Leadership Tips For An Expert

This is especially important for anyone who wished to become a regional coordinator for the ShieldWall Network and develop your own franchise.

I am a strong proponent of the United States Marine Corps Leadership Principles and Traits. I have multiple copies of this list and read it daily.

Although I strive to apply these to my daily leadership responsibilities, I have adapted these principles to my duties as a firearms instructor. I would like to share these, as well as some other principles and traits I have learned.

1. KNOW YOURSELF AND SEEK IMPROVEMENT

Before you step into the classroom or range, you must know yourself and seek improvement. What are your strengths and weaknesses? What are you doing to fix your weaknesses and build upon your strengths?

One great way to hold yourself accountable is to always provide and promptly review course critiques and evaluations. Of course, you can’t make everyone happy, but if you review class critiques with an open mind, you will learn instructional traits – both positive and negative – about yourself you didn’t know.

2. PREPARE FOR EVERY TRAINING PROGRAM

Leadership also starts well before the training. You must formulate solid lesson plans and courses of fire that are not only challenging and effective teaching techniques, but also address case law and agency expectations.

The majority of your time should be spent during the preparation phase. You must clearly articulate the learning goals and objectives of the training with the other instructors, as well as the methodology of instruction and your expectations.

Any and all lesson plans or materials should be disseminated to all involved instructors in advance of the training. This will help you earn credibility and respect from the other instructors by keeping them informed. Ask for feedback on your lesson plans well before training occurs. Make sure your vision of the training outcome has transferred over to the written word of your lesson plan.

3. MAINTAIN TACTICAL AND TECHNICAL PROFICIENCY

Whatever you are teaching, you must know the lesson plan and how to perform those techniques upon demand. As an instructor you must be tactically and technically proficient.

If an instructor is repeatedly asked questions and does not have the answers, the students will go elsewhere to find their information and the uninformed instructor will develop a poor reputation. If you are not clear on the lesson plan, ask.

This not only goes for the facets of the Combat Triad of marksmanship, gun handling and combat mindset, but it holds true to instructor methodology, classroom and range management as well as administrative functions. As unromantic as the administrative tasks are, you must be proficient.

4. GIVE UP CONTROL TO GAIN CONTROL

One failing that I have as a lead instructor is giving up control. I am very particular when it comes to my lesson plans and content and I have a specific plan in my head on how things will look. I need to learn that by giving up control, you actually gain control.

To develop responsibility among the assistant instructors, I ask which sections of the lesson plan they would like to be responsible for instructing. I usually ask instructors to teach something they need to develop more expertise. This forces them to know themselves and seek improvement.

5. DECISIVENESS ON THE RANGE

From time to time you may need to make sound and timely decisions. These decisions could range from when to take a lunch break to the prioritization of the content, or when to remove an unsafe shooter from the range. Decisiveness on the range must be prompt, so make the decision. Improper judgment in regard to an unsafe shooter or even inclement weather could be devastating. Have the ability to weigh facts and possible solutions on which to base sound, informed decisions.

6. MEET OR EXCEED APPEARANCE STANDARDS

Setting the example is where we get the most traction. Appearance goes a long way and command presence does exist on the range and in the classroom. An instructor that shows up wearing a uniform that their cat slept on the night before will instantly lack credibility. Whereas the instructor that has a pressed and creased uniform with shined boots will develop a leader/follower relationship much faster than the “Soup Sandwich.” If you are instructing in an academy setting you should meet and exceed the academy uniform and appearance standards that the students must adhere to.

7. WEAR THE SAME EQUIPMENT AS STUDENTS

An instructor should also wear the same equipment as the students. This means duty gear and body armor, anything less is lazy and demonstrates an aura of entitlement. Wearing an off-duty rig when teaching students who are wearing duty gear can drive a wedge in the leader/follower relationship.

The students aren’t stupid and know that you will be faster with off-duty gear, and a student may challenge you on it. Don’t put yourself in the position where you would need to defend yourself. Wearing the same equipment in the same conditions as the students builds credibility.

