off).

    I’ve been dying to take Krav Maga lessons for a while but the place is almost an hour away from my house.

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  14. Nice post!
    Open your eyes people, almost no chance someone in Melbourne Australia is going to hold you to gun point.. but some junkie trying to hold you up with a knife is a very different story!

    Train up.. Train Hard!!

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  15. James,

    I’ve been looking, but I can’t find a gi in MultiCam. Haha.

    Once again, another great article. For the price of a two-day shooting course, you can go to (insert name of martial art of your choice here) two to three times a week for a month, or up to a year, depending on cost.

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  16. But James if I am a fat fuck I can still feel like a tough guy when I train with guns only! If I switch 80% of my training to hand to hand, the most likely scenario I will face as a civilian, that means I have to actually exercise and be uncomfortable! I would rather keep my gut that I have to lift up to access my concealed carry pistol and walk through the mall with my “sheepdog” shirt on waiting to kill an active shooter then actually train for the most likely scenario!

    Yes I am a dick and my post is dripping with sarcasm.

    If you aren’t doing Boxing, BJJ, or Muay Thai you are wrong.


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  17. I agree again with everyone on this ! Just like being a LEO who has cycled in and out of FLETC for a long time! As a contractor even in Iraq the majority of incidents( excluding getting shot at or /bombed ) while in pedestrian mode could be dealt with H2H . It is cleaner and won’t piss off the masses as quick as family that are dead from stray shots ! Even in the Markets if a situation arises and I can grab it in arms reach. I know I can still save the day or at least, likely not go on my own trip to the morgue! All the skills I have acquired while it may be tombstone courage , at least gives me confidence in my abilities and knowledge of my weak points !

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  18. Even when you are armed, a spontaneous weapon attack will first have to be dealt with open handed. Kinda like having a awesome set a tools in your toolbox but forgeting the key to get inside.

    Because of this bullshit and fairydust we started using stun guns to add a little stress in about everything we do. Just enough to get the blood flowing. Interesting how the trainined and untrained mind blend and people initial reaction is the same. Good stuff, as always- George

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  19. I look forward to reading these articles on a daily basis. Not only do you pack them with tons of useful info, I can pick out two people I work with in each of them…and when I have them read it, they act dumbfounded when I tell them that they should do some of these things. Awesome work on these H2H articles James! Never a dull read!

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  20. Great Article! Still amazed how many civilians take tactical shotgun classes, carbine, and the like for “home defense”. On the other hand, I\’ve made money off some of them in teaching field craft and rope skills do they can feel like a bad ass.

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