Fixing the Problem Shooter and/or Teaching the New Shooter

By Roger Phillips, Owner and Operator of Fight Focused Concepts

As an instructor, eventually you will run up against a student that is just not getting it. In the private sector this is not that big of a problem, but if it is your job to get a problem shooter to qualify for a professional position, it can be quite a predicament. When someone’s job is on the line, the pressure of overcoming this problem can really wear on the problem shooter. Most of the time, the problem shooter can be brought around with patients and a continuing effort of working on the fundamentals of marksmanship. For a very small percentage of problem shooters this continuing effort may still not be enough. Some students just need a different approach.

As the problem shooter, trying to fight your way through your problems can be extremely frustrating. This frustration leads to an inability to do what really needs to be done…. which is to remain calm. Once the problem shooter becomes frustrated it is very difficult to turn that around. If the student has lost their confidence, the instructor is really fighting an up hill battle. So it becomes clear that we need to do two things right off of the bat. We need the shooter to remain calm and we need to establish their confidence. By taking on a completely different approach, this breaks them away from “that same old frustrating failure.” This is a good start to “remaining calm” and a brand new clean slate for their confidence.

The job of the instructor is to get the shooter inside of their comfort zone and establish the shooters confidence. Once the comfort zone and confidence is established the instructor needs to keep complete and absolute control of that comfort zone and confidence level. Over the years of dealing with problem shooters, it became perfectly clear that this method of teaching was not just good for fixing problem shooters, it was also very good for teaching new shooters.

I really like starting people off with a nice solid Modern Isosceles. In my opinion it is a much better stance for the newbie shooter. There is much less tension in this position over that of the Weaver stance, so the problem student does not tense up and tire as quickly. It lends itself to good recoil control and it gives an excellent center-line. The basic geometry of Modern Isosceles allows the shooter to make hits without even using the sights. The grip needs to be firm and with full purchase on the handgun. The two-handed thumbs forward grip gives us both of these qualities. The goal is to point in at the targeted area and press the trigger to the rear, without coming off of the targeted area. Then recover from the recoil in a consistent  manner. A good stance and grip facilitates this perfectly. A poor stance and grip does not facilitate it at all.

Many of the problem shooters of smaller stature have a problem with remaining extended at line of sight for long periods of time as they work on their fundamentals. This leads to tension that is completely opposite of the remaining calm that we are looking for. We need to understand the shooters comfort zone and keep them from tensing up. Some ways to do this is by teaching and allowing a relaxed/lazy ready position. The first ready position to work with should be a relaxed/lazy low ready. The gun is safely lowered to the 45 degrees and the upper arms are resting on the shooters body. This allows safety, relaxation, and the ability to rest in-between strings of fire. Keep inside of the students comfort zone and they will be more relaxed, less tense, and tire less quickly.

OK, we have the Modern Isosceles, the thumb forward grip, and we have a relaxed low ready. Next, put a focal point on the upper thoracic cavity of the target for the student to focus on. I nice bright red neon sticker the size of a quarter is perfect. Have the shooter start at two yards. All the shooter is going to do is focus/lock in on the focal point, bring the gun up from the low ready till it intersects the line of sight and immediately take the shot. No transition of focus, no hesitation. Just bring it up and take the shot. Then recover back down to the relaxed low ready and rest. As the instructor, watch the hits. Remind the shooter to focus on the spot that the shooter wants the bullet to go. If the shot is low or high make sure the shooter is pressing the trigger right when the top of the slide intersects the line of sight. If the shot is off to the side make sure they are bringing the gun up in front of their dominant eye. If the shooter is right-handed and everything is off to the left, watch the wrist articulation and make sure that it is appropriate for the Isosceles. Repeat until the shooter simply can not miss. Add in controlled pairs, then burst of 3-4. Repeat until the shooter can not miss.

Watch carefully for recoil anticipation (low and to the right on right-handed shooters) and the shooter attempting to aim with the sights.

WHY?

