Today I bring you Rob Pincus. You may know of Rob from “The Best Defense”, S.W.A.T. TV or his training company I.C.E. I contacted Mr. Pincus a while ago and told him what I had planned for this week and asked if he would like to do an interview for the blog about who he is, what he does and for a little advice! This is one of our better interviews and I think you will agree! Thanks Mr. Pincus!
Without further a-do, here it is!!
Q.) When did your interest in firearms and training begin?
A.) I often joke that I had access to firearms and no adult supervision as a child. The fact is that my dad was a police officer, but he wasn’t “in to” shooting. There were guns in the house and I took to shooting as a hobby very early on and I guess I demonstrated enough awareness of safety and responsibility that I was allowed a fair bit of freedom, shooting in the backyard or at a sand pit that was about half a mile’s walk through the woods from my house. In talking to family members and friends, it is pretty clear that I was interested in defensive shooting concepts and training at an oddly young age, certainly before high school.
Q.) What was the inspiration behind I.C.E.?
A.) “I.C.E., LLC”, which stands for “Integrity, Consistency, Efficiency” existed for a few years while I was running the Valhalla Training Center in Colorado. It was the company that I operated under when I did private security, some consulting and it also owned I.C.E. Publishing Company. When the decision was made to shut down VTC, I needed to spin up a new “training company” very quickly, so it was natural to use “I.C.E. Training Company”. Integrity, Consistency and Efficiency are the three things that I always strive for in any endeavor and the tenets of all of our training programs. So, while it wasn’t really something I planned to do from the outset, it now makes perfect sense that those tenets are the brand that I continue to build.
Q.) So what is I.C.E. all about?
A.) Again, I.C.E. is about a set of principles that drive our approach to whatever problem we are trying to solve. Whether it is the best way to teach people how to reload a semi-automatic pistol or the best way to get a new book published and to our customers, I am always looking for efficiency (achieving a goal with as little time & effort as possible), I recognize that Consistency (doing things the same way as often as possible) is a great contributor to Efficiency and I need to operate with a high level of Personal Integrity (I always know WHY I am doing something a certain way, can stand behind my decisions and can explain my rationale to others).
Q.) Where can my readers find more information about I.C.E. and class availability?
A.) In theory, everything is covered at www.icetraining.us, but as fast as things move on many of our projects, I have been using Facebook more and more often over the past couple of years to make announcements and interact with students (and potential students!). It takes a lot longer, relatively speaking, to update the website than it does to post a topic for discussion or announce a new class listing at the I.C.E. Training group page. Ultimately though, the website is where people go to see the complete schedule of classes and to register.
Q.) In educating civilians and professional operators, is there any one story that sticks out in your mind where someone used your training with successful results?
A.) This is always a tough question. I have no doubt that our training has saved lives… but it is hard for me to accept any personal credit when I get an email from someone who went through one of our courses that says something like “your training saved my life last night”. We design our training to be intuitive, we want the techniques we teach and the tactics we recommend to work well with the things the human body does naturally during a fight and make sense given the physics of the tools and the likely circumstances of the fight. It is a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy that we will see those techniques and tactics show up if a student actually gets into a lethal encounter. The fact is that much of what we teach is based on what we see people do during actual incidents… regardless of their prior training (or lack thereof). We just try to help people do things that they are very likely to do at a higher level and as part of a plan.
Q.) What seems to be your most popular Civilian class over the past few years?
A.) There is no doubt that our flagship program, Combat Focus Shooting, is our most popular class. Whether it is the personal defense side of our business (now well over 50%) or the armed professionals, we always start with CFS. CFS is a counter ambush program that sets a foundation for everything else that we teach. It instills solid defensive shooting skills and intuitive, consistent and efficient gun handling skills.
Q.) A lot of trainers advocate dry fire as a way for persons to sharpen their draw and other actions. Are there any specific drills you could share with us that you recommend?
A.) I am not a fan of high amounts of dry fire. I think a lot of bad habits are formed and reinforced when people get high rep counts that are wildly out of context of the skills they actually should be working on. There are some things you can train dry at a very high level of integrity. Presenting you gun from the holster to the ready position, for example. But, trying to practice defensive shooting, which is overwhelmingly likely to require efficient recoil management during a rapid multiple shot string, without recoil is pretty pointless. Similarly, you might get really good at the mechanical parts of a slide-lock reload working with dummy rounds, but if you aren’t training to tie those mechanics to the feeling of slide-lock, you won’t be able to use them intuitively when your brain recognizes that feeling.
