Article Index

You must have shaken that up with your Duelatron drills and your conviction that training for real life needed to be more dynamic. How did you come to that realization?

Farnam: I talked to too many of my fellow officers who told me, “Our training is a joke. We come here, we get our ticket punched, and we go back out to work. We go through the motions, but nothing’s happening.” I decided nothing through the public sector would ever improve training; it would have to happen in the private sector.

eJournal: How did you go about educating yourself in how it could be done better?

Farnam: Gunsite was about the only game in town at that time. Chuck Taylor was a good friend and he and his wife were very gracious and let me stay in their trailer because, of course, I couldn’t afford a hotel.

Jeff Cooper was quite a pioneer. He was innovative enough to start running a hot range, which I adopted immediately. I said, it is silly that we do it any other way. At the time, a hot range was considered a radical departure. Now it is fairly well accepted. Now we are at the next barrier when we run rifles the same way.

The world is coming around. I like to think I’m on the leading edge. I’m 68 years old now. I’ve lived long enough to see a lot of instructors come and go. I’ve lived long enough to see a lot of techniques and a lot of the other nonsense that we all lived through.

It is astonishing to me that there are still philosophical overlays that are 50 years out of date that are still being taught today!

eJournal: For example?

Farnam: Pat Troy, one of my instructors and good friends from the D.C. area, who does a lot of the instructing there, just went through a course with an instructor I’ve not met but have heard the name. Pat was asking questions, and he asked, “How do you teach going to a back up gun?” The instructor said, “Oh, we don’t believe in back up guns.” Pat said, “Well, that’s funny! I don’t believe in earthquakes. I don’t think earthquakes give a damn whether I believe in them or not!”

“Oh, no,” the man said, “back up guns are just too dangerous. We don’t believe in them.” Well, to me, he’s a coward and a disgrace to our profession, because he’s so worried about himself and his bottom line that he does not consider advancing the art. He just concerns himself with making a living.

Well, I’m sorry! We all have to persuade people to write us checks so we can eat regularly, but we also have to advance the art. We have to be brave enough to make innovations and do stuff in the face of a lot of people who aren’t quite sure.

eJournal: What other rules impede progress?

Farnam: Cold ranges. In law enforcement, hot ranges are fairly well accepted for pistol, but not on the military ranges! For several years in a row, I did courses up at Camp Pendleton. I had a little cadre of instructors who were there each year, despite the rotation that happens at a military base. I’d come back and ask, “Are you guys running hot ranges now?” They’d say, “Uh…we do when you are here, because you have to understand, they are afraid of you, but they sure as hell are not afraid of us.”