CCW Safe Podcast – Episode 104: Bryan Eastridge
This week Rob and Phillip speak with Bryan Eastridge. Bryan is an active Oklahoma City Police Department officer, firearms instructor and host of the Off Duty On Duty Podcast.
Video version of the podcast:
Speaker: Hey, good morning. Welcome to the CCW Safe podcast. I’m Rob High and joined again by my co-host Phil Naman. Phil, how are you doing, brother?
Speaker: Doing great, my friend.
Speaker: Good. We are honored today to have a compadre of mine, Bryan Eastridge, join us. Bryan, is a jack of all trades. He did some army time, earned that Ranger Tab and post-military, he came through and hopped into following his dad and his uncle and his aunt’s footsteps and he is a Oklahoma City police officer still. I was honored to have the opportunity to train him 20 freaking years ago. Welcome, Bryan. Great that you could join us. Appreciate it.
Speaker: Hey, thanks for the opportunity. Appreciate that.
Speaker: Give us a little bit about, your start in the shooting sports, because you grew up fully immersed. Everybody knows, if you haven’t made the connection, Bryan’s dad is Gary. He’s our critical response team manager and my partner. Bryan has forged his own path and really became a high-level shooter and great instructor and gun plumber and all of the above. Give us a little bit of your background there, Bryan.
Speaker: I was in the army during the 9/11. Prior to that, I really felt like the military’s training on firearms was pretty bad. I got issued a pistol one day, I made it into a leadership position, they issued a pistol. I realized that even with my limited experience and knowledge, I knew more than most of the instructors there did. To back the bus up a little bit, I had a dad that was a competitive shooter, so I was exposed to shooting from the time I was three and primarily with handguns. I decided when I was there in the military, I was like, “I’ve got to explore this and figure this out.” I started shooting IDPA, USPSA, 3-Gun, anywhere they would take my money and let me shoot a gun.
Training with a circle of people that a lot of people know now, the Ernest Langdons and the Kyle Lambs, and people that in that era, pre-YouTube, they were just the dudes that showed up to matches. Ernest was busy winning national championships. I took the opportunity to take a lot of stuff away from those guys and realized that there is a performance level that is miles ahead of what we’re doing in the military.
Well, fast forward, I get out of the military and I get on the police department and I go through the police department’s firearms training and I immediately thought, “This is absolutely archaic, even compared to the military.” It was good, fundamentally rooted shooting, but there was no performance shooting in it. There’s a pretty vast difference. There’s a wide divide in that.
That was where the quest started to do that. In that area, you mentioned gun plumber against all that good stuff. That came about because when I was in the military and when I first got on the police department, the Brady Bill was still in effect. Most people were gravitating towards single stack .45s and specifically the 1911 pattern guns.
There was an abundance of gunsmiths, but they were all backed up and they were very expensive. Rather than pay a gunsmith every time I needed my competition pistol to work, I just went and learned to do it myself. That began about 20 years ago as well. That’s the long and short of how I got into the whole realm of instructing and shooting and here we are.
Speaker: [laughs] You mentioned, I didn’t realize how far behind we were. Now, as far as teaching basic firearms fundamentals, as far as teaching how to safely handle and operate a gun, we did a really good job there, but we trained fundamentals, we didn’t train gunfighters.
I think a lot of the public still has that perception that a police officer wears a gun every day, he’s got to be really, really good with it. You get these misperceptions like, “Why didn’t you shoot the gun out of his hand? Why didn’t you just wing him?” Those are people that are just absolutely without clue. They’ve never had a gun pointed at them. They don’t understand the dynamics that go into mixing the psychological and physiological reactions with the simple fundamental practice of pressing a trigger.
Speaker: They’re usually in charge of making legislation.
Speaker: Yes, you’re right, unfortunately. In your buildup, what are you seeing as focuses, especially in the civilian realm, in the concealed carry world, with these guys and girls in the training that’s available to them out there now? You’ve got guys out there have really– like yourself, they have really put your foot on the gas and stretched and pressed the envelope to see just, how can we really make this thing run?
Speaker: In the law enforcement realm and everything, I was talking to my good friend Erick Gelhaus. He’s Gunsite instructor for 20 years, great human being. He said he trains civilians all the time. When I say civilian, I don’t mean that to be demeaning, I mean somebody that’s not a sworn armed professional. He trains hundreds of them a year at Gunsite, in his own training company.
We had the conversation that we always view things through the lens of the armed professional cop because that’s our pedigree. On the cop side of the house, we have this word that I absolutely loathe called qualification. People mistake that for training. Qualifications, the vast majority of the qualifications, and I’ve shot hundreds of them from other agencies in other states, most of them are a really bad field sobriety test.
Speaker: It’s the sad reality of it. I like to change the word qualification certificate. That means you took your driver’s test and now you can drive the car. [inaudible 00:08:08] A lot of people mistake that thinking, that is the ceiling, that is the best. If I pass a qualification, no matter how low the standards and the performance really is, that I’m prepared to go and be an armed professional.
Most of us, myself included, at some point in our career, we look in the mirror and we have a conversation and we realize we’ve been lied to by that mentality and we start to explore outside training. The armed citizen side of the house. If you’re in a state that mandates you have a concealed carry training so that you can get– it’s the same thing. Unfortunately, those are– I think field sobriety tests are probably a lot harder than most of those standards. How do we balance being responsible citizens or mandating people be responsible citizens and not infringe on their second amendment?
