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Essential Tactical Wisdom for Texas LTCs... From 350 B.C.

August 6th 2020


Sun Tzu wrote a master treatise on military tactics called "The Art of War" around 350 B.C.

In The Art of War there are several key tactical points for any Texas concealed weapon carrier who finds themselves in a conflict:


#1. "The supreme art of war is to [win] without fighting"

If you can avoid a fight or talk through a situation you have won.

However, if a fight is unavoidable, Sun Tzu has this advice for winning the fight:


#2. "Attack when they are unprepared, make your move when they do not expect it"

Surprise is a huge advantage. As LTCs carrying concealed we should have the advantage of surprise that we are armed. But striking at the proper moment (say like when the bad guy holding you at gunpoint looks away) is an additional surprise that should be exploited. Without the advantage of surprise, there exists the definite possibility that both you and the bad guy will be shot.


#3. "Speedy victory is the main object in [conflict]"

Train to make sure you can use draw and use your chosen weapon(s) in a timely manner. If you are in an unavoidable fight and you have drawn your weapon, hesitation and delay can get you killed. I've seen this in force-on-force training as well as in write ups of real life criminal encounters. You may feel invulnerable with a gun, but you are not. In one force-on-force class I saw a trainee stand there while an unarmed mock criminal casually walked up to him and took the trainee's gun away. The trainee would have been dead due to his hesitation in a real fight.


#4. "When the speed of rushing water reaches the point where it can move boulders, this is the force of momentum"

If you're in a fight for your life, there is no halfway effort. Train to overcome your own weak points. Act within the limits of the law, but commit to winning the fight once you're in the fight. Don't let up.


  • by Justin, Lead Instructor, Paladin Training Systems with excerpts from Sun Tzu's Art of War

Can you save them?

September 9th 2020

By Justin

We own firearms to protect ourselves and our loved ones. But if your loved one is hurt, can you save them? Severe trauma and gun shot wounds are very often survivable with quick medical treatment. The gold standard is getting to a trauma center within an hour. The platinum standard is 15 minutes. You will want to immediately call for help and get your loved one to professional medical care as soon as possible, but are you ready to take action until the professionals arrive? Do you have the training and skills to provide lifesaving field medical care?

  • The best pre-hospital trauma medical training available today comes from the military. It’s called Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC)

A recent U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command survey of Soldiers in combat units found that TCCC is the second most valued element of their training, exceeded only by training in the use of their individual weapons.

Military units that have trained all of their members in TCCC have documented the lowest incidence of preventable deaths among their casualties in the history of modern warfare. TCCC is now used by all services in the U.S. Military and many allied nations as well to care for their combat wounded. TCCC-based prehospital trauma training is now becoming widespread in the US civilian sector as well.

If you click on "PowerPoint Presentations" it will bring up a list of presentations, with embedded videos, that explain what TCCC is and how it works. Not the same as a hands on training course, but still valuable.

Here are a list of the presentations:

I strongly recommend seeking out professional medical training. If you’re not ready to spend your hard earned money on professional training, there are nationwide 100% FREE options available:

  • Stop the Bleed is a FREE short course that was developed from TCCC.

  • CERT is FREE as well and includes basic medical training including:

    • Medical Operations Part I: Participants practice diagnosing and treating airway obstruction, bleeding and shock by using simple triage and rapid treatment techniques.

    • Medical Operations Part II: Covers evaluating patients by doing a head to toe assessment, establishing a medical treatment area and performing basic first aid.


CERT will teach you how to perform basic medical without special equipment. However you ARE better off with professional medical equipment. What medical equipment is the most important?

Primary medical equipment for severe trauma includes:

  • Disposable Nitrile Gloves – 7 mil, non-black gloves preferred.

  • Medical scissors/Trauma Shears

  • Tourniquet – CAT (Combat Application Tourniquet) or SOF Tactical Tourniquet (SOFTT)

  • Hemostatic agent – Combat Gauze or ChitoGauze

  • CoFlex NL

  • Bandage wrap – Kerlix gauze or similar

  • Chest Seal -North American Rescue Hyfin Vent Chest Seal

These are available on Amazon or other retailers. Two is one, one is none. Get two of everything. The easiest and most affordable storage is simply a 1 gallon ziplock bag, but various Infantry First Aid Kit (IFAK) bags for the field are widely available.

