El Bobo’s advice for all you instructors out there

Our friend, Michael deBethencourt, likes to refer to himself in his classes as “el Bobo” (the fool).  Because he takes himself as unseriously as he takes seriously the material he teaches (which is a whole heap-load).   And el Bobo has some of the greatest advice I’ve ever heard for other instructors.

He asks them, “Do you have a whole lot of books and videos on firearms (or whatever  they teach)?”  They of course respond in the affirmative.  He then asks, “How many books and videos do you have on business?”

Like a hog lookin’ at a wristwatch, they are.

If you teach for money, then you are in business.  You have to run that business effectively if you are to succeed.  Most firearms instructors don’t, and one major reason is because they are unskilled at business.  Which there’s no excuse for.  After all, there’s hardly a shortage of books, videos, and websites on how to run a business.

The related thing I like to ask is, “What have you studied or done to make yourself a better teacher?”  Because if I’m attending your course I don’t give a damn what you know or how skilled you are.  I do, on the other hand, care a lot about what you can communicate to me.  Most non-big-name “instructors” I’ve seen, and even one or two of the big names, are piss-poor teachers and communicators.  Their value to you, their students, is therefore close to nil, regardless of their accomplishments, backgrounds, or skill level.

Seven must-have items that will make you a better shooter!

My friend Greg Ellifirtz recently noted what all of us writers have long known: posts about gear get like 10- times the clicks that posts about much more important things get.

Sad.  Don’t know what to say.  But hey, a brother’s gotta move with the times and go with the flow.  KnowwhatImean?

Truth is, there actually is some gear that will make you a better shooter and better fighter.  Without further delay:

  1. Ammo.  OK, suckered you here, but a case of ammo (and practicing with it) is probably a better investment than almost any piece of gear that you are contemplating acquiring.
  2. A proper holster.  You can’t draw reliably with good technique without one.  You can’t throw a spent casing anywhere in this country these days without hitting a half-dozen Kydex folders.  Many are good; some are really good.  Invest in a really good holster.
  3. A proper belt.  You can’t locate and hold that gun in it’s holster on your body effectively, nor conceal it well, without one.  You’ll need to experiment a bit with several to find one that has that Goldilocks stiffness for you – not too stiff and not too floppy.  I’ve used a Wilderness 5-stitch Frequent Flyer belt for almost 20 years, and recently bought another.
  4. A timer.  You can’t improve what you don’t measure.  I have advocated elsewhere here not getting too hung up on tenths of a second, but you still want to know if you are hitting a street-effective window of time with your technique.  With smart-phone timer apps costing a couple bucks, there’s no excuse.
  5. A zeroed gun.  I explain elsewhere here why I zero my handguns at 25 yards, with my practice ammo.  Zero at 25 yields one inch low at 7, which is a good trade-off in that that one inch is irrelevant, while a 25 zero lets me practice at distance, which is a real skill builder.  You have to know if you are missing or your gun is.  Investing in a sight set that gives you a distance zero lets you participate in distance practice, or take a distance shot for real.
  6. Real targets.  You can’t just show up at the range and plink at whatever you find that’s been left behind by someone else.  I often use just large sheets of blank paper (cheap art pads, the reverse side of cheap targets) onto which I staple various sizes of brightly colored paper to work on fundamentals.  Works fine.
  7. A Blue Gun.  You have to actually engage in scenario training to prepare for the street – all the target skill in the world isn’t enough.  As much as I like airsoft, running an airsoft (or Simunations, or whatever) scenario requires that you know what you’re doing.  Very few people know how to run a force-on-force simulation properly.  Repeat: Very few people know how to run a force-on-force simulation properly. Don’t chance it unless you have been actually certified – you simply don’t know what you don’t know.   And of course using real but ostensibly “unloaded” guns is sheer stupidity.  Blue gun scenarios provide about 75% of the value of airsoft training, and can be run much more safely.  Their real advantage over finger guns is that they fit your holster perfectly.  One costs about half of what a 500-round case of practice 9mm rounds cost.  Make the investment…and seek out really good training with it.

“Why I am Not a Gentlemen”

There’s this hour before bed when I’m done with TV and too tired to do anything intelligent, so I mostly surf.  Been reading a bunch of men’s style blogs and websites lately (none of your damn business, but short answer: I’d like to dress a little less like a schlub).  Turns out there are a number of them run by masculine men who carry concealed (and have tips on doing that stylishly).  This guy, Tanner Guzy, one of them, has a rant that will set you to cheering and put into words a few things that you probably already feel.  His description of real men vs. what we too often today call “gentlemen” is is apt to too many gun geeks as well.  Seven minutes:

What to say when you’re asked to teach a new shooter (or any shooter for that matter)

We’ve all seen it since the election: a flood of requests from our lefty, formerly gun-antagonistic acquaintances asking us to teach them to shoot.  While my first reaction had been, “Sure”, on the assumption that having them as shooters is better than not*, Marty Hayes suggested a better comeback to me last week: “I’d be happy to if you’re an NRA member”.

Because the only reason they even have the option of learning to shoot now is because of the NRA, and not the ACLU.

So that’s my answer from now on.


*For the record, I think their fear of government-sanctioned violence against them because of their beliefs or lifestyle is silly, but having a lefty as a shooter seems better than not having them as shooters.