Who wouldn’t want to be remembered with words like these:
Stubborn, single-minded, articulate, knowledgeable, independent, moral, inquisitive, interesting and accomplished . . .
That’s what Robbie Barrkman wrote of Louis Awerbuck (his friend of 35 years) on his Robar Guns website, after Awerbuck’s death in June 2014. (The entirety of the heartfelt tribute is HERE). Awerbuck’s Yavapai Firearms Academy, with a summary of his resume, is HERE. A 2008 interview of Awerbuck, where he answers well-posed questions on life, death, and equipment, is HERE. Another one, rather well-known, “Interview With A Madman,” is HERE. An interesting commentary on his death, evidencing Awerbuck’s appreciation for warrior history and philosophy, “Requiem For A Soldier,” is HERE. It is said that he was fearless, but carried a high capacity 1911 as a primary, and a Glock 19 as backup.
I am a 20-year Awerbuck fan, being particularly interested in the “combat” shotgun. (Click on his photo above for link to the book). I never took a class with him, but did “chat” with him once for about 10 minutes. I listened. He said much, but used very few words. A character trait I respect, especially since I seldom can do it. Greg Ellifritz, of Active Response Training, wrote of Awerbuck: “If you want to read more words of wisdom from Louis Awerbuck, I would suggest starting with his book Tactical Reality and then move on to his second book, More Tactical Reality. The type of critical thinking Louis displays in these volumes is seldom seen in the current mass-market firearms and tactics books.” I agree.
Awerbuck wrote regularly for S.W.A.T. Magazine. You can read his May 2014 entry, on tactics — “The Door Trap” — HERE. His ideas and teachings remain in many respects timeless.
Plenty has been written about Awerbuck since his death. What prompts me to write is that a shooter friend gave me the Kindle edition of Awerbuck’s “Plowshares Into Swords: Musings of a Different Drummer.” He had several classes with Awerbuck, particularly remembering that during a carbine class, Awerbuck spent three hours to set up a scenario in which you had three seconds to fire a single shot to save a hostage in a crowd of moving innocents. He said of him: “A Samurai could pour tea, write poetry or arrange a garden. Louis could write in his voice, Elmer Fudd’s voice, or, from 20 feet away, spot a rear sight that had been knocked off center. He was always at War. It was his Art. Not certain if he really was a Warrior or an Artist, or they just came as one package.”
Some Plowshares quotes (for which Awerbuck would offer no heed or apology to the offended), I culled for this post (with a bit of editing and repositioning), in no particular order:
- Calm down: – it’s not an IRS audit. It’s just another lousy gunfight.
- So you practice vehicular defense drills on the training range, sagely nodding your head as your omniscient instructor – who has never been ambushed as a lone citizen in a vehicle – dazzles you with techniques on how to unbuckle a seatbelt with one hand, and simultaneously return fire with a concealed pistol with your other hand. All this is carried out in the blink of an eye while you’re lowering the vehicle’s side window with your third hand and signing a contract with Cirque de Soleil with your left foot.
- The primary objective of pre-planning is avoidance. Yes, you still practice with your weapons of choice and study tactics in the last-ditch eventuality that you might have to use them, but unless you’re psychotic or non compos mentis, your day-to-day urban existence should also include paying cerebral homage to techniques on avoiding physical violence.
- Like a grizzled junkyard dog, there are decided advantages to having seen a lot of summers pass.
- Let’s face it, in a fighting gun the Number One unequivocal requirement is reliability.
- It’s your life, your decision, and your gunfight. When all is said and done, when there’s fowl play you do whatever it takes to be the eagle and not the turkey.
- Here’s how it works: – If you want to stroke your own ego, go to Hollywood. If you don’t want avoidable trouble, never ever underestimate your enemy – or potential snowballing consequences.
- Treat me with respect, for I am the bullet – and I have no conscience.
- It’s going to be your gunfight when the real bullets start flying, not your instructor’s.
- In a deadly force confrontation you can’t afford to hit the windshield-wiper button when you’re trying for the ignition switch.
- You have to use a piece of mind to have peace of mind.
- Unless you’ve lived the life of a saint or are deeply religious, if you get taken out in winter you’re probably headed for a place where the last thing you’ll have to worry about is getting cold.
- The purpose of training is NOT to maintain your level of proficiency – the objective is to IMPROVE, each and every time you train.
- Like everything else your parents told you, do it right or don’t do it at all.
- Work on one-man tactical movement and observational techniques, have rugged and reliable equipment, take a lot more ammunition than you think you’ll need – and pray a lot. There are no guarantees. You want guarantees? Politicians are liars, you’re going to die sooner or later, and it will rain one day after you polish your car. There’s your guarantees.
- And the crux of the matter is that if you have a system that works for you, stay with it. By all means, if there is a system or technique that could potentially improve your ability, try it – but make sure you research ALL of the information from your source before you even think of fixing something that ain’t broke.
- The close attackers are the ones from whom you need to step away (unless you choose to advance and close the distance). Nobody can make a shot when visually reacting to a fast-advancing target rushing in from ten feet away. You’ll be lucky to clear leather if you don’t move your hind paws.
- For some peculiar reason I personally don’t want a pedagogue who can’t control his own cawwot patch, when I’m trusting his training to ready me for war. Yes indeedy, Mister Fudd, Sir, I’ll certainly pay attention in your school, but I’m going to be vewy, vewy careful in choosing between what information I swallow and what I expectorate.
- Stay away from gadgets, gimmicks, and fables. Sometimes things aren’t always what they seem to be.
- The question which arises is, relative to your potential forthcoming conflict, how much and how many reserve articles do you—or can you—carry on one human frame? . . . A spare light bulb is great, but an instantly accessible second flashlight is better.
- If ever a pistol had a heart, it would be the magazine.
- Lube your pistol, don’t put any after-market garbage on it that you don’t need – and you probably won’t have any perspiration problems, big or small.
- Don’t accept “mainstream” opinions without questioning their veracity, relative to your personal requirements. You’re asking for advice—not requesting to have your intelligence insulted. It’s going to be your gunfight, and your life on the line.
- You need a gun for a gunfight. What you don’t need is a self-inflicted bullet wound before the fight starts.
- With all these odds stacked against you in a fight, Gunfighting Rule Number One is: – Don’t, if you can possibly avoid it. Rule Number Two: – Don’t Monday Morning Quarterback some poor unfortunate who ran out of luck and placed second. You weren’t there, you don’t know what transpired, and you’re not as good as you think you are.
Interesting note, much from the above has, one way or another, found its way into various MSW posts. Yes, it’s too late to take an Awerbuck class, but his books, writings, and videos are still widely available. It’s a good bet they will give you an idea what a class with him was like.
Stay tuned, I am only a bit more than halfway through Plowshares. You may see more Awerbuck’s gems in a follow up piece.
Lesson learned: Don’t put off training. The future is uncertain; you could miss out if your “bucket list” trainer changes professions, retires, falls ill, or worse, moves on to Valhalla. Get to it.