One Size Does Not Fit All

26-Dec-14 – 04:28 by ToddG

After being offline for so long this year, I’d forgotten just how often people insist that there is only One Way when it comes to shooting. It’s not the guy who says “this pistol works best for me” that bothers me. It’s the guy who insists it will work best for everyone if they’d just give it a try. The same is true for techniques from drawing to reloads to pressing the trigger.

NoBlurb_atheists2For some crazy reason, there are enthusiasts out there who go from being shooters to being apostles. They’ll proselytize their One True Whatever to the point where they care more about creating converts than they care about stuff like, you know, shooting better.

It’s even worse when it’s an instructor trying to shove his personal favorite down his students’ throats. Hey look, if you love the Zippenfaster 9000, shoot the heck out of it and show your students how awesome you are with it. But if you spend more time bugging them about changing guns than you do teaching them how to shoot the ones they brought to class, you might be a moron.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your gun, your grip technique, your preferences are the same as someone else’s. Maybe your eyesight, your grip strength, your lifestyle is different than the guy standing next to you on the firing line. It’s perfectly ok to have your favorite. It’s awesome that you’ve figured out what works best for you. For you. But unless you really understand why it works for you so well and unless you understand why it might not be the best solution for other people with different gear and different priorities, don’t be so quick and so sure that it’s universally the best.

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG

(cartoon from

Happy Holidays!

25-Dec-14 – 00:01 by ToddG


Hardware vs Software

24-Dec-14 – 03:25 by ToddG

Does hardware or software matter the most, Todd?

Yes they do, Other Todd. Yes they do.

An accepted truism among shooters is that it’s better to use software (skill building) than hardware (changing equipment) to solve problems. And usually, that’s true. Beginners in particular are too quick to jump from gun to gun and widget to widget trying to buy skill when they don’t even have a strong enough grasp of the fundamentals to know what they need to improve. That’s why they end up with a safe full of different guns and a closet full of holsters and sights and accessories… without really becoming any better at the basics of making bullets go in the right direction with speed and purpose.

But we can get so trapped in the mindset of “don’t solve a software problem with a hardware solution” that we ignore facts: sometimes it really is the hardware causing the problem.

Earlier this year I decided to re-dedicate myself to shooting traditional double action (aka “DA/SA”) pistols as I did for all the years before I started doing the endurance tests. I settled on a brace of SIG P229s and happily prepared for what looked like a very fun year of rebuilding and improving the software.

Then life intervened and I was thrown a little curve in terms of shooting. But I stuck with the amazing P229s I had with hopes of accomplishing everything I’d wanted to at the beginning of the year. But things were harder than I expected and after almost two months of trying to make the P229 work for me it was clear that manipulating the double action trigger was just something I couldn’t yet do effectively.

Will it come back in time? Eventually, sure. But for now, if I’m going to carry a gun every day it needs to be something that works now, not eventually. So I’m falling back on a hardware solution — switching to a different type of pistol — because that’s what I need if I’m going to depend on a gun in an emergency.

But for two months I walked around with a gun that I could barely make function. I was as hardheaded about “software not hardware!” as a lot of serious shooters can be. And most of the time, that’s the right attitude. But sometimes, alas, changing hardware may be the only practical solution. At the end of the day it’s more important to have something that works for you.

So how do you figure out whether it’s hardware or software holding you back? I’ve said for years that 95% of shooters think they’re in the top 5%. It’s very easy to convince yourself that you’ve maxed out on the software side. My advice if you reach that point is to give the hardware one more chance. Take 500 rounds or one month (whichever takes longer) with your current setup. Make a genuine commitment to get better with it. And if you still find yourself at a plateau you can’t break through even after you’ve played with your technique and tried to find a way to solve the issue with software, then ask yourself if there is honestly a limit being hit because of the hardware. If you determine that yes, it’s the hardware that’s holding you back then go ahead and see what changes you can make to break through that plateau.

