Tactical Response Instructor Has Negligent Discharge Into Student’s Vehicle

An unnamed Tactical Response instructor reportedly had a negligent discharge on 18 February, 2016 at the Sacrememto Valley Shooting Center in California into a student’s truck.

The instructor was attempting to make a point by having all of the students throw their pistols to the ground. He then walked upon them telling the class that they were meant to get dirty and be used as tools. When he stepped on his own pistol, it fired and hit the truck. Fortunately, no one was hurt.

Although there was some initial information online, it has taken awhile for it to coalesce after some of it was initially removed from select Internet forums. According to this Yelp! review, the truck got two new tires but a student who asked for a refund after witnessing the incident, was denied.


Then, this post appeared on Cal Guns. It verifies that the incident had in fact happened and details the subsequent actions taken by the gun club where the course took place.


This incident could have easily been avoided.


111 Responses to “Tactical Response Instructor Has Negligent Discharge Into Student’s Vehicle”

  1. Cobra says:


  2. Disco says:

    James Yeager….

    The most piss poor person to be attached to anything training or firearm related

    • Myke says:

      And how many classes have you taken from him?? James wasn’t even there.

      • Sam says:

        Why does having taken a TR class become the requirement for making a comment on this? Other accounts state Yeager was there and when a student asked for a refund he refused.

      • M says:

        I trained with him extensively prior to him going to Iraq and was friend with him up until he started challenging people to duels and threatening to “start killing people” and I told him he lost his marbles. 10+ years ago he offered quality training. At some point after Iraq he stopped selling training and started selling himself.

  3. FrontDeskFocus says:

    Has anyone checked Pantaeo’s YouTube channel for a video of the ND?

  4. Greg says:

    I don’t know many people that rely on “tools” for either their living or protection that walk on them.

    • Bill says:

      I sort of see the concept – tools are meant to be used and a lot of people baby their guns. I was under the impression that the pistol was stepped on accidentally, though I have no idea of how that could fire a gun.

      • Low Speed Lower Drag says:

        Yeah, I’m quite curious as to how it fired and what make/model it was.

        • As the weight of the foot holds the gun to the ground, forward mounting allows either the ground (depending on how deep it is pressed into the ground) or a rock to move the trigger.

          I have seen it happen with just the gun flying from hands during a hard fall. It was not a mechanical failure of the firearm, but a mechanical manipulation of the trigger by the ground.

          • Low Speed Lower Drag says:

            Ah, that makes sense.

          • Paul Zuk says:

            Totally agree. First thing I thought about was a rock moving the Glock trigger.

            • Wiley says:

              I also would bet he had a after market trigger or had a “trigger job” done to the gun making the trigger lighter

    • Hank says:

      My whole life my dad who is a contractor has always taught me the importance of taking care of your tools. Anyone who doesn’t is unprofessional in my opinion. I believe firearms are tools and should be taken care of.

    • Jeff Clement says:

      No, this is a bad example, but I understand the general concept he was getting at. During a training exercise, we had a scenario where we basically got ambushed one on one (say coming around a corner in a compound) and had our rifle knocked out of our hands and had to subdue the attacker (kill or get into flex cuffs). The number of Beretta M9s that got jammed up/wouldn’t properly cycle from a very brief scuffle in the dirt (when you might need it most!) was shocking.

  5. I’m sure Yeager’s next class will “shooting at road signs from pick-ups”.

  6. Jed says:

    From what I understand Tactical Response has several good instructors but Yeager himself is questionable. Do I have my bearings correct. I dont really want to be feeding the internet machine here.

  7. jbgleason says:

    It is funny that I just today read a paper put together by Paul Howe on choosing Professional Instructors. It is on his website under this months review, you have to dig to find the link (which is inactive so you have to plug it in) but the thoughts that Paul put on paper were very salient to what is going on here.

    Nothing like giving fuel to the Anti gunners in a state like CA that just closed down a major range this week outside San Fran because the residents were worried about “lead getting into the water supply.” The city that closed the range admitted there was zero science behind the concerns but that didn’t stop them.

    • straps says:

      The Chabot closure was for one group and one group only: The equestrian constituency, who will be moving their stables there after the range closes (partially sponsored by the sale of primo land on the north and south ends of Redwood Road, which they will soon dominate with their horse trucks).