USAMU Basic Rifleman's Course

The United States Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) is a world-class shooting team that specializes in small-arms weapons. This is a link to a video of the outstanding fundamentals of marksmanship course taught by a Presidents Hundred top scoring competitive military shooter:

John Correia: Lessons Learned from Watching 20,000 Gunfights

John Correia is famous for his popular Active Self Protection YouTube channel where he analyzes and narrates self-defense gunfights. John Correia has been giving lectures where he attempts to cumulate the knowledge contained in the 20,000 gunfight videos he as viewed. These are the lessons he has learned from watching all those gunfights:

1. Carry your gun


2. Most gunfights aren't entangled gunfights. Empty-handed skills are important but rare once the gun comes out. They're necessary for LE more than CCW, by a long shot. For CCW, empty-handed skills are critical for the 80% of assaults that don't rise to the level of deadly force response. So go to your martial arts training.


3. In public, the place for attacks is almost always transitional spaces. A transitional space is any location that (1) allows attackers to prey on potential victims with an element of surprise and (2) provides ready escape for the attackers.


4. Paying Attention (I.e. “situational awareness”) is the most under-utilized skill in avoiding a gunfight and responding to it effectively. Some come at you unexpectedly and unavoidably, but SO often I see people ignore pre-attack cues and lose initiative and options. Attention buys you time, time buys you options.


5. About 1/3 of the encounters of all kinds that I narrate involve multiple attackers. They tend to use numbers to overwhelm people, and tend to be cowards when their advantage evaporates. CCW encounters break fast enough that I seldom see a victim engage more than two attackers with their firearm before the rest run off. CCW holders TEND to use more shots overall against a single attacker than multiples.


6. He who puts the first shot into meaty bits on the other guy, wins. Marksmanship is the Master. Not 100%, but darn near, at least partially because of the FIBS Factor. (“FUDGE, I’ve Been Shot!”) Related to this is FIBSA (“FUDGE, I’m Being Shot At!”) though that has a lesser effect. Therefore, training a fast and reliable draw and first shot in the meaty bits is most important, in my opinion. It is THE critical skill to winning the gunfight. The best cover is fire superiority.


7. Gunfights are won and lost in tenths of seconds sometimes. Being first is foremost. I have seen people killed because they carried their gun with an empty chamber and didn’t have time to chamber a round and be first on target. I have seen people lose the element of surprise in a counter ambush because of the sound of chambering a round. In a real gunfight the gun has to be ready NOW. [Paladin Training Systems note: There is a sample bias here, John is not including the thousands of accidental discharges which occur every year. Accidental discharges are dangerous, holstering accidents are common, and safety is imperative. Israeli style carry exists to allow the safe carrying of firearms.]


8. We owe a great deal of gratitude to those in the LE community for their knowledge of pistol use; that said, we must recognize that CCW gunfights and LE gunfights start differently and end differently. The difference in mission MUST be understood to contextualize Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures to the appropriate place.


9. From what I have seen, most CCW gunfights happen between 3 and 7 yards for the actual shooting. Tom Givens has it right here by estimating it at a car length. That said, shots at 15 to even 20 yards ARE possible in CCW incidents, especially in stopping active killers, and so that skill isn’t insignificant once the 3-7 yard skill is fast and reliable.


10. Follow-up shots are very often necessary regardless of handgun caliber. Terminal ballistics in all handgun calibers are pretty much the same. Often gunfights don’t END with that first shot, so keep at him until he decides he is done fighting. This is where multiple target acquisition is important, because it simulates a moving target to hit.


11. MOST of what is taught in the martial arts/combatives community on gun disarms is hokum. I do see a good number of disarms of attackers, but seldom with any kind of sophistication or “that was a perfect [insert your favorite martial art here] disarm.”


12. People have a crazy tendency to use the gun one-handed, mostly because they have stuff in their support hand. I’ve never seen an injured support hand lead to one-handed shooting. I have seen ONE on-duty cop need to switch the gun to support hand only shooting because of an injured main arm. Learning to drop what's in your hands and get two hands on the gun is a necessary skill for fast and accurate shooting.


13. You simply WILL NOT stand still while someone wants to kill you in your close proximity. Unless you're counter-ambushing, when the gun comes out you will move. So learning to move with purpose to put ourselves in the position to shoot well is also a critical skill. Inside of 5 yards, people move.


14. Concealment ain't cover, but it works identically in 99.9% of cases. People won't shoot what they can't see, so if you can get to concealment, you’re good. Learn to shoot through it if your threat is behind it.


15. Chasing deadly threats is another bad habit that I see all the time. Learn to shoot and then scoot. Move AWAY from the threat. In followup action I see a lot of people put themselves back into danger by chasing threats.


16. People love cover so much they give it a hug. Reliably. Like all the time. LEO and CCW alike. Learning distance from cover/concealment is an important skill and one that is necessary.


17. Malfunctions happen. They just do. But if you’re carrying a quality gun, they're rare. In all my videos I have never seen someone clear a malfunction that needed a tap to the baseplate to get the gun back working again… cycle the slide and reassess is necessary though. In a couple of instances, a strip, cycle, reload would have helped.


