On Bashing “EnterTRAINment” and the Tacticool

This is just a quick dispatch on something I’ve been considering lately. I will be succinct and to the point. I will make some of you angry, and others uncomfortable. That’s not my goal, but it’s probably a realistic outcome. Let’s talk about “entertrainment.” Rather, let’s talk about how we’ve come to view it.

We, as a community, have defined what is “realistic” in a self-defense scenario. Mostly, you’ll brook no complaint with me – civilian self-defense situations share some major commonalities in the vast majority of instances. We have huge bodies of data to back this stuff up, with visceral examples like the record of Tom Givens’ students, and John Correia’s Active Self Protection Channel making up much of the totality.

This is an awesome development: this helps us focus precious training dollars, hours, and ammunition where they are needed most. Unfortunately there’s a dark side to this. As a result of becoming hyper-focused on self-defense, we’ve developed an entire lexicon to denigrate those who train for scenarios that don’t fall neatly onto our self-defense plausibility spectrum. If they’re practicing for anything more than what happens in a self-defense situation they’re being “unrealistic.”

Attending a carbine course where you’re shooting at or beyond 50 yards? You’re almost certainly going to be asked why on Earth you’d ever need to shoot anyone at more than 25 yards. Have the gall to suggest people practice beyond 25 yards with their handguns? Or the nerve to attend a “high round count” course – gods forbid – a class where you wear body armor? Be prepared to be called a “tactical Timmy,” “mall ninja,” or a “tacticool guy” because, “you’re not a Navy SEAL!” Unfortunately those insults are going to come from our very own firearms-owning community.

This is because we have developed a hyper-focus on self-defense. If it isn’t plausible for self-defense, the logic seems to be, it’s a waste of time to train for it. We can imagine no other use for firearms than “realistic” self defense. Come to think of it, we’re similar to the “Fudds” in that way, who can imagine no use for firearms other than hunting.

Let me throw one thing at you, though. The Framers’ Intent in safeguarding the right to keep and bear via the Second Amendment was as a check on a tyrannical government. Here’s where some of you might get uncomfortable: simply owning an AR15 doesn’t make you anything more than an AR15 owner.

To actually be a Citizen, capable of revoking “the consent of the governed,” you need to know how to run that thing. Just being able to shoot it from one end of your living room to the other is probably not good enough. Being able to shoot out to 200, 300 or even 400 yards, move your body, your rifle, and support equipment long distances, over rough terrain, in a minimal amount of time is just basic employment of the rifle when imagined in a different context.

I’m not saying all body-armor/long-gun courses are good – some of them are still junk. Courses that don’t train skills, contextualize them, then meaningfully measure progression based on accuracy or time or both, for instance, are probably just expensive fun-sessions. There are a lot of really good ones out there, though.

We might want to stop and consider the point of owning that rifle – and the reason behind the Second Amendment – before we’re so quick to sneer at someone who wants to learn to run his carbine at a very high level. Or learn CQB, or practice basic small unit tactics. By themselves, those rifles aren’t going to protect the Constitution any more than they’re going to run out and kill people.

Author: Justin

Justin Carroll is a former MARSOC Marine and veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan. Leaving service after eight years in the U.S. Marines, Justin continues his involvement with a variety of government agencies to this day. Justin began RevolverGuy.com in late 2016 with an simple idea: provide an source of high-quality information for revolver enthusiasts.

17 thoughts on “On Bashing “EnterTRAINment” and the Tacticool”

  1. Justin, I am a proud Fudd. I never liked Black Guns until I owned an AR. Still do not…but it is a necessary evil in our time that I have learned to run well. I am also a part-time farmer, hunter, hiker, DIYer.

    Some owners, including me, do not want or see the need for military-style training save for first-aid. As for Mall Ninjas? They are not the well trained civilians you note. They are those individuals who buy stuff they bolt to the AR to make themselves “ready for anything.” My AR instructor agreed with my idea of only using irons in his classes. That was his practice too. Later I trained with a red dot. Beyond 100 yards, it is time for a deer rifle with scope.

    Mall Ninjas like one of my relatives think they can buy preparedness. Thus they own huge trucks and, unlike me, never take a truck off-road. They dress the part but do not keep themselves in shape or train their minds for coping with adversity. I do, and can work a 20-something farm-helper into the ground, but my stamina is not yours or his. If I exerted myself that way for days on end, I would collapse and die.

    The greenhorn in London’s “To Build a Fire” was the first Mall Ninja, or Trading Post Ninja, I reckon.

  2. Justin,

    Thanks for the reminder!

    “A republic if we can keep it” attributed to Benjamin Franklin at the close of the constitutional convention in 1787.

  3. Truth. I’m glad for my infantry time, I learned quite a bit about running the rifle and running with the rifle. It takes acres and ammo to really sink in.

  4. Agreed,
    Train for what ever you want.
    The more citizens getting to know their guns and gear the better and maybe even better than all that,
    it’s just fun to spend time with other like minded individuals doing things you all enjoy.

  5. For me, the most important word that you used is context. Courses like those you describe are great if the course *and the people in them* are cognitive of the context. If not, then they are just other examples of expensive fun. That said, I don’t actually see an issue with “expensive fun” courses as long as one is aware that that is what they are. I have no interest in golf, but I won’t blame someone else for playing it, as long as they recognize it is a game. Golf and “Tacticool” courses are really the same thing in that regard; they are just fine as long as you don’t try to claim they are something they are not.

  6. Justin,
    Well said.
    It’s better to have training and equipment for some event and not need them …….. than to need the training and equipment and not have them. Basically, prudence sometimes means that we need to prepare for the un-common, not just the common. Preparing for the un-common also helps when things get even more un-common’er.