      This is a classic case of “I didn’t speak up.” When that crew of horse’s asses puts forward a motion to prohibit pedestrians from “their” trails, everyone will realize how out of control they are.

      Watch the EBRPD agenda for the sweetheart lease deal Bay Area tax payers will be asked to subsidize for the horsey people.

      Sure will miss that 15 minute drive to a 200 yard line…

    • Jason says:

      Thanks for the heads up, I’ll take a look at it. I like Paul Howe’s articles and training because they usually cut to the core of things and also see the framework involved. Like in the case of instructors, it’s not that some are bad shooters. But maybe their classes are lacking because they’re teaching what they needed for military work but not what the student needs to learn for this class.

      Or…well in this case, some of Tactical Response’s trainers look like they’re not that qualified to begin with…


      That’s the newest newsletter. The link you’re referring to is at the bottom.

  8. Billy says:

    Stupid $hit sticks to Dumb A$$es every time.

  9. babola says:

    “…Tactical Response Instructor Has Negligent Discharge Into Student’s Vehicle…”

    No, it’s not that same guy from few weeks ago. I just checked. We can all relax now.

  10. Ragnar says:

    James Haley Puzikas Suarez, Jr.: controversially controversial firearms training from a 34 time American ninja warrior champion Our motto is “safety isn’t safe, pussy”. The official firearms trainer to Steven Seagal.

  11. straps says:

    One reason I’d drive 2 hours to shoot at Sac Valley (where you actually have to prove your competency at short distances before they’ll let you onto the Long Range Bays) was the relative level of safety there.

    Looks like a dumbass finally found his way onto the place, if only for a moment.

  12. straps says:

    Yelp is like that sketchy colleague you’re not always sure you can believe but can sure tell a good story…

  13. russel says:


  14. Thomas says:

    Guns were tossed on the ground and stepped on? To hell with that. My glock is never going to be tossed on the ground, let alone stepped on.

    • CapnTroy says:

      Meh…I could see not throwing an HK on the ground…or a sweet 1911…but you’re just talking about a Glock…

      • Myke says:

        Then you can get shot when the police show up and you don’t want to mess up your Glock

        • Thomas says:

          Oh jeez…its the semantics police. I don’t need to practice tossing my gun to the ground. My Glock does not need to be steeped on. If a cop asks me to put my pistol on the ground, of course I would comply. Idiots like you are the reason I hate commenting.

          Have a great weekend!

        • Max says:

          Funny, my gun would have been holstered by then…

  15. Roy a Woodall says:

    I got offered years ago two free training certificates to Frontsight to write an article about their facility. Their instructor had an ND with a bolt action 308 in front of a dozen students sitting in the bleachers. I felt bad for the guy because he was a good instructor and a nice guy. I’m just glad nobody got killed. Needless to say the article did not get written.

    • BillC says:

      Sounds like poor “journalism”. Get free shit to write about them, something bad happens, don’t write about them? Cool story, bro.

      • C says:

        Keep in mind that negative publicity is better than no publicity. What would end up happening is people would hear about it, think oh it can’t be that bad, then spend their hard earned money only to potentially find out that yes, it is that bad.

        This industry sort of suck for that. If a writer gives a gun a bad review, they may be blacklisted by that manufacturer. You can only do that for so long before you’re out of manufacturers’s products to review. In sure training facilities aren’t much different in this regard.

        • Bobby Sands says:

          writers blacklisted by manufacturers for bad reviews? That must suck.

          If only there was a way for reviewers to obtain a product other than getting it for free from the manufacturer? There must be some way.

          Oh wait…what if they could purchase the product on the open market, and that way they’d be free from the influence of the maker.

          Nah. They’d never do that.

        • Max says:

          That’s why I prefer reading reveiws from guys who are dedicated enough to invest in the products they reveiw with their own money and write whatever they damn well please about it.

          • BillC says:

            We all know it’s a tough world out there do do all that, especially as we readers get what we pay for reading it. That’s why I don’t try to make money off it and just click “like” on facebook and bitch about it on blogs and forums.

  16. Gerard says:

    This really is a profoundly damaging thing to read about Yeager and how he conducts training and treats his students. I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt but I’d never attend Tactical Response now.

    • Weaver says:

      This is typical of the lack of safety in his classes.

