Do Martial Artists Make Better Shooters? with Chris Nicklin

About This Episode

In today’s episode of Tactical Business, host Wade Skalsky sits down with Chris Nicklin, a former marine, Virginia Beach Police and SWAT member to discuss the supportive nature of the firearms community and the similarities between firearms and martial arts training. Join Chris as he shares his knowledge and experiences in the firearms realm.

Insights In This Episode

  • The SWAT team in his department has a full-time role and undergoes rigorous training to respond to emergencies that regular officers are not equipped to handle.
  • The tryout process for the SWAT team includes fitness testing, interviews, and tactical training, with evaluation from senior officers.
  • Chris highlights the supportive nature of the firearms community, where experienced shooters willingly lend their equipment and knowledge to newcomers.
  • He emphasizes that in both the civilian and law enforcement sectors, people from diverse backgrounds join training classes, necessitating a flexible and understanding instructional approach.
  • Chris draws parallels between firearms training and martial arts, as both are forms of military expression of force, albeit with different tools.
  • Paying attention to surroundings and awareness is more crucial than relying solely on speed when using firearms.

About Tactical Business

Tactical Business is the weekly business show for the firearms industry. The podcast features in-depth interviews with the entrepreneurs, professionals and technologists who are enabling the next generation of firearms businesses to innovate and grow.

Episode Transcript

Wade: Welcome to the Tactical Business Show. I’m your host, Virginia Beach based firearms entrepreneur and copywriter Wade Skalsky. Each episode will be exploring what it takes to thrive as a business owner in the firearms industry. We’ll speak with successful firearms industry entrepreneurs about their experiences building their companies, leaders and legislators who are shaping the industry, and tech executives whose innovations will reshape the future of the firearms industry. Let’s get after it. Hello and welcome to the Tactical Business Podcast. I am your host, Wade Skalsky, and today we are talking with my friend and firearms instructor, Chris Nicklin. Chris, how are you doing, man?

Chris: Doing really good, Wade. How are.

Wade: You? Good, good. So thank you for sitting down with me today. Let’s start a little bit with the beginning. I know that you went into the armed forces. Why did you do that? What was the story behind that?

Chris: It’s kind of a strange story. A lot of folks, they have all kinds of different reasons for being for enlisting or different things like that. For me, it boiled down to looking at where I was in life, looking at some of the characters I was hanging around with, looking at where I saw my life going and deciding that the shooting war that was going on at the time was a better option than where I was headed. So so there I was. And my family has a history of being US Marines. I’ve got all kinds of different generations of us Marines in my family. So the choice was obvious.

Wade: So you enroll in the Marine Corps. Talk to me a little bit about how your path to becoming, because I know you were an instructor, firearms instructor in the Marine Corps as well. Yes.

Chris: Well, serving in a leadership role as a non-commissioned officer. I was an NCO squad leader for a couple of different platoons. And part of the job is training your troops, the guys that are assigned to you. So in that capacity, yeah, I took on an instructional role in a couple of different units when you guys would check in and stuff like that, and we would have different training evolutions for whatever the topic was, whether it was land navigation or mount Urban Tactics or or firearms. A lot of times it would be assigned to an NCO to train up the new guys. And so I started doing that then quite a bit.

Wade: Is that when you started to like the, like teaching? Is it or did you not did you like it then? Not like it then? Did I give you the bug?

Chris: I think back then it was more about the folks that you’re training because in that circumstance you’re dependent on these guys. So when you’re dependent on somebody to potentially save your life, you sort of want them to be pretty well trained. So the incentive is not just for them, but it’s a little selfish, too. If I have to march on to a battlefield, I want the guy on my left and right to be the most well trained guys covering me as they can be. And the way to ensure that is to do it yourself. Right?

Wade: Right. Yeah. So you go through the Marines, you get out of the Marines. What do you do once you’re out of the Marines.

Chris: Wandered aimlessly for just a little while? To be honest with you, I tried out college wasn’t for me. I ended up working at a couple of different martial arts schools. I ran some pretty large martial arts programs here on the East Coast. I was teaching Muay Thai Filipino martial arts, Kendo, Jim Fong, Kung Fu. I was doing some stuff in the early days of. Back then we called it Valetudo. It wasn’t even MMA. Ufc was on like UFC two back then, so I’m a little an old guy now.

Wade: Well, I think I’m older than you. So you’re not old. You’re just. You’re just experienced. Okay? You run on the martial arts schools, you’re going through a lot of different permutations of that. And then from there, you decided to become a police officer. What was your thinking on that?

Chris: It was a career that I could do that offered stability, reasonable pay. I was already trained in a lot of the hard skill sets that you needed to have to do that job effectively. I was good at talking to people just from dealing with people coming and going from the martial arts school didn’t scare me to have to punch a guy in the face if he needed it for whatever that’s worth.

