Tech vs Basic Fundamentals

    My grandpa used to tell me a story of when he got his first .22 revolver. He was ecstatic, it was simple, it was bare bones, but it would point and shoot perfectly. When is the last time you bought a bare bones gun and enjoyed it just the way it was—no red dots, no night sites, no lasers? Granted these add ons make a firearm so much better but are they really needed or are they actually harming the shooter by compensating for a lack of basic shooting fundamental skills.

    With the surge of brand new gun owners flocking to stores to purchase firearms, they encounter the latest and the greatest in firearms technology. Unfortunately, I feel that these firearm add-ons are harming to the new shooter. They are promised easier shooting guns for beginners, lasers that scare away the bad guys, and red dots that eliminate the use for old school iron sights.

    These add-on items are often used by the new shooter and cause them to skip learning the basic shooting fundamentals and give them a false sense  of confidence. They tend to rely heavily upon the technology to their downfall. Nothing can replace learning and mastering shooting fundamentals such as sight picture, target acquisition, grip, stance, and trigger press. If you do not learn those, you do not really know how to shoot.

    I have had many people show up to my class and the first thing they do is turn on the laser or fire up the red dot. When I question them and ask them to shut them off, they are usually lost and do not know how to proceed without them them. You have to crawl before you can walk and walk before you can run. Nothing replaces basic shooting fundamentals. The extras are fun and they have a place in the shooting world, but they are a few steps from entry level. Get and learn the basics first and you will benefit from it in the end.

Big vs Small

“Big vs Small”


The evolution of handguns is interesting to watch. You have full-size frames, competition size models and then compact, subcompact and do not forget the snub nose revolvers of the old time detective shows. And then you have the other variations such as double stack, single stack, and then the models that you can change from full-size to compact with just the addition of a longer magazine and a magazine spacer. There are so many options in the firearms world right now it is easy to find exactly the right one to fit you. But with all the variations in firearms comes pros and cons from one style to another.

Large framed or full-size pistols can be easier to shoot but more of a challenge to conceal. Smaller handguns are easier to conceal and more comfortable to carry, but can be harder to shoot accurately with more recoil and horrible sometimes nonexistent sights.

I have so many new shooters come through my class sporting the latest and the greatest small guns that were sold to them due to the fact that they were small and easy to carry when in reality they usually have terrible triggers and are hard to shoot effectively. Take for example even smaller calibers such as .380 or 9mm, these small pocket pistols can be horribly snappy and a bear to shoot often discouraging new shooters and causing a horrible flinch response that is difficult to train past—but their appeal is that they are easier to carry. They take away a good part of the hassle that comes with trying to dress around a gun and conceal it properly. But like with every gun you need to train with it and make sure it will perform and do the things that you need it to do. You need to understand that small guns perform best when used up close at short distances. If you look back and study past shootings, you may need a gun that you can confidently shoot out to 50ft if you had to. Can you do that with your Ruger LCP or your DB9? How confident are you in your ability and the ability of your chosen carry gun?

Now we get to talk about the guns that I prefer. Large full framed combat style handguns. These do come with their own set of drawbacks. They are harder to conceal and can be a little uncomfortable to carry. Like the great Clint Smith said “Carrying a gun is not supposed to be comfortable; it’s supposed to be comforting.” A larger gun is easier to shoot and holds more rounds. With a larger gun, longer shots are made easier with less room for error. But I am still advocating for training, nothing can be successful without practice.

What it boils down to is you need to choose what is best for you and figure out what pros and cons you can deal with. Whatever you decide you need to make sure you practice. You need to train with the gun you are going to carry and with the holster you are going to use with it, and from the position in which you will carry. You need to find out if everything is going to work for you like it should. If it does not, you need to find that out on the range and not in a defensive confrontation where lives are on the line. You need to train until you fail and then work past it. But more importantly train, train. train.


