5.11 Tactical has a new training DVD coming out. Pistol 1.5 Video will be the title, which will in plainest terms covers gunfighting. It will be narrated by SGM Kyle Lamb, USAR (Ret) of Viking Tactics. Kyle is an 82ND Airborne trooper turned Special Forces turned SFOD-D operator who retired from the Unit as an SNCO.
Although I don't know yet what specifically will be covered in the video, I'm told it will roughly follow a good portion of his book, Stay in the Fight. Examples would include loading, unloading, reloading, shooting on the move, shooting from behind cover, shooting positions, mindset, etc., and all under stress. I have read the book couple of times and liked it which hopefully bodes well for the video. I've also seen Kyle demonstrate his expertise and there's no denying it is formidable.
The actual Viking Tactics Pistol Course 1.5 is described as being "...designed to prepare the shooter to successfully use his/her pistol in stressful, confrontational situations that require much more than traditional range accuracy. This course is intended for shooters who are comfortable handling their weapon but would like to push beyond their current limits. VTAC Pistol 1.5 will push the limits of what you previously thought possible..."
I spoke with a couple of people from 5.11 Tactical today about the video. "The DVD should be out within the next couple of weeks," 5.11 CMO Guy Burgstahler told me. "We're looking forward to seeing the reaction we get. It is a goal of ours to do more than build gear. We want to engage, inform, educate and entertain the end user - this isn't to say we think we know everything, but we do have some good information to offer."
5.11 Tactical's Dave Rhoden expanded on this, advising me they have several more ideas in the works. He wouldn't tell me what those ideas were, though he did make a crack about a 5.11 Tactical "Reality TV" series that left me wondering if he was serious or not. I'm supposed to talk to him next week sometime and will get more information out of him even if it requires a blunt instrument and bamboo shoots.
It's interesting how quickly 5.11 Tactical appears to be evolving. I can attest to the transition I've seen in the corporate culture at 5.11 as an outsider. Things are definitely changing, from what I would call their 'mission statement' (might not be the best word for it) to their internal perspective on things. I was surprised to see not just their design folks but their CEO (a former Marine officer with a voice like a midnight shift radio DJ) asking for input from end users. 'What works? What doesn't? In a perfect world what would you change?' I was also surprised to hear they will be manufacturing some of their future SKUs here in the United States. Don't misunderstand, most of the 5.11 people I've dealt with in the past have been very nice and very professional - except for Hagler, I think he's a closet serial killer - but things are markedly different now, and I think it's a change for the better. I can't tell you if there was a single galvanic moment that prompted this or if it's a combination of multiple factors but the burgeoning new corporate ethos is compelling.
Anyway, I'm looking forward to the video and I will review it for you as soon as it arrives.
Let me step away from this particular training DVD and address one issue before I close. I'm going to embark on a brief rant. Please consider the following an op-ed.
I don't care what you've 'heard' about a particular instructor. It doesn't matter a bit to me what your opinion is of Kyle Lamb any more than I care what you think of Paul Howe or Rob Pincus or Travis Haley or, hell, Ron Jeremy unless you can articulate an issue with their ability to meet instructional objectives.
Let me clarify. You may know an instructor and not like him on a personal level. Fair enough. Some people are assholes that rub us the wrong way (and some of us are assholes that rub us the wrong way) However if you've never actually participated in their training, please spare us all your indignant pontification or learned (yet uninformed) opinion. Here's why - if you can't go to any of their classes and walk away with something of value, you're in the wrong business entirely. Learning the noble profession of arms requires a reasonably open mind.
I was very lucky as a young MOUT instructor that our Course Chief, a great slobbering Tolkien-troll of a man (now a retired Command Master Chief) was passionate about delivering quality training to our students. To that end he sent his instructors all over the country to learn from every possible source. He was ruthless about making us understand we were to wring every bit of knowledge out of every instructor we met, because someone's life might depend on it. If he bothered to send us TDY then by God we'd better bring back something.
NYPD ESU does things entirely differently than LAPD SWAT, let me assure you. Hell, LA County SEB does things differently than LAPD SWAT, though they're only a few miles apart, and they're both entirely different from the Kansas City TAC guys. As you can imagine all of them operate differently from SEAL Team 1, JTF 6 and 1ST SFG (who themselves operate substantially differently from each other). I was fortunate enough to learn from or train with members of all of these organizations, and although I fundamentally disagreed with (and still disagree with) the TTPs of some, I always left the training iterations with a broader perspective and more knowledge of my craft.
The point is to become better at what you do. Certainly there comes a point where things can become diluted or counter-intuitive, perhaps even diametrically opposed to each other - but you'll never know until you learn it, will you?
My point? Don't get sucked into being a fanboy, or take sides in a personality conflict you know nothing about, or make decisions based strictly on hearsay. Volume and repetition can lend even the worst bull$hit a sense of legitimacy. It really doesn't matter if you've heard this guy was better than that guy, or the other fellow is too fat or too condescending or talks with a whistle or just didn't kill enough people operationally. Try a little due diligence, find good instructors, be a sponge and learn. Ruthlessly wring every bit of knowledge out of every instructor you meet. Someone's life may depend on it - possibly your own.
That is all. Go forth and conquer.