View Full Version : Bad Habits! - My opinion of One Trainer’s Opinion – Rob!

Glenn E. Meyer
November 20, 2007, 05:35 PM
Got my issue of Swat the other day and as usual, full of interesting things. One thing that caught my eye (besides the back cover) was Rob Pincus’ article on training. I’m really interesting in training issues given that I’m a teacher and that as a F.O.G who never served in the military, training is the closest I will get to preparing from some evil incident. BTW, I do not want to ever be in an evil incident. I have no blood lust to test my skills. After deciding to have firearms, my academic bent (see my sig) led me to train and study. I also found I enjoy it. I’ve trained with KRtraining in TX (my primary guru – Karl Rehn), Insights, Andy Stanford from OPS, Massad Ayoob in LFI-1 and the Stressfire component, Tom Givens – Rangemaster, Steve Moses, NRA personal protection course and some other misc. things – like a course in Skeet. I’ve done the NTI three times to get some intense FOF and simulations. I compete each month and just shot a great carbine match with Rivercity Shooters in San Antonio. My squad mates were law enforcement, retired Marines and more FOGs! My view of this is as a FOG wanting to defend himself.

Thus, I like training. So what did Rob have say? He criticized several training trends and techniques:

Tactical Reloads – the bane of the IDPA match. Thinks they are not worth the trouble. I agree

Jiggle two hicap mags between your fingers and hope you don’t drop both. If you practice this 3500 times, you might do it fast – until you are under stress. Folks argue if the tactical is faster than the reload with retention (remove, stow, reload).

I don’t think we have ever found a case that involves a civilian in which the tac reload saved the day or when it was clear that a with retention reload would cause him or her to fail. It is much more likely that you will do a slide lock reload than a tac reload. Don’t waste so much time on. If you do have a lull, your normal motor skills can probably handle a reload with retention.

I remember doing a retention reload once in a shoot house during the NTI. It was a highly constrained circumstance. Since, I had cleared and handled the dummies, had no live opponent, and had a touch of cover before proceeding – I consciously decided to do a retention reload. It the usual FOG shoot out – if I am stuck with my 642, I’m probably going to clicky cylinder!!! If I have my Glock 19, it will be pretty intense to through 16 rounds. If I do, it will be a slide lock. That’s what I should practice – it would seem.

BTW, just to rant – the IDPA go to cover rule is also an artifact of the tac reload. I’ve seen military or police who say that reload where ever you are, on the run to where you are going. In a match where you know the COF, you can plan the tac reload and the move the cover. That going to happen in the mall when the loonies are shooting. The dreaded round dumping penalty is a natural consequence of the cover rule. Since you probably don’t know when you are going to reload against moving folk, as compared to the fierce cardboard attacker, that rule set should be dumped. Also, the 10 round limit. Too bad about California. Fight with the gun at capacity for SSP. CDP should take care of the 1911 folks ( which I do shoot).

So, bye – bye emphasis on tac reloads. I agree.

Press Checks – Is the gun loaded? Rob says that with reliable loaded chamber indicators – who needs it? Good point. Also, moving the slide a bit and guess what, the round gets mad and decides not to go back into the barrel and the gun won’t work! He saw a good deal of malfunctions with students doing that and folks covering themselves (and ME!). I saw a gentleman who when manipulating his slide turned his gun parallel to his belly (FOG!) instead of down range (wasn’t a press check drill but the same idea). He did it against despite being warned. The line of guys in class stepped back in sync in a move that would make the Rockettes proud. Needless to say, said student was chastised.

Rob recommends a test if the magazine is seated as sufficient. If you forgot to rack it (now who would do that?), or whatever it’s a good learning experience.

I learned one of my old AR-15 mags bellied up as I gave it a good tap. Three rounds came out of the ejection port. Well, that one is going into the box of old crappy gun stuff.

Announcing – I’M OUT!

