Monday, June 11, 2012

How Realistic Is Your Pistol / Handgun Training?

What have you done today to better prepare yourself for the unknown potentially lethal encounter if and when it should come.

What do you practice when you train?

Have you ever fallen on your butt with a loaded gun in your hand while retreating? How did you fall? Where was your trigger finger? Where was your muzzle pointed? What did you do after the fall?

Do you know most never train for likely scenarios, most just shoot at paper while standing still.

Have you ever incorporated verbal challenges, or screams, elbows, kicks and punches to distract in conjunction with retreating?

Have a plan and practice it.... It's not a guarantee of survival in a fight, but the likely hood that you will fend better is more in your favor.

Here is a short video of me demonstrating various pistol techniques during one of our Concealed Handgun Tactic's & Safety Courses in Broward County, Florida.


The Practices, methods, and techniques described in this Video are not for beginners. ThisVideo is designed for people with background, knowledge, and experience in firearms and firearms handling. If you do not have substantial background, knowledge, and experience with firearms and firearms handling, seek instruction before attempting to utilize or implement the practices, methods, and techniques described in this Video.

Shooting and handling firearms involves inherent and unavoidable risks. Firearms are dangerous. Obviously, serious injury and death can result from firearms use. If you are not willing and able to take responsibility for your actions, do not handle firearms.

Whenever handling a firearm, remove the magazine (if applicable) clear the chamber, and visually inspect to verify that the firearms chamber is not loaded before handling. Cleaning or working on the firearm. Always use appropriate eye and ear protection whenever shooting. Know how to safely operate your firearms or any firearm you handle. Be sure to use only the correct ammunition for the specific firearm. Use correct and functioning target systems only. Not all firearms operate the same. Do not assume that your firearm operates like the ones depicted in this video. Never handle a firearm unless in an appropriate location, such as a shooting range.


Always treat all firearms as if they were loaded.

Always point a firearm in a safe direction.

Always keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire.

Always know your target, your surroundings, your backstop and beyond.

These primary rules are not exclusive or failsafe in all circumstances. Here are many other rules, policies and procedures that must be implemented and followed to maximize safety and effectiveness, depending on the situation. Some are commonsense; others are technical and situation specific. This Video does not apply to or address all situations or circumstances. This Video is not intended to be a complete or exclusive guide to firearm operation, and it particularly does not purport to give complete instructions with regard to any particular firearm. This Video must be used in conjunction with adequate prior experience and other resources.


Stephen Cohen
Tactical U

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Calling it An Assault Rifle Vs. A Politically Correct Name Such As Sporting Rifle / Carbine

Tactical U - Firearms Training & Self-Defense View on using the word ASSAULT RIFLE in some course titles.

I had a gentleman contact me regarding referring to a Carbine style rifle as an Assault Rifle in some of our course titles. His comment was that by calling these courses ASSAULT RIFLE we were subjecting gun owners to another 2nd amendment attack!

First off, in this climate I agree however, with all due respect to this man we teach a standard. We can call these classes whatever, and the anti-gunners will still keep coming. So sorry if it bothers you, but we get more web visitors, from good people who WANT TO LEARN PROPER TECHNIQUE and when they search the web, the term searched often is ASSAULT RIFLE. I would rather teach them correctly than focus on what could be because of what we call our class.

Only experienced folks would know to search terms such as Carbine, Black Rifle, Sporter etc... So please understand unfortunately some of it is marketing and that is why we have done it. Initially I did protest it, but to see how many more people have found us, we get the opportunity to educate them. The important aspects is what they learn.  We do go over the politics behind what can be expected and tell them they should refer to the rifle as just that..... A rifle.

In summary we teach all of our students to understand that Americas enjoy a right that citizens of many other countries do not- The right to own guns. AND with this right comes responsibility. It is the gun owners responsibility to store, operate and maintain our firearms safely. It is the gun owner's responsibility to ensure that unauthorized and untrained individuals cannot gain access to his or her guns. And it is the gun owner's responsibility to learn and follow all applicable laws that pertain to the purchase, possession and use of guns in his or her jurisdiction. Guns are neither safe nor unsafe by themselves. When people practice responsible gun ownership, guns are safe. But either way they are and will continue to attack our rights. The word ASSAULT is not going to lead us to our failure. It will be the lack of education.