How We Learn

"How We Learn"

We all strive to get better. We go to the range every now and then, and we send some lead down range. We might even practice some dry fire or mag reloads at home. But that is not always enough. We need to study. We need to read. We need to troubleshoot scenarios. Take this last shooting for example, sure we heard about it on the news, but what do we really know about it? Let’s run down the details first. The tragic event took place at the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas. According to a live video that was streaming at the time, we see a man dressed all in black with a fake beard and wig stand up and start talking to a man that was sitting by the door. He then backs away from that man and presents a shotgun. A second armed churchgoer struggles to draw his gun (he is carrying in the small of his back). He is shot along with the first man the shooter spoke with. A third armed churchgoer then stops the shooter with an impressive 30 to 50 foot moving headshot. He then approaches the shooter and keeps his firearm trained on him to make sure he is no longer a threat. When something like this happens, we need to study it. We need to learn from it. We need to pick it apart. It is not often we get video footage like this to learn from. So here is what we can learn from this. 1. We are told that the shooter was wearing a fake wig and beard and long black coat with a black hood. We were also told that he was a person of interest as soon as he walked in. The question I have is why did they let him stay? Why was not law enforcement called if he raised red flags? 2. One member of the security team was carrying in the small of the back carry position. This is a horrible way to carry. It is very slow to draw and not defendable at all. This poor team member was shot and killed while he struggled to draw in a timely manner. He just was not fast enough. This was avoidable as there is plenty of material out there discussing the pros and cons of certain carry positions. This security team was trained by the parishioner that shot and killed the shooter. This was a man who was a firearms trainer and worked as a reserve sheriff’s deputy and firearms trainer. He should not have allowed this type of carry. 3. Churches that want to put together a security team should have certain criteria for what they carry, type and size of firearm, and caliber. They should come together on holster type and carry positions and have group trainings where they have to qualify to be on the team. 4. I hesitate to include this—But they may also want to look at each person on the team and assign them their posts based on their agility and levels of fitness. 5. Maybe I missed it, but I did not hear that anyone was alerted when the they first noticed the firearm. Part of me wants to say that someone should have yelled gun or something to alert other security team members that something was about to go down. 6. And now for one more, Jack Wilson, the hero that stopped the shooter with a single head shot, used a SIG P229 chambered in .357SIG. That is an average size defensive weapon. Today, all the rage for concealed carry are these compact or sub compact or even micro guns. Is that a good choice? How well can you shoot. Well enough to take a 30 to 50 foot headshot on a moving target? I am not saying it is impossible because with a lot of practice it is not. But how much time do you spend shooting your carry weapon? Some shoot all the time, but it is a sad fact that most people shoot their guns in their permit class and then go years without ever firing it again. This shot is made a little easier with a full-size weapon though practice and training is still required.

• Caliber: 357 SIG • Action Type: DA/SA • Overall Length: 7.1 in • Overall Height: 5.4 in • Overall Width: 1.5 in • Barrel Length: 3.9 in • Sight Radius: 5.7 in • Weight w/ Mag: 32.0 oz • Mag Capacity: 12 Rounds So this is just my take on this whole shooting. There is a lot to think about and learn from. Overall, I think it went well but nothing is perfect. Some 200 lives were saved that day by some forethought and planning but by most of all training. -Todd Eccles -Patriot Defense 1-1-20

Physical Reliance


“Physical Reliance”

You have taken the time to choose the perfect carry gun. You spent months reading reviews and shooting every handgun that you could get your hands on. You rated them on round capacity, frame size, caliber, reliability, and the ability to conceal. You put in the time, you did the work, and you chose the perfect handgun for you.

You did the same thing when it came to choosing a holster. You weighed the pros and cons of leather versus kydex and IWB versus OWB. You tried out appendix carry and strong side carry. You even looked into ankle carry. In the end you, chose the perfect holster and carry system for you.

Screenshot_1You even put in the time when it came to ammo choice. You tried numerous brands of high priced self defense rounds. You shot box after box of them to find out what your particular firearm preferred. You studied ballistic charts and ballistic gel tests. You picked the very best carry ammo.

