Get a lesson in tactics, training and confidence

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 25, 2010

What if there are two people, one with a knife and one with a gun, the same distance away? If you are armed to defend yourself, whom do you shoot first?

Dave Robinson, 57, is a firm believer in the Second Amendment and the importance of knowing how to defend yourself and your family. He has spent practically his entire life around firearms.

“We work from the premise that law-abiding citizens are the solution, not the problem.”

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Robinson, who is originally from the Dayton area, lives in Rush, Ky. and works at the Marathon Refinery as a Custom Protection Officer. He also runs Elite Tactical Solutions LLC and spends his time teaching concealed weapons classes and weapons tactics courses. He teaches some of the classes from his home in Rush and also nearby at the Northeastern Kentucky Fish and Game Club.

“I’ve always enjoyed shooting,” Robinson said. “I grew up around firearms and learned their responsible use at an early age. I hunted, did target shooting, that sort of thing.”

His love for firearms extended into his professional life. Robinson’s resume boasts personal security details, law enforcement, time in the U.S. Army, executive protection details and Blackwater experience.

“When I was a young fellow, I spent a couple of years in law enforcement. Over the years I’ve spent a lot of time in private security work and it has involved executive protection and personal security details.”

Robinson said he has been teaching concealed weapons and tactics classes for about nine years in Kentucky.

He also got his certification to teach in Ohio a few months after the concealed carry law was passed. He has many certifications including: Kentucky CCDW, Kentucky CCDW Instructor Class, West Virginia Concealed Carry, Ohio Concealed Carry, Combat Pistol, Carbine Operator, Unarmed Self-defense, Armed Self-Defense, Armed/Unarmed Combat Pistol Tactics, Combat Pistol Tactics and KYCCDW/Combat Pistol Tactics.

He said that people who are interested in taking the concealed weapons classes should not hesitate because of their lack of firearms skills.

“We typically start with the assumption that people aren’t firearms experts. The emphasis on safety in all these classes is very strong,” Robinson said. “If it’s a beginner who has never handled a weapon, or someone that’s been in law enforcement or the military for 20 years, you just can’t preach safety enough. Once the round leaves the muzzle, you can’t call it back.”

In the Kentucky CCDW Course, Robinson said that people are required to learn how to clean and maintain their guns.

“And the first step is to make sure it is unloaded,” Robinson said. “The second step is to check it again.”

He also said that there is lecturing about the laws pertaining to concealed carry. There are some places, such as federal buildings, schools and some businesses that do not allow firearms at all.

“They want you to know how to hold and handle. They’ll discuss differences between a pistol and revolver. And nomenclature, the parts of the gun such as the hammer, trigger, and grip.”

There is also a written test and live fire test. In Kentucky, he said, you must hit the target silhouette 11 out of 20 rounds from seven yards away.

“They want you to show some proficiency. They want to know that you can reasonably, safely carry and handle a firearm. It’s not very challenging in any of the states. They just want you to know that you’re not a menace to society while you’re packing.”

All of the classes can be done in one day. Ohio’s concealed carry class is 12 hours. The cost is $125. West Virginia’s is 10 hours. Both Ohio and West Virginia use the NRA’s Practical Pistol Course. Kentucky’s concealed class is eight hours and uses a curriculum mandated by the state. The cost for Kentucky and West Virginia is $75.

Robinson also said that having a permit to carry a firearm is only the first step in being a responsible owner. You also need training.

“In the concealed weapons classes you go out an shoot at a target and hit it enough times and then go on your merry way, and your just simply not qualified. You’re legal, but you’re not ready to fight for you life.”

Robinson said that owning any kind of firearm is not an excuse to go to war.

“The folks that get the concealed weapons licenses and carry, I think most of them are hit with the gravity of what they are doing, and their responsibility.”

When teaching tactics classes and weapons training classes, Robinson said he teaches to shoot to stop.

“You’re not trying to wound, you’re not trying to kill. You’re trying to stop that fight,” he said.

“What we typically teach folks to aim for is what we call center mass. All this stuff about head shots and shoot them in the leg, or shoot the gun out of their hand is not realistic for anybody, not even trained professionals.”

Robinson said that in real life and death situations, combat is chaotic.

“By combat I mean if you’re in Iraq or in the parking lot of Walmart fighting a mugger for your life, it’s so chaotic. It happens so quickly. It’s not choreographed like we see on television, where everything is neat and tidy and they look cool doing it. There’s adrenalin pumping. You’re moving, they’re moving. Your heart is pounding. And if you can hit them, you’re really lucky.”

“Training is more intense than teaching. When you’re scared, when you’re confused, when you’re panicked, training is still effective.”

So, whom would you shoot first, if faced with an armed gunman and someone armed with a knife? Robinson said, that most people say the gunman.

“That’s the wrong answer. Because the guy with the gun as to draw it, present it, pull the trigger, and he’s still got to hit you. Statistically, if you have the presence of mind to move, 75 percent of the time, even point blank, somebody shooting at you will miss the first shot. The guy with the knife only has to close 30 feet and boom. So if you let him get, say, 10 feet from you, your probably going to get cut no matter what you do.”

In Robinson’s training classes, he stresses the importance of the 30 feet rule.

“I take my tape and mark off 30 feet and I tell them, ‘Burn 30 feet into your heart and mind and if somebody with a knife closes 30 feet shoot them.’”

He also said that women are the targets of choice for predators. It gives women who are trained in self-defense and weapons tactics the element of surprise.

“(Predators) don’t think in terms of a woman shooting them or breaking their collarbone.”

Training also provides a person with confidence.

“If you’re walking around town with a machine gun but you have no confidence in it, it’s useless,” he said.

Robinson’s combat pistol and carbine operator classes are eight hours but can sometime last two days if needed.

“At the end of the 8 hour class if they can’t do it then I say, ‘Let’s come back and do a few hours next Saturday at no charge.’ We’re not just out for a certain amount of hours. We’re out for a certain skill level.”

For that class, you are required to turn around and hit three silhouettes with a double-tap in three seconds. A double-tap is two quick shots in a row.

Robinson is a firm believer that there should be no issue with law-abiding citizens owning firearms, especially permitted concealed weapons for self-defense.

“If you want to go walk through downtown Ironton at midnight or go to Ashland and walk through Central Park, by God that’s your park. You shouldn’t have to get permission from some gang or some derelict that had an unhappy childhood.”

The next class for Ohio concealed carry class will be held on Aug. 28 at 8 a.m. The 12-hour class requires that you bring 63 rounds of ammunition.

The next scheduled concealed carry class for Kentucky is on July 31 at 9 a.m.

To register for these or any other classes, call Elite Tactical Solutions at (606) 923-6628 or (606) 929-9599. To see a full list of the classes available, visit

“It is just a God given right, self defense is. If you’ve got a family, you’ve got a right to protect them, and you’ve got a right to protect yourself.”