Wade: Just not me today.

Chris: Yeah.

Wade: If you can’t tell, we’re doing this interview in person. So we’re we’re in studio, if you will, at the gun range. So don’t punch me in the face if you.

Chris: Of course not. So anyway, it’s I had a young family at the time and it seemed like a decent way to be able to look after the family without reenlisting and going back overseas. Because remember, September 11th of 2001 was early on in my police career. And so it was it let me have a way to still do something for the community, do what I was good at and be home for the kids at night.

Wade: And did you spend your entire career at the same police department? I did. Okay, cool. And so you’re at the police department. How long did you were you a police officer for?

Chris: I was a police officer about 17 years.

Wade: And then as a police officer. Then you moved into Swat. How does someone get in on the Swat team? What is that like? What is the training that you guys do?

Chris: We’re fortunate we have a full time Swat team here, and so their entire job is to be the Swat team. They have ancillary duties that they have to take care of here and there, but their primary job is to train and be ready to respond to those emergencies that your typical uniform patrol officer is not equipped or trained to deal with. So so we were real lucky in that fashion. Now, the tryout process, it changes over time. It’s morphed a few times depending on what’s going on and the needs of the department and the Swat team. But there’s there’s a physical tryout. You have to do your fitness testing. You can’t you can’t be too much of a fat guy and and be on a Swat team. It doesn’t really work real well that way. There’s an interview process and then there’s Swat School where you go through the basic tactical training of a Swat officer. And that entire period is you’re under evaluation and you’re assigned. A senior Swat officer as your evaluator. And they rotate that responsibility daily. So every day at different guys or gal is watching you while you’re going through your training and they’re checking the boxes as you meet the standards. You not meet the standards as you exceed the standard or whatever. And then at the end of that Swat school, they sit down and they determine, all right, well, who’s our number one candidate coming out of this process, of this group of people? And you get ranked in a draft order. And after that, if there is an opening, if you come out ranked number one on the list, not for nothing, but I did and a little shameless pat on my own back, right?

Wade: It’s hey, we’re all competitors here. Yeah.

Chris: So but if you come out number one on the list and there’s an opening, you’re the first up and you get slid over to the team and then the next guy on the next opening and so forth. So it’s different for every department, though. Everybody has their own process and how they do that, that was ours at the time. Likely that the process now on that same team is probably different. That’s okay.

Wade: How many people are on this? We’re on the Swat team at that time.

Chris: At that time, there were 18 of us, including two sergeants, supervisors. So is it.

Wade: So then is it like a almost like a fireman where you’re just you’re either training or you’re responding to a call, basically, Right. Is that or are you on duty then as a regular.

Chris: Officer, you have a regular working shift, right? And during that time you’re doing some of those ancillary duties. I was talking about, you’re maintaining Swat equipment. I was in charge of the armory at Special Operations. So everybody from the Marine patrol to the motor cops to the bike unit, I was in charge of all the weaponry we had in the armory. So that took up a lot of my time maintaining all that equipment as an ancillary duty. And then we have training days. Our team had two training days every week, which is a lot for municipal Swat team, which is pretty good. And then we have call out. So back then it was pager. So if the pager went off again, agent myself a little bit on that pager went off at 2 a.m. Hey, grab your stuff and show up. We’re going to use this location as a sort of a makeshift command post, and then we’re going to move on. The objective after.

Wade: That. So in the Hampton Roads area where we are, there’s a ton of military here. Do you feel that the Swat team was influenced by all of that, like human capital? Because we have so much talent here with regards to operators.

Chris: And I can say without doubt that we have leaned on that community on several occasions, whether it was for gun sniffing services, because there was a couple of guys in the local area that were really talented at at Gunsmithing that helped us out with some equipment issues, whether it was tactics, training. Some of the local folks have come to our training days and said, Hey, have you ever thought about doing it this way or, Hey, this is how we do it or stuff like that. So yeah, that’s absolutely something that we have and as far as I know, continue to do with our local partners, because the way they look at it is why would we not help the local guys? Our families live here. They’re the ones that are going to show up for our families if we’re somewhere else, right?

Wade: Well, yeah, like when you’re dropping your kid off at school, you’re your Swat team is going to be the one that was going to respond or even.

Chris: If it was just anything in general, this guy is overseas doing terrible things to terrible people on our behalf. His wife and kids are here. He wants to know that whoever shows up to help them when they call is a competent human. Yeah. So, yeah, absolutely.

Wade: And I feel like there’s an ethos. I talk about this a lot with regards to the gun range. If you have a good range, you’ll never meet a more friendly group of helpful people that all they want you to do is first be safe, help you to be safe. And second of all, just to get better at what you’re trying to do. That’s been my experience as I’ve never been in the military. Although I grew up in North Dakota, I used to hunt when I was younger. I came to firearms late in terms of for personal protection, and I was always astounded by how friendly everyone was at the range.