Their standards are pretty low. There is no quantifiable standard of, “Hey, you’re a concealed carrier, this is going to– if you do X, Y, and Z in this training course, then Dom and so must go forth and carry guns.” A lot more people, I think, on the armed citizen side recognize that than they do on the law enforcement side. It’s quite a quandary. It all boils down to what’s your mission, what’s your goal, and recognizing– having the introspective ability to recognize what’s your role in the armed populace is.
Speaker: We’ve seen them. We’ve seen it all over the map as far as trainings available. When you came through, we qualified you guys on a modified PPC. Still it’s positional shooting from set distances with mandatory magazine changes, but you’re a stationary target and you’re just sitting there punching holes in paper. As far as developing a proficiency with the basic shooting fundamentals, it did what we asked it to do.
I was very marginal when I came through the academy, at best, and I was fortunate enough you remember Jim Wheatley. Jim took me under his wing and spent six weeks with me and we shot three times a week and we shot a bunch. He really developed my fundamental skills. I started shooting on the department pistol team. Again, the only thing we were shooting in was PPC, so you’re still shooting just stationary positions. Really very liberal times on all of the things that we were shooting.
It wasn’t until I got into that a little bit that Jim realized that that was the only shooting I was doing and pulled me to the side and said, “Listen, you got to change what you’re doing. Work on your fundamental stuff all the time like you’re doing, but before you leave this range, I want you to go through a box of ammo and I want you to do some running gun stuff and set up some stuff and start training yourself for a gunfight.” There was nobody else on the department that ever directed me like that. It was years before we moved to doing any in service stuff that actually had training beyond just a certification thing.
Fast forward to retirement for me and all of a sudden, I’m meeting all these guys that are very actively involved in training in the concealed carry world and especially the concealed carriers themselves. I was astonished at how good a lot of these people were. They’re better than you and I ever got to work when we were working qualifications, working the line with the whole police department. These guys were running a gun and doing some things, but we also know that that’s still the exception and not the rule because it’s a really small community.
What was a book you gave me? You told me to get Enos–
Speaker: Practical Shooting: Beyond Fundamentals
Speaker: Great book. You get guys like that, that very purposely pushed the envelope. They wanted to see how far can you go. Even today’s competitive shooters, we had J.J. on a while back. J.J. Racaza is one of the best trigger guys walking planet earth. Still, like everything else and all the other martial arts, martial sports, martial things that we train ourselves in, the guys that are the very, very best are the guys that do still those simple fundamental things the very best.
I love watching you and Michael when you guys are working aligned together. You’re moving that gun around and just– Slam the trigger, I don’t care. If the gun is steady and it’s on target, and it’s in your window and you’re not making something that you’re influencing the direction of that muzzle, it doesn’t matter what you do with that trigger. I love watching the faces of guys on your line when you’re doing that stuff, and they’re just like, “Holy crap. He’s wiggling the gun all over the place.”
Speaker: I spend a lot of time putting those things in context. That is something that neither side of the house does well. I’ve gone to shooting courses that were very, very high-level shooting courses where the instructor is preaching and hammering you over the head with the basics. What you realize, pretty quickly, is they really don’t have a grasp of the basics in context. I’ve seen that multiple times with some very, very well respected instructors then it’s– that’s where my plight’s been. It’s just been like, “Hey, look, grip stance, sight alignment, sight picture, finger control, breath control, and follow through.”
They’re not all equal. They’re not all important. They’re important in the context they need to be important in. I’ll give an example, I knew of a very, very high-level PPC shooter, talking back to police training. He was a distinguish shooter, President’s Hundred, Governor’s Twenty, in a very large state. Gets in a gunfight at six feet and misses with six rounds from a revolver of which he has spent an inordinate amount of time shooting. You go, “This is one of the highest level trigger– This dude is a human ransom arrest and he missed the bad guy at eight feet. Why does that happen?”
In the flat range environment, the context of that, he is a master at implementing the fundamentals under those conditions. I look at gunfight fundamentals as put the sights between you and the bad guy, pull the trigger, don’t move the gun, period. That’s about as complex as it needs to be. We’ve convoluted this entire process so badly that the end results or stuff like that. “Hey, I’m a master class shooter and I just missed a bad guy at eight feet that was trying to kill me and emptied my gun doing it.” The other side of the house, when we go to a guy like J.J., that is just absolutely a machine can do things faster than I can perceive what he’s doing.
When we start permeating that language into the defensive carrier, you miss out on this whole part of– and I’m not knocking J.J., just using that as an example. I think he’s a fantastic, talented human being. If we don’t put in context that performance, what we end up with is people that don’t understand that every time they pull a trigger on a pistol pointed at another human being, they’re committing a homicide. They’re committing the highest felony crime in the country, punishable by death and hoping that the language has an exemption that covers them. Not hoping but they should be familiar enough with that language.
When you get into the mode of, do everything faster, furthermore, you start missing the hole. Every single time you press a trigger, you have to be constitutionally exempted for that act. There’s a balance that we have to strike there. My lane in all of that is I see confusion on both sides of the house, both bad and it’s, “I’m going to beat you over the head with the fundamentals,” but if I don’t understand which ones are important and how to apply them, it’s all a moot point anyway. You’re essentially just standing there talking to someone and hoping that they figure it out at some point.
