A Post Regarding My Training Reviews

I wrote After Action Reports (AARs) about training I’d received long before this blog began. I wrote them on forums, and on the blog that this one replaced. At first, I went into detail about what was done, the facility, the instructor(s), and the techniques covered in class. The posts were very long, and very explicit.

I stopped doing this for three reasons. Some of my readers / viewers don’t like it, but I wanted to explain why I do what I do now.

Reason #1: I’m not an instructor

Especially when I started writing the AARs, I was not qualified to teach anything I learned. I could explain it to someone in person, but writing a blog post or a video review was not enough detail nor context in order to explain how to do something.

Sometimes I explain why I do things in a blog post or a video. I avoid the how. Sometimes I may explain techniques I’ve developed myself (especially around bag-carried PDW/SBR), but you won’t see any rote instruction on this site, just how I do things.

Reason #2: Their class material is not my property

As I trained with different organizations, I realized how important it was to respect each instructor’s intellectual property. I felt that by describing their classes and techniques in more detail gave away their material for free. I try to write my class reviews in such a way to give a prospective attendee an idea what the class is about, what’s covered, and my personal thoughts on how well the instructor explained the relevant topics.

I no longer “re-teach” the things I’ve learned in classes by explaining them in a post or in a video. I might explain the technique(s) that I do and why I chose that specific technique — especially in a force on force video — but I’m not trying to teach anyone how to do what I did.

I also refuse to post a drill’s after action analysis. The analysis is a private one between the instructor and the student/class. This is what everyone pays for. I can go to the range and do stuff by myself ; a professional’s analysis on what I am doing and if it could be done differently is the true value of instruction.

To publish this information would give away one of the “products” an instructor provides to support themselves and their school.

Reason #3: Context is everything

Digital editing and content sharing makes it possible to destroy context.

People may see an altered version of what I originally posted, or see a video or photo without supporting narrative.

Sometimes content gets shared. Usually this is on pro-gun or training-focused sites and Facebook pages. However, this is not always the case. When content is shared with people outside of the fight-focused training community, the people viewing the content may not understand why we’re doing what we’re doing.

Worse yet, sometimes content is ripped off from my site (and others) and used for other reasons. Sometimes it’s to impersonate a real site to generate ad revenue, sometimes it’s an attempt to mislead readers about guns or firearms training.

For example, there is a very old photo of me wearing my Glock 26 in an appendix holster. The photo is on a well-known linkbait site as part of a “these people shot their dicks off” post. The photo is used without my permission, I did not shoot my dick off, and I’ve submitted several DCMA takedown requests to no avail. The news “story” they used with my photo is in reference to someone else, but I don’t want my holster review photo being used out of context.

This sucks, but I’m the only one effected.

I would feel terrible if an instructor’s advice, instruction, after action analysis , or criticism wound up being circulated out of context. I have cut out helpful parts of live fire or force on force training footage because of things said in the heat of the moment, or things that someone who has not done fight-focused training would not understand.

Future Review Formats

In the future, I will continue with my high-level after action reports. I hope that you find some of the reviews or videos interesting enough that you will seek out professional instruction.

You will not see instructor analysis in  my videos. Due to the dynamic nature of some of the drills, you may hear reactions or directions (e.g., “finish the drill” or “STOP STOP STOP”) but this will only be to preserve continuity.

I will also continue the “3×3” format, as it’s a condensed way to summarize a class. The format fits inside the usual amount of time YouTube visitors watch our content.

I believe one of the reasons so many instructors have let me record their classes is because I don’t give away the lessons being taught. Since analyzing my performance is a key aspect of this site, I need to make sure I can continue to film.

Thanks for understanding!

About the Author:

Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd is a regular guy and works to make Web sites and mobile apps easier for people to use. He spends his free time attending fight-focused firearm, knife, and combatives training, motorcycling, writing, and playing games. His daily carry is a Glock 19 pistol and an AR15 .300 Blackout pistol in a backpack.

1 Comment on "A Post Regarding My Training Reviews"

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  1. Robert says:

    Good article. This is something I have recently wrestled with, internally, in writing reviews for our own blog.

    In the end, here are my personal thoughts:

    1. Regarding your first point, I don’t think the ability to teach the material should prevent you from writing about it. Personally, I have found writing about it helps make things clearer for ME, and sometimes helps me spot connections to other material from the class I’m writing about or to prior coursework.

    2. Regarding your second point, which has been my biggest internal struggle, my way around that has been to tell the instructor at the end of class that I will be writing a review. I then send the review to the instructors before I post it online, giving them the chance to correct or redact anything. I have found that, rather than seeking to protect their intellectual property, they tend to appreciate getting this information out there. I have done this with Craig Douglas, Greg Ellifritz, Paul Howe, Mike Pannone, Jeff Gonzales, John Murphy, Tom Sotis, and others. Rarely have they redacted anything.

    3. Your third point, at least regarding pictures/videos, has never been an issue for me.

    Just my opinion, worth what you paid. I think any review in any format you choose to put out there is worthwhile for “the community”. So please keep at it!


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