10 Dec The Guerrilla Gunfighter: A Book Review and Commentary by John Meyers
Publisher’s Note: I love the Christmas season because everyone starts to behave like ethical anarchists but it won’t last.
I was recently mentioned in the comments section of one of my favorite blogs, Herschel’s The Captains Journal. I wanted to post a corrective to the notion that I am an atheist.
Here’s the comment and my response:
Donk: That said, considering the present state of regulatory and law enforcement affairs, it seems to me we should all be going full Buppert. Bill is an avowed Atheist and that gives me considerable pause as a devoted disciple of Christ. Yet, God is the author of all truth, beauty and goodness and often times that can be revealed among the pagan. Mendelssohn, Mozart, Leonard Bernstein, Oscar Wilde, Edgar Allen Poe (shout out to da Commonwealth). So…..let’s chat about the more esoteric aspects of our Western civilization than always chest beating over unruly LEOs. In fact, let us as sovereigns over our @Fred Apex tribes, make a pact today we will no longer accept tyranny in our local AO, however, it manifests itself REGARDLESS of the personal cost. As far as me and my household…..done, years ago.
I am not an atheist, I am a Spinozan deist with a strong agnostic bent. While spiritual as a Stoic, I would most likely be accused of not having a religion. I find that most atheists even in the libertarian camp tend to be insufferable scolds and know-nothings who suffer the same critical flaw as theists: trying to critically prove a null in the supernatural sphere and expecting their reasoning on both sides to be a compelling argument for the other. No thanks, I only have so much time until I shuffle off this mortal coil to the next adventure or dust.
Per the Constitution, a worthless slaver document that has convinced believers that the government advancement of individual liberty is possible, and history proves otherwise. Just look at the “three branches” (a quaint government obedience training nostrum) reducing and gutting the right to bear arms at every turn. Exhibit A is the 1934 NFA, 1938 FFA, 1939 US v. Miller, 1967 Mulford Act (CA), 1968 OCC & SSA and GCA, 1986 FOPA, Undetectable Firearms Act of 1988, Gun-Free School Zones Act (1990), Brady Act (1993), AWB (1994), on and on and on. There’s more to that but you get the picture.
The police have killed more than 20,000 human beings in America since the start of the new century; that’s four times as many soldiers have died since the beginning of this century.
And I also suspect that number is lower than the actual pile of corpses because of non-, under- and mis-reporting by the 19,000 police departments littering the landscape of America.
All policeman are armed Leninists in the end whose sole function is to be the strong-arm and bloody spearpoint of the political class and its army of bureaucratic apparatchiks in the Amerikan nomenklatura.
I am no longer a small “l” libertarian (I was a member of the LP for three months in the 1990s, that cured me of it), I am a proud collapsitarian.
Just clearing the air. on to John’s scintillating essay. -BB
“Even in the immediate, short-term context of the private citizen, unconcerned with the drain-circling spiral of post-modern American life, who is simply concerned about the safety of himself and his family, the pistol, with its ease of concealment, convenience to keep close at hand, and always ready, moves pretty quickly towards the pinnacle of the hierarchy of efficiency of practical lethality.
…And this is the reason I have written this book before writing one about fighting with the rifle. This book is designed to be a complete training program, for you to learn not only how to engage realistic targets at all ranges from contact to the limits of the weapons ability, but how to apply that skill level in the context of real world combative scenarios. It is designed to teach you how to practice those skills, once learned, so you can develop the ability to actually utilize them in such a manner.”
– John Mosby, The Guerilla Gunfighter: Clandestine Carry Pistol
I’ve been a fan of John Mosby’s Mountain Guerrilla Blog pretty much since the beginning. I’ve always enjoyed the man’s no BS approach to firearms, tactics and philosophy. His other two titles in similar veins to The Guerrilla Gunfighter are mainstays in my reading rotation as well. However I think Mosby’s latest book is a step ahead of the rest.
Upon arrival of the book, with its green cover, it immediately struck me as being similar to the IRA Green Book. Whether that was intentional or not, I do not know. I grinned.
I’ve read the book all the way through once, and referred back to several sections several times after grokking some of the material. The material and presentation is more mature than The Reluctant Partisan series and demonstrates a deeper understanding of the subject matter.
One doesn’t have to be an academic devotee of Austrian Business Cycle Theory, trudge through a David Harvey screed on the inevitability of the collapse of Late Capitalism or even watch Peter Schiff news clips to understand, as Mosby puts it, “shit just ain’t right.”
