Oct 13th, 2011 | By | Category: Book Reviews, Clothing, Equipment, Military/LE, Psychological, Strategies, Tactics

Teaching is a hard job. Effectively teaching someone how and when to shoot is one of the hardest. That’s just in a person-person scenario. With the advent of video technology, the question of whether the information is not only getting across, but being also absorbed, becomes a really big question.

When I received a review copy of STUDENT OF THE GUN: VOL. 1 CONCEALED CARRY BASICS with Paul Markel, I knew that in order to review it properly I had to have a second opinion, and that opinion had to be a woman’s—and someone no well-versed in the use of firearms. So, instead of the normal latest film released on DVD, I inserted this new concealed carry DVD into the player for my girlfriend and I watch together a couple weekends ago.

Knowing “Student of the Gun” host Paul Markel personally, having met at the Blackhawk! Gunwriters Conference in Montana this summer: I’ve seen his character and charisma on the range, and was curious as to how well that transferred onto video. Former Marine tasked with safekeeping of nuclear weapons on land and sea as a member of the Marine Security Battalion, police officer and Executive Protection Agent, experienced both in the US and overseas, Paul Markel has an impressive record to back up and inform his instruction.

From the get-go, it was clear that fine preparation was put into laying out the production schedule and editing so that the information was delivered in a clear format that also kept the sharing of knowledge interesting. If you’ve had to sit in a room without windows, poor circulation, and an instructor droning on like a bored bumblebee, you might understand. This is where Markel’s personality as a teacher comes across well: years working for a variety of clients as a professional bodyguard honed his skills in dealing with people, not to mention the years as a police officer.

The DVD revolves around information that sadly, is sometimes missed in even government-required and sanctioned concealed carry classes across the US: There’s the issue of deadly, serious bodily harm, and less-than-lethal force; there’s the legality and liability of using deadly force; then there’s the practical tactical of how and when to shoot.The video setups with a description of Markel’s background, then leads to a classroom setup in an indoor pistol range. The opening focus is on the definitions of different kinds of force and the legal importance. Most importantly, Markel brings up the questions about how you’re going to explain yourself in front of a court, and how those questions should be in the front of your mind before you apply the varying degrees of force: the threat and threat assessment (intent, weapon/no-weapon, attitude of the aggressor), threat assessment, your capability to respond (firearms, pepper spray, etc.), and the particulars of the scene.

Also covered is the post-shoot. This is where you check yourself to make sure you’re not wounded or hurt: the rush endorphins are powerful enough to keep a person from realizing they’ve been hit, or seriously injured. What in the moment might have seemed like a punch could actually have been a stabbing. Make sure you visually check yourself and your loved ones to make sure they’re okay. Then, make the 911 call, including a request for an ambulance, stating slowly and clearly that you or someone in your party is injured, if that’s the case. And Markel reminds to go over stating you’ve shot someone, defending yourself, and most importantly the address—excitement of events can lead some only calling 911, saying they’ve shot someone, then hanging up without even giving the address or landmark.

Overcoming tunnel vision, using short commands and other topics are touched on. Also, there’s the question of what to say when the officers arrive: “I shot him/her; I need to call my attorney.” Diarrhea of the mouth, as Markel calls it, has led to law-abiding citizens having defended themselves in an apparent life-threatening event, later having to explain words that just ran out of the mouth as a result of the endorphins, not to mention time distortion that also occurs that can make statements seem suspect: three shots instead of the actual eight, and out of step recording of events are example. There’s a lot of focus on the legal aspects of carrying a concealed firearm and ramifications of using it. Referencing a lawyer, some think that a lawyer is a lawyer, and could defend in a justifiable homicide case, but Markel illuminates this well, including how to seek out a proper attorney.

Then, after helping with the decision on what types of “gear and goodies” best designed for CCW; as Markel stated at the beginning, the fun begins. Markel takes both subjects, a man and woman, through the different types of events to prepare for through actual practice on a range: standing; seated; walking to the cinema with your friend or love one; threat from behind. All through the DVD, I asked my girlfriend what she thought. She finally just said, “shutup, I’m listening!” What better endorsement of this production taught by Paul Markel?

As often said, the best teachers are those who consider themselves great students: always learning and looking for the new information. STUDENT OF THE GUN: VOL.1 CONCEALED CARRY BASICS is a welcome addition to the library of anyone with a CCW, preparing to get one and for those proponents of the 2nd Amendment’s definition of private rights to firearms ownership and use for self-defense. Also check out “Student of the Gun” broadcast on the Pursuit Channel for weekly information on firearms and improving your shooting skills.


Cork Graham is the publisher of GCT Magazine and Cork’s Outdoors. A former CIA paramilitary operations officer and combat photographer, he wrote the international best-selling Vietnam prison/treasure hunt memoir The Bamboo Chest. For his latest books, writings, and appearances, follow him at, Facebook and  Twitter.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.