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Ask a man what color the sky is, and he’ll tell you it’s blue.

Ask a woman, and before answering she’ll inquire as to whether it’s day or night, if there’s a blinding snowstorm occurring, if you’re outdoors or ensconced in a cave, if it’s during a solar eclipse, or if it’s aurora borealis season. But while it is generally agreed that men and women process information differently, is there a valid basis—as some people assert—for weapons and tactics training to be conducted differently based solely on trainee gender?

Methinks not.

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I am the bullet—and I have no conscience. You will treat me with respect because, once I leave, you have no control over my actions. Once I’m gone, I will do as I please, governed only by the laws of physics. And the next time you see me, I will have done my work, bringing on your life a potential gamut of emotions ranging from pleasure, satisfaction and exhilaration to anger, pain, grief and regret. Use me wisely and with…

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Necessity may well be the mother of invention, but sometimes she breeds a bastard child. Unlike the Industrial Revolution, which fostered ingenious mechanical designs without a follow-up of mental deficiency, the computer age has sometimes led to a “better way” of doing things, but with an attendant loss of brainpower. Much like someone who is slightly physically impaired, the constant unnecessary use of a crutch can—and will—eventually lead to the inability to operate without that crutch. So it is with…

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Time waits for no man. And in the field of firearms and tactics training, time is a precious commodity, as it determines everything that is—or can be—covered in a curriculum. Irrespective of the course content—be it a rank beginner’s pistol class or some high-speed low-drag super-secret ninja course for battle-hardened soldiers—the overall allotted time constraints will decide the outcome of the training. Sometimes the instructor cadre have flexibility as to the overall hours, days, or weeks available to attain the…

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For many individuals, as well as for many agencies, “a” way to do something becomes “the” way to do it—the only way. Once we learn something and really adopt it as our own, it can be difficult to change. This is particularly true at law enforcement agencies. One generation of instructors selects the next generation from those who have best learned and internalized the way they were taught. As this process continues, concepts, tactics and techniques harden into, “The way…

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Reloading is good, but I don’t want to have to do it in the middle of a fight.

— Robbie Barrkman


Like many sagacious comments, the wisdom is buried in humorous words, but is also deep-rooted in battle experience. And unlike the many mindless “I thought of something cute, now buy my printed t-shirt” slogans, you can actually learn something from experienced people.

You have two choices: learn from sages’ experience or be taken for a sucker. If you’re willing to admit you’re not Heaven’s Gift to Gunfighting, study the words of the wise. If you just want to look cool, buy the t-shirt.

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It is often stated that you will default to the level of your training when involved in a deadly force confrontation. Along with this goes the “train like you fight; fight like you train” spiel.

So far, so good—until you stumble into your first for-real contact and find out that all the cool-guy sayings don’t amount to a hill of beans.

The upside of “realistic” firearms and tactics training is that you can become competent in weapons manipulation, accurate bullet placement, and strategy and tactics.

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As Conan Doyle’s ace detective said, “The game’s afoot.”

One has to be visually impaired not to realize that the perfect storm is brewing, what with a worldwide economic depression, international threats of war, and internal strife within the United States.

It’s wryly amusing for this writer to hear the so-called “freedom fighters” of yesterday now being labeled terrorists. Apparently when the feces splatters over somebody else, it’s acceptable, but when it affects “me” it’s not. Curious….

On a recent training circuit, I ran into a group of soldiers shoveling sodas and hamburgers into their faces at a stop ‘n’ rob. An individual approached me, addressed me by name, and—during a short conversation—commented on my writings in S.W.A.T. Magazine. I thanked him for his viewpoints and ended the conversation with a wish that soldiers would be left alone to do the job for which they signed on. His answer left me both saddened and angered, when he responded with, “So do we, sir, so do we.”

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