Why? Reload the gun and shut up. It’s a critical incident reload. Let’s tell everybody you are out. Reload if you got ‘em. If you don’t – close the slide, the gun still may look intimidating. Get to cover.

Also, you can whack them with the gun as I learned in a class. So what is the purpose of yelling that you are out? Maybe a place in team tactics if you are truly out and your mates think that you can still shoot. Not really a FOG gun fight, though.

Speed Holstering – walking off the range and reholstering a loaded gun in a casual manner I take it. Rob argues that you reholster on the range after a threat assessment. That’s what we did at the NTI on several stages. You checked your six, etc., reloaded if needed and then reholstered with deliberation. We see reports of NDs at nationally know schools with reholstering probably that are rushed. One hole in my butt is enough.

When will you ever need to rush a reholstering? After you save the day and the cops arrive? It that case, if my gun is still out, they will probably tell me to drop it. And I will. I will not say: Officer, I am a trained FOG and I will reholster. Or I will put it down slowly as it is my $4000 Titanium 1911 Executor. I’m dropping it. At the NTI, we had a court room gun fight. The law arrived in force. I had shot a BG. I raised the gun over my head and yelled – GOOD GUY – and then followed orders.

I think analyses of training are needed. I’m lucky that the folks I’ve trained with have been careful, circumspect and not blood lusted. They teach technique and mind set with a reasonable viewpoint.

Training is an interesting issue. Most gun carriers don’t train. I came from a nongun environment so I wasn’t cursed by ‘being around guns since I was knee high to the outhouse’. That’s a point Tiger McKee makes in another excellent article in the current issue. Most CHLs just want the gun to carry in the car – where to most incidents happen? When you are driving?

Maybe training isn’t that important. Most DGUs as Kleck points out have no shots fired. My friend, colleague and list member, Dave Armstrong makes this point also. Probabilistically you don’t need training and you don’t need bullets! Haha. However, most untrained chortle on how they will win the archetypal single mugger gun fight that goes like this:

Mugger announces: I am a bad MF. I want your money.
FOG: No, you will not get it. Watch as I pull out my gun. I will kill you with one shot as that is all a Texan needs (heard by me in the big name gun store in Austin). Also, I am 6 foot and 250 pounds of Quack Duck Foo Yu training. I can handle myself.

Thus, the mugger is taken down with the inverted dragon flame move to eye or shot once in the head (as he stood still for you).

However, some FOF experience convinces me otherwise. The opponents can surround you despite your Code Chartreuse level. They can be quite big. You can miss them. Training suggests sometimes that a major hauling of ass is the best strategy (seen at an Insights FOF).

What about the esoteric gun fight? A terrorist attack with long arms, a lunatic with such? I think a raison d’etre for training is in part to handle the fight when deterrence of the single mugger goes awry or the opponent is not the money motivator singleton but a rampage killer. Two cases don’t make an unchallengeable cases but I can think of two esoteric gun fights that didn’t go well for the CHL good guy, even though they did help the innocent.

In Tyler, Texas – Mark Allen Wilson engaged David Arroyo who was on a rampage with a MAK-90. Wilson hit him with his 45 ACP and Arroyo went down. According to some reports after hitting Arroyo (who was wearing body armour) Wilson left cover and was shot. He didn’t fire or attempt a head shot. He hit the guy once. He probably had time for more shots but didn’t take them. Brendan McKown in the Tacoma Mall shooting failed to do the deed when he challenged the rampage shooter. He was shot and terrible injured. Both men were brave and did the right thing. I don’t want to criticize them for intervening. However, I think that for the armed civilian, they might have benefited from quality training that might have avoided their mistakes. I’m not saying that I would do better but I hope I would understand cover and the challenge procedures for that kind of situation.

To conclude – Rob’s article and McKee’s are on the money. A serious CHL holder needs a touch of quality training. Not all of us have been in the service. If one argues for the RKBA, there is some responsibility that goes beyond being ‘shooting all ya life’.