Its pretty obvious things are going south. Trumpian neo-liberalism mixed with populist nationalism and a dash of economic illiteracy will not save America. 1775 will likely never happen again. We are obviously on the trajectory of the slow decline of Empires and not the survivalist wet dream of waking up tomorrow, hearing guns crack in the streets and it finally being “time.” While this may challenge the grand arrogance of the average American nationalist’s sacred view of God, Country, patriotic flag bunting, Grandma’s apple pie and all the rest, it needs to be said. (Nationalist sacred cows slaughtered with a traditionalist critique here)
Enthusiasts of Unconventional Warfare (UW) doctrine will take note that rather than focusing on rural greenside patrolling operations with the mythical survival team in a post-collapse scenario of Tactical Fantasy Band Camp, (which actually is relevant by the way but in my view it should just be further down the average person’s priority list, because generally most folks need work on the fast/accurate part of the equation. Dunning-Kruger and all that) it recognizes that guerrilla conflict as well as day-to-day operations in the current world, largely center around pistol fights in developed areas. Think Northern Irelands dirty war vs. jungle-ops in Vietnam.
Given that no one is carrying a rifle and kit with them in their daily life 24/7 and that they usually carry a pistol every day instead, its basic common sense that the employment of said weapon should be of an utmost priority to both the average guy as well as the partisan. Hence spending every single training hour one has trying to get a rag tag bunch of accountants, over weight office workers, factory labor and truck drivers to learn to master break contacts and Australian peels 4 times a year, while fun, has a relatively insignificant cross over to ones actual daily life where one is usually on their own hook or with their family, armed only with a pistol.
The book is comprehensive. It’s heavy on mindset, situational awareness, stress response, and kinesics and slightly lighter on actual shooting techniques for instance, and even lighter on gear. This is probably as it should be. But the techniques are still there in as much depth as is needed.
When I first started in on the book late one evening, the introduction immediately drew me in. It dives into the context of clandestinely carrying a pistol. I knew from classes I’ve taken with Mosby that he was an advocate of carrying a gun whether it is legal to do so or not. Not very many in the training industry recommend this to say the least. It’s one thing to say it in a class of somewhat ‘vetted’ folks it’s another to put it in print. In fact most trainers won’t touch it with a 10-foot pole. Mosby explains this phenomenon better than I can:
“In a training industry full of law-and-order apologists, many of whom are either off duty police officers, retired police officers, or have gotten reserve officer status from a friendly local police chief, that allow them to carry legally in places and at times forbidden to “lesser” subjects, I tend to be one of the lone dissenting voices that openly encourages people to carry their damned gun, even when its not legal where you are going!”
While this has a certain ‘stick it to the man!’ zeal, it comes from a realistic threat assessment of knowing that the places the state usually forbids one from carrying are possibly the most likely places you’ll need to employ your CCW gun. You may have to ‘roll dirty’ one day. Decide for yourself.
Mosby has a different take on mindset than most. The guy may talk about ‘tribe’ in the blogosphere, but knowing the guy on somewhat of a personal level, he actually lives it. What other firearms instructor dedicates most of a chapter to detailing the failings of the justice system and how “private” violence based on justice may be legitimate? He challenges the State’s claim to a monopoly on violence. Part of his description of law enforcement may challenge one’s modern American sensibilities. He states that the best thing the average middle class suburban type person can do for ‘mindset’ is recognize that “the police are not coming to save you. If you use force, they’re probably going to arrest you. The State is not there to protect you, it is there to protect the State.”
In a Germanic tribal context, he describes his possible rules of engagement in terms that appeal to the traditional mountain notion of justice and retribution. “…where there is no recognizable, agreed-upon outside authority for conflict resolution, the failure of the tribe or even individual in the tribe to respond to any injury or insult…is a matter of dishonor.” You will not even hear anything remotely talked about, let alone justified in any manner, in the average national level trainer’s course work, due to legal or liability reasons if not their own state centric, law and order beliefs in general.
Mosby places an emphasis on folks learning actual gun fighting (different than pure sport shooting) from folks who gun fight. They can contextualize the material in a way that others can’t. One recurring theme in Mosby’s writings is a focus on the fundamentals. Some in the shooting industry state that constantly focusing on the fundamentals actually limits one as a shooter.
The ultimate irony to this is that the instructors and trainers out there that have stacked the most bodies, largely from Special Operations and similar backgrounds, spend most of their time working on those fundamentals. There is no such thing as an advanced gunfight, right? It’s really mastery level execution of the fundamentals in tactical situations.
