Tag Archives: Training.

500 Times

Growing up as a “Gun Guy”,  remember hearing Instructors – especially LEO Instructors – always say that you need to practice your Draw 500 times with your gun and your holster.  They would continue to preach this for years.  500 Times.  500 Draws.  And if you changed your gun or your holster, or changed where you wore your holster, you had to start over.   500 times again.

Later instructors were talking about “Muscle Memory”.  Which is an incorrect term, but it illustrates the principle.  Many people these days always like to point out that Muscles don’t have Memory.  And as this has come about, the old idiom of 500 Draws has gone out the window.  Why bother with the repetition if Muscles don’t remember?   They say, “You are building a Habit, not a Memory.  And you only need to do things 26 times to develop a habit.”

I think because of this, something is lost.  The Shaolin Monks practiced repetition like Machines.  This reminds me of a story.

A young boy in China left his poor village in the country to apply to become a monk at the famed Shaolin Temple. After the long and arduous journey he was turned away at the gates of the temple. Knowing that his perseverance and patience would be tested, he sat outside the gates. Days went by and then weeks until at last one of the older monks let him in. He was interviewed and tested by the senior monk and was finally accepted as a junior monk. He was elated, and when word got back to his village everyone there was elated. The Shaolin monks were famous for their skills at martial arts, and no one from any nearby village had ever been so honored as to be accepted at the temple.
His first night at the temple the boy could hardly contain his excitement. He dreamed of learning fabulous sword forms and acrobatics…he couldn’t wait for his first lesson the next day. When the next day finally arrived, he was ordered by the chief instructor to carry a large wooden pail down the mountainside to a stream, fill it with water, and bring it back up to the temple. The boy did as instructed, but it was a huge struggle for him to drag the heavy bucket all the way back to the temple.
When he arrived much of the water had splashed out. The instructor poured out the remaining water and ordered the boy to return, this time with the bucket full. The boy again filled the bucket and managed to get most of the water back to the temple.
“Good,” said the instructor. “Now stand beside the bucket and with your palm slap the surface of the water. Repeat that until there is no water left.”
The boy again did as instructed. He felt perhaps he was being punished for spilling the water, or further tested to see if he had the perseverance and discipline to train as a Shaolin monk. After just a few minutes his palm was red and burning from slapping the water but he continued until all the water was gone.
“Good,” said the instructor. “Now go get another bucket of water and do it again.”
This went on all day, and to the boy’s horror the next day, too. Then the next day, and the next… and soon weeks and months were going by and all the boy did was carry the big bucket of water and slap all the water out of it. Often the boy felt he was being made a fool of, sure that he had done something terribly wrong to make the instructor hate him so much. But there was no one to complain too – all the older monks were busy practicing their fancy spear forms and sword forms and acrobatics.
After a year the Buddhist holidays arrived and the head monk called the young boy into his office.
“Young man, you’ve been here for a year. Now I want you to take a break and visit your family for the holidays. I’ve notified them that you’re coming, and I’ll expect you back here in two weeks to resume your training.” When the villagers got word that the young Shaolin monk was returning they were overjoyed and decided to hold a big celebration in his honor. When the boy arrived at his village he discovered a huge banner over the main road welcoming him home, and he found that the villagers had roped off an area in the village square for a celebration in his honor. His pride at returning as a Shaolin monk quickly faded as he realized they wanted him to demonstrate his martial arts skills in the roped off area.
He told the excited villagers that he preferred not to but they insisted and wouldn’t take no for an answer. The humiliation grew in the young boy. Indeed he had been made a fool of by the head instructor. In a whole year he hadn’t learned any martial arts at all. Now he was about to lose face in front of his entire village.
The villagers dragged him to the head table and yelled and shouted and urged him to show them some real Shaolin kungfu. He stood motionless with tears welling in his eyes and his face reddening, ashamed to tell the villagers that he had learned nothing. Finally the frustration grew to be too much.
“Leave me be,” screamed the boy as he slammed his hand down on the table. Everyone stood silent and wide-eyed for several moments… and then they all broke out into a loud applause. When he slammed his hand down, he had broken the thick stone table right in half!
And then the boy and everyone in the village knew the power of the Shaolin.