So – Happy Thanksgiving To All!! Get stuffed!!

November 20, 2007, 08:46 PM
Glenn ~

I agree, Rob wrote an excellent article, with solid reasons behind each of his opinions.

Although I vehemently agree with him on all counts, I do have to observe: He's gonna catch some grief about the tac reloads. :cool:

Standing by...


November 20, 2007, 09:16 PM
Tactical reloads receive an uhealthy amount of positive attention in my opinion.

Worrying about the magazine you wanted to get OUT of your gun is something you shouldn't do until you have a full magazine back IN your gun. Then if the situation warrants and you really need the one you dumped, you can pick it up.

I can't see fumbling around with the partially emptied mag in the middle of a reload. Once you dump one mag, your only priority should be getting your gun working again. Trying to deal with the partially empty mag should be WAY down on the list of priorities until after the reload is complete.

The priority of saving a partially loaded magazine should not be elevated above the critically immediate priority of saving your life--the longer you spend with a magazine out of your gun during a gunfight the less time you spend shooting, the less time you spend shooting, the better your chance of dying.

If you get killed during an unnecessarily long and complicated reload, having a partially loaded magazine in your hand or your pocket will be of very little comfort and of absolutely no use.

In my opinion, it would never have gained any significant credibility if IDPA hadn't stumbled onto it as a concrete way to distinguish themselves from IPSC.He's gonna catch some grief about the tac reloads.Yup...

November 20, 2007, 09:21 PM
As I thumbed through the magazines at Book O Bunch the other day, I stopped and read the article. I thought it was a good piece, especially on speed holstering. Nobody has ever won a fight with the fastest time back in the holster.
Tac re-loads, maybe now I can get some folks off my case about running multiple drills and not replacing a partial mag. If you're behind cover and have time, great top off, but I never understood the mentality to top off standing out in the open. It's a good way to turn your mega blaster 2000 into a one shot club. I do believe there is a place for tac reloads, just not the place that many folks teach them.

November 21, 2007, 07:00 AM
Glenn - +1 to all of your points!

The Speed Reholster is the bane of my existence - I simply CANNOT get most of my trainees to scan and deliberately reholster. One of the best shooters in my office is so fast that he literally draws, fires, decocks and reholsters in less time then it takes for most of the shooters to get a shot off. No matter what I say or do, he simply cannot keep the gun out and oriented on target - 20+ years of "shoot one, reholster" qualification has caused a training scar that I can't overcome...



November 21, 2007, 09:19 AM
I agree tac reloads are a pain. I do it every year to qualify, as well as the "DON'T YOU DARE TOUCH THE SLIDE RELEASE" stuff. Oh well.

November 21, 2007, 09:40 AM
Tac reloads can be a pain. I doubt that I would teach them in civilain schools. But they are worth knowing how to do, you never know!

November 21, 2007, 09:44 AM
I see no problems with the "press check" bit. Usually it's done as an administrative thing in the safety and comfort of your home or on the range, not while dodging incoming fire. If something does go awry, it's not difficult to recover and rebuild the gun.

Otherwise, I agree with the concepts above.

November 21, 2007, 10:39 AM
I fully agree with everyone. I think it may have it's place but who knows when. As a CCW instructor in AZ it's part of the coarse but I also tell my students that I really don't believe in them. It's like keeping a round count when your butt is at a pucker factor of 60 don't know anyone who can at that time. I tell my students I have to show you but when it comes to your life the cost of that mag is cheap drop it on the ground and get one in your gun once it's empty it's of no use to you or the BG. I try to teach the KISS method of shooting the less you have to think about the better off your are. You feet will be where they end up, your arms need to be locked put the front site on the target and squeeze the trigger. your sites are for longer distances then most of this stuff happens. Go out and make your training as real as possible cause your mind can't tell the difference between what's real and what's make believe.