This is the question that will always be asked! Why does it matter if the student is target focused, over being sight focused? This all comes down to gross motor skills over fine motor skills…..being globally focused over being locally focused…..using natural ability over conditioned skill sets. This takes pressure off of the student. It dumps the “conditioned response” of sighted fire and accepts the “instinctive response” of threat focused shooting. This allows the body, eyes, and mind to do what they do thousands of times a day. It is simply more natural! Natural leads to relaxation, which leads to remaining calm, which leads directly into confidence. Hard focus on the front sight while trying to get a perfect sight picture, during the inevitable infinity pattern, can be a major stumbling block for a problem shooter. They often mash the trigger at the point that the sight picture passes over the point of aim. The old mantra “front sight, front sight…….press” is often followed up by the inevitable “NOW!” which is one of the main causes of mashing the trigger and recoil anticipation. If you give the problem shooter the time to think about the recoil anticipation…..you are going to get recoil anticipation.

The next step is “driving the gun.” Teach the student a safe/relaxed/lazy compressed ready (count three of the four count draw stroke or as soon as the hands come together.)  I have a compressed ready that just rests the gun at my mid section, with the wrists and the inside of the forearms laying against the rib cage. No tension, no exertion, totally relaxed. We are now going to have the student drive the gun to the focal point. Remember that “driving the gun” is a controlled move. We have the ability to accelerate out and decelerate to extension. Drive the gun to the focal point, take the shot then recover back to compressed ready. Repeat until the student can not miss. Add in controlled pairs, burst of 3-4, and repeat until the shooter can not miss.

Remember to keep absolute control of the students comfort level and confidence level!

Time to “drive the gun” from the holster, make sure that the student is using a nice four count linear draw stroke. The focal point, the linear draw stroke, driving the gun, and taking the shot with no hesitation……these are the key factors.

At this point you should be seeing some decent success. The student should be relaxed and feeling pretty good. It is time to start moving back. The pace for moving back is up to the instructor. Remember you have now established the confidence…… you must remain in complete control of it! Moving back slowly will keep you in control. Work the low ready, the compressed ready, and from the holster as needed.

The goal is to get the shooter to easily hit everything inside of seven yards, to give them a pattern of success, to give them some confidence, to take some of the pressure off of them. You still have to work on the fundamentals of marksmanship outside of seven. But now hopefully, you have a more confident shooter, someone who now knows that they can do it. Also, someone who has built up some upper body strength due to the repetitions and someone who has learned to remain calm and not tense up. As you work on the fundamentals, as soon as the shooter gets frustrated, bring them forward and let them succeed with some threat focused shooting.

Working a problem shooter through the fundamentals can take some time. By having “inside of seven yards” down cold, this may give you the time that you need. Remind the shooter of the “importance” of inside of seven yards and how they have “the most likely” covered. Let then understand that they already have an important piece of the puzzle and the next piece (fundamentals of marksmanship) will follow as long as they remain calm, confident, and put in the work.

As instructors it is our job to help people overcome their problems. These problems do not mean that the student is anything more than someone with a problem that must be overcome. There may be events in their past that have left them recoil sensitive (a lot of shooting with a 12 gauge shotgun as a very young child, an electrical explosion in my hands, and thirty years of working a tool, where the trigger was pressed with the whole hand instead of one finger were some of my issues.) Reprogramming can be a tough job for an instructor. Here are some “less known” tricks of the trade that can make this reprogramming of a problem shooter and the teaching of a new shooter much less of a burden.

Remain calm and relaxed

Establish a pattern of success

Develop confidence

Solidify that confidence by maintaining absolute and complete control of that confidence at all times

Some Issues with my 2017 Schedule

By Roger Phillips, Owner and Operator of Fight Focused Concepts.

Unfortunately, some over-saturation issues have arisen with my home range, Boulder Rifle and Pistol Club (BRPC.) I consider myself very lucky to have had such an outstanding relationship with my home range for over 11 years. But, due to a huge number of new Instructors coming over from other ranges, this easy and prefect relationship has become more difficult and less ideal. I do not write this as a form of complaint, I write this so all of my students understand that my world has substantially changed. These changes will directly affect the scheduling of my classes and the convenience of my students. I will continue my outstanding relationship with BRPC, but it will not be with the same ease, regularity, and convenience as it was in the past.