8. DEMONSTRATE COURSES OF FIRE

The firearms instructor should also demonstrate the courses of fire. You must ensure that assigned tasks are understood, supervised and accomplished. Conducting demonstrations is better than telling the students. Students must truly understand what you are requesting of them.

Some instructors refuse to demo drills. They feel that if they don’t shoot well they will lose credibility.

As an assistant instructor at a fairly big name shooting school, I did so poorly demonstrating a specific course of fire that it still bothers me to this day. I was trying to go too fast and impress the students, but failed miserably. I lost a lot of credibility and respect from the other instructors and students. I lost the credibility because instead of seeking and taking responsibility for my actions, I gathered the pieces of shattered ego and slinked off the line. If I would have explained that I was trying too hard and shot it again, I may have been able to repair my credibility and ego.

9. LEAD THROUGH EXAMPLE

When setting the example, you are never too important to do the menial tasks. You should be shagging ammo, setting up the range, hanging targets and most importantly, cleaning up brass. I hate it too, especially as I get older, but I don’t care if you didn’t fire a round. Setting the example means brassing with the troops. Getting dirty and then showing up the next day in a pristine uniform will also build respect.

10. KNOW AND CARE FOR YOUR STUDENTS

A good instructor knows the nuances of every group of students. Every group has a specific “temperature.” Are you instructing an understaffed graveyard team that was working a late high-priority call or academy cadets who have a certain expectation of how they should be treated?

Conduct a little recon before class to help you adjust your teaching style. The lesson plans must stay the same, but the delivery should be altered to fully benefit the students.

Make sure you give the students sufficient breaks to warm up or cool down. I understand we should be training in poor environments, but sometimes you will figuratively lose the students or the conditions can become unsafe.

11. BE DEPENDABLE

Do what you say you will do, both for students and other members of the instructor cadre. This means getting to the venue early and leaving late. Have the training venue fully prepared and ready to begin training at the scheduled start time. Range or classroom set up should never occur on student training time.

12. BE PROFESSIONAL, BUT DON’T BE A JERK 

You must be unselfish and professional. As you know, there is a lot of arrogance and negative ego in this industry. There are instructors who think they are better than the students and the rest of the instructor cadre.

Being a firearms instructor is not about you. It is about the students. If at any time you think you are better than anyone else or hold yourself above the training mission and the students, you need to pack your stuff and get off my range.

Smart aleck remarks and speaking in movie quotes can create a positive learning environment as long as it stays professional. It is very easy to take a joke too far on the range. Keep it fun, but never degrading or demeaning, because you can lose a lot of students very quickly.

13. STAY LOYAL AND FAITHFUL

Be faithful to your agency philosophies and mission. Have faith in the lesson plans and the methodologies you are teaching. If you put down anyone or anything in your agency, it is unprofessional; you may lose the student’s respect.

Be loyal to the cause publically, even if you don’t agree with everything. If you don’t agree with your agency’s decision or direction, don’t complain about it. Be part of the solution and make positive changes that benefit everyone.

14. ACT WITH COURAGE

It takes a tremendous amount of courage to disqualify a member of the command staff or even a friend. If you don’t appropriately address those issues and others see or hear about it, you will lose integrity.

Courage can also mean staying late with a problem shooter so they don’t leave the range with a negative performance issue gnawing at them. It can also mean helping someone that you may have personal unfavorable feelings toward.

15. MONITOR YOUR OWN NEEDS

Working the range can be physically and mentally taxing. Have the mental and physical endurance to withstand the pain, stress and hardships of the range. After you check your students and other instructor’s welfare, make sure you check your own. Be sure you are snacking and drinking water. By satisfying your needs after your students, you help your endurance.

16. DEBRIEF EVERY TRAINING

I also conduct an instructor debriefing after a training session and cover what the instructor cadre could improve upon, including me. If you are the lead instructor, surround yourself with assistant instructors that will call you out and hold you responsible.

17. LOVE WHAT YOU DO

I love to teach and I am very passionate about it. I believe my enthusiasm spreads to the students and other instructors. Physically exuding your excitement about the lesson plan and courses of fire has a contagious effect. So have fun out there, the majority of your students will follow your lead.