Chris: That’s a good general description of the firearms community in this country as a whole. If you go take a precision rifle, match, some of the equipment these guys use to to go to these matches is really expensive, right? These guys are running $15,000 rifles. The scope alone on the top of one of those things is between 3 and $6000. There’s all kinds of equipment involved. But if you show up as a new guy, everyone out there is going to say, Hey, if you don’t have this, you want to try mine. Or if you’re if you ask another shooter on your squad, hey, can I borrow your rangefinder or do you mind if I use your rear bag or your tripod? Every single one of them is going to say absolutely none of them are going to say, Well, no, I don’t want to give that guy an advantage to do better and compete against me. That is secondary to any of that. I mean, yeah, those guys want to win, right? But their primary concern is, I guess, for lack of a better word, good fellowship on the range. That’s absolutely true in the shooting community.

Wade: Well, and you want to have it a place that you want to go, right? Because.

Chris: Well, they want to grow their sport.

Wade: Yeah. I think also, too, is that there’s a scenario where I’ve noticed a lot of talking to people in the community. There’s a lot of humility, right? So it’s I don’t know everything. I may know a lot, but I don’t know everything. I learn something every time I go to the range, even if it’s a reinforces a lesson. I already know when. I find that that humility is what makes people they approach it as a craftsman versus some other way.

Chris: In the martial arts world, we used to say, Show up on the mat with a white belt attitude. It didn’t matter if you were a seventh degree black belt or some crazy ninja certified something or other, you show up with that white belt attitude. There’s always something to learn. It doesn’t matter who you are. I think even top shooters in the competitive realm will tell you that.

Wade: Yeah, and I think a lot of that has to do with that’s a mindset that everybody has, right? So you’re at Swat, you have this community mindset, you’re bringing other people in. You’re learning a lot. When you left the police department and left Swat, did you go directly into firearms instruction or what did you do from there?

Chris: I had been in firearms instruction for the police department prior to going to Swat. I was a firearms instructor for the police department and that was my full time job for six years as a police officer is training the other officers, get them qualified and trained up so that they can work the street not only in a safe manner for them, but for the people they’re supposed to be serving out there. So yeah, I had been in the instructional space for a long time as far as firearms. Now I just get to do it as a paycheck, which is nice, right.

Wade: Well, Paul, a firearms instructor in the private sector, Right. So yeah. Yeah. And how is that how is it different in terms of let’s start there? How is it different being a firearms instructor? Because you run the program here at Freedom Outdoors, right? Yeah. So you have to think of it both on a macro level in terms of, okay, what is the what are we doing for the program? What classes are we going to offer, Who’s going to staff those? But then on a on a micro level, like a personal level, like you’re my firearms instructor, you’re always been my firearms instructor. So that’s a different concern too, right? So what’s different about the private sector for you than when you were teaching on Swat? Or is there is it this exactly the same?

Chris: I wouldn’t say it’s exactly the same, but it’s not very different because when you’re dealing with these use of force issues or with firearms training, especially on a police department, you get folks on a police department that are coming from everywhere, just like an open enrollment class on the civilian side, they could be shown up for their first day at the police academy fresh out of college. They might have done a couple of tours in the military. They may have been a construction person or something like that and decided that they wanted to be a police officer and change careers. Any of those is possible on an open enrollment class, too, So you don’t really change a whole lot. It’s people are people. You deal with them the way you deal with people. That is, if you have your head screwed on, right? I mean, I’m not out here trying to be a drone instructor screaming and yelling at people on the range. I think that’s a misconception that people have when they assume an instructional role, especially in military and law enforcement circles. I think they believe that they have to put on their Smokey bear and their black belt and get out here and start crushing recruits. That’s not really how it works. That’s not conducive to good training. So we don’t do that here. I wouldn’t have encouraged it on the police department, and I don’t think I did things that way in the military either, because I need people to learn. And when they’re stressed out and getting screamed at, they’re not learning. Now, if I was training a bunch of contract guys to certify to go overseas, they’re supposed to be showing up already trained for the most part. So I’m just vetting their training, making sure they’re still in shape, making sure they can still hit the target and move on. But if I go to yell at folks, I’ll just ask them to leave the range, whether it’s a safety violation or an attitude problem. I’m not in the business of yelling at people.

Wade: Yeah, well, you’re in a classroom. The range is a classroom. Like, we’re sitting in a classroom right now and it’s a classical. There’s chairs and there’s tables and there’s a whiteboard. The whiteboard? Yeah. And a TV for videos. And so people, they think to themselves, Oh, okay, I’m in a classroom, I know what to do. I sit down, I’m going to learn about whatever. But the range is a classroom. Even if there’s not someone there giving you instruction, I mean, you’re getting reps shooting. And I think that if you approach firearms with the heart of a teacher, you’ll never go wrong. Yeah, but the whole world.