There’s still all these great divides between armed citizens, competition shooters, cops, military. One of the big conversations that I like to have with people if they’re getting into this realm and they, “I want to go train with so and so because he was X this, former that, alphabet agency,” I go, “Are you in any risk of rappelling out of a helicopter?” “No.” “Are you in any risk of wearing night vision goggles?” “No.” “Then maybe your money would be suited better somewhere, your investment and training would be suited better somewhere else.” It’s the same old story and it’s perpetual, I guess.
Speaker: We’ve all seen that just because you can run it like that doesn’t mean that you can transfer that knowledge to me either. There’s lots of guys out there that are top shelf, running whatever platform it is they’re running. They are absolute experts with what they do but they don’t necessarily have the ability to break that down and make it simple and digestible for somebody like me. It’s not really financially doable to just– because these courses are expensive and that’s just to pay for the course, it has nothing to do to say for whatever my gear is and my ammunition and that stuff.
Speaker: Time and travel because most of it doesn’t happen in your backyard, you got to go somewhere. Honestly, it’s like concealedcarry.com. Jacob [inaudible 00:20:48] group putting on Guardian Nation conference. I love that conference for the simple fact that we can plug in and we can see all kinds of really good shooters all at once, instructors and different facets, whether it’s gun retention stuff or less lethal stuff or legal matters or just different kinds of shooters and the things that– Are they teaching you to shoot from concealment? Are they teaching you to shoot with a subcompact? Everybody’s got their own little niche and it lets you sample.
It’s like a little buffet and I can run through and taste a little of this and a little of that and see where I want to really invest my money down the road. I like that platform for that very aspect right there. You know as well as I do, there’s sometimes you guys, you find a guy that is just like, “Man, that’s my guy. That’s who I’m plugging in with for the next however long.” How many guys are playing in the PGA? They’re the greatest golfers in the world and every single one of those guys has a coach. That coach didn’t play in the PGA but they’ve got that skill set that they can transfer that knowledge and fine-tune things and do things like that. The gun world has those too.
Speaker: We run into that– some of the topics you brought up earlier, Bryan. Rob and I discussed this quite a bit is we don’t want to restrict anybody’s rights from carrying, to make a hurdle that would exclude them as far as the competency on a firearm side. On the other side, it is so important that they realize that themselves that as you’re carrying a gun, it is your right, it does involve other responsibilities and how do you impart to those people what level of competency they should have? It’s fine. You don’t want to make it a requirement that it’s going to exclude somebody but you want to definitely more than encourage them to stay trained.
The last thing they want to do is to have to pull a weapon in a defensive purpose and have a shot that goes wide and then it’s on their head forever. We want to make sure that they know what– I’m going to ask, I would say because we want to make sure, what level of training do you think you would recommend?
Speaker: That’s a loaded question.
Speaker: A big boy question.
Speaker: Yes, it’s a big boy question. I don’t think there’s a ceiling to the amount of training that you should ever stop at. Now, are you talking on the armed citizen side?
Speaker: What level of proficiency? Man, that’s a tough question. I think that’s a trick question. I’m getting a little [crosstalk].
Speaker: Not intentionally.
Speaker: No, I’m just kidding.
Speaker: In a couple of counties that I’ve been qualified with out here, the qualification was a breeze, honestly. Looking at some of the guys who were worried about qualifying then they qualified and you look at their targets and three yards it looks like a shotgun pattern. This was not even a timed fire, it was just put six in the giant B-52 size silhouette. I want those guys to be able to carry but there needs to be a way to say, “Hey, hope you do better under stress with adrenaline and bullets flying your way. I hope you rise to the level education on that.”
Speaker: I have a really strong second amendment. My stance on it is pretty inflexible. I can view how someone looks at the second amendment as what kind of person they truly are to the core. I’d say it like that because if you have the audacity to tell someone what they should and what they should not do to defend their life in the most traumatic moment in their personal history, you’re really not the kind of person I want to be around. To me, that’s an individual thing. I don’t think it’s necessary to put a stamp on someone to say, “Well, our self-appointed body of experts has decided to [crosstalk].”
Speaker: Right. I want to absolutely stay away from that.
Speaker: Exactly. Then the responsible side of me, because caring’s your right, training is your responsibility. Having the ability to do that is your responsibility. I think it’s very difficult to really put a cap on or an entry-level floor on your responsibility. If somebody approaches me and says, “Hey–” I’ve had this conversation in the last week. A friend of mine, I’ve got two people that I really mentor a lot. One of them is an instructor-level dude and one of them started carrying a year and a half ago. He’s constantly, “How do I know if I’m good enough?” I’m like, “If you can answer that question, you’re probably not good enough. It’s a constant journey.”
My thoughts for him were I said, “Look, when you can carry the gun responsibly safely, you can hide the gun on your body and access it safely and put it away safely,” and then there’s a couple of industry, or I say industry standard drills that I like to use. I say, “When you can pop 90% on these three exercises, I would say that you’re probably in the 1% of 1% of concealed carriers.” He was, “Oh, I do that all the time.” I said, “Okay, well, you are literally in the 1% of 1% of all armed citizens right now.” Is that good enough? Then that’s a personal question you got to ask.
