In the day-to-day activities of life, we often need expert services or advice. If heart surgery is in order, we look for a surgeon who has a good track record. If we need a plumber, we look for one with a good reputation.
When looking for someone to train with for defensive gun usage, why not find a trainer who has experience in the business, but also has, like a top heart surgeon, a good track record of saved lives.
Recently, Mike Seeklander of The American Warrior Show had an interview with Tom Givens, of Rangemaster Firearms Training Services in Memphis, Tennessee; a city, as Givens states, with a per capita violent crime rate about 2½ times that of Los Angeles!
Seeklander’s recording of that interview is available at The American Warrior Show, or The Way of the Gun on iTunes. The following notes are taken from that interview – –
Givens says that over the course of eighteen years, sixty-five students have been involved in gunplay and reported back (Three, we will see later, had someone else report back for them post mortem).
Givens states, “We tell people, try this, and they come back a couple of weeks later, ‘Hey it works.’”, referring to the ‘crime laboratory’ known as Memphis.
He notes that civilian shootings are not usually as well documented as law enforcement shootings, and these reports (from his students) give a good idea of what goes on in private citizen shootings. These citizen involved shootings don’t fit the mold of officer involved shootings.
Most officer involved shootings, according to Givens, involve traffic stops, bar enforcement, and domestic violence. This skews the statistics, when it relates to citizen involved shootings.
Private citizen involved shootings among his students occurred 90% away from home, involving mostly some form of armed robbery, 17% of the armed robberies occurred in homes, with 83% occuring somewhere else. Fifty-nine of these incidents were at 3 – 5 yards. As Givens states, “The whole objective of armed robbery is to terrorize you at a distance, and once they have gained compliance, to take the stuff. We stress heavily getting your head out of your butt, and paying attention to what’s going on around you.”
Givens notes that, what he calls dedicated victims, often say to a responding officer, “Gee, it all happened so fast. He materialized out of nowhere. I never saw him.” These folks had no SITUATIONAL AWARENESS.
Givens concentrates on training on things that turn up over and over. The vast majority of things that occur that you will need a gun for occur in a PARKING LOT. These parking lots are almost always well lit, so he thinks flashlight usage is over-rated. In the 60+ shootings involving his students, NONE involved a flashlight. The flashlight is a proactive tool, the pistol is a reactive tool. Carrying a flashlight is a non-issue (for civilian shooting).
Citizens should practice their PRESENTATION; get the gun out quick. there is seldom time for a preemptive draw. The preemptive draw might also garner a charge of brandishing a weapon. Concentrate on a SAFE, QUICK, EFFICIENT concealed carry presentation. The gun shoud be in your hand, “Right now, on demand!”
Do lots of DRY FIRE practice. Good solid hits, between collarbone and diaphragm and inside the nipples are called for. This constitutes about an eight inch circle on average. First and subsequent shots should be on target.
SIGHTED FIRE is vital. Visually indexed fire is necessary to guarantee good hits. You don’t have time to miss. “The chief waster of time is missing. . . .If your front sight’s on dude, your muzzle’s on dude.”
WEAR THE GUN – As alluded to earlier, a few of Givens’ students have ‘forfeited the game’.
Of his sixty-five students who have been involved in gunplay, Coach Givens has had 62 wins, 0 losses, and 3 forfeits. These 3 were murdered in street robberies. They left their gun at home. . . and their murderer did not call ahead for an appointment.
HARDWARE – Because of gang activity, Givens has switched from a 1911 (typically 8 shots) to a Glock Model 35, whose standard capacity is 17 shots.
GIVING UP THE MONEY just may not be the best answer any more. “The problem is you are waiting to see if he is going to kill you or not. I’m not comfortable counting on that. I would rather take a quick step off the line and produce the gun, which is the last thing this guy expects, and at least have some say in the matter. He’s never run into anybody that’s done that.”
More than 5 or 6 of his students have responded that way. “A sudden violent counterattack is certainly the last thing he expects.”
ARMED COUPLES – One of the main advantages of an armed couple is two sets of trained eyes. “If we see something we don’t like, we leave.” Its good to separate, its hard for for the bad guy to follow two people if they are not together.
MENTAL COMMITMENT – I am not going to be a victim! Learn to use your gear, carry your gear, and have a commitment.
This interview is well worth the fifty-two minutes to listen to. Givens also has written a book, Fighting Smarter.
For a classic read on personal defense mindset, read Jeff Cooper’s Principle of Personal Defense.