      This “drill” isn’t a one-time deal – they do it all the time.

      They have students stand downrange next to targets during live fire, to “expose” them to what incoming fire sounds like.

      And countless other unsafe acts – all in all, they’ve been on my no-go list for nearly their entire existence.

      • Carson says:

        So you’ve never been, but they’re on your no go list?

        • Bobby Sands says:

          There’s this site on the internet called YouTube. I find watching clips informative. I’ve seen enough from Tactical Response on YouTube that I don’t need to attend a class to know that I don’t want to attend a class.

      • Brian says:

        They DO NOT have students stand down range
        They do have an instructor stand NEAR the target while you are practically touching the target, well outside the danger zone… it is disconcerting to see that guy there but you never point your firearm at him… NEVER

        • PTMcCain says:

          “well outside the danger zone”


          How many videos do we have to post showing Tactical Response putting people taking pictures down range before idiots and Yeager-groupies will finally shut up about how safe and legit this practice is?

          Maybe when somebody gets shot and killed??

          No, probably not even then.

  17. t1tan says:

    Total lack of surprise

  18. Sierra5 says:

    Absolute and inexcusable fail on so many levels. Yeager has long ago fallen into the trap of believing his own B.S. He’s an ego driven liability looking for the next victim, and certainly not someone to be trusted in an after action review.

  19. Maskirovka says:

    Maybe the gun was laying on the ground in its Serpa holster. 😀

  20. Bad Dancer says:

    Tools are meant to be used yes, but tools are not meant to be abused needlessly.

    My chisels and hand rasps are tools but if someone threw them on the ground we’d have a problem right quick.

  21. P.J. says:

    If he’s past behavior is any indication, I’m sure we can expect a calm, reasoned response from Mr. Yeager shortly.

  22. Myke says:

    I have read all of the post and I laugh at each one of you. The reason you drop the firearm is because people baby their firearm so much that they freak out if it gets a scratch on it. But if you use a firearm in self defense and the police show up… Are they going to get you lay your pretty piece of crap on the ground.. NO you drop it. Guns can be fixed, bullets hurt.
    James Yeager wasn’t even there!! Before you trash talk go to a class and get your head out of your ass. Safety Nazi out there blowing this out of the water.

    • bulldog76 says:

      ^ one of yeager’s circus clowns have arrived

      • Dude says:

        Either a Yeager lover or the ditch hiding man himself.

        • Jon C. says:

          My thoughts exactly. Myke clearly doesn’t get it and has to resort to comebacks that give him that out-of-breath, ball-licking persona that usually comes from Yeager’s acolytes.

          You know what Myke, it doesn’t matter that Yeager wasn’t there. What matters is that he allows a culture in TR training and business practices which allowed for this B.S. sort of stuff to happen.

          Even if he wasn’t there, he is ultimately responsible. You can jam your fingers in your ears and hold your breath, but it doesn’t change the fact that Yeager bears responsibility (granted to a different degree) along with the instructor who failed at conducting safe training. If it’s not safe, it’s not effective.

          I’d train with a safety Nazi, over a negligence clown posse member, any day.

        • Sean says:

          Maybe the “y” in “myke” is code for “Yeager” o.0

          • Carl says:

            So, there is some heavy shit slinging going on here, in looking around a bit, I’m finding that many of the most proficient people in the gun industry have had NDs, who decides which ones are assholes and which ones are true pros the guys that have the quickest wittiest remarks,
            or the best sense of humor?

    • You should practice dropping your face on the pavement a few hundred times to prepare for that moment.

    • Thomas says:

      Uh….perhaps you guys should have unloaded the pistols before you stepped on them? I will never train with Tactical Response. Just when I want to like Tactical Response, something like this happens. Idiots doing idiot things.

    • Stephen says:

      When an instructor endangers students by not being in control of his weapon well enough to prevent a negligent discharge, no-one but an idiot would pay for that kind of training. Unless I park downrange, no-one worthy of being called a “professional” should put a round into my car.

      I can go get shot at for free in the hood, and spend that class fee on other things.

    • Paul McCain says:

      Always fun to watch the Yeager-groupies show up and try to defend him. It’s just so adorable.

