Why you should ignore the Tier 1 guys

Well, at least some of the time.

The shooting and self-defense community is blessed these days with all the Tier 1 SF guys retiring out of service with a decade now of intense operational activity, often in close-quarter urban combat.  This military experience is probably the most relevant to what we as civilian self-defense shooters may need to do, although of course there are some big differences (to name two: these guys works as a team while we’ll be defending ourselves alone, and their ROE are quite different from ours.)  The fact that so  many of these guys are now teaching civilians is a real boon to civilian defenders, and a reality check on the material that’s being taught out there.

But I often ignore what these heroes teach…and also I often slavishly adopt what they teach.  Here’s what makes the difference:  If a Tier 1 guy –a genetically gifted, full-time trained for years, product of the most competitive selection process known to man — does something that’s high speed or requires some real talent or coordination, I have to realize that I am not a genetically gifted, full-time trained for years, product of the most competitive selection process known to man, and I may not be able to to that, especially under stress.  So I evaluate the technique critically in that light.  I may adopt it or not, but I need further data and analysis before doing so.

On the other hand, when one of these rare talents teaches something that assumes rock stupidity or great fallibility (under stress), I say to myself, “If this guy dumbs things down to this level, I damn well better, too.”  A good example here would be Paul Howe’s insistence on putting a safety on every time a (rifle, or pistol) isn’t being fired.

There’s a reason these guys worked in the units they did and you (and I) didn’t.


2 thoughts on “Why you should ignore the Tier 1 guys

  1. It really depends on what skillset they are teaching and the context in which they are teaching the skill and whether or not they are “in their element” on a particular topic.

    Survival instructor Tracker Dan is a retired US Navy SEAL but the BloodShark knife designed by him is still an objectively bad design.


    • Finally got as minute (actually, 28 of them) to watch the vid. Nice job!

      I wrote for Tactical Knives for 16 years and every time I got a “tactical” or self-defense knife to review, one of the things I did was to stab it into a piece of plywood, very gently at first, and incrementally harder each time, until I felt I was starting to slip onto the blade, if I did. Not too many let me stab full strength or close to it. Bone is hard if you hit it.

      And certainly a name like “BloodShark” isn’t going to do you any favors if you are carrying is and have to use any level of force at all that comes to the attention of the constabulary and their overlords at the DA’s office.

      Liked by 1 person

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