Chris: Is a classroom.

Wade: Isn’t it? Yeah, well, that’s a good point.

Chris: It doesn’t matter to me what you’re trying to learn, whether it’s computer programming or shooting your handgun. If you have the opportunity to learn something, the geography of where you’re standing kind of irrelevant, you know? And that’s something I’ve tried to tell my kids for many years. Don’t let the lack of a classroom stop you from learning what you want to learn for sure.

Wade: There’s so much available to people right now in terms of on YouTube, right? Like you can literally if you want to look at three different ways to clean. And I’m not saying everything on YouTube is good. I’m not talking about your grimacing, but I’m talking about like if you find a reputable source. So like, for example, if you’re like, Hey, I want to make sure that I’m cleaning my gun correctly, Right, Right. So you can look up your specific gun. You’re like, I’m a Glock guy, so I can look up Glock 17, Gen five, Glock 19, Gen five. Like, how do I clean this properly? Right. And you don’t you can be a student always. You don’t have to always be on the range to get that out.

Chris: Absolutely. And nothing beats in-person instruction. That’s just the way that it is the opportunity to have the give and take with the instructor or other students in the class and learn from them. You really can’t go wrong doing that now. Can you learn things from those other sources, these more modern learning sources? Absolutely. But you’ve got to be careful on vetting the source sometimes. That’s the tricky part. You could look up how to shoot a gun on the Internet and you’ll hit you’ll come up with days worth of information on just lining up the sights and pressing the trigger. And you’ll hear a million different philosophies on how to get that done. And some of them are going to be downright wacky.

Wade: Yeah, I agree with you. I mean, there’s one reason why I that I paid for training, right? That I come. And how do you teach me what to do? Because every time that I’m with you, my family gets safer, see?

Chris: And I thought it was my.

Wade: Wit and charm. Yeah. No, I don’t like that. I don’t like you at all. No, but it’s every time that I do a class, my family is safer, right? Because I become more proficient in the firearm. And I know basically from your experience and your certifications, how many armorer certifications do you have? A handful of like 4 or 5, right?

Chris: Yeah, yeah. Something like. Yeah, like.

Wade: Glock and Remington.

Chris: Remington Bushmaster. Ar Yeah.

Wade: Yeah. So I just when I need something on my AR or my Glock, I just come to you and have you do it. So. Okay, so you leave Swat, you come to private instruction, you run the program here. Let’s talk about mindset. I think that’s one thing that you and I talk about a lot because again, I’ve never been in the military. I’ve never been in a gunfight. I did do martial arts and was a martial arts instructor like you for a long time. But firearms is a different animal, right, In some ways. And so let’s talk a little bit about mindset and your thoughts on that, because I know we talk about that a lot.

Chris: Well, from an instructional perspective, it’s funny that you point out the differences between martial arts and firearms. I am constantly astounded by the similarities and depending on what system you’re training in, within the martial arts world, firearms is incorporated in that system. If we were to break it down the way they do in the Filipino martial arts systems, they have projectile weapons as one of the categories of of that system. And so this constitutes that projectile weapon as far as they’re concerned. So they definitely address it in some of the non traditional ways as far as that goes. But when you break it down, martial arts is a military art or a military expression of the use of force. Firearms is absolutely by definition a martial art. And it just seems to be looked at a little bit differently. And the problem you sometimes run into is. When the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem starts to look like a nail. And you can’t emphasize enough. A lot of times that, Hey, this is the last tool you’re supposed to use, not the first tool you’re supposed to use. So having those other skill sets like you do is actually a lot more of a benefit than you may think because something like situational awareness that you learn from just being aware of your environment. And I’m sure martial arts instructors preach that to their students every day. I know I did because the best defense for the punch Danielson is no be there, right? So if you’re aware of the environment and the surroundings and you see these problems beginning to percolate leave, there’s no room for the machismo in there. Just go. Especially if you have your family with you and you’ve got your wife and your kids or grandma or Aunt Sally. It doesn’t matter to me. But if you’re responsible for other people’s safety, discretion is the better part of valor in that one.

Wade: Yeah, well, I think I look at it as a different the martial arts because like you said, it’s the deadly force aspect of it. Right? Right. So in martial arts you can spar and you can practice everything and you can roll on a mat, you can do all that, and you can say to someone, hey, listen, I’m going to teach you right now how to break someone’s neck or this is what you’re going to do to their kidneys or whatever. But there’s never an instance where you actually do that. Whereas I think what I’m saying in training well.