85 Million Legally Owned Firearms Killed No One Today!
650,000 Board Certified Doctors Killed How Many?

Monday, April 30, 2012

9mm vs. .45 Saga Continues On......

I love it when people talk about various calibers and how effective or ineffective they are. Listen folks in general pistol calibers are relatively ineffective.  There are 3 ways to incapacitate a threat. 

1. Psychological shock / Trauma usually resulting from a physical trauma or wound.

- Someone is injured with a non life threatening wound or trauma and they die as a result of chemical imbalances in the brain leading to complications. i.e Heart Arrhythmia

2. Neurological shock / Trauma i.e. shot to the head, or spine causing instantaneous death or paralyzation.

- For the majority of carry holders, most under pressure are not going to be making head shots. First off you should never have been trained to shoot for the head, (Aim small (HEAD) miss big, aim big (BODY) miss small) your adrenaline is pumping, your scared, your adversary most likely is not standing still. You get the point. You shoot for the body and try to pierce the spin, more than likely the bullet from most pistols, .45 inclusive does not normally have the energy after traveling through the body to break the spinal cord. Not to mention how perfectly centered your shot would need to be to even have a chance in the first place. So most likely this is not your best option.

* Many will say you are supposed to shoot 2 or 3 to the chest then one to the head. I say I agree, but from a Law Enforcement perspective looking at the skill levels of the masses who carry I am thinking about how would a jury look at your case.

Head shots are possible, but understand depending on circumstances create potentially more liability to you. You could miss,( most likely). Worst case your dead as a result. Or your missed shot hurt an innocent bystander. Best case you have to explain why you are so militant to a jury of your piers half whom hate firearms and have no idea why anyone would have one in the first place. So.... Do what works best for you. Just my 2 cents from 20 years plus experience as a Law Enforcement Certified Firearms Instructor. Center mass shots are the norm of what is taught and determined to be acceptable as a reasonable and prudent person would agree. So they say.

**A head shot will most likely incapacity your threat immediately. I personally feel is the best option for someone who is highly skilled, trained and practiced, but there again depending on circumstances. 

With that said maybe your best option is to learn from professionals and train often the techniques you learn.

*** Regarding my statement above about calibers.. YES, I know a .44, most .357's and 10MM's can punch the torso and out the spine. Most people do not carry these calibers for defense however and if they do well, over penetration is not a good thing. There is no way you can follow up shots ACCURATELY as fast as a 9mm for example. The recoil is much more. Bigger caliber handguns make bigger muzzle flashes, hold less capacity in ammo and are usually louder. Moving on...

3. Bleeding Blood pressure loss as a result of several center mass shots will hopefully cause an aggressor to quickly lose his fight. 

-Keep in mind this is not instantaneous like a well placed head shot. So you could still be potentially injured or killed even if you mortally wounded someone in a self-defense scenario.

**Statistics show that most altercations involving carry caliber handguns end as the result of the victim or the aggressor bleeding to death and not always at the crime scene. 

With that said...........

Thought you may find this interesting. Notice that there really isn't a significant difference considering a 9mm can be fired more accurately and faster than a .40, .357 sig or .45 due to muzzle flip / recoil control issues.

So is it better to have a little more tissue damage per hit or more hits?

We noticed shot placement and how many shots on target go down significantly when we take the same shooters and run them through the same drills first with a 9mm and then with various other larger powered calibers.

You make the decision for you! I am just passing on information.


Monday, January 9, 2012

Have A CCW Permit? Are You Prepared To Win A Lethal Encounter?

Carry A Concealed Firearm?
Ok, you have a Concealed Carry Permit and you carry a pistol for protection. Now what? Are you prepared to defend yourself or others in a life or death situation? Or is the firearm a liability? People keep guns in their homes to defend themselves from a violent attack. Many have state issued carry permits so they can carry a handgun legally on the street. I know they are sincere in their determination to defend themselves, but for most part many lack the understanding that this is serious business and much more than what they bargained for when something bad actually happens. 