When it comes to training cops, I go, “Great, you qualified, you shot a 25 on a 25-round qualification course. Can you do that on a target half that size? Can you do that on that target when it’s moving? Can you do that on that target when it’s three o’clock in the morning and you haven’t slept in two days because you’re going through a nasty divorce and whatever?” There’s always another challenge you can put on top of it. We sell people on the idea that if you can do X, Y, and Z then you’re blessed. That’s not the case in either realm.
Speaker: We’ve all met those guys that are– it’s like the guy you were talking about earlier that he’s a master on a PPC and he misses a whole human body at eight feet.
Speaker: In his defense, he was a tweaker. He was really skinny.
Speaker: Yes, and tweaking. He’s flinching and jerking all [crosstalk].
Speaker: He’s flipping like this like a–
Speaker: [laughs] We’ve had guys in Oklahoma City that were like that. You watch them on the line and they’re pretty salty and you get them in a real combat situation and you have misses. The other thing about these, you’d mentioned it earlier about the different things and the responsibility for every single round that you touch off. You’ve seen it and, crap, Bryan you can probably do it. You see the guys that are running the gun and they keep that platform just rock steady. The recoil management is just off the charts and it just looks like a waterfall of casings coming out the side.
It’s impressive that you have the ability to do that but did you have the ability to re-evaluate your scenario each shot? That’s the big deal right there. Bold that skill, but also understand the mental aspect of that is the one that keeps your freedom. You can survive that gunfight, but can you survive that courtroom fight? That’s a big [crosstalk].
Speaker: Misses, we talked about, “Oh, man, he missed.” My good friend, Wayne Dobbs, I don’t know where he got this quote, but I got it from him, so I’m going to give the attribution to him. He said, “There is no such thing as a miss, none. They all hit something.” I’m like, “Man, that’s brilliant.” I’ve seen examples of that. Like Cooper’s four safety rules, man, that’s a whole– the understanding and the context of that is so much deeper than reading range rules when they say, “Be sure of your target and what’s beyond it,” bullets don’t just stop in human bodies sometimes.
That’s where I think the police world has a severe disadvantage versus the armed citizens that train is because on the armed citizen side, a lot of the circles of training that I see, they are rigidly adherent to the safety rules. Not just in the context of, “I read them, I understand them,” but actually the practical applications thereof. A good friend Darryl Bolke got– he took a career-ending injury on a suspect he could have shot, but he’s carrying 230 Grain +P Gold Dots, and behind the suspect is a six-year-old kid.
Hard to make the decision to shoot someone when they shoot through– when the backstop is not a big piece of earth and dirt. That’s where, to me, the LE world just falls off the train. It’s gotten pretty horrific. I don’t want to armchair people or really downplay it, but I think we’re doing a great disservice to the LE community right now with just the state of training. They’re going in the right direction, but there’s a lot of ground they got left to cover.
There’s a lot of things that they’re taking from the competition world that it’s like how to get indicted 101. I’m real cautious about that. I’ve had a lot of very spirited discussions about that. We’re making crops of instructors don’t even understand the four basic safety rules and how they apply, the fundamentals, and how they apply the context of them or how to convey them. I got to hand it to the armed citizen community that trains is– they’re light years ahead of a lot of the law enforcement.
There is exceptions to that. The more I dive into this journey of how to become a better instructor, a better conveyor of knowledge and experience now– I looked at LAPD as an agency. Their qualification is hard. That’s the hardest one I’ve shot. Was it hard by the standards of, “Am I going to pass or not?” It was just very challenging. Consequently, their agency, the way they train, they shoot really high hit factors in the field. Some of the highest in the world actually.
The more I get into the training loops, what I figure which all roads lead to Gunsite and Jeff Cooper. I think the law enforcement world would do itself a great service to start sending adjunct instructors to that program because that’s what LAPD did in the ’70s and the ’80s. They’ve reaped the benefits of that. That is available to the armed citizen. The same training program. Anyway, [crosstalk].
Speaker: It’s just an hour north to my Prescott studio.
Speaker: Are you serious?
Speaker: Oh, yes, I’ve been there. I’m going back for a 250 next year. Have you been through the 250 program?
Speaker: I have not yet. Gunsite’s new to me, but I will be up there.
Speaker: Excellent. All the innovative police training roads, they all lead back there. They’re in mid-south, but mid-south not probably as prominent in the LE world right now. On the qualification and training thing, I think that’s the other area that the armed citizens really drive the bus on the training side, whereas the LE world, they drive the bus on the certification side. That’s the Grand Canyon across the spectrum.
Speaker: You touched on something, and Phil and I do this all the time, and it was knowing your mission. We both have friends in all aspects of this community including holster makers. It just always astounds me– You’ve met Lisa. She is a holster manufacturer and she does things specifically for women. You’ll get somebody calls and says, “Hey, I got this and I want this, and it’s got this light and this laser and blah, blah, blah.” It was like, “Why are you carrying all that stuff? You’re carrying a light system on it and you’re carrying this, you’re carrying that. Is it because it’s cool? Is it because it’s what is required for you to be competent with your choice of firearm?”
