Even though I’m often not given credit for it, I try to write in a reserved, nonconfrontational mode. But, then when you thought it was safe to go in the water, some people — through ignorance or plain stupidity — go and cross the line of common sense.

Logic, applied to conflict, is the equator between two often very opposite poles. The Modern Technique of pistol shooting uses three elements to project itself. These three things, accuracy, power and speed are supposed to be balanced. However, when given modifications for individual personal satisfaction, to promote a specific program or a flat lack of understanding — people will often manipulate the Modern Technique to be self serving.

Along this vein, a writer of some notoriety (and I’m too much of a gentleman to point a finger) recently wrote that “tactics are everything, and marksmanship isn’t important.” So let me get this straight: I put my energy, effort and training into tactics — not considering marksmanship — and I’ll win a fight?

So with the best of tactics and equipment, you can hit didly-squat when the fight starts — and win? With that thought process, why practice marksmanship at all? Just show up, look cool, and out smart the bad guy. I don’t think so.


I understand a bit about tactics. I agree you must learn and apply tactics well to enhance your ability to win. Standing in backlit doorways, not using cover and concealment, projecting muzzles or yourself into exposed areas of incoming fire, are all bad ideas. People shoot you because they can see you. Heck, you can even get hit by people who can’t see you. So concealment is good — and cover is better.

Apparently, with our naïve friend’s concept, all you have to work on is tactics; because in a fight with moving targets, shooting while moving and generally zigging and zagging, you’ll be magnificent — just because you showed up with good tactics.

I can think of two outstanding men who, a few years back in Somalia, used good tactics and even better marksmanship than most folks could muster on a good sunny day at the range — and they still got killed. So were their tactics — or their shooting — bad? On what account were they finally killed? Their performance was sterling, they did all the right things, including markmanship. Yet they died.

Missing The Target

I agree tactics are important and I go to great lengths to teach them. But when I take folks inside the house to learn tactics they go in knowing if they miss a target trap or shoot a door frame it’s outside to the range they go. Why teach tactics to someone who can’t hit a 2×3-foot bullet trap at four or five yards?

It’s sort of like mounted cowboy action shooting. Give me someone who can ride, and I’ll teach them to shoot. In tactics, it’s just the opposite: Give me someone who can shoot — and I’ll teach them tactics. After they can hit the damn target.

At each class I teach, I say we do not teach tactics because I want you to use them — I teach tactics in case you have to use them. Trust me, I’ve got all the cool tactical stuff up to my nose holes. Let’s say there are five ways to clear a stair well. Great, but they all suck when somebody is at the top of the stairwell with a gun. That much I know about tactics.

Learn tactics? You bet! Practice tactics? You bet! And so there’s no misunderstanding, there are people who need to be shot — and you better have the marksmanship skills to get it done, should your tactical time come. Learn to shoot? You’d better.