Chris: I’ll tell you this story. I had been teaching for a while at a at a pretty large school here, and it was known for having an enormous adult training program for self-defense. And during one of the training sessions, we were doing some of that sparring that you’re talking about. And this sparring, it was light timing, sparring. And one of the students in the class had complained to me that somebody else was getting a little heavy handed. So I said, all right, well, let me rotate in and see what’s going on. Maybe it’s your pain tolerance. Maybe it’s their aggressiveness. Let me evaluate. So I jumped in and I started mixing it up and I rotated in with this other person, an and that person came after me pretty heavy. And so out of whatever instinct or just seeing the opening and go for it, I kicked this guy in the neck and he fell straight down. Now, previous to that, the last time I saw somebody fall that way was somebody I watched get shot in the chest on a battlefield and fell straight down, lights out like the puppet had the had the lines cut. That was one of the scariest moments in my civilian life because I thought I killed that guy. Yeah. Yeah. Didn’t didn’t. But I did, unfortunately, cause a pretty extensive injury on that one. And it wasn’t even intentional. Well, yeah, that was just one of those. His hands are down. My shin comes up contact right there and boom. And that person ended up having to change careers because of that injury. So it can happen. Yeah, it can happen. And I was just grateful. In the next room doing a jiu jitsu class, it was an emergency room doctor, so I ran over and grabbed him real quick and I was like, Hey, you need to check this guy out, right? And he calmed me down a little bit and let me know, Hey, this guy’s got a concussion for sure. We need to get him looked at, but he’ll live well.

Wade: And I think there’s a scene in the movie The Rock. Oh, yeah, Yeah, I love that movie. There’s a scene where Nicolas Cage hands Sean Connery like the nerve gas, right? It’s like the moment that you stop respecting this, it kills you. Yeah, right. And that’s I think about that a lot with regards to firearms.

Chris: Absolutely true.

Wade: Martial arts training, too, you know, and.

Chris: I think I tell people all the time, if you operate a chainsaw like an idiot, odds are good you’re going to get hurt. You operate a handgun like an idiot. Odds are good you’re going to get hurt. So you’re absolutely right.

Wade: This episode is brought to you by Every few years it seems large banks and national credit card processors suddenly decide that they no longer want to process payments for firearms and firearms related businesses. And so they drop these businesses with almost no notice, freezing tens of thousands of dollars in payments for months on end. If you want to ensure your partner with a payments provider that is dedicated to supporting the firearms industry or you just want to find out if you could be paying less for your ACH debit and credit card processing, visit Again, that’s We’ve talked about that mindset before, too, where it’s a lot of people will come to firearms with a hardened mindset because of something that happened to them negatively. And I’m talking about civilians here, right? So, I mean, obviously, if you’re in the military and you you’re trained, you’re they’re going to put you in situations where you may need to use it. And especially in the last 20 years, we’ve got a lot of people who have been in that situation. So that is a whole nother can of worms about that mindset and how to deal with that. But for a civilian like me, even though I’ve had the martial arts training, it’s like, what do you counsel people on in terms of their mindset that haven’t had that negative experience? Right, right.

Chris: So it goes back to what I’ve said earlier about situational awareness. First, I pay attention to my surroundings. I get my face out of the screen, put down the phone and look at what’s happening around me. Then I’m unlikely to be surprised. And I’ve made this joke to you a couple of times that I’m not very fast with a gun, but I don’t miss a lot. I know I’m not fast. There are guys that shoot with me on a regular basis that are way faster than I am. There’s a guy that shoots with me on a regular basis out of the holster on the A-zone and IPsec target at seven yards in 0.84 seconds. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. That’s fast, super fast. I am never going to be that fast, but I don’t worry about being that fast because I pay attention to what’s going on around me. And if I see the problem brewing two blocks away, I simply turn left, turn right, make a u turn and get out of there. So for me, situational awareness is first, I joke with one of another instructor that I know. He says, You’re going to know that I’m shooting at you. When you hear the bullets impacting around you, which I mean, he’s saying it tongue in cheek, but he brings that military experience. And that was the kind of thing he’s used to doing. And I don’t even know how many battles. But we’re in the continental United States. You can’t do that. Fire is not okay.

Wade: It’s not the.

Chris: Goal. So that’s the double edge of the sword with the military experience that you talked about a minute ago. These guys are coming back and they have a ton of experience being in that stressful environment. But the rules were different for those guys. So if they default to that military training, that can cause problems for them, even though that’s exactly what they were trained to do on the civilian side, not being familiar with violence, real violence that can cause panic and freeze up. And that’s a problem as well. I think in the civilian world, in the continental United States, we have to find that middle ground or kind of zigzag back and forth, Bruce Lee said. You want to absorb what is useful. You reject what is useless, and you add what is uniquely your own to your system. I think that applies. So again, firearms and martial arts, same thing.

