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COMMENTARY: Skill Based Tactical Training VS “Lets Have fun Training”

I Like Sandwiches and Tactical Training

Why are people more interested in taking classes where they get to dress up in full kit as apposed to non-shooting classes (or with less shooting) where they will learn an actual skill? Now I understand that I come from a background where I pull triggers for a paycheck and work in the 3rd World as a job, so in my mind I am thinking “why take a class if I don’t learn how to do something, I only have a month off this year?”

One example is EP/PSD Courses – I have had several top EP/PSD Instructors tell me I am crazy to offer an EP/PSD course that only teaches Classroom based Academic training and does not have tons of shooting in it (despite the fact that the base EP/PSD skills are non-shooting skills), one buddy that is a Rock Star in the PSD/EP business said “Just add a day or two of shooting on your course and you will sell out – pander to people”

Also Combat Causality Care or Tactical Medicine, I have been told that I wont book a class with non-contractors/cops/mil unless I throw in a couple of day of shooting in the air while students are supposed to be learning. But Combat Lifesaver and Field Medicine are classroom based skills.

This makes me want to eat my 1911 – Do people really deep inside just not want to learn an actual skill VS doing something “cool” where they can post pictures of themselves on Facebook wearing full kit?


~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 spends his off time in Indonesia and Virginia getting drunk, shooting guns, writing poorly written articles and


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  1. I understand your frustration and I can only speak for myself. As a federal leo I can certainly appreciate learning in a classroom enviornment, however I get so much of that throughout the year I enjoy blowing off some steam (while learning) in a range setting. Between my military service and now federal service I get classroom and death by powerpoint for almost everything (EEO, Use of Force, Distance Learning, etc) I jump at the chance to throw on a plate carrier and a ball cap on and wreack havoc for a change. I don’t take pictures in my battle rattle and post them on FB though…

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  2. Sure I like going to the range also – but If I pay hundreds of dollars for a course and they throw in a shooting part just to pander to people I am pissed – I want to learn the skill, I’ll hit the range with my friends if I just want to shoot

    Thanks for commenting bro

    ~James G

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  3. Absolutely, also a lot of you guys come out of pocket for these classes so it makes sense to not want “attendence fluff”. I think the younger generation has a fixation with uploading tacticool pics to their social media sites. Some of the best courses I took in the military were gentlemens classes so I definitely agree not every class needs shooting. Stay safe brother and keep the articles coming. -Jon

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  4. “attendance fluff” – I am gona’ steal that phrase bro

    ~James G

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  5. Haha, have at it bud.

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  6. Do I want to be in the field with that fat sweaty bastard and his crew served weapon?

    HELL NO!

    I know how to shoot, have fired shots in anger and been shot at with everything from a 9mm subgun to a 120mm mortar. I know how to shoot and if I need to practice I’ll go with people I trust- not that choad.

    Classroom all the way, teach me some shit I don’t know and I’ll be a happy man.

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  7. Because they don’t use medkits, have to pick locks, etc in Call of Duty/the movies…

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  8. Using a practicum to reinforce learned skills is a major plus; in a medical course the use of moulage and actual (though short) periods of transfer of wounded to a ‘safe’ area of some kind helps hammer home the skills learned. I’m sure there are great instructors who can talk all day and keep folks attention but if you can add the ‘fun stuff’ it can take the droll classroom up to something a bit more memorable – particularly if you can rationally fuse the tactical application and practical instruction into a ‘I got that!’ moment.

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  9. I agree that the gratuitous addition of “fun stuff” is often done to get students to part with their ever decreasing availability of training funds (ammunition, firearms, food, gasoline, and bourbon all compete for those same dollars). Is it wrong? For some of us it is.

    I have attended a number of classes that have both classroom and shooting segments, but are designed to teach a specific skill set – civilian defensive shooting. The classes, offered by Adamax Tactical Academy on their civilian side blend both the shooting skills necessary for a young mother, an old guy (like me), or others at varying skill levels, who wish to be able to effectively employ a weapon in home self-defense. Did I mention I am in the People’s Republic of Illinoisistan where responsible citizens can (only just) own firearms, but cannot carry them? This is also a state that requires you to retreat IN YOUR OWN HOME if there is a threat and a home owner can only shoot when in reasonable fear (as judged by a jury of “reasonable men” later) for his or another’s life or severe bodily harm. Other than that, you have to stay hunkered down in your defensive position while they take or break your stuff until the police can arrive. Enough with the rant, sorry!