I recently saw a video from MMA fighter and former SMU (Special Missions Unit) guy, Tim Kennedy where he was on the range during a class he was teaching. He was walking down the target stands saying “This guy here, SWAT. This guy here, SRT team guy…” And he named a few others. They weren’t getting hits. He lamented that they couldn’t go do the Hondo rolls until they can get hits on demand. If you are able to get your hits consistently and at the speed needed, then you can move onto different applications of those skills.
Most of the middle of the book is an in depth look at the concepts of mindset, situational awareness, CCW etiquette, the gray man, target indicators, mental processing of situations, types of stops in a gun fight and accuracy requirements to end threats.
My one critique of the book comes from this area. And I’m not even sure it’s really a critique. These chapters get very in-depth and even ‘out in the weeds’ in some areas. While a guy like me eats this sort of thing up, I could see a less devoted student of the gun’s eyes rolling back in their head. This would be the type of guy who would rather talk about gear for hours or read a gear review than talk about techniques, dry fire regimens, shot placement or good standards to hit to be a certain level shooter. Then again, Mosby seeks perfection, not ‘good enough’ in training.
The book then segues into actual employment of the pistol. Touching on drills and standards to work on to make you a better shooter. Discussions of tests or ‘evaluation drills’ vs. micro drills take place as well as differences in drills and scenarios.
There is a nice gear chapter that pretty much mimics what most serious shooters and students of the gun probably already know or are running currently. In short, get a gun that works reliably, every single time, have quality support gear, and drill its usage relentlessly.
Accuracy at speed is the name of the game in employing the Clandestine Carry Pistol. And by that I do not mean hitting the 8” circle/-0 zone on a IDPA target at 3 yards, I’m talking about being able to one hole 5 rounds at 10 yards at speed from the draw…that type of accuracy.
I think this is pretty much open source and its not really a secret Mosby is a fan of the 3×5” index card as a target at most pistol distances. They mimic vital hit zones on the human anatomy and can be a bitch to hit at speed and distance. It probably wouldn’t be a stretch to say he trains on nothing smaller than this at distances 15 yards and in 95% of the time. Reasons. Get the book or better yet, take his pistol class and you’ll learn them.
Grip and the other basic pistol fundamentals are discussed in just enough detail to get the point across without boring one to death. A discussion about trigger control, pinning vs. not pinning, etc. is talked about as well. I sort of like this approach. The more experienced shooters won’t lose interest because they already have heard it 10,000 times and the newbs won’t immediately skip the material because its over their heads.
From here, the book basically goes over roughly the stuff that is covered in his classes. If you want to get a brief and general over view of a large portion of what is covered in the class, you can save yourself hundreds dollars and buy this book. Although you wont get the hands on experience, corrections from the instructor and fuller explanations, etc. from the class, the book is a great training supplement.
Mosby places a great emphasis on accuracy at speed and uses a shot timer extensively in his own training and practice. Which is no surprise to me given Mosby’s background and training trajectory since he was in the Army. In fact, when I first took one of his classes, I thought he was actually using the timer too much. I’ve since seen exactly why he employs it as much as he does. While there may not be a PACT timer in a gunfight, opponents of the timer, forget that the bad guy is trying his hardest to shoot us faster than we shoot him. The timer is just a tool to put on some stress and collect data.
The Gamer vs. Tactical Timmy debate will always rage. One will notice that while the book is about fighting with a gun, much of the shooting fundamentals discussed are largely comprised of what would be considered competition or ‘gamer’ techniques. Why is this? Well, its simple. When it comes to pure marksmanship, gun handling, and manipulations you will be hard to beat a competition shooter. This is why Delta guys from Bragg showing up at local USPSA or 3 gun comps used to get their shit pushed in by over weight Plumbers and 12 year old girls.
It is no coincidence that those units started bringing in the best competition shooters, on hand shake NDA’s (Non-Disclosure Agreements), to teach them how to hit and move fast and accurately. The guys out there who say they want nothing to do with a competitive shooter or that “they cannot teach me anything, I don’t even care what they have to say, I’m a _____________ operator!” are not only selling themselves short, they demonstrate a complete misunderstanding of the concepts in the first place. Whatever. You do you.
