It took me a couple days to recoup from Shoot for Heroes but I want to say a few things about Rob Pincus and his training. I had the pleasure of spending four days with Rob before the Shoot for Heroes event. I attended both the Combat Focus Shooting course and the Advanced Pistol Handling Course.
During the class debriefing, another student commented that the most memorable thing that Rob said during class was “I’m not here to be your life coach.” The student liked it because it meant that we were in class to learn and get rid of bad habits and not to be told that everybody will get a trophy for participating.
Rob is a brash instructor. It’s what you pay for. His knowledge and procedures are backed up by science, research, and thousands of films you can go see yourself.
Most humans react the same way to a scary unseen and sometimes unknown threat. We don’t train ourselves to draw our pistol at the first sound of gunfire inside the mall. There is no buzzer that goes off that tells us when to present our weapons. Dramatic movements, screaming people, and sometimes the sound of gunfire will be stimuli we will have to respond to. Recklessly drawing your gun at the first sound of a gunshot might get innocent people hurt, including yourself. This is a good lesson. Critical thinking and target recognition should make up your first response.
Rob’s not shy about pointing out your body’s ability (or inability) to withstand your heartbeat jumping up to 140, 150, or maybe even 170 beats per minute and the toll this will take on your ability to think. In comes Fit Shot.
I didn’t perform my best at any time during those four days with my pistol and definitely not once we started physically working out. Though what was presented in class was but a snapshot of what a Fit Shot class involves, it was enough to make my heart race. And that’s enough to make one not shoot as proficiently as they normally do.
Many times I have taught simple drills such as running away from one’s firearm and running back to pick it up and try to perform with it. But that is with a known target and a known goal to achieve. When you add some critical thinking and life altering decisions to that stimulus, it’s a completely different experience.
Do you want to be a better defensive shooter? Start getting healthy. Your body’s ability to take the stress is something you’re going to rely on also. Many times in my life I’ve heard the old adage, “I carry a gun so I don’t have to run.” Good luck with that. Your ability to move and run might be what saves your own life or those of your loved ones.
I’m a big believer in being able to run your gun without looking. Always have been. Do I get caught looking at it sometimes? Absolutely. It can’t be more simple than when Rob pointed out, “for four days now all your brain has had to focus on is a boring piece of paper in front of you. Therefore of course it wants to look down at the thing that makes bang bang noises.” At the end of the class, we ran drills with glasses on that made us blind. That was an interesting experiment. The people I watched ran the gun better that way. The message: Don’t overthink something that is usually pretty simple to fix. And when the opportunity is there, move while you fix it.
The students in class were from different age groups, different skill levels, and far different backgrounds. But most of them understood that we were there to learn how to save our lives with a gun. For those that I saw Monday morning versus Thursday afternoon, their competency in handling a firearm had improved by leaps and bounds. Some were simply more refined and effective with things they were already familiar with.
Isn’t that the idea of being an expert with a firearm? Mastering the basics until it becomes second nature? Perfecting the fundamentals until you don’t have to think about it? Just do it. Learn to run your gun this way so you can focus on the things like the safest way out of here? Where is my family? Where is my threat? Fight or flight?
Rob is the first person to point out that the best gunfight is the one we don’t get into. He’s also teaching what he does the way he does because staying out of the gunfight is usually not an option.
The average “good guy/gal” with a gun only uses it when reacting to a “bad guy’s” actions or threats. The class starts there and ends there. This is the way we run a gun “always” so it will work in a gunfight.
Staying out of that gunfight or surviving the wounds that come from it are two of many other classes that Rob would suggest that you take. I like his attitude about furthering your education on many different subjects. Legal classes. Medical classes. Yoga classes. All are helpful in surviving something we hope to never experience.
No instructor will ever go unquestioned on why they picked a certain way to train. Rob Pincus is no different. The answer is never “because I told you to do it that way.” The answer is backed by facts, logic, and mechanics. “More reliable over a wider range of plausible circumstances” is Rob’s quote.
A quick search of Rob’s past posts shows 10,000 quarterbacks saying, “No overhand slide rack is needed.” Well, Gaston Glock calls it a slide stop for a reason and he knows a couple things about pistol reliability. The majority of the RSA’s energy used in chambering the next round is stored in the last distance of travel between slide lock and full rearward. Some guns don’t work well from slide stop. There are some great polymer framed carry pistols made in the USA that are famous for such issues. Why not master an overhand rack that is going to take care of most of all of your malfunctions? I can think of no good answer.
Another point Rob makes that I find very valid is about chasing after that 2/10 of a second faster performance. Usually when you try to learn a way to do some faster, it doesn’t always equal better under the circumstances that will arise during any defensive shooting.
I live in that place that he refers to as “the middle of nowhere Iowa.” It was -30 degrees last winter several times. I don’t know about you but I’m not tough enough to go out in that weather without gloves. Have you mastered your slide stop with every pair gloves you might have on? I didn’t. Is it plausible in my part of the country to be wearing gloves while wearing the gun? Absolutely. “More reliable over a wider range of plausible circumstances” applies to my lifestyle. I always have a gun on. I dictate that. When and where I will use it and how I’m dressed when that happens is not so much up to me. So I for one am a believer in Rob’s thought process.
Compare Rob to a doctor. You don’t go to a doctor to be told what you want to hear. You go to a doctor to be told what needs to be fixed. So I respectfully accept the criticism that comes with his sharp tone of voice — amongst the right crowd it will usually have some humor mixed in. It’s a great teaching strategy.
Many people have written many thorough reviews about Rob’s training throughout his PDN tour. Some reviews are very detailed regarding specific drills. I’m not going to make 10 bullet points of the best drills. The drills are solid training points you pay him for along with his charming attitude.
I would be good at presenting Rob’s well designed training program. That’s part of his training brilliance. I will pursue just such things. It’s the enthusiasm, knowledge and passion that he teaches with that would make me take the class again.
I’m a believer that being “experienced” just means being able to do what the basics are but doing so consistently well “over a wide range of plausible circumstances.”
Check out Rob’s tour on I.C.E. Training’s web site (www.icetraining.us).
A special thanks to Rob’s certified instructor Jeff Mullenmeister. Jeff was a thorough professional. He joined us for two days and served as confirmation of Rob’s great judge of character. I enjoyed them both on the range.
We will have Rob back next June so feel free to contact me at the store to learn more.
Cedar Valley Outfitters