Wade: Well, and I think the other thing for martial arts is that I always tell my students is that you’re going to downshift to your basic habits, whatever they are. So one reason why you want to get super good at the very basics like, like forget about the fancy looking moves from the movies, right? Like jumping. And first of all, it’s all nonsense. Never nonsense. Never jump in the air. Never jump in the air. My entire martial arts philosophy is I’m going to kick you in the knee and then I’m going to run away. That’s my whole that sound thinking. That’s my whole goal. It’s like, I’m going to kick you really hard in the knee and I’m gonna run as fast as I can.

Chris: That is sound.

Wade: Thinking. Now I got a wife and two kids, so that’s probably not an option. But back in the day, that was my whole strategy. Kicking the knee run away. Yeah. And I think when someone with firearms is like, you’re going to downgrade to whatever habit you have that you’ve done the most times, and that’s where the reps at the range come in, it’s not enough to just buy a gun and know how to point and shoot. Pull the trigger. Yeah, yeah.

Chris: The platitudes come to play. We don’t rise to the occasion of combat. We default to our lowest level of training. Hopefully that lowest level at some point is better than whatever you’re facing.

Wade: Yeah. And I think with regards to take everyday carry, for example, there’s the whole different set of skills that you need if you’re going to carry everyday versus if you just have it in your house next to your bedside in a safe. Right? Just because you own a gun.

Chris: That doesn’t make you armed.

Wade: So you’re right. Exactly how you say that to me every single time I’m on the range with you. So let’s keep going with the mindset for a little bit. Is there like a general philosophy that you could have for civilians that say, okay, I’ve got a gun or want to buy a gun? What is the mindset that I need to adopt that will hold me in good stead going forward?

Chris: I think that we addressed it, that student mindset of learning, right? That’s always going to help because the more you know, the better off you’re going to be. You don’t want to get so cluttered with choices that you end up freezing, right? That’s another problem. Well, do I do this technique or that technique or this technique while you’re busy making up your mind, bad things are still happening, so you don’t want to get there either. But at the same time, you’ve got to practice. You’ve got to work on the fundamentals. And that’s true of anything. Whether I’m shooting a rifle at a distant target. The fundamentals are what’s more critical than the fancy equipment. If I’m shooting my handgun at close range at several targets, the fundamentals again, that’s going to be the key there. It doesn’t matter what the technique is, but you’ve got to have those fundamentals buried into your subconscious heart. They need to be there so that you’re doing that without thought, that unconscious competence in that skill set is what you’re trying to achieve. That frees your brain up to worry about other tactical evaluations in the circumstance, right? So don’t have to think finger straight. I’m not pointing at a target now. I have to look in that corner now. I have to look in that corner now. I have to look in that corner my fingers already straight. So I’m scanning my environment right away. Whereas the best egress, where is the possible ingress to the bad guy? You know, these these fundamental gun handling skills need to be ingrained. Then you can start worrying about these crazy tactics that people always want to talk about the the sexy side of training that everybody wants to learn. I want to learn how to do room clearing. Why?

Wade: Yeah, When are you ever going to do that? Yeah, you.

Chris: Know. Well, somebody breaks into my house. I need. Look, dude, you’re in your home. Yeah, There’s a bad guy somewhere. Or possibly several bad guys somewhere. You’re in your room. Your wife is on that side of the room. Your dog is on this side of the room. You’re in the one place where you know the bad guy isn’t. Why the hell are you going to leave?

Wade: Yeah, well, there’s no there’s. Yeah, well, yeah. And like, when you came to my house, like, had you come to my house that we could do, we could break down the setup that I have there or what to do and all that. And it was a very eye opening to me because I was like, All right, well, what am I going to do? Because, you know, and you’re like, Well, you’re going to get your family out of the house if you can get out of there. And like, here’s what’s your escape plan. I was like, escape plan. And well, and I think that leads into a really good topic, which. Which is two things. One is that it’s not just range time. I mean, the majority of the time practicing is dry firing at your house. Right? Like you’re in the garage. It’s like, okay, your everyday carry, how am I going to practice? I’m going to pull my shirt, How am I going to practice the draw? How are you going to re holster? Yeah, exactly. Because you’re going to spend you have ten times more, ten times the amount of time at your house than you do driving to the range. And I’m going to shoot. So people like to.

Chris: Say they don’t.

Wade: But they like to say, Well, yeah, I have.

Chris: Time for that, man. Make time.

Wade: Yeah, of course.

Chris: Yeah. Five minutes. Yeah, five minutes a day. There are tons of university studies, white paper studies that talk about physical skill sets, and they’ve studied this with athletes. The frequency of training is more productive than the duration of training. So you’re better off training three days a week for 15 minutes than you are once a month for three hours because you’re getting that constant development of those neural pathways for those skill sets. This muscle memory people like to call it. It’s not really what’s happening. You’re just strengthening the connections between the nerves to conduct that physical skill, set the nerves firing in order, the myelination or whatever is happening there. The more times you do that repetition, you’re building that pathway, making it easier for the electrical signal to travel back and forth between your brain and the muscle. And so doing that every day for a few minutes is better than doing it real hard and then not doing it again for a long time.