Sigma 40 Blaster
November 21, 2007, 10:56 AM
I don't know guys, I like the idea of a tac reload IF you're behind some cover and you know you're running low. It just makes good sense to me to keep the mag close at hand if you know you've got more ammo in it.

In a real world situation I can see you doing these types of reloads because it's likely you will not have 4-8 mags in you belt/mag holsters. BUT if you're like me you'll have more ammo in your vehicle or home so I want to keep all of my mags without damaging them on concrete.

However if I'm out in the open and run dry I don't care about anything BUT getting another round chambered. If I can make it into my home or vehicle I know I have at least one more mag and a some more ammo.

Saying that I've only shot in one IDPA match, the qualifier. I don't remember having to do a tac reload in the open but it's been a few weeks. The ones that I remember are when you're shooting behind the walls or barrels.

Either way I think it's a nice tool to have in your bag of tricks should the need to use it ever arise, which is the whole premise of training. I fully agree with everything else, very well written critique.

Rob Pincus
November 21, 2007, 11:42 AM
Thanks for starting this thread, Glenn. And, of course, for reading S.W.A.T..

It is important to keep in mind that the article is about range habits during tactical training. The administrative (start of shift, etc) use of a press check of some kind is one thing, every time you go to the ready position is the kind of repetition that leads to doing it under stress (we've seen it in scenarios in the shoot-house after reloads, for example!).

Tac-Reload is the same deal, appropriate at some times, but not constantly on the range to the point where you rarely, if ever, do a reload from slide lock. We teach it, but only practice it in context. Slide-lock reload ("critical incident reloads) are infinitely more important to practice.

I appreciate all the feedback. 95+% of the response to this article has been positive, which is a really good sign for the realism of tactical training in general!

November 21, 2007, 11:58 AM
Press Checks – Is the gun loaded? Rob says that with reliable loaded chamber indicators – who needs it? Good point. Also, moving the slide a bit and guess what, the round gets mad and decides not to go back into the barrel and the gun won’t work!

Press checks aren't a good idea during a combat scenario, but to do pre-combat. For example in the morning when you first holster the weapon, or other cases where there is no threat but you still want to check that you gun is loaded.

David Armstrong
November 21, 2007, 05:41 PM
The basic problem with the tac load, IMO, is that it doesn't provide anything that can't be obtained better with a different technique.
Regarding I'M OUT calls: I taught when doing team ops to use COVER to announce you were out, were having trouble reloading, needing to clear a malf, etc, and use CLEAR when you were back in action. That lets those who need to know in on it and doesn't advertise problems to the BGs.

November 21, 2007, 05:51 PM
BTW, to the OP; IMO you should CYA and define your TLAs for FNGs.


Just so you'll know I'm not a total BEM, I knew all of them except for FOG and DGU.

Oh, and I hate Tac reloads too. Potentially dangerous practice if you ask me.

Capt. Charlie
November 21, 2007, 06:52 PM
We were also taught the tactical reload, but our instructors were able to actively demonstrate just how impractical they are when things really go south.

On the range, I used to pat myself on the back on my ability to count fired rounds and reload while the last round was still in the chamber. I was definitely faster than most on fire-reload-fire exercises.

Then, our instructors threw in stress factors. Along with engaging multiple targets on the move, they would throw in unexpected distractions, everything from yelling and flailing arms to even a flash bang or two.

The result every single time was that I lost count and ended up in slide lock, and I was using a 1911. Try to keep count while all that's going on with a high cap. magazine.

Now that's on the range. For a person to be able to keep even a rough count while engaging an actual threat would take one very cool customer indeed. Personally, I think there are very few people that would be able to do it.

That taught me a lesson. For the real world, I want to hear two clicks as close to simultaneous as humanly possible: the click of the empty mag hitting the pavement, followed very closely by the click of a full mag hitting the well ;).

Rob Pincus
November 21, 2007, 07:01 PM
That's great insight, CC... I went through basically the same process. Being cool on the range makes a lot of things seem easy until we get confronted with realistic situations!

