Category Archives: Skills

Mike Seeklander – Coming to Northern Kentucky May 18 & 19

Practical Defensive Training, LLC is proud to host one of the top trainers in the United States of America for a 2-day Defensive Pistol Class, here in Northern Kentucky!

Mike Seeklander is a former Lead Firearms Instructor for the Federal Air Marshal program, 2018 IDPA National Champion, Owner of Shooting-Performance Training and Co-founder of the American Warrior Society.  (click here to read more about his background)

We do not often get top level trainers in this area, so you do not want to miss this opportunity!

Click here for information and registration from 

Class will be held on May 18 & 19 of 2019 in Walton, KY.

$415 course fee

Class location will be at the range at:
Benton Family Farms
11896 Old Lexington Pike
Walton, KY 41094

(Benton’s has a private range where instructors have taught firearms classes in the past)

Click here for information and registration from 

Course Description (from Mike’s Website): This course is a piece of my total training system that reinforces the techniques covered in my book Your Defensive Handgun Training Program. The program will take your shooting to the next level. The full training system is like nothing else available today, focusing on not only the execution of skills but in the critical process to properly train those skills and subsequently improve your results.  This class INCLUDES a downloadable version of the training drill AND videos for you to follow in your training once you have graduated class.   Self-defense context is also thoroughly covered in this program, defining the distance related concepts of a fight with a handgun. This course is ideal for anyone who carries a handgun for combative (self-defense) purposes, and will benefit both the novice as well as experienced shooters. It is the pre-requisite course for those wishing to take other Shooting-Performance advanced handgun courses.  This course includes a free video download of all of the essential drills!

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Left of Bang – Important Concepts in Situational Awareness

The following content is based on the book “Left of Bang” by Patrick Van Horne and Jason A. Riley.  This article is an introduction to their ideas, and it is highly suggested that readers invest the time to learn more by reading the full book, “Left of Bang”.

Left of Bang – What is Left of Bang?  Why is it important?

If we think of a time line, where “bang” is a central event, like a physical attack by a single assailant or terrorist incident, there is a timeline that extends left and right of the central event. This is a model of information and action as it relates to the central event.

The time to the right of bang is all reactionary.  To the right of bang, all we can do is respond to the event as best we can with the skills and tools we have at our disposal.  To the left of bang, is all of the information we could have used to either prepare, or remove ourselves from harms’ way.

If we are serious about self-defense.  If we want to prevent, prepare for, or escape from terrible events before they happen.  We want to focus on the left side of bang.  We need to focus on the signals of individuals and groups of people; which telegraph intentions or potential actions which may cause harm to ourselves, our families and our communities.

The U.S. Marine Corpse Combat Hunter/Combat Profiler Program

The entire reason the “Left of Bang” concept exists, is because we care about our men and women serving in our military in harms way.  We want them to have a significant advantage on the battlefield.  We want them to have the tools available to identify potential threats and intervene before experiencing an attack or loss of life.

In order to protect our troops, a program was developed to help them make decisions in a rapid manner.  These decision are  based on observations of anomalies in the behavior and demeanor of individuals.  These marines make decisive actions based on the anomalies which protect our soldiers and the innocent bystanders in their area of operation… the combat hunter/combat profiler is focused on staying left of bang.

Left of Bang for Everyday People

What can we, as civilians, learn from a Marine Corpse combat program?  The Left of Bang model is equally applicable to normal, non-combat people as it is to the marines.  It is a model of how to think about behavior profiling of potential threats.  If we have the mentality to observe our surroundings and notice abnormalities, we have the ability to act before bad stuff happens.

To do this… you need to develop a baseline.  You should observe your surroundings and identify the normal patterns of behavior first.  Are people laughing, smiling and talking?  Are they facing each other and making eye contact/interpersonal body language?  Do people seem genuinely invested in the experience they are in?  If you are in a grocery store, are people paying attention to their produce, or other shoppers.  Identifying what is normal, and what is abnormal is a big deal to identifying threats.

Simply said… which one of these is not like the others?

What Behavior Categories Should we Focus on?

Realize, this is just an overview… there is a great deal of information to look for.  This article is just an introduction to the whole world of behavioral profiling.  Hopefully though, this gives you some ideas to elevate your defensive mindset.