Wade: Well, yes, the I would like to say is volume reps are the way and that’s it. Anything so like my writing. Right. So it’s just writing reps I have to write every day, right? I have to. If I want to get really good at everyday carry, then I have to do something every day or at least 3 to 5 times a week practicing very basic maneuver. Yeah, but.

Chris: Your live fire training ought to be little more than a verification of your dry fire training routine. You practice the same things, and then when you take it to the range and shoot actual bullets, you should be hitting the target if you’re doing your dry fire. Right. If you’re not, something’s going wrong with your dry fire. Right. So, yeah, absolutely. I would agree that that dry fire practice is is important. Whatever the planning phase of your deal is, if you’re talking about, well, I’m worried about somebody breaking into the house. In your case, how similar was what we looked at for your specific example to a fire escape plan?

Wade: I mean, it’s almost identical. Basically.

Chris: It is because we plan for that, because how are you going to fight a fire on your own if your garage is absolutely consumed by flames? How are you fighting that on your own? So when you have six intruders in your house, how are you fighting that on your own? Yeah. Yeah. Good luck.

Wade: Well, yeah. And life is.

Chris: Not a John Wick.

Wade: Movie. Well, yeah, exactly. The other thing, too, is when you have other people involved, young kids, your wife, you want one plan? We’re doing one thing. I don’t care if it’s fire, I don’t care if it’s the house is flooding. I don’t care if there’s intruders. We are doing one. The plan is the same. Like when there’s an emergency. This is our emergency escape plan.

Chris: And if it’s a good plan, it should work in multiple scenarios. So you’re covered there. But too many people, they want to stand on that righteous indignation. Somebody in my house, my home is my castle. We get righteously indignant over the idea of somebody invading our homes and our privacy. And I get it. I understand why the mindset gets like that. But again, you have no idea what you’re walking into when you open that door, when you’re the point guy on the breach, that door flies open and you walk in that room and you have no idea what you’re going to meet. That’s a bit of a wake up. So people that have been there, they think about it, Yeah, I would rather lay a trap for the bad guy, then go running into his ambush.

Wade: Well, I think that comes to the humility part of it, right? Where it’s like in martial arts, it’s no one wins a fight. And so even if you win, you don’t win. So that means that you either were unable to deescalate the fight or you were unable to have your situational awareness to where you avoided it. And so very rarely I mean, I’m sure maybe it happens in 1 in 1000 times in the civilian life. Are people legitimately ambushed where they could not have had any clue to see it coming at all? I mean, in my opinion, I don’t know. Maybe you have a different opinion.

Chris: Well, I just I watched some CCTV video. I think it was yesterday. It was a gun store, too. Two people working in the gun store. They were behind the counter. Their backs are turned to the front door of the business. They turn around and for whatever reason, this criminal decides he wanted to rob a gun store.

Wade: It happens more than once. This happened in Tucson. This happened. There was in Tucson, There were these this happened when I was in high school. And these these two kids decided they wanted to rob a gun store. I was like, it’d be like trying to rob where we are right now. There’s I can’t even tell you how many armed people are here right now. Right? You know what I mean? It’s just like you’re not it’s a bad call, right?

Chris: And in that situation, those guys weren’t looking for that problem to arise. Now, were they armed at the moment that it happened? Yeah. So that really helped out.

Wade: Yeah, exactly.

Chris: But as you see the smoke rising from the muzzles in the video, one of the bad guys falls over. Bam! Done. I mean, clearly he’s done. The other one kind of runs off camera. And you see one of the, I guess, employees or proprietors shifting his position to gain a better view of the guy that ran off just in case, I guess the guy is going to come back or whatever. Now, why he would do that in that circumstance. But at least he’s thinking, hey, I can watch this guy on the floor over here and I can watch the bad guy fleeing at the same time. So that was that was a pretty good move on his part so that he could see what was going on. Yeah, but in that instance, yeah, they had no idea that was coming.

Wade: But that’s so rare. I mean, I guess the humility part and you’re talking about the ideas is like, look, the only thing I care about at the end of the day, burn my house down, destroy, destroy all my goods, destroy that insurance man. Yeah. Or my wife and my two children. Okay, That’s it. Right? Even. And I’m going to enrage a lot of people, but the dog makes it or doesn’t make it. I don’t care. Right? Like, that’s where you and.

Chris: I got to part.

Wade: Ways. You’re not going to part.

Chris: Ways on that one. That Labrador is absolutely my heart.

Wade: You’re going back in. You’re going back to the burning house for the dog. You got to get the dog.

Chris: I made the joke about the John Wick movies. I had never seen them. And then I watched that first one and I was like, Now I get it. Now I get it. So. So, yeah, I’m with you on that.

