Not All Defensive Trainers are Equal

Matthew Temkin has been posting in various online forums for years, touting his point shooting “technique” for defensive pistol work. For those of you who’ve been lucky enough to participate in the online gun world for any length of time without coming across Matthew Temkin and his constant droning on about how point shooting is the best defensive pistol technique EVAR, consider yourself lucky.

Well, it seems that the folks at Paladin Press saw merit profit opportunities in producing a video based on Matthew’s “shooting techniques.”


Frankly, I’m embarrassed for the poor guy. For years, he’s touted his point-shooting technique as the bee’s knees in defensive shooting, much to the incredulity of those who’ve spent time training with various military organizations and legitimate defensive trainers like Pat Rogers, Louis Awerbuck or Rob Pincus. And now that we have video of his shooting, the only thing I can say is that Matthew Temkin is abysmally bad with a handgun.

To put this in perspective, according to USPSA, I’m ranked as a C-level shooter with a 56.88%. (To make B-level, I’d have to score 60% or better as an average across a number of classifiers.)

So, based on that, you know I’m not any sort of Grand Master or anything. My ranking is fairly run-of-the-mill. And yet, given that, it’s blazing clear that Temkin wouldn’t even be able to hang with a C-ranked shooter. Watching the video, it’s clear that his splits for double-taps and rapid firing are quite slow and methodical. He fails to maintain a proper grip or arm position to maximize recoil control (especially important when quickly firing a pistol with only one hand), and his transitions between multiple targets are glacially slow.

Ok, I hear you saying “yeah, but defensive shooting and competition are two completely different things, and what works in a match may not work when you’re jumped in an alley at 3am.”

There is, of course, truth to that, and admittedly my shooting background is steeped more in the world of competitive shooting rather than defensive tactics. But that said, even as someone who’s not attended defensive classes, it strikes me as a bad idea to approach an assailant while defending yourself. After all, the primary advantage to using a pistol for self-defense is that it gives you the ability to defend yourself at a distance. Other than Temkin, I’m not sure that I’ve seen any other defensive instructor advocate charging your assailant. The bulk of the information that’s out there generally advocates doing everything in your power to put distance between yourself and your attacker as quickly as possible. Charging a single assailant is stupid. Charging multiple assailants is lunacy.

If you’re considering picking up material or attending a class on defending yourself with a firearm, pay attention to who the author is and what their background and general reputation is. There’s a wealth of good information out there, and many excellent trainers who offer classes you can travel to, or if you’re limited in travel, many of them will be happy to come to your range to conduct a class. Seek out good training, and avoid the wannabes.

19 thoughts on “Not All Defensive Trainers are Equal

  1. Move in, Bash on head with rock.

    It’s called Monkey brain for a reason. We’ve evolved beyond that in defensive tactics and you are right, the power of having a gun is you have a remote tool to use so you no longer have to move in to your opponent to be effective.

  2. No, that was okjoe, who was a bit like Matt Temkin’s little brother who had suffered some form of grave head trauma before developing a wicked habit of boozing while posting on the internet.

    Even Temkin thought that guy was mentally challenged, which is really saying something.

  3. Thank you for posting this. Seriously. I’ve engaged with Matt once or twice on TFL, and the second I’d start talking split times using actual data from competition, he’d go all “WARRIORZ DON’T PLAY GAMZ” on me. I basically just ignore him now.

    The sad thing is that this will make my upcoming Paladin Press book titled “CQB TACTICAL DESTROYER” look a little less awesome. 😀

  4. I would fully expect him to dismiss any form of competitive shooting out of hand. After all, why go through the pains of putting yourself in a situation that may reveal that you’re not as good as you thought when you can just post on the internet and claim to be a badass.

    Now that we’ve got video evidence of just how much he sucks, it should be pointed out at every opportunity.

  5. I think it is very telling that Paladin disabled the comments on the video.

  6. Well, beginning at 2:32 in the video, he starts a draw (with his hand already on the pistol, in an open, unconcealed holster). At 2:34, he fires his first shot. If the point of point shooting is speed, then I’m not sure the video helps his case much.

    As for advancing on the target, of course he is going to do that. He isn’t using his sights. If he wants to make good hits with his ranged weapon and not use sights, he is going to have to close the distance.

  7. Pingback: dispatches from TJICistan » Blog Archive » it’s pretty easy to score hits on a target with no arms from 6″ away

  8. I’ve tangled with the dude on THR more than once on the subject. mostly I’ve wondered what he has against sights and those who prefer to use them.

  9. The last time I’d had a conversation on the topic of gunfights and distance with someone who’d actually been in one, the gist of the thing was “Learn how to shoot accurately from as far away as you can. Then, if it ever goes south on you, create as much distance from the other guy as possible, get out of his range, so that while he’s missing, you’re not.”

    Airboss explained that’s why he was able to live to a ripe old age and the other guy didn’t despite the other guy shooting first and scoring a flesh wound.

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  11. The biggest myth of point shooting is that sight shooting is slower. On the contrary! Sight shooting, by a trained and practiced shooter is faster.

    Tactiturds decry competition because they fear anything that will reveal their low skill levels, but organized shooting programs have proven sighted shooting as faster.

    Back in the 1950’s when Jeff Cooper and friends first started hosting Leatherslaps, it was widely assumed that point shooting would win the day. Jack Weaver’s big contribution was his willingness to use an eye-level, two-handed, aimed shooting stance even though “everyone knows using the sights is just too slow.”

    IPSC, USPSA, and IDPA shooters are free to use ANY technique they want. In fact, most courses of fire generally specify the stance as FREESTYLE. Point shooting, along with any other safe technique, is welcome. But decades of experience have indicated what really works.

    If the techniques of Temkin, Veit, Turnipseed, et. al, were truly superior then competition shooters would be flocking to them. If point shooters started owning practical competition I guarantee everyone would start using them.

    But point shooters don’t win because they can’t. Not in any situation where speed and accuracy is measured.

  12. Pingback: Shoot Them To The Ground!! a video by Matthew Temkin, with commentary by your host, Larry Correia « Monster Hunter Nation

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  14. This guy reminds me of myself shooting, and I’m almost 50 and disabled……..

    Gee, should I make an instructional video too?

  15. Wow..I haven’t had any sort of professional shooting training and can’t hit crap with any of my handguns..but even I know that what this guy is showing in the video is a surefire way to get yourself killed..or convicted of murder (grabbing onto the head/shoulder and emptying the firearm into the person’s abdomen, for example).

  16. My concern with the movement toward the target is the lack of side stepping or angled movement to get off the line of force. The first objective is to avoid getting shot–especially if you’re behind the curve. Fairbairn and Sykes taught their men (officers in Shanghai, China) to draw while moving off the line of force, and shoot while closing in. The purpose of this was to seize initiative, scare the opponent and be aggressive. This is almost the same as the “Get off the X” stuff, where the shooter moves to the target’s 11 or 1 o’clock and basically runs around, through or past the target while shooting.

    I’m wondering if this was done just for the video. I would never move that slowly and it seems to me that Mr. Temkin would understand that. Perhaps someone should ask him. He’ll answer the question.

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