Commonalities among trainers

I had a unique opportunity this past weekend to observe two very different firearms trainers on back to back days. Sunday, I was invited to a Back Up Gun class conducted by Ken Hackathorn.  Monday, I was able to observe the last two hours of Introduction to Combat Focus Shooting by Rob Pincus.

Hackathorn and Pincus have backgrounds and philosophies that are probably as different as can be found in the training community. Both are good friends of mine and I have noted that despite their quite divergent backgrounds and philosophies, neither gentleman speaks ill of the other. In fact, both have good things to say about each other.

I believe they both recognize what are commonly thought of as ‘facts’ in the training community are actually opinions. Every trainer’s opinion is based on his or her background. As a result, we are all victims of our own experiences and bring our own biases to our training curricula.

As I watched and listened to Pincus, a number of items struck me as echoing things I had heard the previous day in Hackathorn’s class. The parallels between significant parts of their expressed philosophies and desired training outcomes were quite interesting.

Pincus posed three questions to the students during the class. He wanted them to express, at least to themselves, some answers at the close of training.

  1. What are you capable of with your gun? (I.e., what are your limits?)
  2. What SHOULD you be better at?
  3. How do you get better at the answer to #2?

Questions 1 and 2 mirrored primary questions Hackathorn posed to his class the previous day. “What are you capable of doing with the equipment you are carrying?” “What real world problems might you have to solve?” At the end of Hackathorn’s class, he made the statement “Training teaches you what to practice.” This is philosophically not far removed from Question 3 posed by Pincus.

They spoke about it in different ways, but they both emphasized the need to be able to hit the target. Further, they both made the case that reality will dictate defensive shooting requirements. This is very different from being able to pick our cadence and circumstances when we go to the range by ourselves. Both made comments about the difference between training and competition and not confusing the two.

Often in the training community, we become obsessed with differences, sometimes minor, in style or technique. Periodically, the observation is made that it would be more productive to focus on what we have or espouse in common. Approaching both classes with an open mind was a good indicator of the latter.

13 responses

  1. This is where we hit the question of what should be a standard curriculum for every civilian who carries a gun for defensive purposes.

  2. Excellent, Claude. I am a big fan of both men. I’ve trained with Rob Pincus before, at the Polite Society Conference some years back, but I have yet to train with Ken Hackathorn. I’ve referred to Rob (and he knows this) as the, “Bertrand Russell,” of the industry, since he has so eloquently designed a system based on logic that truly supports his curriculum. He actually has a, “why,” for everything he teaches. He’s Russell-esque (in my view) because he is decidedly contrarian to the most dogmatic instructors. And that’s where his majesty is…he isn’t claiming he’s built a superior mousetrap, he’s just devised a different method of attacking the problem. And he is a sweetheart of a guy, as well.

    It’s tangential, but bears mentioning, when I have staff members that work for other experts in my field, I always ask them, “What do Dr. X and I do the same way?” It’s much easier than asking what the differences are…since like you said, everyone’s practice is shaped by their individual experience. The mission is the same…the path is different. Whether it’s popping out an abscessed tooth or stopping an abscessed marauder from attacking, the algorithm is identical.

    On Tue, Apr 5, 2016 at 1:46 PM, tacticalprofessor wrote:

    > tacticalprofessor posted: “I had a unique opportunity this past weekend to > observe two very different firearms trainers on back to back days. Sunday, > I was invited to a Back Up Gun class conducted by Ken Hackathorn. Monday, > I was able to observe the last two hours of Introduction ” >

    1. Thanks Much, Sherman! I appreciate your perspective on the program and efforts.

  3. […] Source: Commonalities among trainers […]

  4. I’ve trained with Rob Pincus, and otherwise have had little formal training, mostly via videos and friends in law enforcement—and I realize that universe and the CCW universe have little in common; I have no duty to pursue, etc., but the physical shooting skills I came by from PPC competition more than anything else. Rob opened my eyes to a whole new way of thinking; as time and finances allow, I hope to have more training experience, with Mike Seeklander being high on the list. Moving forward rather than stagnating is one major goal; we’ve addressed others elsewhere.

  5. Excellent observations, professor.

  6. I have met Rob before a few times at Shot Show, but not the other. He has a good marketing program. As instructors we can all talk about this or that but truly how do you show it? Many instructors are always come back and get more training which is true but seldomly followed by all students or budgets thereof; then get their cpl/ccw and now have their totally unprepared badge of courage. People talk about reality or pose a pop up target system that says oh this is reality and simply NO IT IS NOT…..a popup target does not attack you neither does a stationary target though it is FUN! if there is no attack no real threat no real stress tell me how that is realistic again? Just my “Opinion”

  7. Well stated Claude, as always.

    I enjoy when trainers in the community rise above the derp, strife and bullshit with something positive.


    Hello Mr. Werner

    I have purchased one of your DVD’s (Secrets of the Snubby) and am enjoying it.

    1. Do you have upcoming live training in the north Atlanta area in 2016 – or do you have recommendations on the best training groups to acquire this training in the Atlanta area?

    2. I am considering the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network – but at least one local attorney cautions this is ‘prepaid legal services’. Do you have a local Atlanta attorney that you would personally use if you were ever involved in a legal use of firearm episode?

    Thank you for your counsel and I hope to meet you in the future.

    Mike Stephens
    Director of Advanced Technical Support
    Mobility, Radio Access Network; Small Cells/DAS; E911; Device Support
    Rethink Possible®

    “if you don’t like change…
    you will like irrelevance even less!”

    AT&T Technology Operations
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    “This e-mail and any files transmitted with it are AT&T property, are confidential, and are intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom this e-mail is addressed. If you are not one of the named recipient(s) or otherwise have reason to believe that you have received this message in error, please notify the sender and delete this message immediately from your computer. Any other uses, retention, dissemination, forwarding, printing, or copying of this e-mail is strictly prohibited.”

    1. Mike, I don’t have any classes scheduled at this time.

      With regard to ACLDN, I recommend you read the article Marty Hayes wrote regarding the various types of legal plans available.
      I would also ask that you forward the link to the attorney you spoke with. There are significant differences in the way legal defense systems operate. It would be good if he could speak knowledgeably about those differences.

      Fair disclaimer: I am a Member of ACLDN and chose it specifically as the plan I felt best suited my needs. I know Marty and most of the members of its Advisory Board personally through long time association.

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