You then looked into permit classes and other defensive handgun classes. You asked around and looked for recommendations on who the best instructors were. You spent some money and invested into class after class, after class, after class. You did your homework and educated yourself to the best of your ability and as much as your bank account would allow. You have done everything right. Are you finally ready to defend the lives of your loved ones to the best of your ability? Maybe, but maybe not. You put all the time and effort into purchasing the proper gear and getting the proper training, but what about your personal fitness? Can you make a 40 yard dash across a parking lot to get you and your family to cover without blowing out a knee or having a heart attack? Can you you move quickly and effectively? Can you go from being winded and out of breath to being calm enough to take an effective shot in the blink of an eye? Do you have the strength and cardio to hold your own in a physical confrontation? This is all just as important as buying a gun, ammo, and getting training when it comes to defending yourself and others. I know it is not easy, but it is worth it. Do not give up on your self reliance and self defense journey right before the very end. This is a lifestyle that you live, live it well and to the fullest that you can. It may just save your life someday in more ways than one.

-Todd Eccles

-Patriot Defense


Your NRA Certifications Don’t Mean Crap


Over the weekend, I held one of my many permit classes. It is amazing to see the variety of different people that attend. In this last class, I had twenty six people in attendance. I get brand new shooters, experienced shooters, people who can shoot well, and those that need a lot of help. Usually when people call me up to register for the class they give me a quick synopsis of their shooting history. blogpicEvery now and then I get a person that calls me and immediately starts to tell me about their credentials. They start listing them off one by one. It usually goes something like this— My name is so and so and I am an NRA certified instructor, I am a range master, I used to teach in POST academy; in fact, I’ve taught the class that you teach, and by the way have you ever been to Gunsite because if you have not you really should. This immediately sends up red flags. I then spend the first part of class listening to them interrupt my teaching every 10 minutes so that they can add their two cents every chance they get. Then they spend the class breaks trying to push the NRA on anyone who will listen. And if that is not bad enough that is only the first half of the class. The really interesting part is the range portion. This is where they really shine.

I spend a lot of time teaching and reviewing the basic gun safety rules and range safety rules multiple times throughout the class. It is really interesting when the person who is supposedly credentialed by the NRA is the first person to break the major gun safety rules in class. I have seen it all from finger on the trigger, to horrible muzzle awareness, even to approaching the firing line and handling the gun on a cold range when someone was down range fixing a target. It is completely mind blowing what I see.

I do not have a very good way with words, and I find it hard to explain myself in this blog, but I guess what I am trying to say is just because you are NRA certified that does not mean you are above the rules. Your NRA credentials do not mean crap to me. Your POST certs do not impress me. If you are retired Military or law enforcement, again, it does not matter. I do not know you and I do not care who you are. You could be Rob Pincus, you could be Massad Ayoob, you could be Jerry Miculek it makes no difference to me. I will still treat you the same, the safety rules apply to you just like everyone else. It is my class and I will run the line the way I see fit so that everyone is safe and returns home at the end of the day. I do not need your help. The other students do not need your help. You will wait your turn just like everyone else.

Come to class with an open mind and be ready to learn. Ask questions if you have them and be open to new ideas. Pay attention to and practice the gun and range safety rules. If you have questions about them, ask the instructor. If you see the instructor break these rules, by all means call him out and question him. But remember you come to class to learn, not to show off. Please do not be that guy.

Your Permit Class is not a Shooting Class



Today, as a shooting instructor, I messed up. No, it is not what you think. No one was hurt or injured. I messed up in my approach on how to help a new shooter. At the beginning of my permit class, I always go around the room and have everyone give a short introduction of themselves including their name, the gun they brought to shoot (caliber, make, model), and tell me about their experience in shooting. Some students have been shooting all their lives, some just shot their handguns for the first time two days prior to class, and some are just cracking open the case their gun came in for the very first time right there on the firing line.