18. TAKE INITIATIVE

The biggest violation of initiative I see as a lead instructor is the assistants doing nothing. Standing behind your four shooters and not interacting with them is not teaching. Interact with them. There is usually something that can be done.

19. RECOGNIZE SUCCESS AND MISTAKES

You should have a common practice for reward and punishments. Justice is administering those rewards and punishment in a tactful manner. I like to stop everything to acknowledge successes.

Punishments are different depending on your audience. At in-service, I speak to the individual alone, using tact. I am firm, fair and, most importantly, consistent. Things change at an academy level. I am still firm, fair and consistent, but the cadets pay the penance as a team. I will join them for minor infractions that are deserving of push-ups on the range.

I do not participate in disciplinary tasks at the academy level for major infractions. For the major infractions, we send them on runs. This is the opportunity for the cadet formal and informal leadership to take charge, and own their mistakes and develop a sense of responsibility. If the cadets do not own it, their peers will usually help them understand.

20. ALWAYS LEARN

All of these traits and principles are inconvenient, because leadership is inconvenient. All of these principles and traits come from lessons learned. Some are from positive experiences, but more often they are from negative experiences. I did not say failure because as a leader you are either successful or you learn. Learn from your mistakes. See everything as an opportunity to learn.

If you habituate these 20 traits and principles, you should earn credibility and respect. Having the rapport and respect of your students will help you deliver the content much more effectively. In doing so, you allow your students to accomplish great things and that is the truest form of servant leadership.

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Molot Short-Barrel Shotgun – Get them before they’re gone!

The Molot shotguns and rifles are in limited stock due to the U.S. sanctions imposed some time ago. There are already a number of models that are out of stock, and there is no telling how much longer this short barrel shotgun will last.

This semi-auto short barrel shotgun with a folding stock is imported from the Molot factory in Russia. Vepr 12 shotguns are semi-automatic designed for self-defense, hunting, and 3-gun competitions. Based on the RPK standard, the Vepr 12 shares the same legendary characteristics of extreme reliability in harsh conditions as the RPK.

Folding Stock
Featuring a factory short barrel, Left-side folding tubular buttstock with cheek rest and sling loop, competition magazine well, one (each) factory 8-round and 5-round magazine included, RPK style windage adjustable rear sight, hinged dust cover with a Picatinny rail, original AK enhanced safety lever (single finger operation), factory chrome lined barrel, chamber, receiver shaft, and gas chamber, factory last round bolt hold open, factory threaded barrel, factory machined bolt assembly, and gas blocks. US factory made parts: polymer lower handguard and upper handguard, pistol grip, trigger, hammer, disconnector, and gas puck.
James Reeves reviews the SBS!
James Reeves from TFBTV had the opportunity to come and shoot the SBS for a video review. Check it out!

HOLSTER BUTCHERY

BY TOM MCHALE

Taking a Dremel tool to a firearm is almost always frowned upon. And I agree.

However, butchering a holster might be entirely appropriate, depending on the reason. The other day I shared a story about how the extremely challenging Air Marshal Pistol Qualification test exposed some opportunities for gear improvement. The need for top speed leaves no room for even the slightest hang-up caused by equipment issues.

Well, that started a dangerous binge. No, I didn’t subject any firearms to Dremel abuse. However, I did complete some very minor and gentle performance modifications to an old Crossbreed SuperTuck Deluxe IWB holster. In other words, I hacked the crap out of it with scissors and power tools.

It doesn't look pretty, but it sure is functional.

Here’s why. This particular holster is for a Beretta PX4, and I’ve dug it out of the drawer-o-holsters to use with a Beretta PX4 Compact Carry 9mm pistol. It’s a smaller gun, so everything is a bit closer together. The grip is shorter, so it’s harder to get a perfect hold while the gun is holstered. If you don’t, you’ll have to tweak your grip while extracting, rotating, and raising the pistol. That’s a bad thing. What I found was that my fingers were being obstructed by the leather back panel and that my middle finger knuckle was jamming into part of the Kydex shell. That definitely fouls up any opportunity for a perfect draw.

Post surgery, both leather and Kydex were well out of the way of my normal grip.

