Tactical Tailor

Gunfighter Moment – Mike Pannone

Magic and the Easy Button

The firearms and tactical training trade is rife with people “selling magic”. By that I mean being a vocal advocate for the newest “great idea” that hasn’t really been vetted but looks good on YouTube. It’s always amusing to see these new ‘groundbreaking’ techniques that are either poorly thought out or have been preceded by better techniques years and sometimes decades prior seem to get overnight popularity.

One I have addressed previous is the Temple Index and the inherent flaws of it. Another example of selling magic is the widespread use of vehicles as a prop for a shooting class. This is done in complete contrast to vehicles being a useful training aid for teaching sound tactics associated with open air conflicts around vehicles. The point is missed completely because many are trying to entertain more so than teach.

When I played lacrosse in college, my coach Bill Tierney (probably the most successful lacrosse coach in history) rode us hard on the simple things. He reminded us that controlling the ball and consistently working hard on offense as well as defense would win over a more talented but less disciplined team that made mistakes on simple things like catching and throwing. We spent lots of time on ball drills because if you can’t scoop a ball, pass and catch then the rest was a waste of time. The principle was what Brian Searcy from Tiger Swan (also my first TL at JSOC) called “brilliance in the basics”. Greatness is the basics done flawlessly and on demand.

On the shooting side I have often been asked what special techniques SFOD uses or favors. I find that a bit amusing since there are no secret techniques nor any secret tactics. There is only one principle that guides the best units or sports teams or for that matter anyone to repeated success. That is a mastery of the basics and the ability to replicate them on demand precisely and consistently. In life and in training there is no Staples “Easy button”, there is only hard precise work.

So in the end, the magic is…that there is no magic.

– Mike Pannone

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Mike Pannone retired from the Army’s premier assault force (1st SFOD-D) after an explosive breaching injury. A year after his retirement America was attacked on 9/11 and he returned to help serve his country as the head marksmanship instructor at the Federal Air Marshals training course and then moved to help stand up the FAMS Seattle field office. In 2003 he left the FAMS to serve as a PSD detail member and then a detail leader for the State Department during 2003 and 2004 in Baghdad and Tikrit.

In 2005 he served as a ground combat advisor of the Joint Counter IED Task Force and participated on combat operations with various units in Al Anbar province. Upon returning he gave IED awareness briefings to departing units and helped stand up a pre-Iraq surge rifle course with the Asymmetric Warfare Group as a lead instructor. With that experience as well as a career of special operations service in Marine Reconnaissance, Army Special Forces and JSOC to draw from he moved to the private sector teaching planning, leadership, marksmanship and tactics as well as authoring and co-authoring several books such as The M4 Handbook, AK Handbook and Tactical Pistol shooting. Mike also consults for several major rifle and accessory manufacturers to help them field the best possible equipment to the warfighter, law enforcement officer and upstanding civilian end user. He is considered a subject matter expert on the AR based Stoner platform in all its derivatives.

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Gunfighter Moment is a weekly feature brought to you by Alias Training & Security Services. Each week Alias brings us a different Trainer and in turn they offer some words of wisdom.

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19 Responses to “Gunfighter Moment – Mike Pannone

  1. Adam says:

    ” There is no spoon.” -The Matirx

  2. tcba_joe says:

    Guess someone has seen a certain holster-maker’s instagram.

    • Joe says:

      First thing I thought of too.

    • Ben says:

      Which holster maker?

      • Leroy says:

        The one who looks like a tool with no credentials.

      • Fede says:

        Tx arms kydex

        • Tetsuo says:

          More like BCT. They specialize in range theatrics under the guise of prepping you for civilian combat. Funny how no one asks what “combat experience” they actually have. They’re like the new ADE.

          T Rex Arms is, from what I can see, a young dude who’s trying to build a business selling kit and learning to run a gun. Seems well meaning enough and has his heart in the right place, though still very green. But at least he’s staying somewhat in his lane. BCT on the other hand …

    • Ajax says:

      Whether you agree with his technique is one thing (I still don’t get the temple index thing), but his stuff plain works. He definitely makes innovative stuff, and as it stands now, I’ll be going back for more.

      • Joe says:

        But…he comes off as a d**k. Constant preaching from someone who’s never been there, done that, or stepped into the arena.

        • Ajax says:

          No offense meant sir, but can you argue with the results? Dude is a legit shot, overseas service or not.

          • TCBA_Joe says:

            He has a reputation for good gear, and no doubt the dude can shoot. It’s the tactics that he really takes criticism for, for good reason. I’ve just noticed a lot of his highly preached TTPs are in direct conflict to quite a few “Gunfighter Moments” SMEs.

          • davan says:

            after standing next to him at certain events and range days, I’d have to beg to differ….substantially.

  3. Matt says:

    You mean straight arming a carbine isn’t the correct and only way? My god. What have I done?!

  4. “That is a mastery of the basics and the ability to replicate them on demand precisely and consistently.”

    And takes a ton of practice. And that’s hard work. And that means it may be “boring” to those whose idea of a great time is spraying 500 rounds downrange with 30% accuracy on a good day.

  5. Jon, OPT says:

    Bill Tierney, holy name drop, BOOM! That’s a freaking legend right there. Great write up Mike.

    Jon, OPT

  6. John Smith says:

    Well stated.

  7. Joe F says:

    Who is BCT? A search of “BCT” and “holster” pulled up like three different companies, but none I’d heard of…

  8. Uniform223 says:

    Am I the only one who thought of Chris Costa or “Instructor” Zero when Mr. Mike Pannone said…

    “The firearms and tactical training trade is rife with people “selling magic”. By that I mean being a vocal advocate for the newest “great idea” that hasn’t really been vetted but looks good on YouTube. It’s always amusing to see these new ‘groundbreaking’ techniques that are either poorly thought out or have been preceded by better techniques years and sometimes decades prior seem to get overnight popularity.”