I will no longer be able to schedule courses months in advance. There will only be a 60 day notice between securing the range and running the course. I will no longer be able to schedule courses on the courtesy ranges, on the weekends, except for the two Instructors bay. I will no longer be able to schedule longer range courses on the weekends. The competition to schedule courses has increased significantly.

With that said, I will be needing to re-evaluating everything that I have done in the past, in regards to my local courses.

I am putting out an open call to all of my students, to see if there is anything that they can do to facilitate securing a range, in order for me to continue teaching courses on a regular basis and that will allow for me to schedule courses well in advance. The guidelines for hosting a course can be found here.

Hosting Traveling Courses

I am also putting out an open call for securing venues to teach my CQB courses. Those guidelines can be found here.

Open Call For CQB Venues

Together we can overcome this set back and do what needs to be done to make it nothing more than a minor obstacle.

October 20-23, 2016 Hershey PA – Point Shooting Weekend ($600)

October 20-21 – Hershey PA – Long Gun Point Shooting Concepts ($350)

October 22-23 – Hershey PA – Advanced Point Shooting Concepts ($350)

October 20-23 – Hershey PA – Point Shooting Weekend DISCOUNT 4 days ($600)

Long Gun Point Shooting Concepts

Long Gun Point Shooting Concepts (LGPSC) is a revolutionary reactive based rifle course that looks at the world of the reactionary rifle, like it has never been looked out before. In this course we will be doing an in-depth study of “The Nine Concepts of the Reactive Rifle.”
  • The Reactionary Curve
  • The Ready Positions
  • The Take Off Concept
  • The Retention concept
  • The Mount Concept
  • The Movement Concept
  • The Sights Concept
  • The Grip Concept
  • The Trigger Concept

As you see there is a lot of consistency across the concepts when compare to the “Point Shooting Concepts” handgun approach. But of course, there are some things that have to be changed such as “the ready positions” and “the mount.” Obviously, these are the things that are drastically different from the handgun.

One of the sacred cows out there that is constantly put worth by the LCD students of the gun, is that “you cannot train for every situation, so advanced training is a waste of time.” This thinking is the height of ignorance and laziness, it is used as an excuse to never proceed past the most basic of thinking and skill sets. If you understand “The Nine Concepts” and train to ingrain every point inside of “The Nine Concepts”, you can prepare for the vast number of situations that are likely to arise. To be able to do this we need to break away from the technique focus of the recent past.

Techniques are nothing more than niches and niches do not flow. To be fluid we must look at fluid concepts, concepts that run A-Z, with no one point being more important than another. This need for fluidity is due to the fact that the situation is the dictating factor and the concepts written above are all about the specifics of the situation. In my training I find out exactly what I need to do inside of “The Nine Concepts” to be as deadly as I can possibly be inside of the created training situations.

It is the absolute knowledge of “The Nine Concepts” and the ability to fluidly intertwine “The Nine Concepts” mentally and physically that will allow you to be as deadly as possible inside of the fluid dynamics of a reactionary fight……without any weaknesses.

800 rounds and as always, bring more if you want to shoot more.

Fight Focused Handgun V – Advanced Point Shooting Concepts

Fight Focused Handgun V picks up right where Fight Focused Handgun III left off. The main focus inside of this course is to become completely ambidextrous. When we talk of the most advanced levels of the handgun, the need for completely ambidextrous skill sets simply cannot be understated. Whether the need for these skills is due to being injured inside of the fight, being injured outside of the fight, for shooting around cover, or having the ability to shoot to any angle on the clock while moving dynamically, when you need these skills, you are going to need them as bad as you have ever needed anything. Another arena where you are going to need to be completely ambidextrous, if you want to be as prepared as you can possible be is the arena of CQB and clearing of structures. Learning to apply ambidextrous skills to your “clearing” tool box will make you a safer and more dangerous fighter.

