Thursday, August 5, 2010
Kevin R. Davis
Ain’t no do-overs on the street. Screw up a report and your supervisor may kick it back. Mishandle the legal or procedural issues of a call for service and you may get reprimanded or disciplined. Approach or handle a suspect or call poorly or without sound tactics and you may get your butt handed to you—or worse.
Being well rounded in law enforcement is vital because we communicate with citizens far more than we fight with them. You must prioritize and ensure that your core skills—fighting, shooting and driving—are trained and maintained.
Joe Hyams, in his book, Zen in the Martial Arts (Bantam, 1982), relates a story about training to be better. Hyams was constantly being beaten by a fellow student in sparring practice and approached his instructor about what he could do to beat his opponent. His Sensei told him to "extend his line" instead of attempting to break the line of skill of his opponent. In other words, don’t focus on the skill of your opponent; train and improve, and victory will take care of itself.
Many times the training offered by our agencies is lacking or the time insufficient for real skill building. What can you do?
There are excellent trainers and authors who offer everything from books on shooting techniques to hands-on suspect control, and firearms and driving courses. But buyer be aware. Always vet the credentials of your instructor. There are frauds and charlatans who will take your money, but their teachings are suspect. That said, the following are excellent training resources for future study.
- Brian Willis at Winning Mind Training: He’s edited some excellent books and conducted some awesome training courses. W.I.N.: Insights into Training and Leading Warriors, W.I.N.2, and his new book If I Knew Then: Life Lessons From Cops on the Street, which includes 37 essays from 30 different trainers (including yours truly), are available at www.warriorspiritbooks.com.
- Rob Pincus: I first met Rob Pincus when he was director of training at Valhalla, a state-of-the-art training center in Colorado. When Valhalla closed its doors, Rob set out on his own with I.C.E. Training. I.C.E. stands for integrity, consistency and efficiency. Pincus is a straight-forward, speak-the-truth trainer. I was challenged in Pincus’ training and learned from my mistakes, which is what training is all about. Rob has a new book out, Combat Focus Shooting, which is available at www.icetraining.us. The book puts forth Rob’s thoughts on combat shooting and is a good place to prime yourself for his courses which are taught nationwide. Pincus will challenge you and your conventional thoughts on shooting.
- Chris Costa and Travis Haley: Just like everyone else in law enforcement, I struggle with getting the training I need based on my schedule and the associated costs. Therefore, when I saw a new DVD come out from the training division of Magpul, I ordered my copy of The Art of the Tactical Carbine. Chris Costa and Travis Haley, Magpul’s CEO, lead you through excellent material on the care, feeding and operation of the M-4 style carbine. Volume 2 followed and then a handgun DVD, The Art of Dynamic Handgun, came out. With stellar production these are some of the best firearms training DVDs on the market. Visit www.magpuldynamics.com to order the DVDs or to do the hands-on training courses.
- Ron Avery: He’s a professional shooter of some repute (his titles are too numerous to list). Avery’s ability as an instructor is what brings high-speed, low-drag units to seek his services. He not only walks the walk—or shoots the shot—he can teach you how to do it, which is the sign of a master instructor. Avery has some of the best videos in the business. Secrets of a Professional Shooter a three-part training series, which is available online. But for the best bang, literally, attend Avery’s hands-on training courses on his website, www.practicalshootingacademy.com. I’ve attended an Avery course and his ability to diagnose a shooter and make suggestions is second to none.
- Pat Rogers: Although I’ve never met Rogers, who’s from E.A.G. Tactical, I’ve corresponded with him and read his articles about carbines, of which he's an expert. Rogers is a former Marine chief warrant officer and retired N.Y.P.D. sergeant. He served with that agency’s E.S.U. Rogers is likely to bring his traveling, carbine training show to your town. Schedules are available at www.eagtactical.com.
- U.S. Training Center: Formerly Blackwater, the U.S. Training Center has some truly amazing facilities in Moyock, N.C. I went to the company’s facility shortly after it opened, when the National Tactical Officers Association had its conference in the area, and used Blackwater’s facilities. In 2008, I returned to attend a Mossberg shotgun event. With American and foreign military units that can’t be named using the facilities as well as police officers from around the country, I can’t say enough about the instruction and facilities. Officer survival, pistol, carbine, shotgun and you-name-it tactical and firearms training can be found at the facility. Two low-cost DVD’s, Basic Pistol and Defensive Shotgun, are available at www.proshop.blackwaterusa.com. I’ve watched both. The production, as well as the instruction, is exceptional.
The path to enlightenment is taken one step at a time. It may be a slow progress, but it's movement forward. The same holds true for your skill at arms. Law enforcement street warriors must forever train, study and practice.
Don’t wait on your department to train you. Find your own training. Now, more than ever, there are excellent training programs available to you. Just be careful and always vet the instructor.
By extending your training line you increase your ability to win on the street. Make it happen!