Screen Shot 2019-01-15 at 2.40.19 PMI have them all give a quick bio of themselves so I know what to expect and I can understand the skill level of those attending. It aids me in assigning them shooting lanes and which groups to have them shoot in. For example, I do not want to put all the newcomers in the same group shooting at the same time. I like to spread them out so that they can all receive adequate instructio Students can feel a lot of things if they are new to shooting and all of a sudden it is their turn to shoot and they step up to the line and shots start ringing out and brass starts bouncing off the ground and across the table in front of them. It can be stressful for some people. I try to search these students out and help them the best that I can. If it is really distressing to them, I have been known to to let them sit it out or leave and come back after class to get one on one instruction so they can finish up their permit requirements. This has always worked in the past. I have always been very good at noticing these students and helping them. Today, I had a group of students that just needed the shooting portion of their permit class. They had taken the classroom portion from another entity so instead of having them for the full eight hours and getting to know them, I had them for just the last four hours. We went through safety and shooting fundamentals and the range rules, all something that should have been gone through in the classroom portion of their class but was not. I had them go through the introductions and then on to the shooting. I handed out the shooting lane and group assignments the best that I could based on the limited information that I had, and then we proceeded to fire the qualification rounds. One of the gentlemen in the class was very unsure of his gun and it was very clear right away. He broke some safety rules (which everyone does as they are learning) but I right away got him straightened out on that.

Screen Shot 2019-01-15 at 2.40.29 PMHe seemed nervous and apprehensive. I worked closely with him even having him wait until after the other students shot and then had him finish his drill so I could focus solely on him, but he was still having a hard time. I would help him by going over the list of things to remember as he prepared to shoot—stance, grip, sight picture, and trigger press. Sometimes he would get it right and sometimes it was like he just could not remember. About half way through the shooting portion I was standing next to him (as I do for all new shooters) and instead of firing one round at a time he let loose with a volley of three rounds that ran from the bottom of the target holder to the top of the target. Right then and there I called for a break. I pulled him aside and had a chat with him. He apologized profusely and stated how nervous he was. He told me that when I was helping him with how to do things that it was all just too much, that it made him anxious. After the break, we all went back to finish the shooting portion. I am happy to say that he did improve immensely by the end of class, but I had to adjust my approach to instructing him. Instead of going down the list of things that needed to be done I encouraged him when he got things right and that seemed to do the trick. Though I still feel like I cheated him out of the first half of the class. I will help any student that needs the help. I will stay late after class, I will reschedule, I will do whatever needs to be done to help you become a confident shooter and help you through a permit class. But what you need to know is that your permit class is not necessarily a shooting class. It will teach you the laws, the safety rules, the mindset, and make sure you know how your gun functions; but it will not get you dialed in and turn you into a super proficient shooter. If you want that or you are very new to shooting handguns, you really need to look into continuing classes or even a private class before you take your permit class. Do not get me wrong I will do what I need to do to help you, but you have got to invest in yourself and be willing to do your part as well. -Todd Eccles -Patriot Defense -1-13-19


Carrying A Firearm



It is something you have thought about for awhile. It is something that has plagued your thoughts off and on for the last few years. You have decided to get a concealed carry permit. There are many reasons why a person might decide to do this. Some people will faithfully carry a firearm everywhere they legally can, some want to be able to take it to reciprocal states because they travel, and others just want the permit because it makes purchasing a firearm a little easier when it comes to the background check and NICs paperwork.1

  Carrying a firearm should not be taken lightly. You are carrying with you a tool—one that while being used to defend your life can actually end another. It needs to be respected and needs to be carried with a sense of responsibility. You need to feel the obligation to continue training. You cannot grow lax carrying a firearm. You need to understand that carrying a firearm is no small undertaking. It will not necessarily be easy, in fact, it may be a hassle, but as Clint Smith says, “Carrying a gun is not supposed to be comfortable; it’s supposed to be comforting. The gun that’s with you is better than the one that’s home in the safe.”   If you are going to carry a gun every day, you need to make some decisions ahead of time. You need to decide why you are carrying in the first place. Are you carrying to protect yourself and your family, or are you carrying with the thoughts of possibly stopping an active shooter? Where is your line in the sand? Will you huddle down on the floor of the theatre gun at the ready with your family and wait for the fight to come to you, or will you search it out and hunt down the shooter? You need to think about possible scenarios and how you will react. Doing this now saves time and may make the difference in whether you live or die. 2   It is imperative that you learn your states lethal force laws, what you can and cannot do, the proper way to responsibly carry a gun, and gun safety rules. You need to learn basic handgun manipulation and shooting fundamentals. You need to learn defensive tactics such as the proper technique for safely drawing from a holster, drawing from concealment, mag changes, and getting off the X. There are many things to think about and much to be responsible for when venturing into the armed lifestyle. It is definitely not something to be taken lightly. Knowledge is power.     -Todd Eccles -Patriot Defense

