Article Index

Including ... Appropriate Guns & Training, an interview with Claude Werner   •   The Truth About Stand Your Ground Laws   •   President’s Column   •   Conclusion of the Brandishing Affiliated Attorney Question of the Month   •   Book Review: Tough Targets   •   Networking Column   •   Editorial.

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Appropriate Guns and Training

An Interview with Claude Werner

by Gila Hayes

Listening to other viewpoints makes our own choices better. The firearms community is rife with hard-core dogma about what is appropriate for self defense, in both equipment and training. As gun owners come from all walks of life, it stands to reason that a one-size-fits-all approach inevitably leaves some out.

Personal security instructor Claude Werner (pictured above, teaching), also a Network Affiliated Instructor, is one who is not afraid to suggest defensive solutions that run counter to popular beliefs. He established Firearms Safety Training, LLC after 9/11 and was Chief Instructor at the famed Rogers Shooting School in Ellijay, GA from 2005 until the end of 2009. Werner, then recently renamed his company Personal Safety Concepts, LLC, because as he explained there is much more than guns and shooting involved in personal security.

I spoke with Werner at the January 2012 SHOT Show, the shooting industry’s biggest convention, to learn more about his teaching outreach and some of his non-traditional approaches to defense preparation. Let’s switch to our familiar Q & A format, to learn from this instructor in his own words.

eJournal: Claude, some months ago, you and I discussed coaching new gun owners on what could be called “software” issues. I realized then that you have an oft-forgotten piece of the puzzle to which self-defense practitioners ought to pay more attention.

While we know you as the snubby revolver instructor, we don’t know so much about your career, which no doubt influences what you teach, so let’s start there.

Firearms are an important tool in one small context, but when I think back about my experiences, an awful lot of the solutions for my encounters in the various environments I’ve been in–military, governmental and industry–were largely software-related, so I decided to start focusing on putting firearms within a broader context of personal security.

eJournal: You use the term “non-permissive environment.” Tell me how that applied in your former lines of work and how you transfer your experiences to your students’ walks of life.

Werner: In military and government we think of a non-permissive environment as applying to guys from The Company, but for all my life, I have been what people call “the grey man.” I remember at one point, hiding in a room that was filled with seven-year old children, thinking, “Well, they’re short and I’m tall, so if I kneel down, I won’t have a profile.” I didn’t really think about it, it was just something I did naturally, because I don’t like to stand out.

After I retired and went into the private sector, I was in the commercial real estate business for a long time and then worked for a Big Five accounting firm. Especially when I got into the Big Five arena, I might have been in a conference room with 10 or 15 clients for eight to 10 hours at a time. The idea that you can carry a service pistol concealed and undetected in that environment is frankly, unfounded. It simply cannot be done. On the other hand, you can have a Beretta 21A in your pocket. In Atlanta, we had a guy go in and shoot up a brokerage firm. I said, “You know what? I will not be a helpless victim in that circumstance.” Now, how’s that going to turn out, granted that the 21A is not particularly powerful? Well, it is a lot better than harsh words or a pointed stick.