    When you look at that home defensive shooting environment, you can see the usefulness of training that ensures hits at CQB ranges from standard and non-standard shooting positions, but also adds the classroom presentations on the legal elements of personal and home defense, management of gunshot trauma, and defense against gun grabs (hallways are a bitch for the civilian). Building block – flat range drills and shoot house time build both muscle memory and also, through the use of shoot/don’t shoot decision targets, develops the discrimination skills necessary to defend in a house that may be full of family and friends. Managed correctly, as they do, a two day class contains a well-balanced use of classroom, flat range, and shoot house time necessary to improve the full range of defensive shooting skills for civilians. There is no “tacti-cool range masturbation”, quasi SWAT, multiple person, ad hoc tactical team room clearance drills that just feels good but has no benefit in reality just to fill the class.

    That being said, would I take a longer, classroom only combat medic class? Yes, but not solely for home defense. Unless we are in an end time scenario, or have gone back to the “nuclear winter” weather we used to have here in the 80’s, there will still be paramedics responding with the law enforcement to a shooting at my residence. My training at this point needs to focus on keeping myself and my family alive for 15 -25 minutes until help gets there. Foreign travel, however, will necessitate a broader based level of medical training, and for this, no matter how much fun it may be, I don’t need gratuitous shooting time.

    Stay safe and train hard!

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  10. Last year while visiting friends in Mexico, a very kind lady told me his son was in the State Police Academy, and that she was going to be thankful for any advice I may have for her son. A couple of days later the stud came and we talk a bit and get into the facts.
    I just share some proper shooting stances, regarding we had no guns available.
    That’s it. We may had just make the coreography of a shooting.
    Several weeks later, I got an email from this young officer telling me he not only succeeded on the range, but his was the highest record on the academy’s history.
    He took plenty of notes in our couple of hours practice, so those made the difference he said.
    Gun or no gun, shooting starts in our own body position. The weapon is a tool operated by a human, let the human in the adequate position to gather the most of the tool. Or just remember the ol’man saying: It is the indian, not the arrow.
    Stay safe Pals.

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  11. In all the years of military service, contracting and LEO, I have NEVER posted a photo of me in the field, or training. I guess I come from the old school when the KGB/Stasi/Tango’s would keep files on operators and such. Staying grey was the OOD, and just common sense. It seems to be the thing to do now to post yourself in far off places doing things that IMO will some day come back to bite you, or worse…

    If the class given is a classroom concentric one more so than a field or practical application one with live fire, I’d rather have the class time, and LEARN. As long as I walk away with something substantial in the way of learning or improving that skill or knowledge base. I think back to my CQB and knife classes, where we handled blunted edge weapons or unloaded small arms, and “danced” for hours before ever laying hands on a real sharp or going live. I walked away with a better understanding of the system from my classroom time than had I just grabbed up a weapon and rushed into it. My 2 cents….

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  12. “Not by strength, by guile.”

    There’s a weird “tacti-cool community” love affair with pulling triggers and looking like you pull triggers. IMHO there should be more focus on keeping out of a lethal force situation, while having the skills to act if boxed into a situation requiring lethal force. Of course, this requires classroom time, travel time, and maybe a few evenings openly talking with people who have totally different beliefs. It’s an “Active Listener” not “Active Shooter” model.

    I enjoy being proficient in the weapons I own. This knowledge has kept me alive far fewer times than my skills in first aid, negotiation, conflict resolution, and plain old common sense.

    Maybe I’m just getting older.

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  13. Old school “piratical gunslingers” (myself included) are just that…. old and cranky. The new generation of “young whippersnapper trigger pullers” have been raised in the on-line, social media world. They know nothing different. It’s normal behavior to post even the most non-interesting aspects of their lives on Facebook. I don’t recommend it, but it’s now a fact of life.

    I believe it’s a double edged sword. You have to provide your customers with the training “they” want. Right now it’s “Tacti-cool Mania” out there. The first rule of business is to make money. Just make it quality training.