Practice and Muscle Memory


“Practice and muscle memory”

Picture1 Remember when you were a kid and you were learning to ride a bike? Or think back to the time you were learning to do anything new for the first time. What was the one thing that you were constantly told? Practice, practice, practice. Over time and after hours of repetitive practice that thing or that movement became second nature to you. You did not have to think about it anymore. It just kind of happened as long as you continued to practice it. Sure, if you stopped practicing you you could still be successful at it, but as time went by it became less and less natural. The old expression, “just like riding a bike,” is often used to describe something that comes second nature and is easy to do. It implies that we know everything about an activity and can pick up right where we left off. When it comes to shooting a handgun, this could not be further from the truth. Yes, you might remember the mechanics and the safety rules of shooting, but the actual activity of shooting will be a different story. As you learn to shoot, you develop muscle memory that corresponds to your trigger press, grip, stance, and sight picture. You train your muscles to react to recoil and to respond accordingly when you draw and re-holster your firearm—especially when under stress. Learning to control your breathing and calm yourself is very hard to do if you have not shot your firearm in a few years. Picture2 I see it all the time. Guys show up to my class and tell me how good they are (or more correctly how good they once were). They tell me about their military or LE service and all about their years of experience when it comes to handguns, and then I see them shoot. You can tell that they have not shot a handgun for years let alone actually held one in just as long. Do not get me wrong they probably were very efficient at shooting in years past, but their negligence now shows. I know people who have taken a class and then never fired another round from their concealed carry weapon even though they faithfully carry it every day. I am not asking, in fact, I am actually begging you. Please go to the range once a month, shoot 10, 20, or 30 rounds. Anything is better than nothing. Take a refresher class. Do something. You are carrying a firearm to protect you and your loved ones and that is great. But just carrying one around as some kind of totem does not actually do anything—being able to efficiently use it does. -Todd Eccles -Patriot Defense

Practical not Tactical


"Practical not Tactical"

When I started Patriot Defense, my goal was to teach people how to be proficient when using a handgun for self-defense.  I wanted to focus on safety, basic shooting fundamentals, and move on from there into self-defense type of training.  My focus was on the average Joe; the person who took their kids to soccer practice every week; the person who goes grocery shopping with a pack of kids in tow; the couple that likes to travel and drive around the country in their motorhome; the first time dad with a new baby and wife that he wants to protect; the single woman who lives by herself and wants the security of knowing that she can protect herself if she has to. Pretty much anyone who wanted to take a common-sense approach to learning how to defend themselves with a firearm. By stressing this common-sense part of it, I coined the phrase and developed the business motto of “Practical not Tactical”.zx I am astounded at all the videos that come across my Facebook and Instagram feed on a daily basis. The videos of self-proclaimed operators that strap on the first drop leg holster that they can find and then do asinine drills to show off their self-proclaimed skills. Most of these are horrific at the least and dangerous at the most. I have seen people shooting at each other, shooting past each other, and even setting up fireworks to shoot back at them to simulate incoming fire. I do like to see people training as that is the one thing that gets very overlooked by those that carry a gun every day, but let’s use common sense and practice things that are safe and pertinent to developing our skills as a concealed carry holder. Making ourselves look like a Jackwagon does not accomplish this. Horrible videos like this amazing display of idiocracy are going to get someone hurt or even worse killed.

zvLet’s instead focus on things like shooting fundamentals, target acquisition, getting off the X, and drawing from concealment. You do not have to be a tactical, drop holster wearing, Mall ninja to be able to defend yourself and your loved ones effectively. Are there more than just the basic shooting fundaments to learn? Yes there are, but find a competent instructor to teach them to you and not the latest YouTube video. Training is the key. Continuing education is always a good idea. Just make sure that it is safe and practical.

  -Todd Eccles -Patriot Defense