You say potato, I say po-ta-to

| March 5, 2014 | 1 Comments

The term “mall ninja” describes someone with little or no training, little or no physical aptitude, and an over-abundance of gear they are unqualified to use. It’s an extremely pejorative term.

That’s one of the many terms I read when discussing a recent video that’s making its rounds in the firearms training community.

The video itself is several years old, but apparently someone found it and decided to pass it around the “blogosphere.” The good folks over at The Bang Switch had some things to say, as well as WarriorTalk and other firearms forums.

This is the original video. Yes, there is some flashy stuff going on that’s silly from a practical standpoint. Yes, there are times that people are shooting live ammo in uneven firing lines. There are times when people “sweep” or “cover” other students (instructors?) with the muzzle of loaded weapons.

These are things we don’t like to do and are actively discouraged from doing during training. It’s safer that way.

What didn’t get discussed last week is that many shooting ranges and range safety officers would also say that the same things about the any legitimate fight-focused training program.

Allow me to explain:

I talked to some folks after the video made the rounds. After explaining my position they said, “well, I’d trust you to do that.” To me, this means there’s a problem with a perception of the video. If we replaced the people in the video with well-known firearms training celebrities wearing hiking boots, 5.11 pants, a tight olive green shirt and a shemagh would people say the same thing?

This guy falling down while drawing his gun is considered a tacti-cool, mall ninja idiot:

firearms safety discussion-0

This guy falling down (actually, out of a parked truck) while drawing his gun is considered awesome:

firearms safety discussion-2

(For the record, that guy is awesome.)

Yes, I realize that in the first example someone else is drawing and firing of the guy’s body, and that in the second video it’s a single man running drills.

I’m all for talking about how to increase the safety of fight-focused, dynamic training. However, we also have to recognize that different people have different definitions — and perceptions — about what is safe or unsafe.

You say potato, I say po-ta-to.

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 "You say potato, I say po-ta-to"

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  1. I think there has been a lot of abuse of the term “big boy rules” in the training community.

    “Big Boy Rules” is supposed to mean you acknowledge that what you are doing is dangerous and assume the risk. It DOES NOT mean that you can do things that are clearly unsafe and violate established safety rules (such as the Four Rules of Gun Safety).

    As for that particular video, I don’t dispute that some of the things being displayed there are unsafe, but I see additional problems too, such as instructors who seem to be inattentive (turning their back on students during drills) flashy techniques which have dubious practical value, and clumsy execution.

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