In Combatives, Rest Day/Theory

September 28, 2012

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E.M. Burton is introduced to firearms over a two-day combative pistol course and learns a lot about weapons, self-defense and fitness.

I saw a picture on Facebook the other day of two possible responses a woman has to a violent attack. In one, the woman is cowering in terror, arms above her head in an attempt to shield herself in what we can only guess will be a losing battle.

In the adjacent image, we see the same woman with a calm demeanor, head high, eyes open and fixed at close range, her hands firmly gripped on a pistol aimed at her threat. Her finger is on the trigger.

Which woman will survive this attack?

Betting folks will go with the gun.

I’ve awoken in the middle of the night to find an intruder in my darkened home. I managed to utter one word in a firm and low voice: “Leave.” I was lucky; he did. Had he not made that choice, I likely would have had to wait out the seemingly interminable minutes it would have taken for help to arrive, if indeed I was able to make the 911 call.

What if I hadn’t been so lucky?

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7 Comments on “Mastering the Art of Self-Defense: A Beginner’s Guide to Pistol Combatives”


wrote …



Ian Carver wrote …

My Special Enforcement Detail (SED/SWAT) has gone through several rifle and handgun courses in the goal of developing an already good skill set to "better". We are busy, full time team in a very busy metropolitan area. Our experience level is high, in training and operationally – we train a lot and we work a lot. We've trained with a lot of good instructors, but Jeff stands out.

Last winter we had Jeff bring the TriCon magic to our team and it was phenomenal. We spent several cold, wet days on our range in what was the best advanced rifle course we've been to. There was no downtime at all, the stress level was high, and the expectations higher. Jeff's courses are designed for gunfighters with the R&D phase being top tier NSW and Spec Ops personnel downrange. Our course was graded, and despite as good as we were, it wasn't easy to pass the course. As Jeff said, "If I will fail my own teammates, don't expect any favors from me on your end." - 'nuff said. In the end, we all came out even better than when we started.

The combination of CrossFit and tactical weapons manipulation is a potent force multiplier. Our team has been using CrossFit as it's PT every Wed. at my gym, outside, or on the range in brutally taxing "run n' shoot" events for the past couple of years now. As mentioned, the ability of the CrossFit athlete to process and work through complex tasks is superior to that of many non-CrossFit types. In the TriCon course, as well as other PT/Shooting courses we have run with SED and non-SED personnel, we see the CrossFit tactical athletes able to handle stress better, remain cool, calm and focused on task at hand, control the physiological responses so their combat actions remain unaffected, retain fine motor skills, cognitive functions, and situational awareness, and have much more perseverance in "the fight". The physiological and psychological stress we work through in a brutal WOD benefits us in places we would never have thought possible. It makes our real world work in full kit for multiple hours or days much easier. “The more we sweat in peace, the less we bleed in war”, right?!

All that being said, Jeff also possesses the ability to advanced personnel and/or teach from the ground up to a newcomer to weapons and tactical shooting. Don’t think it will be easy, but you can bet you will be light years ahead of most folks going through the local gun courses and even other “expert” courses. Combine that level of instruction with a guy with a great personality and attitude, and a fellow CrossFit tactical athlete, and you have a recipe for fun and rewarding course.

I don't make any bones about it - with all the budget cuts and short hands on the front lines of Law Enforcement, people better start believing in viable self-defense. That means knowing how to properly use a weapon and knowing how to protect yourself unarmed, a la SPEAR and Tony Blauer's simple and highly effective concepts. Criminals are getting more brazen and more violent towards all class of civilians. Learn to be part of the solution and not the problem -don't be a soft target, mentally or physically!

Nice work to E.M. on tackling her fears and becoming a competent weapons handler! You are no longer part of the “victim class”, you are now a hard target!

Keep up the great work, Jeff!


replied to comment from Ian Carver

Ian, thank you for your thoughtful response. I have to say I second you, without wanting to sound like a sycophant, on your comments with respect to Jeff and Trident Concepts.

I was very fortunate. All the best, martha


wrote …

great article ! awesome parallels between what skills it takes to fire a weapon and how a lot of things done in crossfit training aid in that.


wrote …

Hey Ian, thanks for the kind words. It is always great to work with your team, hard chargers and a great bunch. Look forward to being back out there later this month. Until then, be safe.


replied to comment from Diva Richards

Thanks Diva, much appreciated. --martha


wrote …

Such an informative piece about an athletic skill. Thank you.

Here is another point of view whose classic expression is found in Shooting to Live, written by the Shanghai police officer William Fairbairn to train the Special Operations Executive for missions in Europe. The United States Marine Corps now keeps it in print.

Fairbairn advises that if you want to defend yourself, get a dog and a police whistle. The pistol use he recommends for attackers is to get it out as soon as possible and start firing as soon as the muzzle is clear of your body. Point it instinctually from the core and fire until the magazine is empty.

That is, you shouldn't wear the thing unless you now plan to kill without giving the matter further thought.

The people you trained with elected to serve in wars we elect to fight. If you did come from a gun culture, learning to shoot as your instructors did, you would have met many other people who have thought it through and decided to stop having the things around. In that culture are many people who have killed because they had no choice and now would rather have nothing to do with it.

The whole matter is a moral conundrum. There is no generally applicable right answer. But many shooters, including the ones who fought Hitler, disagree with your instructors both on technique and on attitude.

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