There is something to this story for us today.   Patience in training is no longer the vogue.  Few classes want to spend time in the actual repetitions required in many of our techniques.  The Draw.  The Speed Reload.  The Malfunction Clearing.  The Reholstering.  I see few people at the Range ever just practice their draws and reloads.  You don’t want to spend 200 to 800 dollars for a class from a big named trainer just to stand there and repeatedly draw and reload and reholster without firing a shot.   But perhaps we should.
Each one of these things requires massive amounts of repetition to develop into a smooth movement that you don’t have to think about it.  It’s become a force of habit.   Instructors used to say “500 Times”.  How many times did the little Shaolin Boy slap the water?

So many Shooters want to be so Ninja that they practice the “high speed, low drag” things and argue the merits of where to put your support hand on your rifle or where to position your thumbs.  But they do not talk about how many times you need to practice the core fundamentals of your draw, punching out to the target, reloading, and reholstering.   This stuff isn’t Ninja enough.  No.  It’s more Shaolin.  We need to be more Shaolin.  We need more patience.  The more we learn, the more we know we need to learn more.

A new student has his first private meeting with the master. The student asks, “Master, how long will it take me to learn your wonderful art?”
The master gives some vague answer, so the student presses further.
“Can’t you give me some idea of how long I will need to train?’
To quiet the student, the master replies, “Ten years.”
The student reflects on this a moment, and then says, “I’m very smart and talented, and I’m going to be the hardest working, most disciplined student you have ever had. In that case how long will it take?”
The master replies, “Twenty years.”

Never Stop Training.


I was paid a great compliment last Monday, after the Defensive Handgun course, by one of my Students.  And it was one that stuck with me.
He said my course should be the State’s Concealed Handgun training.
Wow.  That’s awesome.
Then I thought, all of my philosophies should be State Policy.  Within the boundaries of the Constitution of course.

My left hand

You know what sucks?  Gout.  Gout sucks.  I’ve been dealing with it for years and years in my legs.  But a week ago, it hit me in my left hand.  I woke up to a hand that was swollen and felt like it was crushed with a sledge hammer.
I can not articulate just how much it hurt.  This was truly the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life.  I’ve had gunshots, stabs, and broken bones that did not hurt nearly this bad.
Here I am a week later, and with proper meds, the hand is no longer swollen.  Well, it’s almost back to normal.  But the movement in the index finger has not fully returned.  I have some movement, but it’s still very restricted.  Typing is is a 9 fingered affair right now.  The pain is mostly gone too… Unless I move my finger or bump it or look at it wrong.  The main joint in the hand that works that index finger, it’s still a bit swollen and painful… it feels like there is some serious damage in there.

Anyone giving me Gout Advice – I’ll bitchslap you next time I see you.  Just sayin.

So why am I bringing this up?

Manipulating guns one handed has taught me a lot.  Even just “Strong Hand Only”.  Sounds easy… It’s not.  Not without some practice.  Not without some serious practice.  Handguns.  AR-15’s.  Lever Actions.  Surprisingly, what I had the most problems with… my 870’s.  I need more practice with this.
Say you catch a bullet in your hand.  Or some other injury that renders your off hand useless… a burn or something.  If you don’t know what to do before… hand… sorry… You are going to be stumbling.  You need to know what to do before it happens.
So this weekend, your Training Assignment.   All weekend long.  One Hand Manipulations Handling.  If you have to, tape all your fingers together to remind you.  No cheating.  For me, cheating felt like someone hit my hand with a baseball bat.  Easy for me to remember not to cheat.  For you guys – Honor Code.
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Press Check.
With all your main line fighting guns.

Report back with what you learned.


Can’t Afford Training.

I get this a lot… Guy wants to train, but can’t afford it.
I understand this.  Ammo is expensive.  Training courses are expensive.  Training Videos are expensive.   (That’s like 2 boxes of ammo!)  And YouTube sucks for serious stuff.
So what’s a guy to do?