Worst case scenario, you’ll end up with an addition to that safe full of guns and that closet full of widgets and accessories. You know you want to…

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG


20-Dec-14 – 01:33 by ToddG


He gets out the driver’s side front door, goes back in through the driver’s side rear door, then hangs upside down out the passenger side rear door. Because being in the driver’s seat would be too dangerous. Words escape me. 

Watch the entire video. There’s even an honest-to-God tactical roll.

Free hat to the funniest comment left by 11:59pm EST Sunday 21-Dec-14.

Thanks to Eli for posting the video at

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG


16-Dec-14 – 15:49 by ToddG just had its nine millionth visitor.

Hey Gaston! That’s more than the entire population of Austria.

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG

PTC Target 2.0

12-Dec-14 – 11:44 by ToddG

NTCNational Target has a new website and has once again set up a dedicated page for the latest version of the target.

This highly modified “Q” style target is designed to be compatible with  every drill I use while teaching and almost every drill listed on this website. Within the next few weeks I’ll be compiling a specific list of drills for training with this target.


Train hard & stay safe! ToddG


Big in…

12-Dec-14 – 10:36 by ToddG

It’s amazing what you see when checking where a hundred or so visitors came from in the course of a few hours:

Which of course would make anyone think of…

YouTube Preview Image

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG

Nor I

12-Dec-14 – 02:39 by ToddG

Tam talks Russian roulette: I literally can’t even.

“Court documents say other party-goers warned Saye that a semi-automatic pistol would not work for the game.”

They were probably trying to decide who was right in a debate over a lightsaber cross guard.

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG


10-Dec-14 – 00:01 by ToddG

My family consists of pretty well educated, intelligent, and fair-minded people. Nonetheless, recent events regarding law enforcement use of force (UOF) — Ferguson, NYC, etc. — have thrown into stark relief just how much their ideas of right & wrong, reasonable & unreasonable are based on fictional television events rather than reality.

FBI-DEA-HAFOFMany years ago while I was still in law school, I had a tremendous opportunity to test that issue. For a project in one of my criminal law classes I was invited by the DEA tactical training cadre to bring half my class (and professor) down to the FBI/DEA “Hogan’s Alley” force on force training village in Quantico, Virginia. This was during the time that Waco & Ruby Ridge were being investigated by DOJ and federal law enforcement UOF rules were under severe scrutiny.

Our group was put through a number of exercises ranging from the classic Tueller drill (attacker 21 feet away charges at you with a knife) to team room-clearing.

A few days later I had to present my paper to the entire class. The half that attended the force on force (FOF) exercises sat on the left side of the room and the other students sat on the right.

Just a few minutes into my presentation I brought up the danger of a knife wielding attacker. The right side of the room grew indignant immediately and argued that someone twenty-one feet away — the length of an entire room — simply couldn’t be a deadly threat to someone with a gun. Before I could even reply, the left side of the room erupted in angry shouts: “You’ve never been there!

Next we discussed opening a closet door to find a stranger holding a pistol that was pointed down toward the ground. Again the students on the right side of the room insisted he couldn’t be  threat because he wasn’t pointing the gun at anyone. And again the left side of the room lost its collective mind: “Do you have any idea how fast someone can point a gun at you from that position? It’s faster than you can see it and respond before you get shot!

It was the easiest presentation I’ve ever given. I’d just toss out a scenario and the folks who’d actually experienced the fear (and pain) of making a mistake when violence was present did all the arguing for me.

The lesson was pretty clear. On television, good guys can yell, “Stop! Police!” and if the bad guys don’t stop, the good guys always have plenty of time, distance, and ability to shoot them. But when it’s dark and you’re in a cramped hallway and you don’t know what’s around the corner, suddenly things aren’t so easy to predict…

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG

(image courtesy of wikipedia)

Quote of the Day, Smooth & Fast Edition

27-Nov-14 – 13:11 by ToddG

From my friend Jack “Failure2Stop” Leuba in another slow is smooth, smooth is fast discussion on

My problem is with the phrase itself with regard to being “fast” in a competitive field.

I do want to point out that interpersonal conflict with kinetic weapons is a competitive event (before anyone gets fixated on that), in which there is generally not a second place award.

So very awesome.

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG