Direct Action

Gunfighter Moment – Ken Hackathorn

A common thread I hear concerning skill at arms is that in the event of a life threatening event, our hero will claim “I would rather be lucky than good.”


The next time you hear some moron make this statement, take a quarter out of your pocket, flip it and catch it, then cover it on your hand. Ask this ‘gambler’ to call it. What are his odds? 50/50.

Do you want to stake your life or that of your family on those odds. Personally, I’ll take skill over luck any day. Through training, being aware, avoiding danger areas, and being prepared is the best way to insure your own ‘good luck’.

– Ken Hackathorn

Old Guy With A Blaster

Ken Hackathorn has served as a US Army Special Forces Small Arms Instructor, Gunsite Instructor, and NRA Police Firearms Instructor. He is currently an FBI Certified Firearms Instructor, Certified Deputy Sheriff with Washington County SO, Ohio, and a SRT member and Special Response Team trainer. Ken has trained US Military Special Operations forces, Marine FAST and SOTG units and is a contract small arms trainer to FBI SWAT and HRT.

Ken has provided training to Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies and been active in small arms training for the past 25 years. He has written firearms related material for Guns & Ammo, Combat Handguns, Soldier Of Fortune, and currently American Handgunner and contributed to at least six other gun/shooting journals. Ken was also a founding member of IPSC and IDPA.

To see Ken’s Training Class Schedule visit

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 SSD readers hard earned words of wisdom.

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11 Responses to “Gunfighter Moment – Ken Hackathorn

  1. Ian F says:

    Amen to that. Count me in for skill.

    What most people perceive as “luck” is really the convergence of preparedness and opportunity.

  2. Dan says:

    I love the Gunfighter Moments by Ken Hackathorn but this one missed the mark. Every Ranger, Seal, SF, Force Recon Marine who paid the ultimate price and entered Valhalla from the battlefield was good…no great – but many were unlucky.

    Conversely, there are plenty of hard charging badasses who have gone through the gauntlet and made it despite believing they wouldn’t. They were lucky – they know they were lucky – they are grateful they were lucky and will tell you they were lucky…but they aren’t morons.

    Good training and a never quit attitude increases a gunfighter’s chances – arguably exponentially, but even the best can be unlucky.

  3. Paul McCain says:

    I’d prefer to be both good and lucky.

    Wise words from Ken H., as usual.

  4. JP says:

    I’ve never heard an unskilled person say this.

    I HAVE heard many very skilled people say this after luck played a bigger role in their success than they would have liked. Or, after some SNAFU perceived as bad luck, a skilled person overcomes and jokes to his team mates later about being lucky. Or, a skilled person makes a mistake, overcomes, and gets his balls busted by his team mates later; then you’ll often hear “I’d rather be lucky than good,” as a means of self-depreciating humor, knowing you got lucky.

    No one who is unskilled has ever said this regarding a life-threatening event.

  5. Brando says:

    I think this is more about what you can control. You can’t control luck, which is just a game of probability. You can, however, control skill. Skill is planning for the worst and hoping to be lucky.

  6. Disco says:

    I gots Jesus.
    All I need, bruh

  7. BillC says:

    Slow news day?

  8. EzGoingKev says:

    I say it all the time to stay humble.

    When saying it I think of all the hard work I put in.

  9. Paste says:

    Simple truth. But who still has a quarter in their pocket? Gonna have to add one to my load out.