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Gunfighter Moment – Mike Pannone

Saturday, April 30th, 2016

The lost art of the question

What is it about the internet that has made asking questions something that has become all too rare in the training and firearms world? I have seen far too many instances of it and most especially in forums. Often there, questions are posed in an adversarial way that is actually an accusation which the one posing the question wants you to defend, deny or admit. It seems many are not looking for an answer but to validate an answer they already hold. Anyone that has trained with me knows I am all too glad to answer questions and that I won’t give one that is not well thought out … so why not just ask me something? Why does it have to be in reference to something someone else said? I often tell folks in my classes “I don’t care what anyone else said” and there are good reasons for that. It is because I have thought out, researched and validated my ideas and have already taken those of others into account. I also was not present when the named individual said whatever it was that he or she said and so I really don’t know what the response was EXACTLY. One word in a sentence can make something sound completely different than the original statement and so if I didn’t hear it, who am I to assume I know what was said? If I see a video I feel completely free to comment on it because I watched it. I see many comments that say “context is important here” but then fail to comment on the context that they think has been misconstrued even though you watched the video. If you want to make a point feel free but don’t say someone is misunderstanding something and then not say why.

The point here is very simple to articulate. One should ask questions to find new knowledge and not to stir up controversy for the sake of it. You need only to present a question in an inquiring manner and then evaluate the answer for yourself. Making blanket statements or asking scenario based questions in order to try and lead someone into a rhetorical position where you can find some perceived intellectual flaw is a waste of everyone’s time and ends up branding you as a zealot or a fan-boy. One final note, if you are unwilling to put your real name out in public then why should someone who uses their real name answer you, especially if the questions are argumentative or adversarial?

The effects of the internet on personal and respectful decorum have been terrible. People are far more willing to be antagonistic and disrespectful behind a keyboard than in person and in the end we all lose out.

Ask questions because you seek knowledge, not to argue a position you don’t seek to clarify. Don’t mention your perception of another instructors’ comments unless the author can reference a transcript or was present during the statement.

Finally, don’t ascribe any desired intent or target of the article other than what the author stated. Some people say exactly what they mean and mean exactly what they say. I happen to be one of those people.

– 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.

CTT Solutions

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.