AAR: Lessons Learned from Watching 15,000 Gun Fights

On July 13, 2018, The Complete Combatant hosted Active Self Protection’s “Lessons Learned from Watching 15,000 Gun Fights” with John Correia.


John Correia of Active Self Protection (ASP) narrates videos of actual attacks and publishes them on ASP’s YouTube channel, providing valuable insight with lessons learned. Watching people rob, kidnap, assault, and murder each other, has led him to some conclusions, primarily what the average person needs to focus on during training. Patterns begin to emerge from these encounters, consequently forming a hierarchy of skill sets. The Pareto principle, which states, 20% of the inputs yield 80% of the results, is the main principle of John’s lessons. Training should cover core skills first, then the peripheral skills. The hectic pace of life makes finding time to practice a problem, therefore prioritizing what we practice is essential.


The lecture is an evidence based approach that focuses on the most important parts of self protection. It highlights the crucial lessons of the encounter and brings a visual clarity to the mistakes that are deadly to the good guys. At times, it is contrary to popular teachings, nevertheless, if we choose to ignore the data it may be at our own peril.

The Complete Combatant’s 1 day and 1.5 day course development is a direct reflection of information gathered from these accounts, subsequently many of the scenarios I run come from the Active Self Protection’s videos. When a student says “ it would never happen like this”, we can stop training and watch the video. Visualization is one of the keys to successfully developing plans and decisions in advance.

Granted, the videos show only one view of the incident (unless there are badge cams from multiple responding officers) but the basic patterns of violent attacks give us an idea what is important to focus on in our training. These videos provide real world examples of what can happen to any of us.


Entertaining and provocative, John blends truth and humor in his presentation , which is no easy matter with such heavy material. The golden age of video surveillance is upon us, cameras are everywhere, subsequently we can now have an evidence based approach to our training for self protection. To quote John C. Maxwell, “It’s said that a wise person learns from his mistakes. A wiser one learns from others’ mistakes. But the wisest person of all learns from other’s successes.” This a great presentation, full of actionable data, and I highly recommend it. Active Self Protection has made my life easier as an instructor, providing an endless supply of real life encounters. I am grateful to John and the crew at Active Self Protection for this invaluable resource and we look forward to hosting them again in 2019.


     Check out Active Self Protection and “cover your ASP”.

When was the last time you tried something new?

Hi guys its Shelley! Brian presented a good question in our The Complete Combatant Alumni Facebook Group and it inspired me to ask you all the same thing.

Brian asked “In the self-protection area, what is one thing you have changed your mind about? Or trying something new”?

I knew what my answer was immediately!! OC Spray (Oleoresin Capsicum/Pepper Spray) with a Grab Tab by Eve Hera!


I have always seen great value in carrying OC Spray as a non-lethal option but honestly, it would end up at the bottom of my purse 99% of the time because I never liked attaching it to my keys.  Obviously, using the OC Spray ended up being NO option as it slowly became “out of sight out of mind”. LORD KNOWS DON’T TELL BRIAN! HEEE! I thought “no worries, I have my EDC, tourniquet and flashlight at my fingertips”.  WRONG!

It really bothered me that I just accepted the fact that if I wanted to use it, I either had to think far enough in advance to place it in my hand/pocket or rummage through my purse to deploy if there was a threat. If you really think about it, I was relying on ESP to save me or that I could somehow “channel” The Flash and move at the speed of light to find it in my bottomless pit of a purse, get it out with the correct end up AND with the proper grip of course, use my voice, put up a frame with my free arm, spray the SOB perfectly in the eyes while turning to run like heck….all in under 3 seconds! Sure, no problem, I got this…..WRONG AGAIN!

I decided to be 100% committed to practicing with, and carrying, the OC Spray. So much so that I even bought 3 more Sabre Reds for a “girl’s trip” that I had coming up. I was very excited to surprise my sister (photo below), mom and daughter with their very own inert trainer for practicing and OC Spray. I had everything lined up with my presentation, videos and hands on drills to….in the words of Claude Werner…”set them up for success!” NOW WE ARE ON THE RIGHT TRACK!