For those interested, here is another thread discussing the Press Check aspect of the article:

November 22, 2007, 07:12 AM
My experiance is a bit different regarding Tac reloading-we teach our Marines to keep thier weapon in the "best condition possible". For us, that means keeping as full of a magazine as possible in the rifle. We practice tac reloads quite a bit, and it's really not too cumbersome to do. As far as retaining the partially full mag, it's a natural movement to bring the left hand down to the dump pouch, drop it there and get the hand back to the rifle. It's concievable that a Marine could end up with 6 partially full mags in the dump pouch, but we also train to reload mags whenever the opportunity presents itself and return that full mag to the mag pouch. I prefer tac reloading to speed reloading-it cuts the time out of a reload; figure out why the rifle didn't fire, realize it's out of ammo, then do the reload drill as opposed to grabbing a fresh mag when there's a lull in the shooting-all it takes is 2-4 seconds-and executing a tac reload and getting back in the fight.
Admittedly, we train for the worst possible situation so that may be overkill. Train hard, fight easy has served me well for the past 20 years, though. We train on the tac reloading with an NCO behind the shooter yelling "RELOAD RELOAD RELOAD OR YOU'RE GONNA DIE!" into his ear to add stress to the drill. If a person can do it under stress, they can do it on any range anywhere. Focus and practice are the keys.

Press checks I totally disagree with. The Beretta's have a loaded chamber indicator specifically designed for that purpose. The Gov't probably paid more for that feature. I don't see the point. Even with a weapon without a loaded chamber indicator, every shooter that knows thier weapon (and any person that owns a gun should) knows the difference in feel and sound when a round is being chambered and when it isn't. I've shot tens of thousands of rounds out of the M16/M4 and M9's and done thousands of magazine changes, and know whether a round chambered or not. If an average guy like me can do it, anyone can.
In my opinion, the press check is an unneeded extra step that has the potential to put the weapon in a worse firing condition for doing it.

just my 2 dinar

Somewhere in Iraq

November 22, 2007, 12:58 PM
My experiance is a bit different regarding Tac reloading-we teach our Marines to keep thier weapon in the "best condition possible".I think that a continuing engagement that is likely to last more than just a few minutes is where tactical reloads begin to make sense. Especially in a situation where there are multiple friendlies to offer cover and support.

Capt. Charlie
November 22, 2007, 01:35 PM
I think that a continuing engagement that is likely to last more than just a few minutes is where tactical reloads begin to make sense.
Agreed John. A citizen countering an armed threat on the streets of good ol' USA is far different than a military encounter. They require much different tactics.

By the way, Scott; I can't think of a more appropriate day to say Thank You for your service, Sir. Stay safe over there.

November 22, 2007, 09:59 PM
Welcome to the forums Glen Meyer..

Going to pointificate on tactical sitiations here as well? Go back to Glock talk..you have already stated numerous time you would not engage that would be terrorist, and turn tail, so why bother even talking about the tactics involved in a fight...

Only law enforcement throws away mags, because there is little chance that they will encounter a serious, ongoing firefight, 4 mags should do it.

For the civilian carrying a 7+1 Warthog, 1911, or even only one extra mag, a tactical reload, with or without retention is a must..

November 22, 2007, 10:33 PM
Welcome to the forums Glen Meyer...You're 7 years too late to welcome him to the forums. Mr. Meyer has been a TFL member since 2000.Go back to Glock talk..If you think you have some sort of authority here you are sadly mistaken. I strongly suggest that you stick to addressing the content of Mr. Meyer's post and forget about trying to order him or any other TFL member around.

Oh, by the way, welcome to The Firing Line.

Rob Pincus
November 23, 2007, 09:47 AM

If you have an opinion on Tactics and/or Training, please feel free to post it. Rantings and personal attacks haven't been welcome here since 1998.


November 23, 2007, 11:22 AM
Sorry I have ran into this before...logic that flies in the face of reality...Glenn....

