How Recent, Relevant, and Realistic?


Your training must be Recent, Relevant, and Realistic.

–Tom Givens

A related comment.

The purpose of almost all training provided by a POlice agency is to shift liability from the agency onto the individual officer.

The Assassin, a very smart street cop with 30 years of experience.

Those quotes always come to my mind when someone says they were trained by a relative or friend who was a cop or military. Putting the Givens comment onto the issue brings up some questions.

  • Recent – when did the cop/veteran receive their training?
  • Relevant – does the training the cop/veteran received apply to our personal context of METT-TC? How different was their mission?
  • Realistic – Did the training even work when actually applied? What was the object of the POlice/military training, officer safety or agency protection? The Assassin’s comment is particularly applicable to that question. Note that The Assassin has 30 years of experience not one year of experience 30 times the way many cops do.

When did the person receive their training? Training doctrine changes over time, sometimes quite rapidly. For example, in the early days of chemical sprays, the doctrine was to soak the front of the adversary’s shirt and let the fumes waft up to the adversary’s face. We don’t do that anymore because we know it never really worked.

Does the training the cop/veteran received apply to our personal context of METT-TC? This is a key question that often is overlooked or ignored. The Mission drives our strategy, tactics, and tools. Both the POlice and military Missions are radically different than ours as Private Citizens. POlice and military operators doctrinally must close with their opponents and make contact with them. That is exactly the opposite of our Mission in which we want to force a Break in Contact. BREAKING CONTACT PART 1: THE ULTIMATE GOAL OF PERSONAL PROTECTION

Did the training even work when actually applied? Over the years, we’ve learned that many of the things we thought were the hot ticket and taught weren’t really that good. There are both strategic (what’s the right thing to do?) and tactical (how do we do things right?) aspects to the question.

It’s also important to remember that POlice/military training is, by definition, a ‘one size fits all’ approach. What’s realistic for one Private Citizen may be completely inappropriate for another. The training community’s fascination with ‘The Struggle’ is a good example.

My point in this post is not to repeat the “Get some/more training” mantra. Rather, my point is to not fall into the Dunning-Kruger trap of thinking you know more than you do. When you say to yourself that you don’t need any training because your father/mother/uncle/brother/friend has already ‘trained you,’ please keep in mind there are some questions you should ask yourself. The word ‘training’ has broad implications in this context because it doesn’t just address physical skills but also mental aspects of how you think about your Personal Protection plan.

My thanks to Mr. Paul Sullivan for stimulating my thoughts about the topic. He will receive a free download of The Tactical Professor ebook Package Deal with my compliments.

Tactical Professor books (all PDF)

Package deal of Serious Mistakes, Indoor Sessions, Concealed Carry, and Shooting Your Black Rifle (20% off)

2 responses

  1. As a reserve deputy, I received use of force training, as well as DT, OC and baton training. I had no illusions but that this was for the department to point to if and when I got in trouble and say ‘he was trained properly, but he went against policy’.

    I’m sure this is true for many in LE, whether sworn or not.

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