  • Kinesics – Body Language – You should focus on postures and gestures which express a person’s emotional state and possible future intentions.
  • Biometrics – Uncontrollable and automatic biological responses to stress.  Is someone sweating when they shouldn’t?  Is a person avoiding eye contact?
  • Proxemics – Interpersonal Space – peoples behavior as it relates to surrounding people – Do you see someone keeping distance from people in a more intimate environment?  Are they getting close to others when the environment is keeping larger distances?
  • Geographics – People’s relationships with their environment –Do you observe individuals who are familiar or unfamiliar with the areas they are in?
  • Iconography – Symbols  – Clothing, markings, or other imagery which communicates beliefs or affiliations – Do you see people whose dress/tattoos indicate a dangerous affiliation?
  • Atmospherics – Collective attitudes, moods, emotions or behaviors of groups of people in a given situation or place.  Does the environment see a sudden shift in behaviors?

Paying attention to these behavioral categories will help you stay left of bang.

Only the Beginning

If you are defensively minded… this is a great place to start to avoid the fight or avoid the danger before it comes to you.  It is now my personal mission to use these tools to stay Left of Bang.  If I have no other choice, I am working on those other skills that keep myself and my family alive and in one piece.



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Owning Your Failures

Defensive shooting is a skill.  It takes time, effort, focus and concentration to build those skills.  While there are many people born with natural athletic abilities or natural gifts of intellectuality and creativity, there are two significant traits which permeate those we look up to as great shooters.  They put the time and effort in, and they have failed and then learned from their mistakes.  It is the cycle of work, fail, learn,improve and work again, that leads us to improve.  It is hard to say which of these parts of the cycle is most important.  One will not improve if any of these items are not missing.  Though, I would put special emphasis on Owning Your Failures.

As a developing shooter, it is important to select practice drills and techniques which force us to develop specific skills and correct insufficiencies in our shooting techniques.  These drills are meant to instigate failure. Failures may include those based off of accuracy, time or a combination of the two.

Here are a few drills we like:

  1. 2 Drills to Quickly Improve Your Accuracy
  2. The Bill Drill
  3. The F.A.S.T. Drill

These drills are designed to force a failure which will help a shooter assess and improve their shooting technique and abilities.

Shooting technique failures are not the only failures which we must own as shooters.

One of the biggest failures I have witnessed (and owned myself) was falling in love with gear that simply did not work well for me.

For instance, as a brand new shooter, the first handgun I bought was a beautifiul Sig Sauer P229 in 40 caliber.  While this is a fantastic handgun, it required that I learn two different trigger pulls, a double action for the first pull and a single action for the second pull.  This complicated my learning process as a new shooter.  Also, the 40 caliber pistol round has great deal more recoil than a 9 mm round, without much benefit in its defensive performance.

If I had acknowledged the failure in my choice of gear earlier and changed my equipment I may have progressed more quickly.

A lesser-recoiling, striker-fired pistol chambered in 9 mm (Like the Heckler and Koch VP9 I now carry), which has a single-style of trigger-pull with every round, would have lessened the effort I needed to develop my shooting skills and accelerated the time it would take to become an accomplished marksman.

Shooting Competitions Are a Great Place to Learn Failure and Have Fun at the Same Time

If you really want to test your skills and learn where you need improvement, compete in one of the shooting sports.  IDPA, USPSA or 3-Gun competitions are all great options.  Under the stress of competition, you learn stress can induce failure.  You will determine skills which need to work and improve upon to shoot confidently under stress.

Owning Failures as a Defensive Shooting Instructor:

As a defensive shooting instructor, I must be able to perform drills I ask my students to perform.  I must also meet (and exceed) the standards expected of my students.  If I ask my students to perform a drill I cannot do myself, it reflects poorly on me, and suggests I am teaching beyond my own capabilities at that point.  It is unethical and could be quite dangerous for an instructor to be teaching beyond their own capabilities.

There are times, when demonstrating a technique, I have fail to meet the standards I ask my students to meet.  This is not because I do not have the ability to do perform at the expected level.  It is because I may make a mistake.

Rather than make excuses for a sub-par performance, I must take ownership of my failure.  I must be able to explain what I did incorrectly and then perform the exercise again, this time meeting or exceeding the standards which have been proscribed.

The acknowledgment and correction of your shortcomings can only increase the credibility you have as an instructor or competent shooter.

Failure is simply a tool which allows us to observe our avenues for improvement.

I have heard it said, though I can not trace the origin of this quote:

“Amateurs train until they get it right… Professionals train until they can’t get it wrong”

There are a great many failures a professional undergoes until they reach the point where they “can’t get it wrong”.



The topic of owning and learning from your failures is not new and has been covered extensively across many different viewpoints.  It is discussed in sports, business and life lessons.  Personally, I was very much influenced by Mike Seeklander’s thoughts on failure during instruction in his book, “The Art of Instruction: Your Complete Guide to Instructional Excellence”.  Mr. Seeklander’s book is a must read for any professional firearms instructor.

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