If you do need or want to dry fire practice, I think that laser training aids (SIRT, LaserLyte products, etc), dummy rounds and a good solid methodology for reps and safety (such as the approach recommended by Claude Werner) are all vital to getting the most out of it.
Q.) Outside of caliber, what do you think is a good choice of ammo style for concealed carry?
A.) Bonded Hollow Point.
Q.) Aside from personal preference, does one style of holster for CCW seem better than another? (OTW vs. ITW )
A.) I think inside the waistband offers most people a much wider range of concealment options when it comes to both the gun they carry and the way they dress. Outside of the times that I have been in uniform, I have only very rarely carried outside the waistband.
Q.) What will someone learn in an I.C.E. class?
A.) They’ll learn what they need to practice. Regardless of prior skill, equipment or natural ability, I think we do a really good job of explaining what the fundamental techniques of defensive shooting should be, why they are important to train, what the best way to develop them are and then pushing our students to find their own failure points so that they are both aware of and capable of overcoming their limitations.
Q.) The Open Carry movement has gotten quite a bit of press over the past few years. Do you think there is a need or place for Open Carry in todays’ society?
A.) Hunting and recreational/competition shooting environments aside, I think that the only reason people should carry guns is to defend themselves or others, if they need to. Carrying a gun should not be a political statement, nor should it be something you do (EVER) to incite a confrontation. I think there has been a lot of foolishness on the part of Open Carry Advocates around the country. There have been documented “gun grabs” against civilians in public places carrying defensive guns, California changed it laws about carrying (unloaded) guns in public in direct response to several episodes of video-taped shenanigans by people baiting cops into confrontations and a lot of people have really been turned off from picturing law abiding gun owners are responsible people who are not looking for a fight. I hope that the “I open carry because I can and I want to let everyone know” era is coming to an end.
A.) Ignore them until the drills start. As long as someone isn’t presenting a safety issue, I generally ignore resumes, bravado, cool t-shirts AND even excuses prior to the shooting. Once the shooting starts, objective observations of skill are easy to make, then, if the ego driven excuses start, it is very easy to shut them down. Students figure out pretty quick that I don’t care what team they are on or what they “usually” can do… performance in context is what matters.
Q.) How did you get involved with “The Best Defense”?
A.) I appeared as the feature instructor on TV first in 2005 with Tom Gresham on the, groundbreaking at the time, Personal Defense TV show. I did several episodes of the first season of PDTV and enjoyed it a great deal. Around that same time, I also appeared a guest instructor on Michael Bane’s Shooting Gallery. While we had known each other for many years, Michael and I had not worked together until he invited me to be a guest on his very successful show. A couple of year’s later, after having made a second appearance on SG, Michael eventually went to work for Outdoor Channel and expanded the number of firearms related shows that he was working on. In 2008, when Outdoor Channel decided to produce their own personal defense show, they tapped Michael, who tapped myself and Mike Janich based on what he knew of our approaches to the problems and our history of working on video (TV, online and DVDs). It was great to be invited to be part of the project, especially because it was so new. Our approach (showing scenarios go both poorly and well) and the integrity that Janich and I were allowed to maintain in regard to our content contributions were unique.
Q.) What things did you learn and take with you from working on“The Best Defense”?
A.) Of course, I learned a lot from working closely with Mike Janich over those three years. Janich and I had worked together on a couple of DVDs in the past and he has been an industry friend for quite some time, but I had never really gotten deeply into the Martial Blade Concepts curriculum until TBD. There are things that I teach, and a lot of things related to knife work that I have a much better understanding of, based on the exposure to Janich’s ideas. On the less interesting side, I really learned a lot about TV Production and what really works best for me in that environment. After having been a guest on dozens of local news shows, several TV programs and having produced (at the time we started TBD) over 30 training DVDs, I knew that I was much more comfortable just having a camera pointed at me with a vague topic in mind than I was being asked to provide a detailed script and trying to do a rehearsal ahead of time. Working on TBD, with a tight production schedule and almost complete autonomy in regard to the content of my segments made it both necessary and easy to prove that I could produce high quality content without a lot of pre-planning. After the first couple of seasons of TBD (and our spin-off TBD:Survival), I was much more confident about my ability to work quickly without a lot of wasted time “preparing”. Janich was also really good at just flowing, so we rarely even discussed much of what we were going to say when it came to our scenario ‘acting’ or our debriefs…we just went for it and played off each other.
