Gun Training Videos: “I Really Like Chris Costa, Travis Haley, and John Correia”

Although I have been on a bit of a writing hiatus this summer, owing to my racket stringing side hustle and moving to a new house, I have continued my travels through American gun culture. On a sojourn to Texas in August, I spoke to the director of training at a large gun range. At one point in our conversation, he said:

I watch alot of training videos. I really like Chris Costa, Travis Haley, and John Correia.

I found this particular combination of individuals surprising at first, but the more I thought about it, the more sense it made. Costa and Haley are famous for their work on the “Art of the Firearms” DVDs for Magpul Dynamics. Correia is famous for his “Active Self Protection” YouTube Channel. Magpul sold some 2 million DVDs per year at its height. Correia’s channel has over 1 million subscribers and tens of millions of views annually.

Haley and Correia also have in common being profiled by me on this blog. In November of 2017, I spent a couple hours with Haley and a full day with Correia.

I don’t know about Haley, but alot has changed in the 10 months since I last saw Correia. He resigned as pastor of his church (which subsequently closed). He crossed over the 1 million subscriber threshold on YouTube (he was at a mere 600,000 subscribers then). He has increased the number of courses he teaches, expanded his relationships with the gun industry, and extended his focus internationally.

And, significantly, John Correia of Active Self Protection has been discovered outside the gun culture, being profiled in the September 2018 issue of The Atlantic.

Yesterday, I went to my local Barnes & Noble to find the The Atlantic, which was first published in 1857 and has long been one of the leading literary and cultural magazines in America. As The Atlantic is left-leaning, I was curious to see how they would treat a pistol-packing minister.

The treatment is even-handed. Reporter Graeme Wood captures Correia’s verbal flair — “I’m the John Madden of on-camera violence” — and counters with his own — calling Correia “a sabermetrician of violence.”

Of course, Wood cannot help but betray his biased from time to time. In the same breath he praises Correia’s “sanity and practicality” he scorns “the gun world” for “viewing all problems as solvable with more and larger guns.”

But in Correia Wood finds “the perfect concealed-weapon carrier: someone who has trained to a high standard, who will avoid confrontation whenever possible, and who is much more eager to save lives with his first-aid training than to take lives with his VP9.” Amen.

In addition to the print story, The Atlantic also produced a mini video documentary about Correia, appropriately enough.

Although I confess to some jealousy that The Atlantic brought their considerable resources to bear on a subject I had discovered earlier, I am happy for John Correia to have this exposure. He has always been very generous to me with his time and ideas.

And, anyway, if you Google “John Correia Active Self Protection,” my profile appears in the search results before The Atlantic’s. At least for now.


  1. Paul Harrell has my favorite Youtube gun-related channel. He has fewer followers (about 250,000 now), but those followers idolize him. The guy has serious cred: Four years Marines, 16 years Army, many marksmanship victories, and he even had to kill a man in 3rd-party self-defense (search net for news stories on this).

    Former Army Ranger John Lovell’s rapidly growing Warrior Poet Society channel is also fabulous.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.