  7. Good thoughts!

    Certainly it makes sense to be able to utilize each of our firearms to the limit of their capability. Plus it’s great fun to squeeze the trigger of my P226, and see that water jug burst 100 yds away. Or to make a hit with my carbine at 300 yds.

    And yeah: though most of us carry guns for personal self-defense, we should never forget that the original primary purpose of the 2nd Amendment was to ensure that Citizens couldn’t be bullied by a tyrannical Gov’t.

    And even though the vision of the Founders in including the 2nd Amendment has long ago been lost on most of our fellow citizens— who’d no doubt think we’re slightly crazy, when we talk about resisting Gov’t tyranny with our weapons— that’s neither here nor there. When push comes to shove, most won’t be prepared to fight; but some of us will.

    As an old guy with bad knees, my ability to ‘move my body, rifle, and support equipment long distances over rough terrain in a minimal amount of time’ is quite limited. But the principle— of pushing myself and my weapons to the limits of my endurance— still holds true.

  8. Purely my take here. But if you are not CONSTANTLY training and CONSTANTLY practicing well learned skills, and CONSTANTLY working on mindset & your defensive spirit then you may not be fully prepared to deal with a life and death conflict.

    At one time I was an avid “bullet golfer” attending all sorts of run n gun matches. At one point in my defensive preparedness inventory I realized all the “bad habits” I developed by doing such. I watched shooters plan each & every move while attending the course walk through, etc. etc. The same people declared themselves to be fully prepared. I doubt it! For starters they were shooting some sort of race gun in lieu of their EDCG.

    I think the firearms industry & the current shooting culture needs to wake up and quit attempting to live by smoke & mirrors. There is so much fantasy being thrown about, along with “imagery” (proper clothes to wear including Kevlar helmets, etc.) . These fantasies are being repeated dangerously often, to the point where they are being accepted as truth.

    There is soooooo much that could/should be written about this issue. YMMV on anything I stated above.

    Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

  9. Well,,,,, it won’t really matter if you are in Virginia.


    § 18.2-433.2. Paramilitary activity prohibited.

    A person shall be guilty of unlawful paramilitary activity, punishable as a Class 5 felony if he:

    1. Teaches or demonstrates to any other person the use, application, or making of any firearm, explosive or incendiary device, or technique capable of causing injury or death to persons, knowing or having reason to know or intending that such training will be employed for use in, or in furtherance of, a civil disorder; or

    2. Assembles with one or more persons for the purpose of training with, practicing with, or being instructed in the use of any firearm, explosive or incendiary device, or technique capable of causing injury or death to persons, intending to employ such training for use in, or in furtherance of, a civil disorder.

    1. I think the point might’ve been missed. This is more an observation about the gun media attempting to limit how proficient we become with our arms by saying, “you don’t need these skills over here so don’t worry about them.”

    2. Ron, that’s a rather stunning piece of code. Not being a VA resident myself, I don’t know, so I’ll ask: Is this a new, Northam-era law, or has it been on the books for a while?

      There’s a campfire in Heaven attended by the likes of the Jamestown colonists, General George Washington, and General Robert E. Lee, where they’re all sitting around, cussin’and discussin’ what we’ve allowed to transpire there. How is it possible that the militia itself is forbidden from maintaining its well-regulated status, by the Virginia Code?

      I hardly think this statute would survive judicial review, in light of 10 USC Ch.12.

  10. This goes back, somewhat, to the point of ‘it’s better to own one gun and know how to use it well’ than lots of guns and be only familiar with it’s use. I have to agree with Justin Carroll, it’s not only the tool, but how to use the tool that terrifies the Leftist Demoncrat/Would Be Pol-Pot. Listen to the ANTIFA crowd, Listen to the Left’s Political Candidates. They are not above eliminating or reeducating, in homeless camps, those that might pose a problem for their rule or even whims.

    Virginia is again adding a new law aimed at this very point. They don’t want citizens to be able to organize or train for any possible situation that the political left is planning on implementing. They very shrillness of their paranoid belief system should enough for any mature person to understand their motives. I understand the young being clueless and wanting to fit in with their teachers, this is one of the things we have to combat. Schools have long since stopped being education/centers of learning but are simply centers or brainwashing. How soon will books aimed at this type of training be banned?

    The safest thing in world is a creature in a cage, until it’s ready to be harvested that is? How stupid we are making our own cages………………… whatever……………… Traaxx

    1. I could go on for quite a bit on this one…but I won’t.

      However, I will point out that school serving as a brainwashing technique isn’t new. It’s what “school” was designed to do. The Prussians invented schools as we know them as a way to make children into good future soldiers and factory workers. This was done by making them mindlessly respond to a bell, unquestioningly obedient, training them to ask permission for everything, placing them in age cohorts where they only interact with others of their own age (which are essentially rank cohorts) (which is totally unheard of throughout human history until the last couple of hundred years), and a divergence from the Trivium (which taught one how to think and learn) and onto learning by rote and an institutional suppression of thinking for oneself. Further, it all creates a dependence (financial, emotional, and intellectually) that lasts well into adulthood, and keeps the young distracted and docile.

      I could also point out how the “Right” isn’t doing us any favors because the letter beside their name means more than their actions, so we blindly trust and don’t hold accountable… Ok, I’ll stop now.

    2. This proud Virginian begs to differ. That 1987 law has not prevented our citizens from maintaining a State Militia. I will not go down the rabbit hole either, but what I saw in Charlottesville in 2017 showed me that some paramilitaries are not created equal and attract psychopaths.

      It should be plain by now that extremists, left or right, have little regard for the principles of self-governance in our Constitution. But we Virginians tend to prefer the median to the extreme, in most matters.

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