    • Stev says:


      I spent a career in the Army doing infantry and grunt stuff and NEVER did we treat our equipment like that. Also spent a number of years in Military Police and again no teaching on what you say. Finally was part of team of instructors that was contracted to teach military police, which included some SF and other high speed guys and THEY never taught stupid shit like this either.

      Why? Because it might cause a ND… duh.

      If you defend yourself, kill the threat/s then you holster your firearm = too easy. If for some strange reason keep your firearm out and you have to drop your gun you do it but there absolutely NO need to teach this in a class by risking NDs by having student drop their guns on the ground and have them step on them. A simple explanation of ‘drop the gun if instructed by police’ should suffice.

      However JY & crew (JY is the final authority on what is taught in the classes, so ultimately he is to blame) and he runs too close to that line of doing stupid IMHO.

      This is just about as stupid as mounting a threat full mount then shooting them in the head till the magazine is empty. That will put you in prison without question in a court of law – oh yea I forgot JY teaches that too.

      The problem is I used to really like JY until he started being all high, mighty and full of his own hype. His focus on being controversial showed me long ago that he is reckless and this just proves the point.

      BTW if in this incident did kill someone would you say the same thing?

      I hope not but the fact remains this was unsafe regardless if it killed someone or not. There is NO reason to have people throw down their gun and step on them. With that said I have a bunch of guns with tons of nicks and scratches – no safe queen here. However there is a line between running your rig hard and doing stupid.

      This was doing stupid.


    • Max says:

      A. Just because people baby their firearms, is no reason to drop it in the dirt… That’s like saying, ‘You baby you’re car too much, back it into a pole.’ Use your tools, care for your tools. I was always told with any tool whether defensive or otherwise, “Care for your tools and they will take care of you.” For instance, did I mind when I dropped my 14″ rigid pipe wrench, that I had inherited from my grandfather, from the top of a ladder 18 feet abort the ground installing fire sprinklers? Not really, I walked down from the ladder, picked it up, and continued working. Would I purposefully drop it from the top of the ladder? Hell no!

      B. If I use my firearm in self defense, I probably would have called the cops and given them my description as well as a description of my attacker(s). Obviously I would only do so when the threat was neutralized, and if the threat was neutralized, I would have holstered my firearm. When the cops arrive they would hopefully recognize me by my description I provided. They will more than likely take me into custody by telling me to put my hands up, turn around, get on my knees, cross my legs and interlace my fingers behind my head. I would comply, they would cuff me and ask me where my firearm is, I would then inform them that it is holstered on my right side. They would remove it and place me in a squad car while they conduct their investigation. No dropping guns, that’s all Hollywood crap.

      C. It’s James Yeager’s company, thus he is responsible for it even though he may not have been there. Leadership and business ownership 101.

      D. I have seen many of interveiws, videos, training videos, etc of Yeager and his people. Judging by what I see I have zero interest in going to one of their courses. I don’t need to buy a Versa Carry to decide that it’s stupid and I want nothing to do with it.

      E. I am a Safety Nazi, been an RSO for years. Safety is not negotiable. Period.

      F. Unholstering a loaded firearm, in the parking lot, throwing it on the ground, and stomping on it, violates all of the core safety rules (with the possible exception of keeping your booger hook off the bang switch). This activity should never happen under any circumstances. Safety, being everyone’s business, dictates that someone, anyone, witnessing these actions should have spoken up. However, I assume a degree of anger and frustration was involved, and nobody, given prior treatment, spoke up out of fear of being put down and insulted. It’s 100% WRONG.

      G. “James Yeager wasn’t even there!!” So? Were you?

  23. Madison says:

    I have been to several Tactical response classes. I am a woman and I was treated with respect and not talked to the way some of these people are claiming. This is very unfortunate that this happened however, I would advise you all take a class from tactical response. Don’t just take someones word for it that it was bad for them. Give them a chance. Yeager is a good guy. The instructors are fantastic. I will be going back for more classes.

    • Jim D says:

      And where else have you trained that gives you a chance to contrast their instruction against other providers?

  24. Martin says:

    The point of dropping your firearm is to show that modern firearms just don’t go off when dropped. If a firearm slips out of your hands, you need to let it fall rather then trying to catch it. People have ND’s all the time when fumbling with their firearms while unholstering and holstering.

    But stepping on the firearm was taking it to far in my opinion.

    • Max says:

      So was dropping a loaded firearm in a parking lot… Definitely not a good idea.