Wade: I grew up on a farm and so I had a much different relationship with animals. I think because of that, I should say a farm to a vanity farm and a farming community. So it’s like your animals are your food, right? My joke with my wife, like my dogs are emergency food supply.

Chris: My wife makes that same joke.

Wade: Oh, really? Oh, yeah. Oh, God. Where is she from originally?

Chris: She is from the country.

Wade: See, that’s what it is. It’s like that’s how we have the country. You can take the girl out of the country, my man. But you can’t take the country out of the girl.

Chris: Side note on that one. My wife grew up in a household where not only did they raise their own food on the farm, but they would label it in the freezer. So when you pulled out that package of pork chops, it had the name on it, it had the pig’s name on it. That’s pretty hardcore. Yeah.

Wade: I don’t even know if I would do that. I’m excited because I ordered a I have a cow shark coming to my house here in a few weeks. And so I’m excited about it because that’s what my dad used to do is on the farm. Does you have a big freezer in the garage and go to go pick up a cow, take butcher, and then you’d have meat for a year for the family.

Chris: That’s what deer season is for for me. Yeah. I’m getting ready to head out. I think archery season starts October 7th, so hopefully I’ll get a couple of days and then muzzleloaders because like, I love shooting black powder in the woods in the fall. And then hopefully by gun season I’ll have a couple of tags punched. But if not, I mean at 308 you’re going to go make some much.

Wade: More, much more.

Chris: Likely make some meat. Oh yeah.

Wade: Oh yeah. So we’re almost out of time. So I just want to talk about one more thing and that’s we talked about a student having a student mindset when you approach firearms. Right? And I think one of the best things about firearms is that it is a rabbit. It is an endless rabbit hole. Like you can go so deep on any part of it that you want. Right. And I think that a lot of people don’t realize just what an adventure it can be. So if someone has anxiety about starting that adventure, right, meaning they say to themselves, man, it’s like the world’s getting crazy. I was not brought up around guns up until this point. I mean, I haven’t even been anti-gun. What is something that you would say to that person about what they should do to start on that path?

Chris: I literally deal with every one of those statements every day. People come in for our training classes, our introductory handgun class, and a lot of them, Hey, I grew up in New England or some other gun unfriendly place, Chicago, Los Angeles, something like that. And they have no idea. But they see the news. And a couple of years ago there was riots everywhere and they’re scared and the world’s going to hell. Number one, turn off the television. Stop. Stop scaring the hell out of yourself every day with that craziness. But we deal with that all the time. And the first step is seek competent instruction. Somebody that can literally, if need be, hold your hand through the process. That way you’re on the range with somebody who knows what they’re doing. And even if you have no idea what’s going on, you know that their entire job is to make sure that you start learning this the right way and safely without harming yourself or anybody else. So seek competent instruction. We see those folks all the time. I myself didn’t grow up in a place where firearms were part of the culture. I grew up up north and that wasn’t a thing the first time I fired well, other than with my dad. One time at the range when I was a kid, the first time I fired firearms, Parris Island, when I really got an introduction to what these things are about. So we see that a lot. So seek competent instruction, not just reading video or watching videos or reading articles or any of that stuff, but actually show up on the range with an instructor so that you can get your hands on these materials when you learn how to drive a car.

Chris: If you had any sense at all when you sat down in the driver’s seat, you got that that feeling of responsibility and wow, if I do this wrong, I can really make a mess. I better be careful. Same thing’s going to happen when we put a gun in your hand the first time you’re standing there and you’re looking at it and you’re thinking to yourself, Wow, if I mess this up. Things can go real bad real fast. So take your time with it. Trust yourself. Find a good instructor. Trust them that the person you’re getting the information from. Be careful about taking advice from some random person just because he’s been shooting guns since he was knee high to a grasshopper and doesn’t mean he’s been doing it right. Maybe he’s been doing it wrong for the last 40 years. Find a competent person to do that. The staff here, we have a ton of military vets, right? I have a whole bunch of us Marines. I have a couple of Navy SEALs. I’ve got guys that were professional security contractors for big companies, Swat cops, K-9 cops, undercover narcotics detectives. That’s the training staff here. If you show up here to train, you’ve got a competent firearms professional that’s going to hold your hand through the process. Hopefully you’ve got something like that where you are if you’re listening.

Wade: Yeah, if you’re in the Hampton Roads area, you can’t go wrong with with freedom outdoors for sure. Well, Chris, listen, man, I just want to say thank you so much for taking the time today. I know your time is valuable. It’s valuable to me because like I say, every time we have a lesson, I thank you because you make my family safer. So it was a great talk today. I can’t wait to have you on the show.

Chris: Well, it’s my pleasure. Thank you, man. Thanks for having me.

Wade: You’ve been listening to the Tactical Business show by Join us again next episode as we explore what it takes to be a business success in the firearms industry.