JEFF GONZALES ON DEALING WITH THE STRUGGLING SHOOTER

FTA co-founder Jeff Gonzales is a decorated former SEAL who participated in combat missions in Central and South American, former instructor at the Naval Special Warfare Center, and a respected firearms trainer. I have known Jeff for many years and hosted his Trident Concepts Team Tactics course in 2003. I was sufficiently impressed to the point that I wrote an article on the course that appeared in the January 2004 issue of “SWAT Magazine”.



I ran into Jeff during the 2019 SHOT Show in Las Vegas and took advantage of the opportunity to pick his brain on a subject that every defensive firearms instructor has probably dealt with: How can a firearms instructor best deal with a struggling ...

Posted: Friday, June 14, 2019

Ken Hackathorn asks the question are firearms trainers delivering what their students want or what they need in this podcast from our friends at Firearms Trainer's Podcast.

Posted: Thursday, May 16, 2019

An automobile traveling 60 MPH will cover a distance of 88 feet in approximately one second. A 2018 Toyota Camry in good condition traveling at this speed might be expected to come to a complete stop within 120 to 130 feet from the time the brakes are fully applied. Should the driver spot an object in the road that requires an immediate application of the brakes, his or her perception and reaction time might take one or more seconds. In that same one second, the vehicle will travel 88 feet. This would suggest that from the moment that the driver perceives an immediate need to bring the car to a full halt and stomps on the brakes, the car will travel 228 to 238 feet.

Posted: Thursday, May 9, 2019

Larry Vickers discusses changes in the gun industry that every instructor should know about in this podcast from our friends at Firearms Trainer's Podcast.

Posted: Thursday, April 25, 2019

Cecil Burch is a Phoenix-based defensive firearms and tactics instructor that I have known and trained under for years. Cecil owns Immediate Action Combatives and hold instructor certifications in Jeet Kune Do and various Pentjak Silat systems. He has trained in boxing, Tae Kwon Do, Shotokan Karate, Kenpo, and is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt under Megaton Dias. Cecil has medaled multiple times at Pan-Am Jiu Jitsu tournaments. As if that is not enough, Burch is a firearms enthusiast and has trained under Jeff Cooper, Louis Awerbuck, Chuck Taylor, Craig Douglas, Kyle Lamb, Tom Givens, and Larry Vickers.

Posted: Thursday, April 18, 2019

Jeff Gonzales, FTA Founding Member and President of Trident Concepts, talks about how instructors can help their students select the best firearm for concealed carry based on their level of experience.

Posted: Thursday, April 11, 2019

The thumbs-down grip, also known as the revolver grip or crush grip, is used by most revolver shooters and some auto-loading pistol shooters. In my opinion, it is not as effective as the thumbs-forward or thumbs-up grip in controlling recoil and muzzle rise for the simple reason that significantly less of the support hand is in contact with the butt, which diminishes the amount of pressure and friction that can be brought to bear. Since more of the handgun butt is exposed, an energy leak is created and the handgun tends to torque towards any such gaps. However, there are circumstances where the thumbs-down grip is warranted, such as when the handgun is too powerful for the shooter, which causes the shooter’s grip to come apart during recoil. This makes re-gripping necessary.

Posted: Thursday, April 4, 2019

FTA co-founder Dave Spaulding has over 35 years of experience in law enforcement and federal security and received the 2010 Law Enforcement Trainer of the Year Award from the International Law Enforcement Training and Educations Association. His work history includes SWAT, narcotics, patrol, training, and investigations. Dave served as an adjunct instructor for the Tactical Defense Institute and Heckler & Koch International Training Division. A prolific writer, Spaulding has written over 1400 articles and two books (DEFENSIVE LIVING and HANDGUN COMBATIVES). Dave is a great guy and most willing to share valuable insights learned over the years with other firearms instructors. I took advantage of this fact to pose two questions to Dave: 1. How should firearm instructors respond to “That Guy” in their class? 2. What is your opinion on certain “Celebrity Instructors” who lack any true real-world experience?

Posted: Tuesday, April 2, 2019

The thumbs-up grip has much to offer to the concealed carrier. The web of the strong hand can be driven even higher if both thumbs are elevated, which I believe assists in recoil management. In addition, more of the support hand contacts the side of the butt, increasing the amount of friction and pressure that can be brought to bear. I found that I no longer inadvertently allow my support hand thumb to contact the slide during the firing cycle, and my shooter-induced malfunctions completely stopped. One other benefit to the thumbs-up grip is there seems to be less chance that the upper part of either thumb will put pressure on the slide stop.

Posted: Thursday, March 21, 2019

Jeff Gonzales, FTA Founding Member and President of Trident Concepts, talks about instructor to student ratio and the three factors that determine said ratio: high risk, medium risk, and low risk content.

Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2019

All three methods of gripping the handgun referenced in Part One of this series have one thing in common. Both the dominant hand and support hand should be placed as high as possible on the handgun butt (also sometimes referred to as the pistol or revolver grip). To do otherwise may leave a noticeable gap between the top of the hand and the top of the butt. This gap will cause the muzzle of the handgun to rise higher than necessary during recoil since a distinct pivot point is created between the axis of the bore and the top of the hands. Remember, the higher that the muzzle rises during recoil the longer the same is not oriented on the target and capable of making accurate hits if the need still exists. In my opinion, the two best grips for controlling recoil in most cases are called the thumbs-forward grip and the thumbs-up grip.

