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By Larry & Stacey Mudgett




After working with numerous clients who were unable to complete our Defensive Pistol Course we find it appropriate to discuss two of the reasons, the selection of the pistol and the selection of the holster.

Having trained thousands of Police Officers, military personnel and civilians over the past 46 years we have come to some conclusions about the most appropriate handguns for those attending our current civilian training courses.

I would like to qualify these remarks by stating that I carried and used a 1911 pistol in Vietnam as an Infantry Sergeant. I carried and used a 1911 while assigned to the LAPD SWAT team for 14 years. I was one of the two primary firearms instructors teaching the 1911 for SWAT. I carried an M 9 pistol and a variety of Smith and Wesson Double Action autos for many years both on and off duty and trained thousands of police officers and military personnel in their use. We have done some of our best shooting with these double action pistols.

When the striker fired pistols such as the Glock became available we were underwhelmed. These guns are not so pleasing to the eye the way a 1911 is. The triggers on the striker fired guns were generally not as smooth as those on the 1911. When the LAPD adopted the Glock pistol as the issue sidearm we were forced to learn about them and learn how to train people to use them. We have since acquired an appreciation for these guns.

We know how to use and teach all of these different handgun systems and have done so successfully for decades. We can teach you to fight with almost anything but you will likely do your best, have less frustration, and be most likely to complete the course on your first attempt with one of the pistols on our list.  

With that said, almost anyone can manipulate a pistol in an inefficient, ineffective and unsafe manner. Most people, who have not received professional firearms training, mistakenly believe that they know how to operate their firearms in a fight.

Clients tell us in every class that they thought they knew how to operate their pistol until they came to school and learned that what little they knew was wrong. There is a substantial difference in manipulating your pistol for casual shooting and learning to fight with it.

Clients attend our Defensive Pistol Course with a variety of different handguns. Ninety five percent of those who finish the course on their first attempt are all shooting the same type of gun.

Here is a list of the pistols used in our classes in the order in which the clients using them have succeeded:

  • Glock 17-number one by a wide margin
  • Glock 19
  • S&W M&P 9 mm with no manual safety
  • Springfield Armory XD full size pistol in 9 mm

In the past year we had one expert shooter who used a 1911 and he did extremely well as expected. Another shooter came with a 1911 and was forced to drop out due to manipulation issues. A third client started with a 1911 and by the end of the second day it was obvious that she was not going to make it due to difficulties with manipulation. She switched to a Glock 17 and finished as one of the top shooters in the class.

Another shooter started with a double action compact auto. It was obvious that she was falling behind and was not going to finish the second day. She switched to a Glock 17 and completed the course, finishing near the top of the class despite having never shot a handgun in her life. There is a reason that 65 percent of all American Law Enforcement Officers carry a Glock Pistol.

Unlike other training programs we devote the entire second day to learning how to manipulate a pistol correctly while using only dummy cartridges. Proper manipulation promotes safe gun handling. We require our clients to operate their pistols in the safest, most efficient and effective manner. Using a pistol which is less complicated is very helpful and promotes success.

The guns which cause our clients the greatest difficulty are the traditional double action autos such as the M9.  The correct procedures for manipulating the double action auto pistols are complicated and time consuming to learn.

My favorite and probably the greatest fighting handgun of the 20th Century, the 1911 does not make our list. The proper use of the manual safety simply adds additional complexity to learning the manipulation of this pistol. The amount of time required to make the safe, efficient and effective use of the thumb safety habitual, under stress, is considerable.

Unless you have received extensive professional training with a pistol other than those listed and especially if you are a new combat handgun shooter we strongly recommend that you select one of the pistols from our list.

We also urge you to start with a 9 MM due to the reduced recoil as compared to the .40 or .45. Increased recoil usually causes new shooters to anticipate the discharge and greatly impedes the learning process.

We can and have taught self-defense classes with everything from Single Action Revolvers to full auto weapons. We have trained Officers and civilians with handguns from 22 Rim Fire to .454 Casull. We have extensive experience using and teaching the Single and Double Action Autos. We can and do teach them all. We make these specific handgun recommendations to facilitate a safe and successful training experience for you the client.


The second most common reason for student frustration is holster difficulties.

A high ride, canted, inside the waist band holster with a retention system may be ideal for an experienced gunman to use for concealed carry. Such a holster will not only be a serious hindrance for the new combat shooter but will often create safety concerns on the range.

The one holster with which our clients have been most successful is:
Blade Tech Outside the Waist Band, Dropped and Offset holster (amazon link)

Drop attachment (amazon link) (Brownells link)

For non-glock blade tech holsters

This holster was designed for use by women but works equally well for men. Every student who shows up with something else is asking where they can acquire one of these Blade Tech Holsters within an hour. In our experience there is simply no better range training holster, period.

Note: this holster must now be purchased as a holster and drop shank separately and assembled (very simple to do) by the buyer. Note: You may be able to purchase this holster already assembled from the Gunsight Academy Pro Shop in Paulden AZ.

Once the client has learned and made habitual the proper system for presenting and holstering the pistol, the skills acquired can be transferred to a concealed carry holster. This transition should be done at home with an empty handgun until the concealed carry holster is thoroughly mastered.

 Please contact us for additional details or to answer any questions.

Larry and Stacey Mudgett



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