What you will learn inside of this course is the essentials to being able to fight with your handguns, at the highest levels possible.

Mirrored set ups are strongly recommended inside of this course, but not absolutely necessary.

  • Injured shooters drills
  • Injured shooters malfunction clearances
  • A look at back up guns and the varying carry options
  • Transfers and transitions
  • The benefits of mirrored set ups
  • Repetition to get your non-primary hand up to speed
  • The retention concept applied to the non-primary hand
  • Ambidextrous completely versatile draw stroke
  • Ambidextrous movement matrix

**Pre-requisite, Fight Focused Handgun III course or other two-day intermediate point shooting based course.

It can be tough to put on a traveling course these days. The last thing I want to do is scare away people from enrolling, due to lack of quality information. Intermediate skill level with the handgun and rifle would be just fine. We will safely and slowly bring it to the advanced level.

I am going to be flexible with these courses, since they are set up in a manner that I will be able to judge competence well before the guns are loaded. On one end of the spectrum, I may have people wanting to train with me in the Advance Point Shooting Concepts (APSC) that have not taken the Point Shooting Concepts (PSC.) This is a per-requisite that has been changed for this traveling course, since I have taught four PSC in the area and we will not be running another until the market changes. I am confident this will not be a problem due to how the APSC is set up, with a heavy lean toward dry fire at the beginning of the course. That is how the course has been set up for years now and all of the students see the unbelievable benefits of that dry practice.

At one end of the spectrum, if a student shows up for the APSC without taking the PSC before hand, they will be allowed to handle the course as they see fit (with two guns going ambidextrous, with one gun and a blue gun/dry gun going ambidextrous, or just going one gun and working injured shooters drills) as long as it fits with what I see safety wise and competence wise. Once again the built-in dry practice will show me (and the student) how the course will need to be handled. I will warn about making the decision to go “one gun” or “one gun and blue gun” and not bringing a two-gun set up. The dry practice sessions changes many minds on what is possible and what is safe. Many student regret showing up without a two-gun set up.

At the other end of the spectrum, some of the guys have trained with me numerous times in the APSC and they will be allowed to do things, such as run the APSC handgun course with a rifle. This is uncharted waters and the work shopping of this will be very interesting. It may just lead to the birth of an Advanced Long Gun Point Shooting Concepts.

If you would like to attend, but are unsure about qualifying skill level wise, please inquire here or personal message me.

I am looking to create an event! This looks to be a great opportunity to make that happen. Please do not balk on the opportunity due to uncertainty.

October 1-2, 2016 Phoenix AZ – Fight Focused Handgun II – The Fundamentals

($125 for first day and $250 for both days)

Sign up here

This is a two-day fundamentals course that simultaneously teaches sighted and unsighted fire as one connected concept. Most schools teach either sighted fire or point shooting inside of separate courses. Through my extensive experience as one of the top point shooting specialist in the nation, it has become perfectly clear to me that this is not the best way to learn fight focused handgun skill sets. In order to be as dangerous as you can possibly be with a handgun there needs to be a seamless integration of these two distinctly different skill sets into one “just shooting” concept. This course is designed to give you the essential skills that will allow you to excel inside of many varying situations. Along with the skill sets you will also ingrain a confidence that can only be found when the correlation between the two skill sets are worked and understood. Whether it is a proactive gunfight or a reactive gunfight you will learn the skills, knowledge, and the confidence to rise to the occasion inside of the situation that you are confronted with.

You will be given the solid fundamentals that are the essentials of being able to fight with your handgun. This course is designed for those that are seeking the fundamentals of being able to fight with their handgun and for those that are ready for the full commitment level of a full two-day course. This course goes well beyond just an “Introduction” and is designed to take you as deep into the concept of fighting, as is possible inside of a full two-day format. This course will prepare you to safely, effectively, and efficiently proceed into the more advanced courses taught by Fight Focused Concepts.