Most folks I speak with don’t have any idea regarding the legal process. There is no further planning beyond carrying a firearm. I have a suggestion. Research use of force in the state in which you live. Look at case precedent to see how use of force cases have been decided in the past. Most importantly, learn from professionals tactics and techniques. Practice various scenarios regularly, including how to deal with the police after a shooting. Also have a plan. Your home is one thing, but there are many more variables to contend with on public streets. 

Saying I have a concealed carry weapon permit is like saying I have a gym membership, so automatically this means what? You are in shape? This in mind, we at Tactical U have decided to better inform and prepare law abiding State approved concealed carry weapon permit holders. by offering a course called, CONCEALED HANDGUN TACTICS & SAFETY. If you have chosen to carry a firearm, we want you to learn not only how to become more proficient with it, but to also have a game plan and learn how to deal with the police if you are involved in an encounter. We work to help you develop those skills until they become ingrained into your subconscious. We know this isn’t a perfect world, guarantee of survival or avoidance of prosecution, BUT with proper training, practice and a plan your odds are much better.

I believe in our second amendment rights and do not think government should invoke additional mandates for a higher standard of training, but with that said, isn’t the responsibility ours to be better trained, more competent, safer and informed? With that said, it is incumbent upon the individual that chooses to carry or possess a firearm, to hold themselves to a higher standard and take the appropriate steps to becoming not only more proficient, but better understanding the laws, safety, escalation and de-escalation continuum, and how to handle a self-defensive shooting encounter.

Training is the true test your abilities and your gear. People come to our sessions with all kinds of holsters, gear and equipment that isn’t very practical for their mission, dress or lifestyle. When I ask them why the bought a particular item they say the read about it on a forum, or their buddy told them it’s the greatest device since sliced bread. Here is a great way to torture test your equipment to see if it's functional, practical and if it will hold up under various conditions.

Your best practice in any potentially hazardous situation would be to avoid it, evade it and if all else fails, counter it. You have only seconds to react during a fight.  You should remember your actions will be scrutinized for weeks and months after a defensive shooting encounter. If it is deemed you acted reasonable and prudently you will avoid prosecution. If not expect to go to jail. Either way expect to be civilly sued.

So what it I find myself in a lawful self-defense situation and ultimately involved in a shooting?

First off, NEVER use more force than what is necessary to repel, incapacitate or thwart an armed attacker. We train our students to use verbal challenges and to first make every attempt to retreat if possible.

If you survive a gunfight, and hopefully you did because your training took over. This is where it all begins. Now you can figure the police got a call for the shooting and a description of the individual with a gun. Guess who that description is of most likely? You guessed it YOU! The Police do not know how you are, or that you were the intended victim/ target defending yourself. All they know is they got a call for a shooting and you are described as the shooter. After all YOU ARE THE SHOOTER! With that said there are certain things you can do which can make your dealings with the police who respond less stressful for you and them. Most importantly you want to survive the encounter with the police who presently think you are a armed threat. At this time the only information they have is shooting, armed suspect and possibly a description.

If possible immediately after neutralizing your assailant if the area is hot, GET OUT OF THERE! Go to a safe location and call 911. If at this time it is safe to do so holster up and maintain a defensive posture. Stay alert. Check yourself for injuries. Check your surroundings. Give the 911 operator the location of the incident and request medical services to the scene FIRST! Tell them you were the one involved in a shooting at said location, and that you need officers respond to the crime scene and your current location where you have retreated to. Give only a brief description of the incident. An example would be, " A man attacked me, I was in fear for my life. I defended myself by shooting him." Then identify and give a description of yourself. Make sure you tell the operator you are legally carrying the weapon and where it is secured at this time so officers responding know. This will be the first thing they want in their possession.  

DO NOT MAKE ANY FURTHER STATEMENT AT THIS TIME! Anything you say can and will be used against you later. If the operator presses you for details tell them you are going to wait for counsel to advise you.  The investigation starts as soon as 911 answers and is recording the call.When police arrive to your location, DO NOT have your gun out. Make sure it is holstered and concealed. If you are a uniformed security guard this is the only time your pistol should be in plain view. It should however be holstered up as well. DO NOT reach for the pistol to give it to the police when they arrive. Put your hands up and listen to their commands. Keep in mind when your adrenalin is pumping it’s possible you were injured and unaware, so check yourself  again for injuries. 

