Concealed Carry & Home Defense

Defending Our Homeland: Foundations And First Steps For Training, Fighting, Medical Ops For You And Your Tribe

Guns and Gear Contributor
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By Bill Tallen, VP Tactical Operations, Pulse O2DA Firearms Training, Inc.


Individual skills such as weapons handling and decision making under stress are the foundation of any program of self-reliance and self-defense. Combative handgun training is the place to start, and there is no excuse for not pursuing it.

Pulse O2DA Firearms Training, Inc. offers a broad range of training resources, from online manuals, training videos and drills to customizable training courses, a support network of trainers and fellow students, and a twelve month training plan template that you can adapt to your specific requirements and use to track your progress and guide your training efforts.

But this is not an “infomercial,” so let me make this clear: although I am now an officer, SME and instructor with Pulse, I have trained under a host of excellent instructors in a variety of shooting schools all my adult life, there are many effective ways to “skin the cat.” Especially at the basic level, there are many providers of excellent handgun training.  Choose a professional training organization with qualified instructors and a good POI that is accessible to you, that you can afford, and get going.

If you have the basics down, you can plug in at a more advanced level and relearn humility; but unless you are a Jedi Master of projectile weapons, seek training, and don’t stop when you have achieved a journeyman level of skill with the handgun; enough is never enough.  Fighting with a handgun is a skill you won’t master in a lifetime, so pursue advanced training, train under different instructors and different methods, and keep practicing to sustain your perishable skills.


fighting rifle

Seek combative training with long guns.  I don’t care how much clay you’ve shot, or how much big game you’ve put in the pot. Fighting is a different game.  If you knew you were headed into a fight, or that a fight was coming to you, you’d meet it with a fighting rifle or a fighting shotgun, so train with these tools, too, as if your life depended on it.

Shooting skills, however, are only part of the challenge.


As fun and ‘sexy’ as shooting may be, do not neglect, even at this foundational level, knowledge of basic life-saving medical care for traumatic injuries.  U.S. ground force combatants all train in what is now known as Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TC-3 or “T Triple C”), as should anyone who is prepared to either inflict or suffer a gunshot wound.  As an old Chinese adage has it, “when two tigers fight, one dies and the other is crippled.”  In a fight for your life, especially one that starts close and ends closer, you are likely to be injured, and others around you may be as well. Stabilizing a serious wound before emergency first responders arrive may mean the difference between life and death.


TC-3 slide


Train with cutting and/or impact weapons and aerosol irritants, and with your bare hands, to the limit of your ability – and increase your ability through focused physical training.  Firearms are the great equalizer, but in a society where other humans regularly enter your “personal space” and where you might fail to detect a potential threat before it is within grappling distance, you must be ready to fight off an assailant until you can bring your firearm into play; if you can’t do that, you may only succeed in arming him.


“Tactics” mean many things.  For you as an individual it means that all the shooting skills in the world won’t see you through, if you lack the ability to appreciate the situation in front of you and make smart, fast decisions about where and how to move, how to utilize cover and concealment, how to address multiple targets, and how to convince first responders that you are not the bad guy – and that’s just a very short list of tactical essentials.  At Pulse, we address this level of tactics in our Individual Tactics manual and associated coursework.  The beginning, as the lady sang, is a very good place to start.



For those who can anticipate working with others, we offer a Team Tactics manual for two- to six-person teams, and a Unit Tactics manual for articulated organizations fielding multiple teams to secure an enterprise or a community. Use these manuals to build your training plan, and train with us or with others qualified in these areas. We have seen again and again how even highly trained individuals can fail to work effectively with others who are less trained, or better trained, or only differently trained.  If you anticipate fighting alongside anyone, don’t just expect them to demonstrate or develop individual skills.  You have to train alongside them to win a fight together, through fire and maneuver, shared understanding, and the synergy of the team.


sand table

Several other foundational skills sets are mostly cognitive in nature, but no less critical.  These involve “site surveys” of your home, business, church, school, or community (and a broader “area study” for the latter) to identify strengths and vulnerabilities.  They also require a threat assessment so that you do not waste time, money and energy preparing for the most unlikely or least dangerous threats.  Finally, you need to have a plan (several plans in fact) and to validate your plans by wargaming, rehearsal, and critiques.  Many of these efforts are perfect for the classic “rainy day”, or for the occasions when you have time for training and preparation but lack the facilities, resources, or travel time for a session at the range or training area.

Don’t ignore these efforts just because they are less “kinetic” than throwing bullets downrange; without them, you’re just an unguided rocket – dangerous but imprecise and unfocused – regardless of your skill with weapons.




A very good test of your seriousness about armed self-defense will be whether you can arrive at a training event in the company of a spouse, a neighbor, a friend, or an associate – or several of the above.  That would be evidence of a collective commitment to security, which against emerging threats is the only strategy likely to succeed.

For more detailed discussion of these steps, click here to sign up for a free online webinar with Pulse.  


Please welcome the team at Pulse O2DA Firearms Training to the Daily Caller. This series will appear every Saturday. Over the

next 10 weeks we will cover:

1. The New Normal in Personal and Collective Security
2. The New Threat and Response Paradigm
3. Self-Reliance Is The Key To Security
4. How Individuals Can Protect Life And Property
5. The Synergy of the Team
6. How Businesses and Churches Can Provide Their Own Security
7. How We Can Protect Our Schools
8. How Neighbors Can Protect Their Community
9. Foundations and First Steps
10. Converting Fear And Loathing Into Hope And Empowerment

Bill Tallen is Vice President – Tactical Operations at Pulse O2DA Firearms Training, Inc. Prior to joining the enterprise he had a 20 year career with the Department of Energy, where he served as a Federal Agent, team leader, unit commander, training instructor, and manager in the agency which provides secure transportation of nuclear weapons and nuclear materials within CONUS. He helped to found DOE’s Special Response Force program, developing and teaching urban and close quarter battle techniques to Federal Agents charged with recovery of lost assets. Bill holds the degree of Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College. Email him directly at militaris(at)
Pulse is a tremendous resource for firearms and battle training for individuals to teams.