    As far as shooting. All that classroom instruction and static range time doesn’t compare to actually going through a live fire shoot house. At least for me it doesn’t. It cranks up the pucker factor a bit.

    I sum it up to what an old combat vet told me once in regards to training. “Someone can tell you about sex, you can look at pictures about sex, but until you are actually having sex, will you fully understand what it’s like.”

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  14. old KGKC #67 still checking in. for a lot of guys it’s just an extention of Call of Duty…It doesn’t mean anything to them and it’s more of a novelty than anything else.

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  15. First, I’m not the Jeff who posted above. I’m not a ” piratical gunslinger ” . Haven’t picked up an M16 or put on web gear since 1994. But, if I had the time and money to attend a CLS course, I’d jump at it. I qualified as a 91B10 in the Reserves in 1992, so it would be a much-needed and much-welcome refresher. Just because you don’t get a chance to burn through rounds or throw in some warpaint doesn’t mean that the class wouldn’t be handy. If SHTF, I think I’d want someone around who knew more than just how to slap on a Band-Aid.

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  16. I’m perfectly happy to take “classroom only” courses.
    Shooting just for the sake of shooting doesn’t really appeal to me.
    I go through several thousand rounds (that I pay for) a year in training as it is, so I’m happy to save money by not shooting if it’s not an integral part of the class.

    As for the fat guy with the ’60 in the photo…It’s airsoft. Check out the orange tip on the AK in the background.

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  17. I’m okay with classroom courses but it depends on the topic. If I’m taking a shooting course I want to have the instructor there watching me shoot and telling me what to correct or keep. The sex analogy (listed above) applies.

    Many people replying above have had plenty of live-fire training and can stay proficient on their own. I am not a policeman, soldier, contractor, etc. I’m just some guy.

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  18. The basics are the most important and they are introduced in a classroom setting. The practicals would come later.

    It is old school but it is the best approach. My respects to all they guys here.

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  19. Spot on Sir!

    Looking cool than actually learning something is what sells today, making these half-assed idiots feel having their cocks getting bigger. You see most of these stuff in youtube where people run and shoot with music from Godsmack playing in the background. Same as signing in the “Getting Killed Made Easy” class.

    Mucho Respeto,

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  20. Unless we are in an end time scenario, or have gone back to the “nuclear winter” weather we used to have here in the 80’s, there will still be paramedics responding with the law enforcement to a shooting at my residence.My training at this point needs to focus on keeping myself and my family alive for 15 -25 minutes until help gets there.

    The problems arise in that 15-25 minute time span. It doesn’t have to be “end of days” or the middle of a record setting blizzard. Winter, spring, summer or fall, someone can bleed out in scant minutes without some form of medical intervention. Subduing the bad guy after he severed an artery by knife or by gun is not near the end of trouble. Keeping your family and self safe also means knowing how to deal with the damaged caused by the bad guy. Remember, you’re almost always at a disadvantage when attacked. They know when and where they’ll do it, you don’t.

    If I were going to take a “combat” medical course, I don’t need to learn how to apply quikclot with one hand while shooting with the other. I wouldn’t take a course that requires me to “kit-up” in plate carriers and assorted assault gear to train with my CCW. Some of these classes are simply delving further into the realm of ballistic masturbation.

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  21. Modern product marketing has permeated everything, including the deadly serious business of training for conflict. With that, the posers have come out of the woodwork. I heard the term “Mall Ninja” somewhere, its a fitting term.

    However, given the economic realities of facility rental costs, insurance and operating costs, class minimums of paying students are a necessity. It could be that in a class that needs a minimum of 12, a bit of range time is the marketing hook needed to make the minimum.

    The fees paid by 2 Mall Ninjas drawn in by the range time may be needed to make the class economically feasible for the trainer. The 10 others in the class can still benefit from 90% or more of the content. So the question is, would you rather have a class that gets you most of what you need, or no class at all?

    On the bright side, the Mall Ninjas might learn something . . . like humility.

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  22. I have to agree with some of the comments I have seen. I enjoy learning a skill, but some “doing something” time is great. I would like it to go hand in hand with what I am learning though. Having gone through college, academies, and yearly re-certifications, classroom time gets monotonous. I can only take so much of someone talking/killing me with power points. Doing the actual activity is just another way to learn, and keep me awake.

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