    • Max says:

      And on the point that modern guns don’t go off when dropped, yes, that’s true, but why test fate? Ever hear of muphys law? Does the reward in doing so outweighs the risk? I think this situation that happened proves that it doesn’t.

  25. Paul McCain says:

    Here is a video shot during the class where this happened….just enjoy the full DERP on display.

    I think putting guys with cameras in front of live fire is really cool.

    • Max says:

      Why are there people forward of the firing line? Really?

      • Sean says:

        What’s with the tactical pirouette after each drill? This looks more like a bunch of bubbas trying to do “operator stuff” than an actual class.

        • PTMcCain says:

          Tactical Response prides itself on putting instructors in front of their students while they are firing their weapons. This has been very well documented, many times. It’s what they do because they are bad asses.

          The pirouette move is how they train students to scan for more threats. Seriously.

          Also, notice the full derp on the video with the guy doing the whole chicken wing routine while shooting his AR.

          • Jim D says:

            or ejecting a live round because he didn’t trust his action to work between shots 10-11 the way it did the first 10 times he just fired it.

    • Jon Meyer says:

      That video is from Spokane, WA. The ND happened in Sacramento, CA.

  26. Roy a Woodall says:

    Well there a many ways to add real stress in training. One way is be a creative instructor who spends countless hours learning how to teach and the other way is to be reckless.

  27. Airborne_fister says:

    Originally Posted By dennis1979gm on
    I was at the class and about 15 feet from where the bullet impacted the storage shed. The gun used was a sig p320. It did not happen first thing in the morning as students were ariving. It happened at the first break from the morning lecture. The gun was drawn in a safe direction (down range) then was dropped to the ground. This was an ongoing crap talking session we had going on from the previous day with are group of 5 and this instructor about scratching a buddies gun. The instructor had stepped on it the day before when he dropped it on the line the day before, scratching it. This was all light hearted and no animosity but some good digs were being thrown back and forth. The instructor drew his gum trying to prove a point that guns are a tool in a safe direction. Then tossed it on the ground in the rocks that make up the parking area. Then he stepped on it and had the ND. The p320 has no type of trigger safety or hinge to prevent this. A rock hit just right as he stepped on it. The round went threw the left front tire of my buddy (same guy with scratched gun) and exited tire striking the tool shed door. Was this called for? Absolutely not. Was the instructor a good guy? Absolutely! I’m not here to bash TR I just don’t like all the BS that is going around. Was it something that could have been prevented? Absolutely! WI’ll it happen again? I seriously doubt it. No one was hit thank god! But I say take it for what it is. A lesson! Was I happy with the training? Yes. Will I take another TR course? Maybe. But I like to train with as many trainers as my budget allows to learn different tactics and styles. Should James have given my buddy a refund? I would think so bUT he did buy 2 new tires for his truck. Would I say beware of TR? No. They teach a good class and have great mind set they teach. Like I said not here to blast them only tell an un exaggerated FIRST hand account of what happened. Thanks

    • Jon C. says:

      There are several themes that run through the post of debbus1979gm that are worthy of a sigh, a head shake, and a roll-eyes:

      “This was all light-hearted and no animosity”
      “A rock hit just right as he stepped on it”
      “Was the instructor a good guy? Absolutely!”
      “Will it happen again? I seriously doubt it.”
      “..but he did buy 2 new tires for his truck.”
      “”Would I say beware of TR? No.”
      “They teach a good class and have great mind set they teach.”

      All examples of ignorance of the margins involved when it comes to firearms safety and tactical instruction.

      That errant round cannot be taken back. Instructors who deliberately create conditions that make errant rounds possible, are not by any measure, good instructors.

    • PTMcCain says:

      Are you nuts? How can you actually post this crap with a straight face?

      The Yeager idiots still continue to take photos **in front** of students while they are firing their weapons.

      Let’s put it this way, if you actually are still going to recommend Yeager and crew, I hope you are never in any class I am taking.

      I’d prefer the idiots stick together.

  28. PTMcCain says:

    Communication sent by Yeager to the students that attended the class with the Instructor-induced ND:

    “Hello Alumni,

    Well now that you have trained with us you are a part of our family…our big dysfunctional family. As I write this message I haven’t spoken with my crew that taught your Fighting Pistol class in Sacramento but I can still draw a conclusion. One of my instructors, [instructor name removed], did something that was not in our curriculum, was not authorized, was not allowed, is not condoned and was very reckless, dangerous and negligent. We are all very fortunate no person was injured.