There is not secret magic tricks or spells to learning how to run your gun.  Basically it comes down to One Thing.  Keeping your gun running.  That means you need to master two skills.  Reloading and Stoppage Drills.  And most of this is Reloading.  Speed Reloads and Tactical Reloads.   I’ll do a video on this maybe this weekend.
A Speed Reload is when your gun runs empty and you have to reload fast.  Hence the name.  This is your #1 thing to practice.  If you practice nothing else, your Speed Reload is the one to work on.  The next is your Tactical Reload.  This is when your gun is not yet completely empty (something you don’t really want anyway) and you switch mags to a fresh full mag.  You still have a few rounds left in the mag in the gun so you want to hold on to it.  So you pull the partial mag out, and insert the full one, while holding on to the partial so you can use those rounds later.  The Malfunction Drills are important too… but it’s harder to practice those without firing some rounds.
The idea is to keep your gun “Up”.  If you can do that, you are solid.
You can practice your speed reloads while at home… in your apartment… in your office maybe.  While watching a movie or TV.  Clear your gun, empty a couple mags, and practice swapping mags.  It’s important to practice while standing, using your gear you would normally use.  So if you carry your spare mags in a pocket, that’s how you practice.  But I don’t recommend your pockets for spare mags – even though all of us do it at times.

If you get your reloads down, your well on your way.

Next time, we’ll talk about Dry Firing.  This is all about Trigger Control. That’s another critical skill that can be mastered without using ammo.

“Only Cops are trained enough to have guns.”

We hear this comment a lot in the gun industry.

Yeah, pretty much Law Enforcement Training isn’t as great as the ANTI-GUNNERS think, yet continue to say that only Cops should have guns because they have the training. When it is suggested that Civilians get better training, they say that Civilians don’t need it. That’s their argument? That doesn’t work as it’s a complete failure of logic.
You know what I think?
We all need more training.

This is in no way a Cop Bash Post.   Don’t take it that way.  Many friends in Law Enforcement and a Blood Brother… Much Respect there.  But if the question is Training, then the answer is more.  Not only that, but Departments need to set aside a good portion of budget for Training, and this isn’t something I’m seeing.  I know one Department that doesn’t even have any training budget… or budget for ammo so the Officers can even do a little practice on their own.  They got the suggestion to use their individual Uniform budget.  WTF?  That’s not right.  Especially when you are talking about a department that is always buying new vehicles.  Citizens have better training in that area because they like to shoot and the Officers just are not paid enough to practice.  They get 60 Rounds for Qual a year, and that’s it.  And since Departments don’t like to hire Shooters anymore, they’ve created a department wide culture that Firearms are less important than a shiny snappy uniform and shiny car.  Sad.


The Fighting Lever Action

The subject of Lever Action Rifles has been stirring a lot more emotions lately.  And it’s not my fault.  I blame Tracy for this.  Tracy is a local cowboy out here that comes out to Crusader Training using his Lever Action rifles.




To run a Lever defensively, you need not all the modern accessories… the gun is serviceable as is. You needn’t run it with your support hand far out in front as is the modern style. These are not modern guns so you keep your support hand in a location where you find balance and support to work the action. You run it under the same theories as you run your tactical shotguns… fire one, reload one. Fire two, reload two. Keep the gun topped off as much as possible. Standard rifle tactics apply other wise. I find it best to keep ammo not in individual loops like is popular, but in a pouch so you can carry more ammo in bulk rather than a small fixed amount. I like to keep this pouch on the Strong Side, not the Support side like is popular with Shotguns. Reason being is that it’s easier to reload with your Strong Hand than it is the Support Hand. Easier and more efficient. This might be counter to other’s doctrine, but this is what has been working for me for some time now.

Winchester pattern guns or Marlin pattern guns both have their Pro’s and Con’s and one is not clearly better than the other in Rifle Calibers. But I must say that I am quiet fond of the Winchester 92 Pattern guns for Pistol Calibers. But that’s just a Flavor Preference and not a Technical one. I do like the ability to drop a cartridge into the open top if you’ve run the gun dry.

As far as caliber selections… you can argue the benefits of all the options. .44, .45, .357 and such… all fine and well. I’m fond of the .45-70 for my Big Medicine. But don’t discount the Classic .30-30 Win. Ammo is cheap enough an it’s enough gun to drop an Elk let alone Deer or Assorted Baddies. And as far as trajectory goes, the .30-30 offers about the best there is. Especially with LEVERevolution ammo from Hornady.
Crusader Weaponry will be teaching a Lever Action Focus Course in the near future. If you are interested and serious about training with us… Post such below and Emails will be kept for organizing the class. We’re looking at this Fall.

Desert Training After Action Review

Saturday’s Defensive Pistol Class was the hardest class we’ve ever put on.  In the morning, an hour before the class started, we arrived and started setting up the targets.  It was a beautiful morning and we were looking forward to having a great day of training.

