Publisher’s Note: John has penned an important reminder about getting the basics down cold and adapting to changing social norms and tactical methodologies that are relevant to the fight for freedom today.
The “gray man” profile is becoming increasingly important as governments around the world leverage surveillance technology to “protect” the tax cattle on their plantations. Your orientation on protective kit is your business but the more sublime and blended the equipment, the more likely your choices in a bad actor scenario will be expanded instead of limited due to your opting to be tacticool.
Sacred cows make the best burgers. Enjoy. -BB
The dogma bubble that surrounds factions of the Survival/Threeper movement (that actually trains) is a thing. This is a negative that must be fought as fervently as the Alt-Righter who wants to supposedly go toe-to-toe with the local chapter of Antifascistisk Aktion over whether dear Emperor Trump represents the fascist take over of America or not.
Much of this is a result of what we can call institutional inbreeding or inertia. By this I mean that without any outside frame of reference for things like ‘tactical training,’ we are selling ourselves short due to the limited exposure. Without a healthy appetite for learning and a passion for the continual search for knowledge, people do not progress. They stalemate or worse, they retrogress. In practical terms we fail to be the best we can be yet we convince ourselves we are studs.
This phenomenon can be seen all through out both the mainstream firearms training culture and the Threeper subset in particular. People take instruction by one person or company and it ends there. Or they have one ‘expert’ they go to for everything. They have literally ‘taken that class’ and that is the end of it. Practice afterwards is usually minimal if at all. Some even feel that taking one weekend class on a certain set of tactics actually makes them a Subject Matter Expert (SME) and fit to hop on the next Foreign Internal Defense mission and train up “Indigs.” They need nothing more. That is all they need to know. They have no outside frame of reference to even know if the instruction was great, bad, mediocre, or complete Derp that will get you “kilt in da streets.”
I’ve heard a great analogy on why we need to constantly seek new knowledge and leverage the experiences, skills, techniques, mindset and training methodology of others. Imagine in ones dogma bubble they only drink coffee. That is all they get and it’s all they know. They do not nourish their body with a gallon of pure spring water per day. They’ll never have a glass of cold milk. They’ll never know the taste of ice cold Gatorade on a hot day or what a sip of Apple Brandy made at a remote spring in the Mountains tastes like. They never empty their cup of coffee to enjoy any of the other varieties of beverage. The blinders will never be removed unless they empty their glass some time and fill it up with something else.
World-class musicians, chefs or competition shooters did not get where they are because they only have one influence. They did not just learn one way and end there. They constantly sought the newest and freshest techniques and methods to make them better.
Some folks think because they took a class from instructor X that they can cross that skill off the list of things they need to learn. Often you hear, “well smarty pants, what exactly can teacher X show me that instructor Y hasn’t already?” or “why should we take A’s class when we have B, its all the same thing.” This shows a profound lack of understanding of the training world and learning in general. Often Y or B in the examples above are mediocre sources of information or have a particularly narrow outlook on certain issues either due to being sheltered themselves or because of their background. Such as a military guy only knowing things from that perspective, and has no idea about the legalities surrounding use of force in the states.
There is no one expert on anything. At the risk of sounding like a good little communist, I do not think everyone has a piece of the training pie, but I do think nearly all reputable sources of information and SME’s do. Each vetted source of info may present new information, techniques or material differently that resonates with you and creates an instant ‘ah ha!’ moment for you. And you’ll probably never know it till you actually experience it.
I recently attended a Frank Proctor/Way of the Gun class. He changed a significant portion of my shooting technique in just a weekend class. If I were close-minded and had ‘already taken that class’ mentally, I wouldn’t have learned the recoil management techniques he is famous for. After falling apart on the first shooting on the move exercise, I never would of gotten his expertise on what I was doing wrong and how I needed to fix it. He wouldn’t have revolutionized the speed at which I can put rounds on target by adjusting how I view my sight package and harnessing my subconscious mind and applying it to shooting fundamentals.
