Skip to main content

A Lifetime of Tactical Training

A Lifetime of Tactical Training

The author reflects on training and those who taught him...

Despite a lifetime of training, the author--who was recently honored for his dedication to passing on knowledge to others--continues his search for insights into shooting and gunfighting.

When I entered law enforcement, I was certainly a gun enthusiast, but being interested in guns does not necessarily mean that you can shoot them well. As my interest grew, I began to read as many of the gun magazines as I could, and as I gained both street experience and spoke with those who had prevailed in armed conflict, the articles made greater sense.

In 1980, my agency founded a SWAT team, and I went to the state training academy to become a firearms instructor. I found out that I was not a good shooter, and I resolved to correct this.

I embarked on a lifetime of training--both of myself and of others--that recently culminated in being honored as the 2010 Law Enforcement Trainer of the Year by the International Association of Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association, the world's largest police training association.

My first firearms training experience in this quest was around 1983 when I was invited by Bert DuVerney (who would later become the director of the Smith & Wesson Academy) to attend a course taught by John Farnam.

It cost $110. We had a mortgage, car payment and small children, so this was big money, but I knew I had to attend. My wife and I scraped together the money, and I headed out to my first firearms training course beyond the state academy.

I could not believe how much I did not know about pistol shooting. John's instruction in the fundamentals changed everything for me. One night we stood under an overhang while it poured rain and he discussed the whole "stopping power" debate. He spent several hours with me, and I will never forget it.


I later became the president of the Ohio Tactical Officer's Association and suggested that Evan Marshal be a guest speaker at our annual conference. I called him out of the blue, and he agreed to come. His take on stopping power was controversial at the time, but what he said rang true to me.

While some claim that his database of shootings is made up, I can assure you that it is not. I have both seen it and contributed to it. I took his idea and over the years have built a database of my own after a disastrous failure by a deputy in my agency when using the 147-grain sub-sonic 9mm that was all the rage at the time.

What I have found seems to mirror Evan's data. In a nutshell, handgun-stopping power is hard to accurately measure or predict. By shooting ballistic gelatin you can prove that a bigger bullet is a better bullet in that it creates a larger wound cavity.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

Federal's new.30 Super Carry pistol cartridge offers the equivalent of 9mm Luger performance with recoil and muzzle blast comparable with 9mm. Here's a first look.

First Look: Federal .30 Super Carry Pistol Cartridge

Scott Rupp and Richard Nance correct some common shooting advice.

Bad Shooting Advice

Rich Nance shows us a drill that helps with target transition and accuracy.

Skills Drills - 3 Second Headshot

It is important to train in various shooting positions. Rich shows us some kneeling positions here.

Shooting from Kneeling

Scott Rupp highlights the Taurus GX4.

Taurus GX4

Richard Nance shows off this easy to carry flashlight from Streamlight.

Streamlight Wedge

In early 2021, Taurus introduced the GX4, its entry into the micro-compact concealed carry pistol market. Now the company has added red-dot sight capability with the new T.O.R.O. (Taurus Optic Ready Option) version.

First Look: Taurus GX4 T.O.R.O. Optics-Ready Micro-Compact 9mm Pistol

Widely known for their duty retention holsters, Safariland is bringing the security and safety of their LE products to the civilian world with the 575 GLS holster.

Safariland Holsters

Smith & Wesson has expanded their M&P Shield Plus pistol line to include a 3.1-inch optics-ready slide option. Scott Rupp, editor of Handguns, is with Matt Spafford, of Smith & Wesson, to check out this "sweet spot" optics-ready concealed-carry pistol.
Concealed Carry

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus Pistol Series Expanded with Optics-Ready Versions

Handguns Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Handguns App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Handguns stories delivered right to your inbox.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Handguns subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Get a Full Year
of Guns & Ammo
& Digital Access.

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now