    People from your class are already telling this story on-line and, of course, as it turns from an eyewitness account into gossip the story will get more and more outlandish. One day it will be so preposterous you yourself will have to interject that you were there, and that is not what happened, and you will be scoffed at. Such is life… I thank those of you who have not gone on-line and bashed us.
    Well, I certainly cannot take that errant round back but I can deal with the consequences. I can tell you that [instructor name removed] has never done anything like this before. It is still hard for me to believe he even did it! It is very unlike him but facts are facts. So I am left with what to do with [instructor name removed]. I simply cannot do “nothing” but what do you do with a devoted employee that has worked very hard to be good at his job that does a hair brained thing like this? It is even tougher when this knucklehead is my friend. We are a close knit team here at Tactical Response.

    So I am left with the aftermath to sort through and clean up. I have to decide to fire a guy on his “first offense” or if I should suspend him or make him do remedial training. There are many wrong answers and no 100% right one. Any decision like this weighs heavily on my heart.

    I will end with this – I GIVE YOU MY WORD that nothing like this will ever happen again in one of my classes and I SINCERELY APOLOGIZE to every student in that class for his unprofessional display. It was WRONG and will NEVER happen again.

    James Yeager – MFCEO”

    • Sean says:

      Why are they shielding this dude? People need to know who it was so they can make a sound decision on whether or not they want to take a class from him if he ever tries to do his own thing.

      • Jim D says:

        Anyone who can work with James Yeager as their boss, at a tactical shooting school, has made their bed and can sleep in it.

        His exploits are widely known at this point, and if someone chooses to associate themselves with him, is speaks to their character and professionalism (or rather, the lack of it).

        In my opinion, the guy who did this stupid range trick doesn’t need to be singled out; the entire outfit from the top down continually proves how bush league they are.

    • Max says:

      I stopped reading here…
      “I haven’t spoken with my crew that taught your Fighting Pistol class in Sacramento but I can still draw a conclusion. “

      • Max says:

        And now that I did read it, I notice the promises he cannot keep, about situations he has no control over. False assurances.

  29. Jack says:

    I’m 100% positive that when they said “Okay. Throw down your pistol so I can step on it”, someone went full Gollum, said “Not my precious!”, and threw down a saturday night special instead.

  30. Amish says:

    I didn’t know Buck Angel did pistol courses.

  31. Roncodrummer says:

    I don’t care who he is, he throws my weapon in the mud and steps on it, he’s eating his teeth. Followed swiftly by my boot. That’s not a way to teach.

  32. Mykewitha"y"... Y? Cuz he has no I-dea says:

    Hehe… Mike with a “y”… That dude either is Yeager or has his head so far up yeager’s ass that he hasn’t seen daylight in years. That ND was the result of dumb, macho shit… plain and simple. Like Yeager… Dumb macho shit that causes accidents and makes a lot of needless noise but fortunately hasn’t hurt anyone (yet). So many great and qualified people to train with who have legit resumes… Why is he still in business?

  33. Seamus says:

    OMG, somebody mentioned James Yeager! Look Out!! Let the trolls and fanboys come out of the woodwork to fight it out.

    I took my wife to their 2 day fighting rifle class in Bastrop Texas. It was fun and informative and my wife enjoyed it. The instructors were professional and nice. There was some rolling on the ground and shooting from various positions but no deliberate dropping of firearms or anything like that. Perhaps dropping your gun was just for a fighting pistol class, I’m not sure.

    I don’t really know what happened so I am just gonna reserve judgement and wait a few weeks and see what facts emerge from this.

  34. jdb says:

    James Yeager? Where’s my popcorn?

    I’m not a fan of Yeager, but I did once intentionally drop a glock. It was clear, I think at slide lock. I was explaining how you should NEVER attempt to catch a dropped gun to some newer shooters, and used my Glock to demonstrate that it’s OK for a gun to hit the deck. Not the end of it’s life or anything.

    But I agree with the guy with the chisels: TAKE CARE OF YOUR TOOLS. Especially if you want your tools to take care of you.