Tactical Tailor

Gunfighter Moment – Mike Pannone

“A well-regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free state …”

2016 is here and if you are a lawful carrier of a concealed pistol I ask you to do yourself, those in your charge, and the country a favor. Think of it as one of your New Year’s resolutions for every year you plan to carry a gun. Below are the minimums but the point is that it is not a great expenditure in time or money considering how important the skills are.

1. Seek training or sustain the training you have already sought. Going to a good shooting course is like taking a college class, if you don’t use it you won’t retain it. You can go to most Walmart stores right now and buy 9mm for about $10 a box so for 100 rounds “taxes, tags and dealer prep” I’m in it for about $25. I often see American made 9mm for under $9.98 and foreign for that or less at times on the internet as well. Now I have 100 rounds to practice so I would split that into two 50 round sessions like I have written of before on SSD:

· Freestyle slow fire- 10 rounds

· Strong hand only- 10 rounds

· Support hand only- 10 rounds

· Draw shot slide-lock reload shot 10 rounds

· Draw shot-magazine-exchange shot 10 rounds

(All shots are fired from the holster alternating the start position from hands at sides to surrender position and all ending with the pistol returned to the holster.40 draws (10 with transition to support hand), 50 precision shots (30 freestyle, 10 strong hand only 10 support hand only), 5 slide lock reloads, 5 magazine exchanges.)

2. Make the time to practice. Not “find the time”, MAKE the time! What would those skills be worth to you in time and money if they were needed and not present? If you exercise the right then you are obligated to be responsible and proficient…otherwise leave it at home. I will run the above course of fire several times a week if I am working a rifle emphasis just to keep my skills current and it works. It usually takes well under 20 minutes. Another thing I do and it should be a must, like not leaving the house without your wallet and phone is my “Morning minute” this in truth might be more important than the range time but I see both as crucial.


*Put your holster in the location you intend to carry and for one minute draw from that holster at a progressively faster rate. What you are doing is dry-firing the garment/holster location and trying to find a failure point i.e. some manner in which your current garment and holster location are not compatible and might cause you to have a bad draw. You can easily get 10 good draws in 1 minute and you are now ready to go out into the world with a properly donned gun and a proper mindset.

All together I can go to the range twice a month for $25 and dedicate 40
minutes of actual shooting time. Let’s say total prep time to and from range
is 30 minutes. That puts me at 200 minutes a month and add in the 30 minutes
of dry Morning minute draws and we are at 230 minutes a month or round it up
to 240 or 4 hours of the 720 in a month. Put it all together and in the
entire calendar year for $300 and 48 hours of my entire year . I did the
following and all on a consistent basis which is crucial.
* 1200 good quality training rounds fired
o 720 freestyle
o 240 strong hand only
o 240 support hand only
* 120 slide lock reloads
* 120 magazine exchanges
* 3600 dry draws (at only 10 per morning)
* 480 draws live

* There are 8766 hours in a year and 48 of them adds up to .5% of my
year. So I still have 99.5% of my year left over to do all the other stuff.
* $300 is the cost of five Grande Mocha’s at Starbucks a week on
average or one decent sit-down lunch for one.
* 1 minute out of every 24 hours is 1/1440th of you day. You spend as
much time waiting on one long light by you house.


It doesn’t take a lot of money or a lot of time and it’s worth every penny, every minute and every bullet expended. Do the math and do yourself and all of us a favor. Times are tough and if San Bernardino and Paris are indicators, it will get a lot tougher. We need all able-bodied men and women on deck and ready for inclement weather. It’s not too much to ask in this, the greatest country the world has ever known.

– Mike Pannone


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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22 Responses to “Gunfighter Moment – Mike Pannone

  1. Dave Hall says:

    Solid and well thought out advice, as usual. Thanks, Mike.

  2. Dellis says:

    Happy New Year Mike!

    Enjoyed the reading, thank you. I am able to toss a good deal of ammo down range every practice session but rarely do I load up over 10 rounds in each magazine unless I am taking a course, so 5 to 10 rounds max and I do your prescribed above as my “warm up” and it’s helped me to just get settled in for the next 2 hours of shooting.

    On another note I went to the Academy yesterday, a new one opened close by us so I had a $10 coupon that I just had to use. Got a new handgun and some goodies but while I was there a couple are looking at handguns, it’s their first handgun and they were clueless.

    The man wanted to go all Dirty Harry of course, the lady was looking for “bling”. Then a well meaning but ill-informed shopper added to the mixture of chaos. He was talking about ballistics and the puny stopping power of a .380 vs. .45, yadda, yadda, yadda.

    I wrestled with saying something or not but in the end I gave my 2 cents. I told the couple if the gun is for her it needs to be picked by her. If an auto you need to rack it, release the magazine and her finger needs to reach the trigger. I told them if she is going to get her conceal carry then it has to be a gun of comfort because if it’s too bulky and heavy it will stay home and not go with her.

    To the shopper I said, any gun is better than no gun. So a .380 is just fine for self defense if that’s what she is comfortable with. I also told them to not rule out a revolver. They are simple, easily conceal and super reliable. I showed her a S&W in .38 but she wanted an auto. So she then went about handling just about every gun there trying to rack it, drop the mag and such. She choose a Ruger LCR and I think she made a good well informed choice based on HER feel for the gun.

    So thanks to you, and the other contributors of Gunfighter Moment for the great advice I have absorbed and been able to pass on.

  3. Ed Hickey says:

    Happy New Year & excellent as always!

  4. MIlMakAZ says:

    Great Post! Thanks SSD and Mike!