Posted: Thursday, March 7, 2019

I recently attended the Rangemaster Advanced Handgun Instructor course in Carrollton, Texas taught by Tom Givens. I have trained under Tom for nearly 20 years, and in my opinion he is one of the finest defensive handgun instructors in the business. His Handgun Instructor and Advanced Handgun Instructor courses are outstanding, and instructors travel from all over the United States to attend. Never one to waste an opportunity, I asked Tom if he could give me some advice that I could pass on to other instructors.

Posted: Thursday, February 28, 2019

As a long-time defensive firearms instructor, I have lost count of the number of students that have attended our classes, but the number is in the hundreds. Our students have included persons of all sizes ranging in ages from 21 to 84, and included law enforcement, active military, MMA fighters, and great grandparents. I believe that teaching my students that there is only one way to grip a handgun may be doing them a disservice. I will be the first to admit that I have a preferred gripping method, but if a student can’t meet certain shooting standards with that method but they can with another accepted method, then the results speak for themselves. There is room in the FTA for trainers from all backgrounds and experiences.

Posted: Friday, February 22, 2019

You don’t have to wait until your current Professional Liability insurance policy expires to start up with FTA. In order to start with FTA right now, you simply notify your current carrier that you want to cancel your policy. You will be refunded a prorated portion of the premium that you paid. You can then sign up with FTA and receive the membership benefits of liability protection both in civil cases, criminal cases, defense costs, fees, expenses and $1 million in liability protection that does not decreased by other expenses in the case being paid such as attorneys fees, costs and other litigation expenses. There is room in the FTA for trainers from all backgrounds and experiences.

Posted: Tuesday, February 19, 2019

As a firearms trainer, you have an obligation to ensure a safe training environment from all perspectives, but accidents can happen. In this video, Jeff Gonzales talks about how to create a Pre-Mishap Plan so that you can prepare for, and manage, life threatening and non-life threatening mishaps should they occur.

Posted: Thursday, February 7, 2019

FTA is a big table organization. There are many seats at the table. When forming the FTA, the Founders wanted to do what had not been done before. Create an organization for the purposes of professional development, business support, training support, and the creation of an independent source for Professional Liability Coverage for firearms trainers. Historically, firearms training organizations have attempted to practice exclusivity and have been discriminatory against trainers from certain communities. For instance, instructors who did not have law enforcement or military backgrounds may have been treated by those with such backgrounds differently, or even dismissively. There is room in the FTA for trainers from all backgrounds and experiences.

Posted: Thursday, January 24, 2019

It is important for firearms trainers to possess self awareness. If you come from a military background and you are going to train civilians then it is important that you engage in professional development to better understand the various self defense laws and concealed carry laws in the states and communities where you teach classes.

Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2019

Jeff Gonzales, FTA Founding Member and President of Trident Concepts, talks about how new firearms trainers can develop a successful curriculum by making sure it is observable, measureable, and, most importantly, repeatable.

Posted: Thursday, January 3, 2019

Dave Spaulding demonstrates a distance training drill he learned from Frank Proctor, former US Army Special Forces, that will prepare you for when you may need to act in close quarters. The goal is to get 5 rounds in the A-Zone in 5 seconds at 25 yards.

Posted: Friday, December 7, 2018

In Part One of this series, we looked at how positioning, building customer personas, and defining success are instrumental in laying the foundation of a great marketing plan for any business. Part Two of this series looks at the practical application of technology in our marketing plan as it relates to social media usage for firearms instructors. As many of you already know, there are terms and conditions that significantly limit firearms-related advertising on most social media networks. Because of this limitation, we’ll focus on organic, free marketing that leverages our existing social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram to engage our fans and customers.

Posted: Thursday, November 29, 2018

Being a firearms instructor, you will eventually encounter a student who is more difficult to teach or may even be a danger to the rest of the class. Jeff Gonzales, FTA Founding Member and President of Trident Concepts, talks about how to handle these types of students.

Posted: Thursday, November 15, 2018

Ken Hackathorn discusses the pitfalls of being a traveling firearms trainer, many of which are out of your control. Knowing how to set requirements and expectations for your host range can make a big difference in the success of the class.

Posted: Thursday, November 8, 2018

Larry Vickers of Vickers Tactical talks about the 3-6-9 drill, a follow on to the dime drill, designed to improve your accuracy and speed of shooting. This is a great drill that can be modified for your own skill level and can be escalated as you become a better shooter.

Posted: Thursday, October 25, 2018

FTA Founding Member Larry Vickers of Vickers Tactical, demonstrates the dime drill. This is a classic drill designed to ingrain in you proper trigger control. This is another great drill that can be done on any level, and should be revisited over and over again, especially as a new shooter.

Posted: Thursday, October 18, 2018

Jeff Gonzales, FTA Founding Member and President of Trident Concepts, goes over things new instructors need to prepare for in order to properly manage a training course. "As a new instructor, there are a lot of things that you need to think about and some of the mistakes I've seen are just not paying attention to some of the detail work that goes into setting up a class."

Posted: Thursday, October 11, 2018

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