1) If you don't want to do a tactical reload, fine, don't want retention, fine, but in the real world you don't want to run out of ammo while someone is shooting at you. Obvious Results. If some military guys tells you that they reload running down the street saying...'I'm out, I'm out, so what. Military firearms training is minimal at best anyway, pistol? Almost non existant. They don't train for CCW, or civilian situations, no real legal issues...they have buddies with them firing...the lone armed civilian is in a different circumstance...

2) If you want to reload out in the open, while someone is shooting at you, fine, be my guest. Obvious Results. If your complaining that you can't duck down and reload at an IDPA match, good for you, but I can, and do, and will...

3) Chamber indicator...who's? Glock?, one where you have to find it with your tirgger finger..basicaly useless...what about the MP, you have to look down a little hole, try that in the dark....1911, I don't have one. I think the XD is probably the best, but almost..it's moot anyway..I can tell if my gun went into battery anyway...if there is a lull I will check, but feeling around for the right side Glock indicator, racking the slide a little to check, in the dark or while someone is shooting at me, is well, just a little time consuming...yes if I have time, if not, and it's not in battery....0001 tenth of a second to rack the slide.

4) Magazine seat test, slamming a mag home hard enough the first time, should preclude this.

1,2,3,4...if you have a gun that has reliablly cycled for the last 3000 rds, no mag, seating, chambering, feed issues, then why would you take the time to all of sudden worry about this stuff, go through the motions, if it's never been a problem before. One more reason to bring a reliable, personaly tested gun to the fight. Yes crawling up on a guy, where you now have to expose yourself to an AK47 terrorist, you can best bet I will check, check, and double check, prior to running up behind him, while he is whacking people, but that's a premeditated, time on my side move...not in the heat of battle, bullets flying....

Yelling that your out, might be an IDPA thing, but yes in team deals, if you need ammo, your buddy in the tac team can throw you his extra mag. I don't operate in a team, moot point for me, and I certainly don't want to let the bad guy know that NOW is the time to for him to come around behnd that baracade and shoot me. That won't be problem for you, though as you will be out in the open, reloading for him to see that your out.

'However, some FOF experience convinces me otherwise. The opponents can surround you despite your Code Chartreuse level. They can be quite big. You can miss them. Training suggests sometimes that a major hauling of ass is the best strategy (seen at an Insights FOF).'

What if you can't run? do you think that killers and muggers are going to be sitting in wheelchairs when they roll up, that you can outrun everyone. Get it clear that no sane person wants a gunfight, but might have to step up, and putting on a pair of track shoes isn't always an option. If your not ready to fight when you have to, when running isn't an option, say to protect your family, pirates at sea, in an alley, in your home, then carrying a gun is moot point. Don't bother, your just not ready to use it.

While training might not be perfect, let's be realistic. I remember reading that you can't get knife training from a real knife fighter, they are all dead. The same might be true of gunfighters, the last of which we saw about 150 years ago. So we have to look at what has worked for others, what didn't and what is most logical, what makes sense.

If you can run, great, if you can't, you fight, or you give up, leaving your fate, and the fate of your family perhaps to the whim and will of others that are not so nice. Your choice, but you have to acknowledge this...sometimes, you have to fight, or you will die, period, running is not an option.

November 23, 2007, 12:37 PM
I guess I'm a certified "old phart" now that AARP is sending me pleadings to join up.

Tac reloads - forget the idea of retention. Reloading the gun and getting it into operation is the critical factor.

Or have people forgotten the lessons learned from the loss of four highway patrolmen at Newhall, Ca. in 1970? The primary lesson here was don't be caught dead with empties in your hand. Or rather, train how you fight, fight how you train.

(Some CHP officers were found with empty revolver brass in their hands because the CHP range taught them to drop empties into a coffee can in order to keep the range neat.)

