Monday, January 4, 2016

Video Review: Concealed Carry for Self Defense

 I deliberately do not schedule classes between Thanksgiving and the SHOT Show in late January. This is my time to decompress after a long training season, enjoy the holidays with my family and to review my course lesson plans to see where I can improve them. Throughout the training season, I watch my students to see what skills they need, how I can better present the material and listen to their feedback to determine where I can improve. I don’t know everything and I have a very gifted student body so I listen to what they say.

Since many of my students attend training from other instructors…something I vigorously support, after all I did…they often share their training experiences with me and I listen, as you never know where you will pick up a nugget of wisdom. Its not that I will hear something totally original, but I am always on the look out for how to explain or demonstrate something better. I truly believe the best instructors never stop learning.

During this down period, I also break out videos from a VERY extensive library that includes many still on VHS and come from the mid-1980’s. I maintain a VHS player just for this purpose. Even though I have seen all of these videos before, it is impossible to remember everything presented and I am often reminded of material I have been remiss in presenting during my courses. I am always concerned about the “drinking water from a fire hose” phenomenon when I teach as I have so much in my head I want students to know, unfortunately, they can only absorb so much in a two-day course. What I present and how much time I spend on each skill is constantly under review.

Yesterday, I broke out a video I originally reviewed for the now defunct LAW OFFICER Magazine back in 2008.  With the news media scaring the crap out of everyone with concerns about Active Killers and ISIS in America (regardless of what they say, we are still a safe and law abiding country), the demand for concealed carry guns, gear and training is on the rise.  Thus it seemed to be the perfect time to review “Concealed Carry for Self Defense” from Tom Givens at Rangemaster.

Mr. Givens is quite well known in the training community having been involved in shooting sports and training for almost 40 years. Having trained under many of the nation’s better known instructors, written a best selling book entitled Fighting Smarter , operated a retail sales and training facility in Memphis, TN, founder of the Rangemaster Tactical Conference (originally the Polite Society Conference, one of the premier training events in America) and studying armed conflict for many years, Mr. Givens is uniquely qualified to present this timely material.  I met Mr. Givens several years back, having breakfast with him at the SHOT Show and he struck me as a true southern gentlemen. 

The production quality of the video is not as high as those being produced by others these days, but this does not bother me as long as the content is solid and well presented and that is certainly the case for this video. Seldom does any instructor totally agree with another but I found that as Mr. Givens presented his material I agreed with most everything he said. Sure, I might teach a skill or two differently, but the skill sets he presented were well thought out and made a ton of sense. There are no fads, trends or cool-guy, Ninja stuff presented here. Just solid information one can use to protect their life.

Like many training videos, this one started with a review of safety procedures and then moved into a review of concealed carry pistols and gear. Like me, Mr. Givens much prefers the pistol over the revolver for concealed carry and also like me, believes its not the size of the gun but a proper holster that determines how well a gun is concealed.  He finished this section by showing a series of students drawing from various concealed belt holsters with their chosen handguns.

Mr. Givens review of ammo selection and which calibers are useful for defense was right on the mark and I had to laugh when he showed three binder clips used for mounting targets to stands. Each clip had been shot with an FMJ training round, one in 9mm, another in .40 and the last in .45 and all were still intact. All three merely displayed a hole the same size as the bullet that struck them. Sure, a hollow point might have done more damage, but before you get all worked up, we are talking about metal binder clips and the point being made is you should not expect too much from your pistol ammo regardless of caliber.

The video went on the review proper presentation from the holster, reloading skills (speed, emergency and tactical) and then several exercises to improve skills.  Mr. Givens has a nice presentation style and does not spend too much time on any given topic. I have seen many instructors beat on a topic to the point of nausea but that was certainly not the case here. The video is several hours long, but the time goes by fast.  This video, as well as several others, are available at the Rangemaster web site It is worth your hard earned dollars and you are sure to learn some useful information. 


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