By Guest Author: Sgt Andrew Keith
This article was previously published on the American Warrior Society. Click here to get access for a month!If you have been online longer than five minutes, chances are you have come in contact with a certain type of individual. This individual frequents Facebook, Instagram, and other gun forums, slowly stalking these outlets, looking for any and every opportunity to regurgitate the knowledge they have gained through their minimal experience in the gun and training community. This character has never heard of the word ‘context,’ they typically do not have any real experience, and they are prone to spewing some anecdote or quip they heard from a guy, who knows a guy, who was cousins with a guy, who was a Delta Recon Ranger SEAL CIA operative. Some even construct their own pages and spread their hand-me-down knowledge to larger audiences, and they sometimes draw quite a large following. It’s like the Pied Piper of the misinformed leading others down the road of poor technique. They pass bad information to their followers and show techniques that may look flashy but have been long-ago tested and proven to be ineffective. These characters are what we know as Keyboard Commandos. Keyboard Commandos can be divided into two sub categories: Stirrers and Spreaders.
The Stirrers hit the comment sections of Facebook, Instagram and other social media outlets. The results annoy the hell out of everyone who’s informed and usually provokes an argument from the page owner. The Stirrer misses the context and fires off some asinine comment, usually questioning the star of the video. That star typically has years of valid experience and research to back up the technique they are showing. It’s the equivalent of going to Royce Gracie’s Brazilian Jiu Jitsu dojo and telling him BJJ does not work because you would just punch him in the face. The main difference is safety. In the above scenario I have no doubt a fight challenge would be laid down and Mr. Gracie’s point would be driven home in a very suitable fashion. However, in the safety of his parents’ basement, the Keyboard Commando is the Heavyweight Champion. The same goes for the gun community. The Stirrers comment on rifle, pistol, and other self-defense drills after completely missing the point. They sit at home and stroke their fragile egos thinking they have really stumped the instructor. This is a problem because in the realm of firearms and self-defense, every technique has a weakness. The tactic may be agreed upon by the highest speed, lowest drag guys in the industry and may save your life 99% of the time, yet is now discounted to the unknowing onlooker because some Cheeto dust-covered fingers typed out the 1% scenario in which the tactic might be less than ideal. The possible scenarios in which you may find yourself fighting for your life are endless. Disagreement is perfectly acceptable but do not be a Stirrer. The Stirrer shows up for a battle of wits completely unarmed.
The worst are the Spreaders. These characters are not only wrong, they are dangerous. They actually create pages and recruit followers to subscribe to their lack of knowledge and poor techniques. Their knowledge pool is shallow and their techniques are poor, yet they have no issues passing these along to the unsuspecting person who is trying to learn. Their outdated, disproven techniques are fast and flashy, maybe have some cool editing, but are still as ineffective as they were decades ago. Did they not get the memo? Did they not research? Does performing a poor technique faster make it better? The answer to all of those is a resounding NO! Instead of speaking in general terms let’s get specific: Close Retention Shooting.Close retention shooting can be defined many ways, but for most purposes it is defined as an engagement that occurs at or within arm’s reach distances. The bad guy has somehow gotten close enough that we can touch him and has done something that would legally justify lethal force be applied to him. Spreaders will have you believe that with enough practice you can pull up your shirt, draw your handgun from appendix carry, and mow him down in a hail of gunfire in less than a second. Why do they think this? Because they have hours of video footage of them doing it on lifeless cardboard or 3D foam targets. Looks cool, super-fast, and superficially looks like an effective option that gains them numerous likes and followers. Unfortunately, a few minutes of thought by someone who has actually been in a fight realizes there are a lot of problems with this course of action. Not only can this lead to a fight for your gun, it can lead to your demise. After all, Mr. Bad Guy did not just walk up and ask you for directions to the nearest Panera Bread, he placed you in fear of your life or severe bodily harm, more than likely with a weapon . . .that was visible to you. . .and probably pointed at you. This is not the only problem but you can see where this is headed—all because the Spreader was too lazy or arrogant to do some research or test the technique.
While this is all written tongue-in-cheek, there are some real problems. There are a lot of citizens new to firearms and self-defense who do not yet have the knowledge base to discern the good from the bad. We should welcome these individuals because it is perfectly alright to not know. It is not perfectly alright to spread poor technique to the inexperienced and possibly get them murdered. Stirrers typically get enjoyment out of simply pissing people off on the internet because they’re face to face performance would show their lack of real skill. The Spreaders are the dangerous ones. Their arrogance typically will not let them see past their own ego and realize that techniques like the Rock and Lock, among others, are terrible techniques and many quality instructors have proven this with force on force training. If this article offends you, you may need to look in the mirror to see if you stir or spread. If you laugh because you can relate, you just keep on keeping on because apparently in today’s world you can tell you are a success by the number of haters you have following your page. If this article has any wisdom to share, hopefully it’s be wary of those you are watching on social media. Background is important, but also vet the technique itself. See if other reputable instructors teach something similar because that could mean that there is a consensus that it is effective. View it all in big picture and some tactics will boil down to opinion because no one around has been in enough defensive shootings in America to make blanket statements. Always remember, followers do not correlate to knowledge.
The internet gave everyone a voice not a brain.
Guest Author: Andrew Keith is a Marine Corps and OIF veteran. Andrew has been a law enforcement officer since 2007 and is currently a Patrol Sergeant. His duties have included patrol, SWAT team member, and K9 handler.
Andrew’s credentials include Firearms Instructor, Defensive Tactics Instructor, and Field Training Officer prior to being promoted to Sergeant. He was awarded the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor in 2012 for helping two paramedics pull a State Trooper from a burning vehicle.
Andrew’s passions are firearms and hunting whitetail deer. He enjoys helping others learn to defend themselves and studying neuroscience and how it applies to defense. Andrew also has a B.S. Degree in Kinesiology from Georgia Southern University.
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