A couple of observations as I sneak up on three decades focussed on using or teaching someone how to use a gun in harms way, and my first decade writing about it in magazines.

Some things never change, neither do some people. While many of those “things” remain, the people unwilling to move, entrenched in their dogma, doctrine, or self satisfying importance unwilling to listen to those with better ideas have faded from relevance. Its not that everything or everyone “old” has no value, both have much to offer, but not to the exclusion of decades, even centuries in some cases of advancement proven in the real world. Live in a box unwilling to step out or listen to those who do and you die there contributing nothing. I have been in that box for short periods of time, its peaceful, for some its a happy home, just remember the real world may not let you stay there.  For me it becomes a self imposed hell to be avoided at all costs.

Sometimes Old is just Old! 

 It is true of training, equipment, and applies to companies too. Exclusively clinging to the “old days” expecting the remainder of the world to “get it” at some point is a sign of age, mostly intransigence, not wisdom. Outside corporate incompetence it  signals the demise of many companies. It’s worked for decades, it will work now! Dying words of a company in or about to go bankrupt or a once valued contributor becoming irrelevant. Being a slave to history is no better than ignoring it yielding the same result. History is a starting point, not the end. Applying what has worked for years using adaptation to make it work now is the key. Abandoning the proven for the sake of “progress” gets you the same result as ignoring reality for the sake of the past.  Companies and people that can meld them together succeed, those clinging to either seem to disappear.  This industry is rife with failing companies selling what was popular last year, or last century ignoring what people want right now, today, in this world.  People are teaching things that did not work all that well in “the day” with ZERO relevance to those living today using existing technology simply in adherence to a doctrine.  Nothing is more indicative then cops void of any time on the street in this decade telling them how to do their job today. Yep, some things apply, mostly it just gets todays cop shot, sued, fired, or all three.  War stories are great for filling time, drinking at the bar, or hanging out, keep it off the range and out of print.

Still more are just plain lazy, unwilling to actually try anything new for fear it will contradict their long held dogma.    Others have adapted over the years making the proven work today by improving, adapting, changing and taking advantage of new technology that works.  Those unwilling to change in the face of obvious improvement have been fading from existence for centuries, it seems that NEVER changes.

People are just LAZY!

No living being is more adept at sitting on their ass satisfied with the status quo unwilling to improve or even try anything unfamiliar then humans.  Fat and Happy remains the goal for many, some would say most.  For the rest of the animal kingdom that spells imminent death and extinction, not sure it isn’t the same for humans.  The training industry has no shortage of these creatures.  It is rife with “trainers” that never train, and students unwilling to  learn.  Attend any class and there are at least a couple who think the instructor is wrong, the one they are paying, simply because they are unwilling to put forth the effort or open their mind. All while breaking every safety rule invented incapable of running an Airsoft gun let alone a real one.   Honestly, if that is you, stay home, fat and happy, you are slowing everyone else down while wasting your time and money.   Save us all and get back on the couch and pick up your game controller, it keeps the rest of us safe.    Or better yet, start from scratch, admit your are clueless, either because you have learned nothing, or what you learned became useless last century. Then seek out and attend a class with an open mind and learn something.

As a trainer, instructor, or teacher you need to hone your skill, or at least maintain it if you expect students to learn.  Better yet, train with someone else, you might learn something.  The best way to become a real teacher is to never stop being a student.  Yep, it requires work, you need to get passed your bias and open your mind.  Above all, spend time on the range practicing what you teach or preach instead of only  pontificating from the front or upon high.   At the very least you may confirm what you are doing, either way you improve.  Its no different than writing an article telling people how to do something having only read about another writer who actually does it.  The gun writing industry is full of experts that cannot safely hold a firearm that suddenly become “experts’ in print or on social media.  Observed early on in this industry not much has changed.  Calling yourself or believing you are a “subject matter expert” is a far cry from being one.  Be honest about what you know, and above all, learn more. Cover what you have done and write about what you learned.  Know your limitations, and be able to perform what you say you have done in print.  You just may have to the next time a company wines and dines you at media events where all that “expertise” will be clearly evident or absent.  It does not seem to be a requirement your colleagues or industry partners believe you are credible, but it does not hurt and you may just get invited to another one.

I come across harsh, the cost of honesty.  It has served me well at times, not so well at others, either way it remains easy to live with.  Make no mistake, along this path I have met some fantastic teachers, trainers, and instructors.  My sense is they outnumber the rest, its just the rest that seem to get all the coverage.  Many in the writing field are honest, hard working, and competent, even expert.  Some have become great friends, even mentors,  something I have always valued far greater than any work, hope that continues.

Just like all of mankind there are some fantastic people along with many less then honest, its life.  Overall its an industry that continues to be very good to me, I hope to continue to contribute meaningful and useful information this next decade.  One thing is for sure, when I no longer can it will be time to go, and equally as sure there are more than a few friends that will tell me when that is!!