Mike Pannone openly states that the competition guy’s who trained and still train the SMU’s, SF teams, etc. are largely responsible for the exponential increase in lethality of those units. All the things the tactical folks have on their guns today from red dots on pistols, to LPVO’s (low power variable optics) on carbines to an infinite number of techniques came from the competition world. The competition world didn’t bring tactics to these units, they brought the knowledge of how to shoot straight and do it really fast.
I went into that rant about the Gamer/Timmy debate because at the last Mosby class I attended, I asked about the competition world’s role in upping the standard in military training during one of the hot washes and he had a similar spiel. The III’er world has had an ongoing discussion about ‘If you aren’t infantry… you ain’t nothing!” The military is always on the cutting edge of tactics, techniques and skills they say. Civilians don’t know jack. The reality is the civilians taught the Army how to shoot. The ultimate irony is that the new Army Field Manual on Marksmanship was written by a guy who basically based the entire thing on things he learned at numerous high level civilian training courses and got it adopted by the Army. I digress.
The draw stroke is discussed at length and the chapter includes pictures of the process. His draw stroke is a typical process taught by many people across the training industry and it places a strong emphasis on the ability to fight from retention if needed.
In Mosby’s courses and in the book, processing the situation at hand plays a huge role. Pre-fight indicators, triggering events and the OODA cycle are touched on as well as some examples of shooting drills that can be done to help work these skills.
The book ends with a basic outline of the Clandestine Carry Pistol POI (Points of Instruction) that Mosby uses to teach his classes. I’ve heard some in the survival milieu describe this as extremely ballsy. I guess the thought process is that the material will fall into the wrong hands. The Army has published Field Manuals into the public domain for decades. Just because someone can access the Ranger Handbook for free online, does that mean they can actually be an effective fighting unit? The Magpul DVD’s back in the 2000’s were prolific and VTAC was putting up drills on YouTube for free during the same time period. Are they arming the Terrorists/Antifa? To me the mindset that is against publishing, teaching or otherwise putting out training information because it might fall into the wrong hands, is representative of the authoritarian mindset that says only LE/MIL should have guns or access to tactical training.
I’ll admit that the POI that is published is different than the Clandestine Carry Pistol class POI that I took, but he does state that he tailors the POI to fit each group he is teaching. Disclaimer: There are no Hondo rolls and cheetah flips in the POI or the book. If you want to learn Helo-Op’s and fast roping, you should probably seek information elsewhere.
I don’t expect the prepper or III’er community to fully embrace this book but I hope to be wrong. They talk of a civil war in these united States ready to go hot at any moment. But in reality, this civil war is largely a conflict amongst factions of the ruling class. The Red/Blue culture war is not unlike a soap opera arguing against whether Star Wars or Star Trek is better. This is Buppert’s Serial Killer Beauty Contest. And the Elite love the polarization as it keeps the masses busy arguing about political sports teams, while the wars are still waging, the Empire is expanding, the bankers are getting paid, Republican presidents institute gun control and the debt is stacked up higher than ever.
As a general rule the survival/III’er crowd still seems to be focused largely on small unit tactics to fight the Zombie horde or the post-gender army of leftist vegan gutter punks and hipsters as well as stock piling vast piles of useless budget builds to arm their conscripts in the coming insurrection (more on that here) and crap made in China (while sporting a Chinese made MAGA hat no less), instead of focusing on things that are actually applicable to their daily lives both today and tomorrow. For the remainder of us The Guerrilla Gunfighter is a valuable tool in the toolbox.
The skills, techniques, theories, context and applications discussed in the book are useful to the every day EDC type of dude to the radical antagonist of the status quo.
One thing that is obvious from reading the book and particularly in the concentration on the fundamentals of shooting and gun fighting, is that much like radical anarcho-libertarian or anti-state politics in this hegemonic phase of Pax Americana, mastery of shooting is a continual path, a hygiene perhaps, not an end state. You can always get better, you can always learn more.
Claude Werner reminds us, “training is a process, not an event.” I hope this book furthers folks in seeking to invest in training than that much needed 27th back up carry gun. Don’t vote buy ammo. Don’t talk, do. Instead of leading the 102nd Chairborne Commando’s, get out and shoot. Instead of reading Army FM’s and how to elegantly advance on an objective as a platoon size element, go the damn gym. The concepts of self-defense in the book define the ultimate bedrock in post-political action. Nothing else matters if you can’t defend yourself or your people. Don’t be complacent in your skills but continually hone them. Test them. See where you stack up against other people. This book will be crucial on the journey. Hit it here.
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.