I don’t know. There’s so many times that– You can’t just design every single holster to take every single fixture and accommodation and gadget. For me, especially the guys that are new or intermediate, man, stay plain. Get you a good safe holster. When you strap it on, have a good belt on. I hadn’t mentioned that, but Bryan runs EDC Belt Company. His foundation belt I think is the best belt in the country for concealed carriers. It’s super comfortable, priced very economically. It’s just a great piece that– Unless I’m dressed up and going out on the town that’s my all-the-time belt everywhere I go.
Speaker: Part of the mission behind that belt, you mentioned Lisa talking about, “Man, why don’t you make it with this light and this laser,” and having to have the conversation with people, “Why do you carry all of that?” When I’m off work and I’m in armed citizen capacity I carry a gun and a mag. Pepper spray in my pocket, maybe a knife on my other pocket, and I got a flashlight in my pocket. That’s just what I keep. I think today’s society that looks weird.
Whereas you go back 30, 40, 50 years and it’s a flashlight and a knife, most dudes carried that. You might break down in the middle of the night, you might need a pocket knife. I built this lightweight belt, and one of the first struggles I had was getting people– “If I’m carrying my rolling special with a 22-round magazine and a mod light X3000 lumen X, Y, Z with a red dot and four spare magazines,” I go, “Where do you live, Beirut?”
Speaker: You’re going to battle.
Speaker: I sit back and I would qualify their statement. I go, “Okay, do you carry that every day?” “Yes.” “Why?” “Oh, so and so instructor got me on this bandwagon. So and so instructor got me on this bandwagon.” I go, “There are plenty of belts made for guys just like you. There’s 8 million of them out there.” I build them for normal earth people. I got a gun, I got a knife, maybe a flashlight. I’m not carrying a plate carrier and seven spare mags. That’s not the world I live in. At various times in my life, it has been but I had good equipment for that. I’ll throw a plug at Sam at Wilderness Tactical. Who advertises a competitor? We don’t compete in the same space but if you need a heavier belt, dude, wilderness tactical, they’ll call them, they’ll make you one that’ll last you a lifetime, and you can strap 5,000 pounds and repel off of it and they’re great. They’re a fantastic product but that’s not the space that I operated. I’m like shorts, T-shirt. If I could figure out how to wear board shorts and flip flops every day for the rest of my, that’s me. To me, there’s got to be some balance there and knowing your mission, and I see the writing on the wall, this knowing your mission thing. I posted a picture that got really inflammatory comments.
I posted a very quasi, Gucci, gun that was painted and had all this stuff, and then I painted, or then I posted a picture of a bone stock G45, which is what I carry every day, Glock G45. I said, “Which one of these is going to look better in front of a jury? The one all the cops carry or this?” Imagine you’ve had to use that now. That’s a cool range toy dude, but wait until a motivated prosecutor gets up with your OG 107 painted super wonder blaster. You got to step back and go, “Is that for me?” Yes, I might own it but–
Speaker: You have to run glitter on it as camouflage.
Speaker: Oh man.
Speaker: We talked about that before. A lot of guys and it’s cool. The back plate on a Glock can have a message on it, and is that the message–? Once an incident happens, you lose control of your firearm. You can’t like switch it out at home and then come back later. You want to be careful, just like you said, a motivated prosecutor who isn’t motivated to deliver justice, but is motivated for headlines is going to really run with that.
Speaker: Yes. That’s a given and works. They can make it work, however they need to manipulate it. We talk about keeping your trigger weight, the pull weight pretty close to what just a basic out of the box model would run, but I’ve seen things used in a prosecution where they go with the extra light trigger as proof that this guy wanted to do this.
Speaker: A hair trigger.
Speaker: They’ve done the exact same thing with a 12 or 14 pound trigger.
Speaker: Yes. That’s the reason I had to take my bayonet off my P365.
Speaker: All right.
Speaker: That and appendix carry.
Speaker: All right. Yes. Well, the challenge I’ve been on for the last, almost two years now is I went to the gun shop, I bought an off the rack gun, and I wanted to see if that would hold up against tuned Beretta’s, a P320 with the grip module that I like, or a 1911 with the stocks that I like, and the action work that I like. I said, “I’m going to carry this for a year.” I haven’t switched off. It’s been over a year now it’s closer to two, because the Gen5 Glock out of the box is as accurate as some of the competition pistols I used to shoot.
I’m not emotionally attached to it. I have thrown it on the ground. Thanks Hanny McMood, and it does everything as advertised better than the guns that I was issued 20 years ago. Now, I think we’re in this golden age of we’ve got these cottage industries out there of gunsmiths and stuff like that. That’s great, man. It’s an awesome deal and I to back that up a little bit, I don’t think the industry would be where it is at without those kinds of people pushing down.
Speaker: Yes. The innovators.
Speaker: Yes. Innovators, so consequently, the producers have had up their game, but we are now at a point where it’s really not all that necessary, and I really caution people to do too much pretty work to their favorite carry gun. That man, that incenses some people, because they have this emotional attachment to, “I don’t have a dual port comp. I can’t shoot good enough to defend myself,” and I’m like, “Maybe there’s an underlying problem.”
Speaker: They’ve never had a dual port comp go off at night. Close to their body too, right? Blowing all the nice stuff in your face.
Speaker: Yes. I have an ear over here. My left one rings non-stop because of an inform Carbine with a flashlight that went off right next to it in a hallway of a building, that was fun.