18. Combat reloads are almost vanishingly insignificant factors in CCW gunfights. I have seen precisely 3 reloads in a real gunfight that weren't on-duty LEO. And none of those affected the outcome of the fight. I have seen about 7 or 8 where a higher capacity firearm or the presence of a reload might have affected the outcome. So, 0.2% of what I have witnessed. I like Tom Givens' focus on the PROACTIVE reload once the fight is over. That has value in my opinion. If you carry a reload and don’t have your trauma medical equipment on you, I would recommend changing that.


19. Knife attacks are brutal, fast, mean, and personal. If you get to see the knife, then refer to the Tueller Principle for getting your gun in the fight. If you don’t see it until he has a leveraging arm on you, your gun is useless until you have positional dominance and have secured that knife one way or the other. Thinking you’re going to bring a gun to a knife fight is a good way to die of blood loss.


20. I have seen one home invasion situation where a pistol-mounted light would have been useful for a homeowner, but have never seen one outside the home where a WML would have been a factor for a non-LEO. HUGE CAVEAT HERE: that could easily be because video recording technology for very low light situations is rare (though getting more common and affordable). My gut tells me that if it’s too dark for you to see a threat outside the home, it’s too dark for them to see you as well and so attacks are very rare.


21. There are some things that the defensive training community has great love for that I have never seen in a CCW gunfight recorded on video in any capacity.

(a) a defensive knife used to get to a gun or in any capacity by someone carrying a gun;

(b) a gunfight that required one-handed manipulation of the pistol controls other than the trigger;

(c) a transition in a CCW gunfight from strong hand to support hand and subsequent use of the gun (ONE LE video);

(d) TWICE a gun dropped and then recovered and used in the gunfight;

(e) a CCW use a firearm muzzle strike in any capacity;

(f) a backup gun (BUG) used in any CCW capacity whatsoever, and only once ever for LEO on camera


22. If there’s one lesson that I have learned again…and again…and again from moderating comments on social media from people watching my lessons, it’s the sheer number of people who are woefully, terribly misinformed and uninformed about the legal and moral aspects of using deadly force. Remember, the District Attorney won’t care what you thought the law was; neither will the jury. And you’ll pay your attorney $400+ an hour to sell your story, so make sure they can tell the jury that you acted in an objectively responsible and legal fashion.


How to Win: COL John Boyd's OODA Loop

The observe, orient, decide, act (OODA) loop was developed by COL John Boyd to answer the question "Who Wins in conflict?" The following article shows that numbers often don't give a decisive advantage and neither does technology. Understanding the OODA loop is crucial to winning, and Chet explains the OODA loop in detail.

Article: Boyd’s OODA Loop by Chet Richards

State of the Art Medical: TC3 Videos

What is TC3? Tactical Combat Casualty Care. TC3 are proven life-saving techniques and strategies for providing the best trauma care on the battlefield. Official medical videos regarding Tactical Combat Casualty Care: link

Federal Air Marshal Qualification: Test Your CCW Skills

The former Federal Air Marshal Qualification course is a very demanding pistol test, but the close range gun-fighting skills that it tests are relevant to concealed carriers: Article link

M9 Pistol Training Video

U.S. Army pistol training video (20 minutes): link

The best drawstroke? Integrated Drawstroke explained

The late, great Paul Gomez breaks down the integrated drawstroke, a proper pistol drawstroke that solves a variety of defensive problems in one technique: link. Want to master the integrated drawstroke? Paladin Training Systems will get you where you want to go.

What is the best CQB rifle sight?

These days there are a bewildering number of options for rifle sights. In 2021, the EOTech Green Dot still wins the contest hands down. Learn how to use the EOTech sight at Paladin Training Systems.

10 Ways to Spot Great Teachers (and Avoid Crummy Ones)

10 Ways to Spot Great Teachers (and Avoid Crummy Ones)

10 WAYS TO SPOT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PSEUDOTEACHING (PT) AND REAL TEACHING (RT)

1) PT delivers long, entertaining, inspiring lectures; RT designs short, intensive, learner-driven sessions

2) PT is eloquent and expansive; RT is concise and focused

3) PT addresses large groups; RT connects to individuals

4) PT doesn’t focus on small details; RT is all about details

5) PT is about talking more than watching or listening; RT is about listening and watching more than talking

6) PT is loudly charismatic; RT is quietly magnetic

7) PT is Robin Williams leaping atop desks in Dead Poets Society; RT is John Wooden, teaching his basketball players how to put on their socks properly (no wrinkles, because that causes blisters)

8) PT dismisses questions; RT craves them

9) PT treats everyone the same; RT tailors the message for each learner

10) PT delivers the exact same lecture over and over; RT customizes each session for its audience

Want to experience Real Teaching? Come to Paladin Training Systems.