Yet, Proctor doesn’t have all the answers. If I want to learn to fight with a pistol around a vehicle efficiently or learn to defend myself in the 0-5 feet gunfight, he isn’t the guy. But there are other SME’s for that like the guys in the Shivworks Collective for close range self defense. Centrifuge Training, Talon Defense, Sage Dynamics and Guerrilla Approach would show you how to fight from a vehicle. (Don’t start with the ‘pillars aren’t cover!’ vs. ‘get off the X’ vehicle tactics schools. Save it for another venue)
If we are trapped in the dogma bubble and only follow a cult of personality around or only can access certain Anointed One’s to get information from in our training network, we do not get all the information we need. Especially relevant to the dooms-dayers out there; without an outside perspective, we may not even know that we are more likely to get into a gun fight on the way home from work in a bad neighborhood or in our houses than to get attacked by a column of “Norks” while out on a greenside patrol. (Civilians: raise your hands if you have had to conduct a combat patrol in real life that was not in a training environment. Go ahead, I’ll wait) This dogma bubble actually subverts one’s level of competence because you simply don’t know, what you don’t know.
It is fairly well known that extremely high level competition shooters starting in the late 90’s have ran classes for high level SOF units. What on earth could Rob Leatham teach the U.S. Army’s premier SOF teams? Ask the guys in the Unit. Meanwhile the Tactical Timmy’s were on the Interwebz talking about competition getting you killed. If you look at what are now standard shooting techniques in the tactical world, such as athletic isosceles shooting stances, aggressive thumb over bore rifle grips, red dots on carbines and pistols, low power variable optics (LPVO’s) and the list goes on, you’ll find out they generally come from the competition world. They had to pop the dogma bubble and overcome institutional inertia to implement these.
If we stay stuck in our ways and never expand we miss more efficient, faster and easier methods to do things especially in the world of tactics, weapons handling and shooting in general. An automotive chemical sales rep that used to come to the shop where I used to work, always said, “if you aren’t moving forward, you are falling behind.” That always stuck with me.
If you only know how to clear a malfunction on carbines using SPORTS instead some of the modern generations of Non-Diagnostic Malfunction clearances you are behind the power curve. The same goes with ‘double feeds’ on a semi automatic pistol. If you are still locking the slide to the rear, removing the magazine, racking the action 3, 4 or 5 times, then inserting the mag and running the action and reassessing vs. ripping the mag, inserting the mag, racking the action and firing, you are not manipulating the gun as efficiently as you could be.
If you’re only training source taught you to only reload a pistol using the power stroke method based on faulty reasoning or inexperience, you’ll never learn how to efficiently and reliably shave time off your slide-lock reload by using the slide release. (Slide release, slide stop, whatever. Shut up internet) You’ll never experience the efficiencies of manipulating the slide on a Glock during a malfunction clearance by jamming the web of your hand into front cocking serrations in front of the ejection port and racking the action clear that way. This keeps your hands much closer to your master grip vs. coming a foot or more off the back of the slide on the power stroke. If you have at least been exposed to these things, you can make the decision as an adult what works best for you. If you want to scrap efficiency, speed or ease for older more dogmatic methods because it is how you always did it, then fine. Just be able tell yourself you use whichever method because it works for you for X reasons, not that you use it just because its all you know.
If you only manage your trigger with the trigger reset technique that pins the trigger to the rear while the gun fires and only resetting the trigger after your sights settle, then immediately hammering to the rear again, instead of already having the trigger reset in recoil and then the sight alignment telling you to fire again with just a squeeze to the rear, you’ll never even realize you are building a potentially dangerous training scar and putting a road block on how fast and efficiently you can run your gun. Hello, I was a trigger pinner, but I’m better now. I do not habitually shank pistol rounds on fast strings of fire anymore.