Speaker: I never understood why you guys didn’t use like the comp device, so one of the like fur friends used to make a CRD concussion reduction device on those weapons for that.
Speaker: Suppressor? Yes. This was the year 2000. We were just barely off of iron sites, man.
Speaker: Well, you remember it? I think like you’re talking about is basic, is awesome. My story, the reason I bought my first Glock is I did my first call it high level course, defensive course, and these guys were running and gunning. They were great, they’re still friends of mine 10 years later, and we’re laying down urban prone on the dirt, and I’ve got a SIG GSR, which is my favorite .45, just a beautiful gun and all tuned up, and that thing did not like dirt in its action.
Every shot laying there sideways, the actions opens up the concussion, the dust comes up, and then into the action and grinds it, polishes it all day and the gun quit running, and I had to go over the car and get a couple of more guns to finish the day, but everything I had a SIG 220 sport, I had the GSR, and all those nice high awesome pistols. I had issues with dirt, and I looked around at all these guys shooting these tupperware guns that ran all day long, and they didn’t even clean them.
They threw them the trunk and went home. I’m like, “Now maybe there’s something here for this style of shooting, for when you need it all the time and you can’t control the situation. Maybe a gun like that is something I should look at,” and that’s what sent me down that road.
Speaker: They’re ugly.
Speaker: That was a good road to get on.
Speaker: The dirt road.
Speaker: I was in a class at Tacton with Hanny MacMood. Help him out with a pocket gun block, and I’m doing a demo for him, and it would shoot your gun to slide lock and go for your spare gun, your pocket gun. He timed that versus timing, reloading your primary gun. Pretty cool little pressure test. I do both of them, and on the shoot the gun empty exercise with the pocket gun, he’s like, “The rule was you can abandon your gun, you can re-holster your gun. You just as whatever. It’s essentially a nerd at this point. You got an empty magazine and it’s at slide lock.”
I shoot the gun empty and both hands at eye level drop it, and go for the backup gun, and end up cutting the time between reloading the pistol down, and my Glock skips across the gravel. I look around and everybody else has optics and comps and all this extended nonsense on their gun. They’re like, “Well, I don’t think I want to do that,” and I picked it up, dusted it off, put it in the holster in. It took some dings but it’s like I have no emotional attachment to that gun ever.
I’ve tried to get away from having emotional attachment to tools. I have safe queens, I’ve got vintage revolvers and stuff that maybe get taken out once every five years and shot maybe, but the guns I carry for business, it’s a hammer. It’s a screwdriver. There’s no connection to that other than they’re reliable and they’re accurate.
Speaker: Like you did in the drill, you had to be willing to drop it because re-holstering it is going to take four seconds before you get your next shot off, right?
Speaker: Yes. I pulled a pretty quick reload from concealment at about two and a half seconds.
Speaker: If you took your gun after you shot it to slide block, holstered it, and then went to your other one.
Speaker: That was a pretty telling deal when I’m looking around at everybody else and they’re going, “Do I have to throw my gun in the dirt?” I’m like, “No, you don’t have to.”
Speaker: You may leak if you don’t, yes.
Speaker: Yes right, but there again we’re in a heyday in the industry right now with quality stuff that I’ve never seen before. Yet we still have people that are mixing business guns with range toys, and that to me is a bit unsettling. Having a trend of that is a bit unsettling but it’s necessary for some innovation. Yes, that’s my soapbox on that, I guess.
Speaker: Brian, for our carriers out there, we’ve mentioned gun site. We mentioned Guardian Nation. You brought up Tom Givens tact con training. What are some of the other stuff out there that you go, “Man, there is such great value in this,” just for our everyday listeners that go, “Now I really don’t know any of this stuff. Where can I go?”
Speaker: Safe academy has got stuff.
Speaker: Yes. I think that is, that’s where you got to have the look in the mirror and go, “What is my role here?” I don’t really think anybody does it as good as Tom Givens in the traveling format with his defensive pistol course, and then the instructor level school that he does. I think those for the armed citizen, that’s the gold standard as far as traveling training. There’s Clint Smith at Thunder Ranch, there’s gun site, there’s 100 good facilities out there. Some of them offer a little more military specific, or law enforcement specific.
There’s a lot of good stuff out there in that regard. I tend to lean towards the former LE guys that are doing the armed citizen thing now. Wayne Dobbs, Darrell Bulkey with hits, because they teach a very practical methodology for the concealed carrier. It’s a little more mission specific to that. As far as marksmanship courses and running a gun Ernest Langdon, goodnight that was not labeled an instructor level course, but as an instructor, that was the golden goose man. His three day in instruction is second to none.
I would encourage, if you have the opportunity to go train with Tom Givens, that guy, he’s got something going on that a lot of places don’t. From running the gun to the legalities of it, to the performance of it, to ammunition, it was the whole package in three days, and it was 10 pounds of stuff in a five pound bag. On raw mechanics and stuff like that. There’s lots of people teaching that. I really enjoy Chuck Haggard, Greg Elefritz, those guys they’ve really made that distinction between cop and armed citizen very, very well.
