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”.

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