If the area is not hot with additional threats, if possible secure assailants weapon and render first aid if you can. If you can assess the scene check bystanders for injuries as well.  First priority is to make sure you are not hurt and safe. MAKE SURE YOU STAY ALERT the entire time.

Do not discuss the incident with bystanders. Check over the scene BUT do not tamper with any evidence unless again it is a weapon that you think you must secure. Do not taunt anyone at the scene or the assailant. Do not use racially charged or abusive language that could come back and haunt you in court later. Do not let any bystanders tamper with evidence. Keep bystanders back.

If the assailant appears to be dead, do not tamper with his body.

Side note: if when the officers arrive and you have a gun out pointing at a suspect, they are going to assume that you are the aggressor and you could potentially be a threat to the officers. This could put you in harms way. Do yourself a favor COMPLY to every command they give you. DO NOT ARGUE OR TRY TO TELL THEM YOU ARE TE GOOD GUY!!! You can explain your situation after the fact. Let them do their job. You will most likely be on the ground face first and handcuffed. Make sure that is ALL that happens. So before they arrive, and if you have control over the situation you should if permitting holster and maintain a defensive posture ready to deal with the threat you encountered or any other threat in the immediate area. This way you do not have a gun out for the police to interpret as a threat. Do not put yourself in a position to get shot when the police arrive on scene.

Notice I have made this point more than once?

Ok, the police are on scene, they have secured your weapon. What is next?

If asked to make a statement at the scene be firm but polite and say you would like to wait to have legal representation present before doing so. Remember what you say can and will be used against you later. You have 24 hours usually to make your statement. Do not be in a rush to do so.

When Fire Rescue or Paramedics arrive get medical attention for shock regardless as to whether or not you need it.

Don’t speak to any reporters who may be on scene. News agencies have scanners and chase ambulances so expect them to be there with cameras rolling.

Once transported to the police station you will be asked to make a statement, either on your own or under the advice of counsel. If you request counsel it will not be held against you and is strongly advised. Once you have  made a statement the states attorneys’ office will determine if you are to be charged. If the states attorney decides not to prosecute, you could still be subject to Civil Liabilities Title 18 Section 242 and Title 42 Section 1983.

Advise your counsel not to make statements to the press on your behalf at anytime.

Media has no authority, you are not obligated to speak with them, Don’t give them a chance to twist your statements or portray you as a something you are not!

Don’t apologize for defending yourself. Don’t make statements to Police or anyone else such as " I'm sorry this happened, I wish I could have done something different," If you appear remorseful your actions could be construed as inappropriate. What you say can cost you later in court, a grand jury hearing, or coroner’s inquest, and surely would give the suspect or his family legal basis to seek civil damages. So no remorseful comments.

Shooting incidents are stressful, even for seasoned Law Enforcement and Military Personnel. People usually second guess themselves. What could I have done differently? Understand that psychological and physical problems can stem from such an event. If this is the case you should seek professional medical help.
These are my suggestions based off of my personal experiences as a Baltimore Police Officer who handled many shootings during my career. I also had the misfortune of finding myself involved in shootings where I had to go through this very process. Fortunately, I was not prosecuted and my actions were deemed reasonable. Even still for one incident I was Civilly sued by the family of an individual for punitive and compensatory damages. I was exonerated and cleared of any wrong doing, liability or responsibility. I can tell it was not a pleasant experience and it felt like it took years off of my life. Every day for 5 years I wondered what the outcome of this case would be considering I did nothing malicious or wrong. I am very lucky the Police Department backed my actions because financially it would have drained my accounts completely and then some.

Whenever there is a shooting, whether lawful or otherwise there is a huge cost to pay. Cost of life, emotional costs for victims, their families and financial cost.

IN CONCLUSION: Stay safe out there! Learn how to better protect yourself not only with a gun, but to avoid putting yourself into positions where you find yourself dealing with the legal system. Learn how to become a hard target and better prepare by training regularly. Have a plan, practice it.

DISCLAIMER: This is not a legal advise. Consult with your attorney. This is informational only. 

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