If you've gotten yourself into an extended firefight, especially as a CCW, and you have lost track of how many shots (1,2,3...bunch), reload at your first opportunity. Worry about picking up the magazine when you have time. If I have to reload, it's time to reconsider continuing the fight vs. a tactical advance to the rear.

Press Checks:
On a range, I can understand this, occassionally. But I've long been in the habit of NOT holstering an empty gun or a gun with an empty chamber. If the gun has to be unloaded in the holster, remove the magazine. Load when appropriate and then holster. When leaving the house with a CCW piece, I know that it's loaded without needing a press-check.

The good thing about any firearm is that it allows a weak person to defend themselves against a stronger attacker or multiple attackers. Even with little training it seriously tips the scales in favor of the defender.

But how much training does one need? I think it depends on what kind of encounter you're likely to have.

For police & military a high level of training is desireable. Train solo, in pairs and in teams. Train with a good level of tactical thinking and widely varied courses of fire.

For CCW, at least a basic firearms course to learn the fundamentals of trigger squeeze, using the sights and a focus on COM shots.

Advanced CCW training, I think, should focus on CQ shooting, point shooting, multiple targets, the use of cover and reloading under stress. No fancy hostage scenes, no anti-terrorist drills.

November 23, 2007, 01:48 PM
On a range, I can understand this, occassionally. But I've long been in the habit of NOT holstering an empty gun or a gun with an empty chamber. If the gun has to be unloaded in the holster, remove the magazine. Load when appropriate and then holster. When leaving the house with a CCW piece, I know that it's loaded without needing a press-check.

Do you want to rely on your memory, checking your gun before you holster it for the day is an extra bit of security, particular if you have multiple CCW guns for different types fo clothing.

Chamber indicators can break also.

In combat a press check makes no sense, but when you are putting a already loaded gun in it's holster it's a good idea to check before you head out IMO.

November 23, 2007, 02:21 PM
Your info on military training may not be up to date. I can speak first hand about the Marine Corps Infantry training. I don't know what the other services do, though.
You said-
"Military firearms training is minimal at best anyway, pistol? Almost non existant."
Our current training requirements for deploying to OIF/OEF include qualification on different tables (table 3 for non-infantryman, table 3&4 for infantryman).
Table 3 requires about 800 rounds (5.56) to be fired at a minimum, while Table 4 needs about 500 more. Again, this is a minimum. Last year just in pre-qualification and sustainment training alone, I put 130,000 5.56 rounds through the rifles of 200 Marines.
This is all over and above regular qualification and field firing tables (300 rounds or so).
We also do partial tables with all of our sighting systems--for example, I have iron sights, an ACOG and an Aimpoint CompM3 on my M4/M203 (I don't use all at once, of course-they're mission dependant)-all are zeroed.
Admittedly, we train less with pistols (aside from annual qualification: ~200 rounds). For Marines with a rifle and pistol (SNCO's and Officers), we incorporate combat drills to augment/suppliment the rifle. Typically, we work transition drills (going to the pistol for any failure to fire on the rifle within 25 yards of the target), strong hand/weak hand draw, strong hand/weak hand failure to stop drills (it's a 9mm, after all), speed reloads, tac reloads, low light/no light shooting (with a surefire or NVG's depending on situation). We also shoot the 9mm out to 50meters, but there's not an emphasis on that. My crew put about 1500 rounds each through our pistols in preparation for this deployment.

Bottom line, I feel that we as Marines are well trained to handle just about any situation where a rifle/pistol is the appropriate tool for the job.

You also said:
"They don't train for CCW, or civilian situations, no real legal issues...they have buddies with them firing...the lone armed civilian is in a different circumstance..."
True, to a point. We do have restrictions on shoot/no shoot over here (I can't go into specifics-ROE's are not something releasable). It's safe to say that we always have the right to defend ourselves. There are situations that we could potentially find ourselves alone. I'm part of a small training/transition team and we're some time away from help. Beyond that, urban combat is a very confusing and fluid environment, and people become separated.

