Having started to listen to Mike Seeklander’s American Warrior Show podcast more closely, I find myself going all the way back to Episode #5 from 17 April 2015 to find an interview of Tom Givens of Rangemaster Firearm Training Services. Having attended the Polite Society Tactical Conference at Rangemaster (the physical incarnation of it) in Memphis in 2014, I am acquainted with Givens’s work. But the podcast interview on “The Way of the Gun” still pays dividends beyond just reminding me of what he said in his seminar back in 2014.
One of Givens’s consistent points is that training parameters should be defined around what is likely to happen in real life. Questions such as the following need to be asked and answered: What is the context? What is likely to happen? What am I trying to do? The same questions we want to answer when selecting a gun or a holster need to be answered for training as well. Am I training for sport? Police? Military? Or self-defense as a private citizen with a concealed carry permit?
If the latter, then your training needs to be tailored to your circumstances, which differ from LEOs, police, and other armed professionals.
Givens argues that the gunfighting circumstances of a police officer and a private citizen are very different, for example, so drawing conclusions for private citizens from the FBI’s Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) report is problematic. He specifically notes a greater average distance from attackers for private citizens compared to police officers.
Givens also highlights the fact that most of the crime faced by law-abiding armed citizens is “parking lot crime” not “street crime” — shopping mall lots, convenience store lots, office building lots.
Likewise, although alot of crime happens after dark, most of it involving private citizens does not take place in the dark since most places we go — including the dangerous parking lots — are lit at night. (Lesson: worry more about learning to draw your weapon and shoot it accurately than about how to use a tactical flashlight.)
If I had to point to one brief takeaway about why to carry a gun it would be Givens (quoting an unnamed other): “It’s not the odds, it’s the stakes.” He implies what I call Pascal’s Wager in armed self-defense in saying that you can carry your gun for 35 years and never have to use it once and not be any worse off for it, but if you don’t carry it one day and you need it, you’re screwed (my word, not his).
There’s much more in the podcast than this, but these things stood out to me in my quest to understand the private citizen gun training industry. Givens is without question one of the Gen 1 private citizen trainers I want to learn more from and about.