Cut but don’t compromise holster safety

So, feeling industrious, I got some heavy-duty scissors and performed my own “combat cut” to remove leather from under the entire grip area. I then broke out the Dremel tool (gasp!) and ground out a rounded cut to make room for my middle finger. Hey, it’s not as bad as it sounds. I did take care to use the felt polishing wheel to smooth out my surgical cuts after shredding plastic with a sanding drum. By the way, the sanding drum, while not approved by the Leather Workers of America Guild, does a reasonable job of repairing rough scissor cuts on leather. Just sayin’.

Voila! This custom rig now allows a quick and smooth draw with absolutely no interference. The “combat cut” in the leather allows all fingers to go where they need to on the grip and my middle finger knuckle no longer jams into the Kydex shell. It doesn’t look pretty, but I figure it’s concealed anyway, so who cares?

All finished!

The moral of the story is simple. With the exception of pairing Dremel tools and firearms, don’t be afraid to tweak your gear if it will give you better function. Holsters, magazine carriers, belts, and even guns are simply tools. If some surgery (with professional gunsmith assistance for firearm work!) can make them perform better for your needs, then don’t worry about altering the shiny factory finish.

source

Tactical Pistol Refresher

Pictured: ShieldWall Network Coordinator Billy Roper exhibits his BUG (back up gun) for everyday concealed carry (ECC) usage. 

A difference exists between typical Bullseye marksmanship and tactical shooting. However, the fundamentals remain the same. How we apply them is where we see a division.

Bullseye shooting, or a focus on marksmanship, is typically accomplished on a clear, flat range with a small bullseye-style target set at a specific distance, such as the NRA B8 25-yard target featuring a 5½-inch bullseye. The shooter ensures their upright, Weaver-style, semi-bladed stance is perfect, and a natural point of aim with the target is obtained. Their firearm is presented in a methodical manner, and they take the time to ensure the sights are perfectly aligned. The trigger is slowly squeezed rearward as the shooter’s vision bounces back and forth between their sights and the target, making minute changes to their sight alignment and point of aim prior to the shot. When the shot goes off, the shooter prefers to be surprised. This minimizes any chance of anticipation or flinch, which could disturb their sight alignment. Bulls-eye shooters generally rely on an outside-the-waistband (OWB) holster and are not concerned with concealability or cover garments. They also typically reload while at the shooting bench.

The tactical shooter, on the other hand, chooses an athletic, forward-leaning, Modern Isosceles stance that allows them to aggressively shoot and move in a 360-degree environment without changing their shooting style. The tactical shooter relies on an acceptable sight picture given the distance to their intended target and engages that target with multiple rounds in a quick and efficient manner. The tactical shooter’s “bullseye,” if you will, closely resembles an 8-inch circle of an IDPA silhouette target or the 6-inch-wide by 14-inch-long A-zone of an IPSC or other humanoid target. Tactical shooters tend to shoot from concealment or from duty-style rigs and work on obtaining a full firing grip from the draw. They rely on a fast yet efficient draw stroke. Speed reloading their firearm is an important and practiced skill for the tactical shooter.

The following 11 tips will help you become a more skillful tactical shooter:

Stance
A good, forward-leaning, athletic stance is the foundation of consistent shooting. Your feet should be positioned approximately shoulder-width apart, with your non-firing foot a half step forward of your firing foot. For right-handed shooters, that means your left foot is forward of your right. Your upper body should be forward enough for you to feel the weight over your toes and balls of your feet, and your knees should be slightly bent. Ensure your upper body remains erect, and your forward lean is accomplished with your lower body and knees. You shouldn’t be bending at the waist when distributing your weight forward.

Clear your clothing
IWB—When the decision is made to draw, both of your hands should be working together to clear your cover garment if your pistol is concealed. If carrying on or behind the hip, use your support hand to lift your garment in an upward motion, and use your firing hand to begin sweeping your clothing in a rearward movement, completely exposing your holstered firearm. Don’t let go with your support hand.