AMMUNITION: 500 rounds (minimum): As always “Bring more if you want to shoot more”

  •  The mental aspect of the fight
  •  Fight focused handgun manipulations
  •  Eye/hand coordination draw stroke
  •  Study of efficient and effective body mechanics
  •  Fundamentals of marksmanship
  •  “See what you need to see” concept
  •  Physiological effects of a life threatening encounter
  •  The reality of the fight
  •  Fundamentals of combat shooting
  •  Combat draw stroke
  •  Perfect balance of speed and accuracy
  •  Intermediate levels of precision shooting
  •  Introduction to positional shooting
  •  Introduction to shooting from behind cover

America and the Racial Divisiveness that is Being Shoved Down our Throats

By Roger Phillips, Owner and Operator of Fight Focused Concepts

For those out there that have zero knowledge and do not understand how extreme stupidity hurts us all. Forming opinions without “due process” is what has started all of the recent racial hatred that we are dealing with right now. It is my belief that everyone should allow the facts and evidence to come in before they become overly emotional, out of ignorance We are all suppose to be considered innocent until proven guilty. Whatever happened to this fundamental aspect of being an American?

Wikipedia defines; “Due process” is the legal requirement that the state must respect all legal rights that are owed to a person. Due process balances the power of law of the land and protects the individual person from it. When a government harms a person without following the exact course of the law, this constitutes a due process violation, which offends the rule of law.

This should apply to every American and every American has a right to their day in court!

If you are one that refuses to accept this fundamental concept, due to race, that makes you a racist! The fact is that those that scream the loudest about racism are often the most racist of us all and racism is something that can be applied to and directed at any and every ethnic group……..including white people and white cops.

Racism is defined as “hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.”

The simple fact is, that if you hate or condemn white police officers, without “due process” you are a racist.

It is “due process” that allows us to separate the innocent from the guilty and those that are racist from those that are not.

I absolutely disagree with the progressive’s narrative of “systemic racism” inside of the police forces. Since I am not a deaf, dumb, and blind overly emotional puppet of the liberal left, I tend to wait on the facts, the evidence, and the justice system to proceed through “due process” since that is how America is supposed to work. See, I still love and believe in this Country and the ideals set down by the Constitution. I believe in equal protection and justice under the law, unlike the leftist administration, the leftist media, and those that claim they are “civil rights” advocates, all while attacking the civil rights of other people. The hypocrisy, the lies, the deceit, and the sleazy use of a false narrative is plain to see for those that refuse to be brain washed.

When we look at the events of the recent past, what we see is over the top outrage and racism coming before “due process” has ever been given a chance to even get started. People are tried and convicted, in the court of public opinion, by the progressive administration, the leftist media, the hypocritical “civil rights” leaders, and their weak-minded puppets.

The BLM movement came out of Ferguson, Missouri, where a proven criminal tried to murder a police officer, in two separate attempts. Instead of waiting to see what the facts of the case were and where the evidence led us, the progressives created a false narrative that stripped the civil rights away from a good man and a good officer, that was simply trying to do his job and not be murdered.

“Hands up, don’t shoot!” has been proven to have never happened. It was and still is a lie started by a known criminal and accomplice, then knowingly perpetuated by those that have created a racial divisiveness like this Country has not seen in over 50 years. These same irresponsible people continue with their rhetoric and their false narrative in order to remain in political positions of power and to make money.

Due process has not failed the recent civil rights movement. Guilty officers have been found guilty and innocent officers have been found innocent. As a Self Defense Instructor that is extensively trained in what makes a good shoot and what makes a bad shoot, there is one overriding fact inside of this training. That is the fact, that even if it is a good shoot, the price is so high that the only reason a good and decent person would want to deal with the consequences, is out of reasonable fear of death or grave bodily injury to yourself or another innocent.

Seriously, look at absolute chaos, racism, and racial divisiveness that is going on today! Who in their right mind would want to deal with this amount of trouble, if they did not have to, unless they themselves belonged locked up and behind bars.