Looking towards Vernalstan

As the students started to arrive, so did the wind.  The wind was brutal.  We had Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan that said it was just like over there.  The wind was picking up sand and dust and blasting us all day long.  Sand would get in the guns, in your eyes, ears and teeth, and in your sinuses.  And that wasn’t the worst of it.  We’d watch helplessly as the target boards were snapped off the stands and carried up over the berms, over the mountains.  Paper targets that were taped to the boards were shredded, and then ripped off the boards, and then the boards were ripped off the stands.   This was the worst training environment I have ever trained in.  I wanted to Postpone the class… But the students wanted to train, so we trained.

Started out with 12, ended up with 5.

The students all did a great job. They worked hard and trained hard in these horrible conditions.  One guy was having problems with sand getting into his contacts, but he stayed and trained through the end.

What you don't see here, is the Sand Blasting Effect going on.

It really felt like being Sand Blasted, it would sting, the skin and eyes.  This was unpleasant.  With the sand getting into everything, we did have some problems with some weapons.  One of the Walthers started jamming very badly and was failing to go into battery with more consistency than not.  Sand in the magazines started getting troublesome for an XD shooter.  The worst of it though was the sand contamination that brought a S&W Revolver to it’s knees.

Dave shooting around simulated cover

If there is any lesson to be learned from training in these conditions… it’s that these are the same conditions experienced by our troops over in Iraq and Afghanistan.  We expect them to perform in it.  Such conditions make doing everything more difficult and unpleasant to say the least.  But with following the basic core fundamentals of shooting technique and malfunction clearing… you can overcome the environmental difficulties.  These students can no handle shooting in situations like these… they can handle anything.  Great job to everyone that attended.

But right here is what made this class, as brutal as it was, very special to me.  Our good friend brought out his daughter to train.  She’s 13.  She had never done anything like this before and really took to it.

Dad's what else is better than taking your girl training?

She did a great job in some of the worst conditions, with a gun that was jamming like a jazz band.  Dad was proud of her, fit to bust.  I was proud of her too… I’ve known her since she was just a little tiny thing and it’s good to see her being raised right.

After the class, some of our Crusader 870 Shotguns came out to play, one had been transferred to a customer the day before and the other was Joe’s personal training gun.

Nothing makes me grin like a good Shotgun

The actions were so smooth it felt like I was shooting Semi Autos.  Cycling was effortless and fast.  There were no failures of any kind and the patterns were good with the loads used.  With the Rifle Sights, I was able to pick up targets and engage them fast and accurately, just as fast as with a Ghost Ring set up, but with much more precision.  It doesn’t have the Cool Guy winged rear sights that are popular because they look cool… These sights just work better.  When you start launching slugs, Ghost Rings are no help.  Rifle sights are what you need.

I want to personally thank my assistant instructors who were dealing these these conditions and the environmental issues we were having.  Joe and Zack, hopefully we never have to teach a Sand Storm again… but if we do – we know we can get it done.

"Really? Another target stand blown off the range?"

This was not a Fun Day at all.  It was hard.  It was unpleasant.  It was draining.  And that’s what Training is all about.

Training on a very limited budget.

First off, we need to lay down that Training is not just going out with your friends or alone and shooting things.  Training has a purpose, so before you do anything, set down a few goals for your training.  What you want to accomplish specifically.

Practice Makes Perfect they say. That's a Start, I say.

At this point, I’m talking about Pistol Training.  Reading through a number of Paperback and Hardbound sources of firearms wisdom, I’ve found one consistent trend.  Going back to a Shooter’s Bible that was printed back in 1958 PIE – Pre Internet Era – I found an article written by a champion competitive shooter.   (He must had had a holster lashed to his Loin Cloth) The article specified that the key to good shooting with a handgun is Trigger Control.  Such a simple thing as how you pull the trigger, effects everything.

Continue reading Training on a very limited budget.

Defensive Pistol Class Update

WEATHER REPORT for SAT MAY 26th Training Has the Potential for Rain Showers.
SLC will be Raining. Uintah Basin, might not be. Regardless… We Will Be Training. Class will Only Be Cancelled if we are having a SEVERE Thunder Storm or active sky to ground lightening.
Bring Warmer Clothes, Layers, and Wet Weather Gear. From Experience – You never know what sort of weather we could have.
I suspect we will have most of the day for good training with little problem.  We might get a little damp late afternoon, but I bet we’ll have great day.