Skip to main content

Posted on July 22, 2019 by in Training



Readers who don’t know Claude Werner, also known as the “Tactical Professor”, should consider becoming acquainted with him.  His resume includes defensive handgun instructor, retired US Army captain with ten years of service in special operations, former chief instructor at the Rogers Shooting School, commercial real estate market research director, and International Defensive Pistol Association area coordinator for Georgia and Alabama with a Master classification in Stock Service Revolver, Stock Service Pistol, Enhanced Service Pistol and Custom Defensive Pistol. When Claude talks, I shut up and listen.

Claude recently taught a two-hour block of instruction entitled “Strategies, Tactics and Options for Personal Protection” at the 2019 Tactical Conference in New Orleans. While in the audience, I realized that his take on how concealed carriers might be better served by having a clearer understanding of their desired goals and objectives when it came to possible use of a defensive handgun was worthy of an article. To that end, I am going to share with the reader some of the many nuggets of information I mined from this class.

Claude suggests that concealed carriers should use handguns for defensive purposes in only a miniscule number of events while at the same time having a clear idea as to what their strategy (goals and objectives) is when it comes to protecting themselves and, if applicable, their loved ones, knowledge of the tactics necessary to successfully exercise that strategy, and the options (tools, skills, and procedures) needed while executing those same tactics. Decisions have a huge impact on future outcomes and should be made ahead of time and then acted upon in the moment of need.  Understandably, good decisions lead to positive outcomes and bad decisions lead to negative outcomes. Concealed carriers can easily program themselves to make bad decisions.

Claude suggests that concealed carriers should review the following strategies and determine which apply to them:

  1. I want to protect myself.
  2. I want to protect my friends and family.
  3. I want to remain financially solid.
  4. I want to avoid going to jail or prison.
  5. I don’t want to ever have to shoot anyone.
  6. I want to be a hero.
  7. I want to play police officer.
  8. I want to shoot a criminal.

It is not uncommon for otherwise law-abiding concealed carriers to possess multiple strategies with some being in direct conflict with others. CCW Safe in the past has published some outstanding articles about concealed carriers whose actions resulted in them ending up incarcerated and most likely impoverished. Now is the time to consider that a commitment to any of the strategies set out above other than the first four may very likely have disastrous consequences. What are some the negative outcomes of pre-event bad decisions?

In no particular order they might include shooting ourselves, shooting someone we should not have, getting needlessly arrested, getting shot by the police or a well-intentioned Good Samaritan, frightening or endangering innocent parties needlessly, and even leaving guns where they can be accessed by unauthorized parties. Number five may catch some readers by surprise.  Carrying a firearm for defensive purposes while being unwilling to shoot another person intent on injuring or killing another human can make a bad situation worse.  A hardened felon also wants to protect himself and avoid going to jail or prison, so it should come as no surprise that the level of violence he or she then brings to bear is likely to escalate. 

If the concealed carrier’s core values do not include the willingness to use a handgun if the circumstances dictate, then it is probably a good idea for the same person to sit down and think about all the consequences and then decide accordingly.

One of the best ways to avoid deviating from a sound strategy is to take charge of the situation and not let the situation control us. This is likely because the concealed carrier allowed him or herself to become emotionally highjacked. Perhaps one of the better things that can be accomplished at the time that the concealed carrier selects the strategies most deemed suitable is a vow to repress any urge they may experience in the heat of the moment that might fly in the face of their best interests. This happened to me about two years ago and I did exactly that. I am most happy today that I did not act upon my emotions as the consequences would have been undoubtably negative.

Concealed carriers should endeavor to understand any situation that might involve contact with another person or persons of questionable intent. This might include the following:

  1. See who is around me and those I must protect.
  2. Process what I am seeing (what others are doing and what is going on).
  3. Position myself for success based upon the terrain or layout of the environment in which the situation is developing.
  4. Understand the situation in relation to that state’s use of force laws.

Understanding the situation is just a start. The concealed carrier should also own adequate skills in the following areas:

  1. Observation: Am I seeing everything that I need to see, or am I overlooking anything?
  2. Verbalization: Rather than force my will upon others, am I able to verbally set boundaries to keep others from forcing their will upon me?
  3. Comprehension:  Am I correctly understanding all the verbal and non-verbal information that I am receiving?
  4. Movement: Do I understand the principles of tactical positioning and have I done that correctly?
  5. Unarmed Skills: Do I own the skills needed to defend myself against a sucker punch or if I become entangled with the attacker, and can I defend myself long enough to escape or bring a knife or handgun to bear?
  6. Armed Skills: Do I have a concealed handgun on my person, and can I use it effectively under pressure? Have I practiced recently so that my cognitive load does not include having to think about what I need to do to make my handgun work?
  7. Less Lethal: Do I have pepper spray on my person, is its use appropriate for the situation, and do I have the space and ability to use it effectively?
  8. Lethal: Am I willing to use lethal force if no other option is available to protect myself and those I must protect from serious injury or death?

Priority should always be Avoid, Escape, Confront, and Resist in that order. This is carried out through proper preparation, awareness, positioning, and response based upon the appropriate options.  The unspoken and perhaps even unarticulated strategy of most concealed carriers most likely has always been: “I want to protect myself and my loved ones from harm.” Claude’s gift to us is his ability to help us bring this strategy into even sharper focus and with a far clearer understanding of all the nuances associated with it and better ways to achieve it. 

Claude Werner can be contacted at and his blogs and other great information can be found at

Steve Moses

Steve is a long-time defensive weapons instructor based out of Texas who has trained hundreds of men and women of all ages for more than two decades on how to better prepare to defend themselves and their loved ones. Steve has completed over 80 private-sector and law enforcement-only defensive weapons and tactics classes, and has trained civilian and law-enforcement officers in six states. Moses is a reserve deputy, former member of a multi-precinct Special Response Team, competitive shooter, and martial artist. Steve has written numerous articles for SWAT Magazine and other publications. Steve is a licensed Texas Level 4 Personal Security Officer and Instructor who was Shift Lead on a mega-church security detail for seven years, and has provided close protection for several former foreign Heads of State. He is currently an instructor at Relson Gracie Jiu Jitsu/Krav Maga in Tyler, Texas and Director of Training for Palisade Training Group (