Training Techniques- New Or Old?

After being a serious student of firearms and tactics and techniques for 35 years, and an instructor for 20, I’ve come to the observation that none of what we do is really new. While we as instructors perhaps refine techniques and adapt them to new technology, have we really invented anything new?

The greats of our art, Col. Cooper, Thell Reed, Bill Jordan, Jack Weaver, etc. refined, codified, and brought our techniques to what they are today.  However, I would make the observation that some poor soldier in WWI used a technique that allowed him to live, and his buddy next to him tried something else, and he died. He then put that in his “Tactical Toolbox” and perhaps passed it on to his comrades and a technique was born. We could of course take this further back in the history of combat to the time of the cap and ball revolver or perhaps who had the bigger rock and stronger arm.

The reason for my writing this is the continual stream of articles which name this technique or that technique for the instructor or his or her particular school. Each time I read one of these, I can’t help but get a feeling that I’ve seen and heard this all before. I like to tell my students that they’ll never hear a “Bob This or a Bob That” . While I may be able to teach them several ways to perform a given task, I didn’t invent any of them. Catch phrases will never be a substitute for the basics refined through training.

My observations are not to insult or demean anyone, but to point out the fact that we may all need to remember where we came from, and the sacrifices that those before us made to get us where we are today. The wheels still go round and round to get us where we’re going. And for me the journey is an ongoing one.

Train Hard and Be Safe.

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About Bob Henckel

Bob Henckel is a retired Police Officer and currently serves with the Department of the Air Force. He has 40 years combined military and law enforcement experience. Bob has experience in Patrol, Training, Emergency Service Team Member and was the Senior Firearms Instructor and Armorer in his previous department. Bob also has over 25 years experience as a Firearms Instructor. He holds numerous Instructor Certifications in Pistol, Carbine and Shotgun. He is also a Certified Instructor in Concealed Carry, Force On Force, Active Shooter, NRA Advanced Pistol Instructor, ASP Baton and OC Spray.

5 thoughts on “Training Techniques- New Or Old?

  1. Are you implying that a “circular frame or disk arranged to revolve on an axis” has already been invented.

    Heresy, pure heresy! What are we going to call all these “new” shooting techniques when we respond to all these “new” problems like home invasions, carjackings and active shooters?

    Just askin’ …….

  2. True students of gunfighting and firearms combatives will often find that nothing we do is horribly new. I have always enjoyed training with guys like Scott Reitz who will give history lessons along with training. What much of this comes down to is solutions to various problems encountered over the years. Much of this also comes with adapting that problem solving with emerging technologies. Things like efficient sights that can be seen in darkness, lights mounted to firearms, the ability to radpidly reload firearms, and the means to efficiently carry and deploy various firearms. I have always tried to look at what we are doing in the field as a science lab to test various theories as opposed to many who create a solution with their name on it to a problem they don’t really understand or are more concerned with being different. On the other hand, we have those who have been either pioneers, or found solutions to problems that work well and the community acknowledges them. A good example would be Jack Weaver, Michael Harries, and others.

  3. Yes, it is an evolution of both Instructors and Students, and thanks for bringing it up. One local club up north has a bunch of still-involved volunteers, in their 80s, who were in WWII. These guys Instruct like nobody’s business in both techniques and in a format which only comes with decades of teaching. It is always a learning lab with a two-way street, as I like to tell my students. I teach for the “Ah Ha” moments in the students and myself. People who have just come along recently to Instruction have gotten caught in the rut of finality, in those name-games of techniques, saying for example there is only one way to hold the AR/M4 platform. The fundamentals are the same, but the marketing games have really kicked it all up a notch it the attitude depts.. Sometimes painful to watch.

  4. Darryl
    My thoughts exactly. You may have said it better… The best instructors that I consider my mentors taught the basics and refined them to the students needs. They understood the problems faced and how to get where the student needed to be. Thanks for the feedback.

  5. After reading the “Book of the Five Rings” last year, I concluded that Miyamoto Mushasi could have been teaching firearms today. You made some good points.

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