But, we're getting off the original point of the thread. We were talking about tac reloads and press checks. What is the harm in doing a tac reload with magazine retention? True, average joe won't "need" it, but the truth is that the average joe doesn't live in a threatening enough environment to "need" to carry a firearm (that statement will probably get me in trouble-for the record-I am for concealed carry for anyone not legally prevented from doing so-mentally ill and felons are good examples- and I'm a staunch believer in gun ownership/posession as guaranteed to us in the second amendment). In my view, carrying a firearm is a last-resort / worst case tool. If I'm going to go as far as carrying a firearm for potential worst case, it just makes sense to me to train to use that firearm in the worst case it could potentially be needed.
I'd rather know it and not need it than need it and not know it.

Somewhere in Iraq

November 23, 2007, 02:37 PM
+1 Scott

I can also say that my unit teaches CCW during our initial skills training course (a 14 hour block of instruction for CCW) you go through when you first arrive to the unit. We also dedicate a percentage of spin up and attend civilian training course specifically for the CCW training. When you are carrying concealed in other countries there is a real legal concern and it is often a PITA.

Rob Pincus
November 23, 2007, 04:18 PM
I know I get a lot of SF/NSW students doing CCW and ECQT training.....

November 25, 2007, 09:06 PM
All good points, though I'd observe that the "press check" in one form or another, can be done safely and competently, and does serve a genuine purpose on older gun designs like the 1911 & P35, though it's a "do it if in doubt" action, not a mandatory or frequent activity, nor certainly something to be doing "when the action starts".

The trouble with all "rule sets" and backlash "counter-rule sets" is that no rule applies always, under any and all conditions, not even the venerated Four Rules.

David Armstrong
November 28, 2007, 10:32 AM
For the civilian carrying a 7+1 Warthog, 1911, or even only one extra mag, a tactical reload, with or without retention is a must..
On the contrary, the tactical reload is one of the least important skills needed. As mentioned, it provides nothing that can't be achieved as good or better with another technique. Even in the military (where the potential need for a tactical reload is at least possible) the reload with retention serves the same job in a more efficient and effective manner.
The same might be true of gunfighters, the last of which we saw about 150 years ago.
Once again we see a lack of understanding the reality of the world. Lots of true gunfighters have been around in the last 150 years, some are still around today, and some are still gunfighting.

December 1, 2007, 09:28 PM
Nice article as usual, Rob. You're doing your part which makes it easier for the rest of us. Thanks.


I see no reason to press check your own firearm having just reloaded it. I see it as a "tactical security blanket" to be grown out of like a kid does his wubby.
Another's you may have aquired for what ever reason? Sure.

I agree that tac-reloads belong in the realm of ongoing engagements and should be trained in that context. Not training for that? Then don't spend much time on it; there are better skill sets to hone.

Rob Pincus
December 7, 2007, 12:09 PM
Thanks, Erik... its been a controversial article.. some have missed the point that I was trying to get at: Stop doing things "just because" and make sure that you've thought them through to examine their validity and/or are at least training them in context.

For those of you who are interested in Subscribing (or renewing your subscription) to S.W.A.T, the magazine is offering a new training DVD that I taped this fall for FREE as a promotion:

For a limited time, S.W.A.T. Magazine is offering a free DVD entitled "Tactical Pistol Training Tips".

This DVD is over an hour long and retails for $24.95... it was taped this fall at The Valhalla Training Center and focuses on ways to make your defensive pistol training better when you're at the range. Drills, Techniques and Target Types are all covered.

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December 11, 2007, 08:31 PM
Hey, Rob.

I agree about the whole "press check" thing. I load or unload.

I don't totally agree, or may even disagree with your other points, but I understand reasons why you may hold them. I also believe somewhat different skill sets- other than doing the obvious "hit the enemy"- may be needed for CCW and military use.

FWIW, when I was "regreening" before deployment at Benning last May, I was told the M9 qual was about as rudimentary as you could get.


John Shirley