  5. Bill says:

    Just to add: quality versus quantity. I prefer working alone, but need someone to point out my flaws and push me to perform. If someone else isn’t free, I’ll video myself with my phone or camera so I can review how efficient I’m being. Fewer great repetitions beat a lot of mediocre ones. Having easy access to ranges and ammo, I’ll self impose limits, sometimes as few as 6 rounds, knowing that I have to make each one count.

    We always need to be ready, but in my opinion this idea of a “new normal” is misleading. There have ALWAYS been radical violent extremist groups or individuals, usually domestic, who have influenced individuals to attack soft targets in the US or have done it themselves, and the violent mentally ill, though they make up a tiny percentage of the population. We’ve forgotten our own history, like the Meadow Mountain Massacre, the 1927 Bath Michigan school bombing, the Indian Wars (perspective dependent), John Brown (again, perspective dependent) the assassinations of Garfield and McKinley, lynchings and so forth. Domestic terrorism and violent crime has existed forever.

    • Noner says:

      Meadow Mountain Massacre, 1927 Bath Michigan school bombing, the Indian Wars, John Brown, the assassinations of Garfield and McKinley, lynching’s…are you kidding me?

      First, this is a GFM, not a doctoral thesis on the history of terrorism and second I know a lot about terrorism international, domestic et al.

      We have never faced the type of threat that specifically targets the unarmed by a foreign movement using domestically accessible surrogates.

      The best arrow in your quiver would have been the Oklahoma City bombing which you never even mentioned.

      It seems that you are the contrarian guy that always has to make some argument or some criticism about something written or spoken which he very well understands the context and legitimacy thereof … which is not acknowledged in any circles as a character enhancing trait.

      • AlexC says:

        My take on the matter is that there will always be a threat. You are correct that we have never faced the type of threat we have now, but there has always been a threat throughout human history.

        The idea that the world is a safe place and there is nothing to worry about is the fallacy.

        Eventually the type of threat we face today will no longer be relevant. Our enemies will adapt, the politics will change, and there will be a new threat. We will still need to be ready. That’s why tomorrow since I have the day off I’m going to buy 50 rnds for my P14-15 and give this practice a go.

      • Bill says:

        We have faced threats from foreign entities via domestic surrogates forever – dating back to Benedict Arnold. I didn’t mention the OKC bombing, or Eric Rudolph and the Atlanta Olympics bombing or any number of bombings by the Weather Underground of US military and government facilities in the 60’s and 70’s, potentially influenced by the position of a foreign government, the first attack on the WTC, the Beltway snipers or the AMERITHRAX killer because those are blindingly obvious.

        I don’t think anything I wrote was contrarian, just an acknowledgement that the US, along with many other nations, has experienced terrorism and mass violence throughout it’s entire history. There’s been technological changes over time, but evil is evil. If anything, you’ve proven the adage that those who don’t remember their history are doomed to repeat it.

        • Noner says:

          The mention of a “new normal” can be quibbled about based on historical significance IF you have 2 things:
          A.) a specific time frame
          B.)knowledge of the authors intended timeframe.
          The former I did not and the later you do not.

          The emphasis of the GFM was how little it takes in time and money to train. It appears you completely missed the point of the article since you made no mention whatsoever of its obvious emphasis: simple, inexpensive and effective regular training.

          • Bill says:

            Did you even read my first paragraph? I’d say it addresses exactly how little time or expense needs to be invested in good training.

            The author cites a sample of 2 incidents, separated in time and big freaking oceans, depending on how you fly, and extrapolates that to things “getting a lot tougher.” I’m not buying into the medias’ and publics’ hysteria; I still roll on the same number of callouts I did before 9/11. The crisis de jour is nutballs barricaded at a freaking wildlife refuge. THAT’S going to be tough, if we gas them we’ll be crucified like the cops at Berkley who sprayed some protesters, and if we hurt them it’s Waco and Ruby Ridge all over again.

            • Noner says:

              As I said before it wasn’t a doctoral thesis and I said “if this is any indicator” (operative word is “if”) not “this is an indicator” (operative word “is”) so if you want to get into the minutia then you still got it wrong. The article was not and is not about you and nothing in it was factually incorrect. The fact that you inject “I still roll on the same number of callouts I did before 9/11” tells me this is about you being heard and this article was not a discussion forum. I replied this much because I didn’t think you understood the point of the piece and I wanted to clarify but it is obvious you do understand and just want to argue. All the best to you and stay safe but this is done.

  6. Greg A says:

    Thanks for breaking it down.

  7. Weaver says:

    Large amount of valuable information delivered clearly with a minimum of self-aggrandizement – must be a Mike Pannone article.

    Well done, as usual!

  8. Barrett says:

    What distance and target are you using for this particular course of fire?

  9. Roy A Woodall Jr says:

    I have been thinking for a while that crossfit’s “workout of the day” concept would be great basis for a daily tactics, techniques, and procedures training routine.

  10. Jim Reed says:

    My former life providing direct medical support to SMU’s allowed me instruction from many weapons instructors. Mike is the best of the very best and I find myself learning from him even to this day by this electronic medium. Not to defend myself and my mates 8000 miles from home, but here at home. Mike, your sage advise is always relevant and always appreciated. I have done my best to recall and pass to my kids who are now in uniform what you taught me. Your legacy will be carried forward with them and with me here at home. We all stand ready to to defend. Can’t thank you enough brother.

  11. Buckaroomedic says:

    Mr. Pannone – thanks for breaking it dow that way. When you put it in those terms, how can one not spend the time to practice ?