AIWB—If carrying appendix inside the waistband (AIWB), use your support hand to grasp a handful of your cover garment and aggressively pull upward toward your sternum (the higher the better). Place your firing hand on your pistol grip.

OWB—If carrying outside the waistband (OWB) without a cover garment, move your support hand toward your upper chest while simultaneously swinging your strong hand rearward toward your exposed pistol, elbow facing the sky. Place your strong hand on the grip of your pistol.

Full firing grip on the draw
Wrap your strong hand as high on the grip of your handgun as possible, with no space between the web of your hand and the tang of the pistol, and obtain a full-firing grip. A full-firing grip is when your hand is positioned in such a way that it does not require any additional movement or fine-tuning once the gun is drawn. The grip should resemble a firm handshake when folding your fingers around the front strap of the pistol.

Draw, or remove your pistol from its holster, in an upward motion. Once it clears the holster body, rotate the grip of the pistol downward, leveling your barrel horizontally in the direction of the target. Begin pushing the pistol upward and toward the target like it’s riding on an escalator, not up toward your chest like an elevator. Release your support-hand grip on your clothing and allow it to meet with your pistol once it appears in your lower peripheral vision, and drive both toward the target.

Solid support hand grip
The key to shooting multiple rounds as fast and accurately as possible is an efficient support-hand grip. To obtain this, extend both arms toward your target and make a finger gun with your support hand. Point your support-hand finger gun at a 45-degree angle toward the ground. Open your support hand and use it as a clamshell, wrapping it around your firing-hand grip on the pistol; ensure that you do not change the angle of your support hand. The heel of your support hand should cover the exposed portion of your pistol grip, and your fingers should be as high beneath the trigger guard as possible. Your support-hand thumb should be pointed at the target, and your wrist should be nearly locked, relying on bone support instead of your tendons. This is your support-hand grip.

See your sights
If you’re able to attain full extension (i.e., your arms fully extended in front of you with your pistol pointed toward the target), your sights should be utilized. Always. When an efficient support-hand grip is obtained as outlined above, the muzzle of your pistol will not flip up vertically but will recoil rearward. This equates to your sights traveling on a horizontal plane, which your eyes can track as they move throughout the cycle of operation. During rapid-fire strings, your sights will consistently return to the position they were prior to the previous shot being fired, allowing for quick and accurate follow-up shots.

Move toward cover
When in an active shooting environment, it is always a good idea to practice moving toward solid cover. Cover will not only offer some level of concealment, but it will also stop bullets. Good examples of this are concrete or brick walls, larger trees and engine compartments of vehicles. When at the range, time should be allotted to practice shooting accurately on the move, both forward and laterally toward cover. Time should also be spent shooting from behind said cover in standing, crouching and kneeling positions, paying careful attention to minimize how much of your body is exposed when engaging targets.

Carry a reload
Always carry a spare. Extra bullets on-hand are only one of the benefits of carrying a reload. Most malfunctions can be tracked back to faulty magazines. A quick remedy to this is out with the bad, in with the good. Get that malfunctioning magazine out and get a fresh one in, and your functioning problems will likely be solved.

Index your magazine
A good rule of thumb is to carry your magazine(s) on your weak side and ensure the bullets are facing your belt buckle when positioned in a belt-mounted magazine pouch or pocket holster.

When it comes time to perform a reload, drop your support-hand palm onto the baseplate of your spare magazine. Extend your index finger along the front of the magazine as you draw it upward and out of its pouch. Whenever possible, the tip of your index finger should contact the exposed bullet at the top of the magazine.

Everyone can point at objects with an extended index finger, and we do so every day. This orientation allows you to point your finger, and subsequently your magazine, in the direction that it needs to go — into the magazine well. This should be so ingrained that it can be accomplished in all lighting conditions.

Cant your pistol
When it comes time to reload your handgun, pull it into your workspace, which is the area in front of your face. When retracting your pistol into this zone, your firing hand elbow should contact your lower ribcage and your elbow should be bent as if you’re at the apex of a bicep curl. You should be able to view your target through the trigger guard of your pistol, and the magazine well will be pointed toward your left pants pocket. In this position, the mag well will be open to accepting your reload.