Little did I know that the beautiful Eve Hera would walk into my life at Rangemaster’s Tac Con (March 2018) offering me EXACTLY what I was looking for….she had invented OC SPRAY GRAB TABS! PERFECT TIMING!

Eve Hera began shooting in 2011 when she ended a long relationship. She bought a gun because she didn’t want to live alone with only Chihuahuas and kitchen knives for self-defense. Eve bought her first gun and then realized she needed instruction on how to use it properly and safely. She took the NRA basic pistol course and that was it for her….she was immediately HOOKED. Eve sought further training and found Tom Givens and Lynn Given of Rangemaster and began a serious journey of improvement. From there, the Givens saw something in her and welcomed her into their Rangemaster Trainer’s Apprentice Program (RTAP). If you want Eve’s history of classes, please visit her website.

Eve asked me to be a “test subject” on her design and I gladly accepted. I was so enthused to try these out that I boldly asked for 3 more! She was excited to hear about the girl’s trip and gladly gave me 4 Grab Tabs.  When I got back to the hotel that evening I placed the Grab Tab on my OC Spray and looked forward to practicing. I worked with this combo for a couple of months practicing with it in my right and left pocket, purse, and even the console of my car and I really saw the value in them. I was so very happy to add Eve’s Grab Tab YouTube video to my list of videos to watch during our girl’s trip. The ladies were all on different self-defense levels with the use of tools and mindset but there was one thing in common…they all saw the value in the Grab Tabs attached to the OC Spray as well! WINNING!


My sister Stephanie said “I felt better prepared and it has enhanced my awareness. I practiced all the things that Shelley has already mentioned but I wanted to add that I really liked the idea of the “J” step/side step. Just one little step “off the train tracks can keep you from getting run over by a train” really resonated with me. I usually ride the MetroLink while in St. Louis and this is never something I look forward to. Even though I always ride it during the day and make myself as unapproachable as possible I still get approached by street people and was even the proud recipient of a FLASHER! My return trip home was different on Sunday. This time while riding the Metro I had my OC Spray in my pocket with my hand on the spray or the Grab Tab the entire time I was on the train. I felt like this time I at least had an “answer” to some unwanted “questions”.

My daughter Alex said that “my purse is more like a diaper bag with “little hands” constantly in and out of it so carrying OC Spray in there is not really an option for me”. She then said “since I work in an office alone it can be a bit unsettling when someone just shows up without an appointment. I have placed my OC Spray in a slightly open desk drawer with the Grab Tab hanging out. If a problem arises, I can get to it quickly. I am happy to now have OC Spray stationary at my desk”.

My mom Marla said “I like looking down at my purse and SEEING the Grab Tab hanging there because I know whats on the other end. It is accessible and I am not hunting for it. I feel that at least it is something to give me the few seconds that I may need to get away from danger”. 

I recently found out that Claude Werner aka The Tactical Professor and Chuck Haggard were also testing the Grab Tabs. Claude said “it’s a far better system than having to dig around in your purse when you need to react quickly” and Chuck said “I am not a purse carrier but I have played with the strap. I know that accessing carried OC is a bit of a problem for most people and I think it is a solid idea for assisting with access to one’s OC.”.


I think that OC Spray and Eve’s Grab Tabs are a good solution for both men (range bag, camping gear, back pack, gym bag, etc.) and women who want to have a non-lethal option at their fingertips. I am now even more excited that The Complete Combatant will be hosting Chuck Haggard’s LESS-LETHAL SYSTEMS in June 2019! BOOM BOOM BOOM let me hear you say way oh!

So, I will now ask you the same question that Brian asked The Complete Combatant’s Alumni Facebook Group…..in the self-protection area, what is one thing you have changed your mind about? Or trying something new?