Let the justice system convict the guilty and clear the innocent. That takes time! It will never be instant justice, if we truly want it to be justice. What we are seeing from those that keep preaching “civil rights” and “justice” is much more in line with the actions of people violating people’s civil rights and vigilantes. Educate yourself on the American legal system, The Constitution, The Bill of Rights, the laws on self-defense and use of force, then get out-of-the-way and let due process take the time it needs to find the truth.

Black lives matter, white lives matter, blue lives matter…….ALL LIVES MATTER!

Anything short of that fact is racist.

Trump……Could it be?

By Roger Phillips, Owner and Operator of Fight Focused Concepts

For nearly a decade I have been pointing out and complaining about the Republicans (The Right) and their lack of willingness to get into the gutter and fight the Liberals (The Left) where they lived, thrived, and successfully fought from. It was clear to me that The Right felt that it was beneath them to get into the Leftist sewer, in order to fight the dirty fight that was being launched against them. It was like they were too good to even address the sleazy attacks, since it meant climbing into the pig pen, getting dirty, and trading punches with those that they considered to be low life scum.

This lack of willingness confused me, since it was my opinion that you could not defeat an enemy if you are not willing to fight them inside of their own home. This meant that The Right was always on the defensive, since they had no offensive answer to the Saul Alinsky’s inspired Rules for Radicals approach.

In my time on the streets, there is one thing that I learned that was perfectly clear. If you want to fight and defeat evil you need to be willing to step off of your high horse, get down into the gutter, and fight the enemy where they lived. This lack of willingness to engage, due to believing that The Right is too good for fighting in the gutter, has led us to where we are today.

Lack of willingness to engage has led to and manifested itself into a complete lack of backbone.

It is this obvious lack of backbone that has a very large portion of this Country sick and tired of The Right’s feckless fight against a more dedicated and competent opponent. While I hate the Leftist agenda and methodology, I do acknowledge and respect the level of fight that they have been bringing to our door step. They are relentless, they dominate the narrative, they use words as weapons, the create a huge lie and pound on it until it becomes the perceived truth, and they twist the truth until it becomes a perceived lie.

And what does The Right do?

Next to nothing!

Why do they do next to nothing?

Because they think it is beneath them!

As a gun guy talking to a gun culture, what is Rule # 11 of a gunfight?

“Always cheat, always win. The only unfair fight is the one you lose.”

Here is a news flash, The Left has been kicking the stuffing out of The Right for a very long time! This is all due to The Rights unwillingness to do what has to be done.

So, here we are!

In walks a guy saying all of the things that I have been saying to my friends and family for nearly a decade. Yet at first, I am not liking him because of the way that he treats people…….because deep down inside, I really am a good person. At first, I was seeing a bully with a big mouth….a bully that I would have knocked the crud out of in high school. The more I watched this guy, the more I begin to understand that this is a guy that is actually saying and doing what I have advocated for nearly a decade. He was not a bully……..he is just a guy willing to fight back from being bullied.

Could it be that they only way to defeat a bully, like The Left, is with a person that is more than willing, more than capable, and more than eager to get down in the sewage and take on the scum of the world, that has nearly decimated this once great Nation?

Could it be that Trump is the person that I have spoken of, inside of my signature line for the last eight years?

“I do not quit, I do not give up, and I know for a fact that one person, with the right message can lead us back to the greatness that this Country once knew.”

Could it be?

The one other alternative (and there is only one other possible alternative) is definitely not that person, because I disagree with everything that she says and stands for. She is nothing more than the continuation of the destruction of my America, that I have witnessed for nearly eight long years.

I see this election cycle as the Hail Mary’s of all Hail Mary’s. I am willing to vote for somebody that is saying all of the things that I have prayed for and dreamed of, in order to keep out the person that I consider to be a continuation of the very worse thing that has ever happened to this once great Nation.

I do not do this for myself. I do it for my children and my grandchildren, because I want them to live a long, happy, safe, and prosperous life in a Country as great as the one that I lived in.

Bottom line!