The term “Tribe” has been bandied about in the survival and patriot community for quite some time and has achieved buzzword status. Rightly or wrongly, one aspect that gets attributed to the notion of tribalism is that anything from the outside is foreign, dangerous and must be destroyed or at least avoided at all costs. It needn’t be that way. But that is often exactly how someone is viewed if they come into a preparedness type group with new methodologies or techniques or with a mentality of expanding that group’s horizons. Roadblocks quickly get erected to protect institutional inbreeding.
One shining example of training dogma pervasive in the survival community is the fetish of training in full kit and camouflage any time a firearm comes out. Why? Because, “train like you fight.” Yet in reality we are only ever in camouflage when we are on the range, hunting or in some Wolverine fantasy in our minds. Even a casual glance at modern insurgencies and irregular warfare, one finds that blending with the human terrain is more effective than the latest camouflage uniform.
Pat McNamara has a hilarious and very true rap on this very topic and I’m sure many have seen or heard it. The over used axiom of “train like you fight” is not supposed to be about how much loop Velcro, morale patches and ITW Grimlocks we can strap all over ourselves and which unobtanium camouflage pattern we can acquire, but it is about training in the context of your life. Being able to work in adverse weather conditions. Breaking the 180-degree plane and range mentality, etc.
We are doing a disservice if we only push a training mentality that doesn’t apply to one’s daily life as the first priority of work, especially if others look to you as an SME. Nearly all the time, beginners do not know how to assess what their mission actually is yet. And I was as guilty as anyone.
At one point in the early 2000’s, if I could just find a civilian team tactics course I’d basically be a Seal Team Six operator and everything was handled in the self-defense realm. Chapters read, book closed and put back on the shelf. And then I figured out that learning how to run an “L” ambush with a squad of devoted survival team members (They rarely exist except in works of fiction. Try to get someone to just do the PT required to be proficient at patrolling. If you find someone willing to do the work, don’t piss that guy off because they are hard to come by) does not do one iota of good when you get beat over the head with a liquor bottle at the local Stop n’ Rob when all your kit and guns are locked up in the truck under your 90lb bug-out ruck and you never learned basic situational awareness or thought about EDC’ing a pistol regularly or learning how to grapple.
We should be stressing that we don’t need $200 Crye Precision pants, plate carriers, 24 magazines, a surplus store full of junk on our person, and the commo gear to talk to someone in Europe in order to do our first ever relay of Up Drills on a Sunday afternoon that require one extra magazine at the most. What this level of shooter needs to do is learn how to run their gun at a level of proficiency to triumph in a fight that is likely to happen in their daily life first and foremost. I’ve witnessed the gear problems and problems with new and/or out of shape shooters too many times to waiver on this. Those surplus button-up mag pouches from 1990 mounted with zip ties under your arm pit don’t look to appealing after a 20-something year old girl with no previous experience, with a mag in her back pocket is hitting two second reloads to your eight seconds.
After they can perform a reload at a decent standard for instance and can make hits when and where they need to, and fix their gun when it malfunctions just as a baseline, then they can start putting on the accouterments if they ever envision themselves needing it. Otherwise, the crap strapped everywhere at this stage is probably building bad reps in training and practice.
The folks promoting some of this stuff will never even mention to others that the chances of having the time to be able to put on your helmet, plate carrier, rack, night vision, and rest of your battle rattle when you hear glass break in the middle of the night is about as likely as you being abducted by an alien. And if people remain in their institutional inbred state, they’ll never know any different because their divinely anointed SME or dogmatic group think is the only source of info they’ll ever need.
What does your back pocket reload look like? Why aren’t you wearing your street clothes at the range most of the time since its what you’ll most likely be wearing if you have to deploy your weapon? Why are you spending your time learning how to do explosive breaching operations when you can’t hit an Alpha at seven yards with your carry gun?
Why are priorities being misappropriated? Institutional inertia. Training dogma.
Burst the bubble and get your learn on.
Head up, Gun up.
Montani Semper Liberi.
About the author: John Meyers traces his Appalachian ancestry back nine generations to the 1750’s. He lives with his family on the high ridges of the Smoky Mountains.