Speaker: One thing I want to point out here, you’re a masterclass shooter. High end competition shooter, instructor, and look at how many courses you rattled off. “I like this three day course, this one over here.” The level of training that even at your level of shooting you are taking from other people, I think tells a lot. If we want to get better, we need to– It is an investment in our time, our treasure, and our talents that look at somebody, your level of shooting that is still going to these very impressive training courses. I think that speaks a lot to your professionalism.
Speaker: I appreciate that. For me it’s, I don’t garner any great pleasure from going, “Well, I’ve trained with so and so, and I’ve trained with so and so.” That to me, it’s not a–
Speaker: Got a certificate.
Speaker: Yes. It’s not a status thing that I’ve trained with people or this or that. It really, in certain name, I don’t really find value in going to train with people just to say you’ve gone to train with people. For me, going to these courses, it’s not a matter of this guy’s going to be some earth shattering method of shooting. I’m not, I got that part of it. I get it. I’m not worried about, “Am I going to perform good in this class?” because I’m there to learn, and on the instructor side, all I’m there to really take away is how people convey these concepts to other people.
Speaker: His methods, teaching methods.
Speaker: Yes. Like drills and exercises, I’ve shot a hundred and thousands of them. They’re all rooted in the same mentality, hit the target in a given amount of time, at a certain distance, or whatever. I’m looking for how does this person run a line? How does this person manage students? How does this person manage ammunition and time and fatigue and weather and still get the message across or give, convey somebody to somebody to give them a higher understanding of the process. I’ve spent a lot of money to go and get a two minute nugget from somebody. I’ll just put it that way.
Speaker: Yes. Some of those nuggets are worth the price of admission though.
Speaker: Absolutely. Tom Givens class I felt like was underpriced, I’ll put it that way. That was just a pile of them. I’m like, “Oh, I’m writing that down.”
Speaker: Was it Givens, GIV or Gibbons? GBI?
Speaker: GIV, Tom Givens, Range Master is his company. Great. Absolutely fabulous training. I wouldn’t– The instructor level course might vary somebody that’s new to the game, but at the same time it’s a healthy dose of reality.
Speaker: I’ve looked forward to having an opportunity to, to take part in some of that, and actually I will this next spring at Range Master at tact con, so I’m super excited about that. One of the things, and Brian’s touched on this a couple of times. I’ll go to my whole experience, whether it’s in a wrestling room or in a dojo or on the line shooting or run in a shoot house or whatever. The thing that has always been the standard for the best of the best is those guys do the basic fundamentals better than anybody else.
You can watch Olympians and Jordan Burrows does a double leg take down better than anybody on planet Earth. It’s the very first take down. Any little kid learns when they first start. Same with judo. The best in the world do the simplest of techniques. They just do it better than anybody else. The same goes with gun fighters. Those guys have fine tuned and honed that skill. The one thing they do that separates them is they keep that platform still and they don’t interfere with what the gun is supposed to do.
They just make it function. That’s the biggest deal. Even when we had JJ on, he talked about just the simplest of things. If you spent five minutes when you get home from work and practice your draw stroke, make your gun safe, empty it out, and just practice your gun stroke. If you sit on the couch and just do magazine change after magazine change. I know you guys see it, but you still see guys dropping the magazine out here, and still trying to insert from arm’s length, instead of bringing everything into your workspace and back up on target, and marrying your hands together and that kind of thing. Just learning how to prep that trigger and dry fire. There’s so many little things. You got any tips or anything for anybody, Brian?
Speaker: Yes, so training is one thing. Practice is another. A lot of people confuse that. I’ve heard people say, “Well, I got to practice so I can go to this training course.” I’m like, “You’re missing the point.” What I like to do is break down each process on the gun into its own section. Draw to first shot. That’s probably the most critical skill that you ever need– If you ever need to master one that’s the one. Anchor the first shot, period, because you can’t miss fast enough to win anything, a competition, a gunfight, you can’t miss fast enough to win.
If you anchor the first shot, the chances of you having to make a second, third, fourth, fifth shot, they’re going to incrementally go down and your hit factor is incrementally going up. Does that make sense? If you miss, chances are you’re going to continue to miss. I say miss in the context of miss your intended target. It’s going to hit something, right? I break that process down into one skill that’s a skill set, a draw to a first shot. That’s draw from a duty rig, draw from a concealment rig.
Then I look at raw marksmanship fundamentals of being able to fire the pistol on demand which is, you never hear that in the fundamentals, but that’s the ultimate goal. I don’t know where we got off the rails with, “Let a shot surprise you.” I tend to call those negligent discharges, but I understand the theory behind it. Sights, finding the sights, how I present the gun to find the sights, how I find the sights from different positions. Each one of those things is its own separate skill set.
It does not require nearly as much time investment as people think. To do that with a dry gun, an empty gun, and in a quasi-safe area, and practice an individual skill set for three to five minutes once a week, you do that over the course of a year. It’s not rocket science, it’s just repetition. Then I look at the very critical skill sets is access the gun, put it on target, and anchor the first shot. That’s skill set that’s number one above all else.
Then firing on command, or firing on demand, that’s number two and they go hand in hand. Reloads, malfunctions, all that stuff, I consider that secondary skill sets. If you bring enough skill to the party early, you’re not going to have to dig for skills late in the game, if that makes sense?
Speaker: Nice Brian. That’s a great little nugget. Phil, you got any takeaways for us today?