Press the magazine into the grip until it stops. With upward pressure on the magazine, utilize your firing hand thumb to sweep the slide release downward to close the slide and chamber a fresh round. If your firing-hand thumb is not strong enough or long enough to complete this action, utilize your support-hand thumb to depress the slide release. These two methods are the quickest, most efficient techniques to reload your pistol.

Be efficient in your movement
Move in straight lines from Point A to Point B. Excessive movement is wasted time and motion. When your pistol clears the holster, it should be riding an escalator toward your target until it meets your line of sight, not being brought up to your chest and then forward in an L-shaped arch. The same is true with your reload: Your magazine should be correctly oriented to the left of your center line, bullets facing your belt buckle (for right-handed shooters), and follow a straight line out of your magazine pouch or pocket and into the mag well of your pistol grip.

Be sure of your target and what’s beyond it
You’re responsible for each and every round fired. Quickly make the determination to shoot or not. If the decision is to shoot, be aware of what is behind and to the sides of your target.

Read more: http://www.gunsandammo.com/shoot101/11-tips-for-tactical-pistol-shooting/#ixzz5K7z3BIJh

Why Lasers Are Gaining Popularity

ShieldWall Note: We recommend laser usage primarily on AR platform and related carbines, rather than on side arms, simply for the restrictions a laser places on concealed carry. 

Once appearing on the business end of a bad guy’s gun — a la Terminator — weapon mounted lasers and lights have leapt off the Hollywood big screen and onto the pistols of consumers looking to add more capabilities to their concealed carry and home defense pistols.

While training instructors years past discouraged the use of aiming devices, tides have turned and now more and more trainers and schools are coming on board the laser/light train. Why are laser/lights gaining steam in the training community and what advantages do gun owners have in slapping one on their gun?

Laser/light combos are devices that offer both illumination and laser aiming capabilities. The goal is to offer both a lighting solution that enables users to keep both hands on the firearm and a laser that allows users to effectively aim the firearm at the intended target. Laser/lights come in a few flavors but the most popular styles are the rail mounted and grip mounted versions. A rail mounted laser fits snugly just in front of the trigger guard on a rail equipped gun, while the grip mounted device replaces the factory grip on the pistol.

The laser/light market itself has expanded with companies like Streamlight, SureFire, Viridian and Crimson Trace offering more products designed for consumers looking to add-on to their current CC or home defense pistol.

Though instructors have long encouraged the use of handheld lights to identify targets prior to engagement, laser/light combos have had their fair share of doubters. One of the biggest concerns has been that lasers will encourage lazy gun owners who don’t seek out training, solely placing their faith in a mechanical device. A device that some say can easily fail under pressure.

“It’s one more thing to manipulate,” Instructor John Lovell explained while outlining the cons of laser/lights in a video. “You can have it there but you don’t always have it toggled on or it doesn’t have a pressure switch or its another button you have to remember to hit. An untrained person is just not going to remember to do that.

Despite the risk that some users might turn their backs on training in favor of the laser capability many trainers are now advocating for the use of laser/light combo, stating they are more helpful than harmful. In addition to expanding options for gun owners who might not be able to get pistol training right away, laser/light combos also offer the benefit of helping shooters better see their target in low light situations as well as offering a means to better shoot in unorthodox situations.

“It’s great for untrained people who, under stress, aren’t going to look at the sight picture. If it’s built into the grip and they can just point and the laser happens to appear, they have a much higher likelihood of hitting their target —even if doesn’t have perfect zero— than something with iron sights,” Lovell added.

Instructor Rob Pincus said he’s spent the past few decades evaluating and reevaluating his stance on laser/lights and now believes these tools can be a helpful resource for gun owners.

“I currently believe that a laser mounted on a small defensive carry gun expands the circumstances under which you could use the gun for defense much more than a light would,” Pincus said in a post on social media. “For larger guns, having a light/laser combo similarly expands contextual usefulness for the average armed homeowner or CCWer much more than just a [weapon mounted light] would.”

Do laser/lights replace quality instruction and good technique? No. But what laser/lights offer is a fighting chance in low light and unorthodox positions.

source: guns.com