Speaker: I think it’s just fantastic that he was sharing this information with us. It comes down to the part of keeping it simple, doing your practice, keeping it simple, and realizing that we need to practice. I’m glad so far you haven’t asked me about my two last matches I shot. The humbling effects of going to a match is an amazing part of training I think also. You can see how good other people are, and be able to make your judgments there.
Speaker: I want that as a way to improve myself though. I love the fact that you’re good at what you do, or Brian’s really good at what he does. It just gives me a measuring stick for me. That’s the way I’ve always viewed it, even in a combat sport in [unintelligible 01:03:55].
Speaker: Exactly. I actually really, really love doing that, because it’s great guys and they’re are such good shooters. You get to watch them and see what they’re doing for the matches are pretty inexpensive compared to an all-day training course. I think I got a lot more watching these guys, how they were doing things right, and the times they were putting in were really pretty impressive. I got a lot out of that. I provided the plucky comic relief for their day.
Speaker: Before I ask you how your two matches went, no I’m kidding. I use competition shooting as a pressure test for my equipment more so than a pressure test for skill sets, just simply because there’s rules that maybe don’t necessarily apply in– Again, it all falls back to context. My dear friend Michael Burgess, he went out and shot. I’m going to have him on my podcast here in a couple of days, but he went out and shot an IDPA match and exercised the safety rules to a fault.
What I mean and I don’t mean that to a fault bad, to the point that he wanted to see can I still be competitive and follow Cooper’s Four Safety Rules. Can I implement that, not muzzling a no-shoot target? Don’t point guns at people that don’t need guns pointed at them. He took some video clips of this and I’m like, “Hey there is a guy that’s willing to hang it out there at the cost of– Most of the matches he goes and shoots, he’s in the top three to five people.
He placed now about middle of the road in this pack of shooters, but he held rigid to the four safety rules. He’s like, “Yes, this is a good place to do that, but if you’re going to be competitive you’re going to have to violate some of these real hard and fast rules.
Speaker: That’s a good point.
Speaker: I got to commend the guy for being willing to sacrifice his money and time to go do that and do it in front of other shooters that are there to win a match. I think as long as you keep that in context of how you view that and– I used to shoot 3-gun a lot. I had a partner on the street that said, “I’d never go do that, because I’m never going to go to a match where how fast I can load a shotgun is going to be the deciding factor.” I said, “Fair enough. Have you ever pressure tested your shotgun in those conditions?” “No.”
“Well have you ever attempted to reload under a great deal of stress and keep the pig fed? You ever done that?” “No.” “Well, here’s a good way to do it, because you’re not going to do it out here on the flat range with nobody watching.” AR stuff, shooting 3-gun, the carbine is a big part of it, and there are certain things that just fell apart pretty quick. I used to shoot some of the Soldier of Fortune Rule 3-gun matches and that would tell you really quickly how rugged your setup is and how dependable your equipment is.
If you take that away from it, great. Then if you want to go down the rabbit hole and chase the grand master dragon, go chase it. It’s not going to hurt anything, but it’s all about knowing and defining your role, your mission, and keeping that in the context of your role and mission. One of my favorite arguments is split times. People are like, “Well, how fast can you shoot a split?” If I’m really pushing then I could shoot 16 splits. If I want to hit the target exactly where I want to hit it every single time, I can’t push that beyond about 0.35 to 0.45.
We can get into the brain science of that. Oddly enough when I get around dudes from LAPD D-Platoon and some of the best shooters on planet earth, operationally they shoot at about a half second shot to shot, because they can assess everything going on, and still make decisions behind the gun, and not leak shots into the general public. Anyway.
Speaker: Correct. Brian, you touched real quick, you mentioned your podcast. Tell our folks what it is because there’s always going to be some nuggets you guys can pick up from his guests as well.
Speaker: The website for your belts.
Speaker: Oh yes. I’ll start with the belt company as EDC Belt Company. We’ll be at the Guardian Conference, we got a booth there and we’ll sell some product there. It’s edcbeltco.com, just like it sounds edcbelt, b-e-l-t-c-o.com, built concealed carry belts, and they are made for normal earth people. They’re made to be comfortable wear like a leather belt and be a nylon adjustable belt. Then I’ve got the Off Duty On Duty podcast. It’s off and then on and there’s reasons behind that mainly to do with the other web domain was already purchased.
Offdutyonduty.com and I try to release a podcast about once a week usually on Wednesday or Thursday. Sometimes with life, I have to skip a week but– It’s primary focus and mission is we take law enforcement perspective and concealed carrier perspective, and explore some of the differences, some of the overlaps, and what the mission of the two is and the equipment. It’s kind all over the map.
The primary thing is, “Hey, this is concealed carriers talking to cops and cops talking to concealed carriers.” It’s been pretty successful so had a lot of really great guests. Had some former military guys that are now in the armed populace that are that are pretty informative.
Speaker: Yes. Brother, thank you so much for coming on and sharing some knowledge with us. What’d you got, Phil?
Speaker: No. I said that’s always fun. That’s awesome.
Speaker: We want to thank everybody for tuning in again. We appreciate you and always looking forward to your comments, questions, suggestions. You can get me at email@example.com and I’ll get back with you. We look forward to having everybody join us again next week. We thank you for tuning in. Thanks guys. Bye.
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