Q.) I always enjoyed your segments! They provided a good deal of training and information. How challenging was it to get the most training possible presented in such a small window of time?
A.) Actually, this wasn’t as hard as it might have seemed. I like to boil things down to their fundamentals and only really give time to what is most important or most probable. Most students don’t have the time, budget or interest in developing 10 different techniques to solve the same problem… and I wouldn’t recommend that they bother even if they do. So, I actually prefer a 4-5 minute segment most of the time, as it keeps us from having to make things more complicated than they need to be by offering a lot of options or extraneous information.
Q.) One of my favorites was the spot you did on using a lever action rifle for defense from outside a vehicle! I have often heard it said that the best gun for self-defense is the one you have in your hand. Do you find that statement to be true?
A.) Theoretically, yes… it HAS to be true. But, what most people miss is that 3 months, 3 years or even 3 hours BEFORE you need to have a gun in your hand, you get to choose which one is most likely to be there. In other words, if you are sitting on your couch right now with a gun that isn’t the BEST one you can possibly think of to defend yourself or your family in the most probable circumstances you could face: CHANGE IT. Don’t sit there with some cliche’d bravado and assure yourself that “any gun will do, if you can do”… stack the odds in your favor and get a simple gun that you can shoot well in the context of personal defense.
Q.) So what are some projects that you have in the works?
A.) Of course, teaching classes on the range takes op more time than anything, but more and more of my time and focus is going to Personal Defense Network. Over the past two years, this online collection of articles and video clips has become a significant way for me to share information and help other instructors to do the same. This year, we’re bringing PDN and the live classes together with a Cross Country Spring Training Tour sponsored by PDN. As Managing Editor of PDN, I not only develop content, but also recruit contributors and work with them to bring the highest quality information I can to anyone interested. PDN is a sister project to the Personal Firearms Defense Video Series, which has now produced over 50 DVDs since 2005 and distributed over 3 Million Copies! Because we don’t do much retail (the overwhelming majority of the DVDs are distributed through branding partners such as the NRA and Guns & Ammo Magazine), the scope of that project is often overlooked. We will be taping 15 new DVDs in 2012, of which I’ll be the feature instructor in a little over half. In 2011, I started working with Gander Mountain to develop some programs to be taught through their new Gander Mountain Academy facilities around the country and I am expecting that project to expand in 2012. In addition to all that, I am going to be one of the guest experts on the new “Stop The Threat” TV show on Pursuit network and I’m also working on bringing a new original production of my own to the small screen soon.
Q.) Knowing that when situations go bad people tend fall back to their lowest trained state, knowing that which is a better target for practice…silhouette and shoot for center mass or round targets and shooting for accuracy?
A.) I don’t know that I would’ve characterized the options that way… we should always be shooting for “accuracy”, even on a silhouette. I say that “accuracy” is a Yes or No question… identify a target and fire your round. Did you hit it? If so, you were accurate. I don’t care if you hit the edge or hit it in the center. Accuracy is Yes or No. That said, I think people should train on targets that represent the most probably sized target areas at plausible distances. A lot can get lost in the semantics of this discussion, however… though these concepts are important, most people just want to be given examples: In CFS Training, we generally use squares, ovals, circles or rectangles that are between 6 and 8 inches wide and 8 and 12 inches tall.. usually set within silhouette’s to represent the High Center Chest and 2.5-4″ circles or triangles used to represent the center of the head. Those targets are most often 10-12′ away from the shooter, though we do push out further as time and plausibility allow.
Q.) So, what’s in Rob’s Go Bag?
A.) My Ipad, Blackberry, Macbook Pro, an AT&T MiFi hotspot, Canon 7D, Flip video recorder, a couple big thumb drives, a portable hard drive or two, lots of chargers and USB cables and my platinum perk cards for Holiday Inn and Delta Airlines. Not what you meant?? Since 2007, I spend at least 300 days a year traveling. In fact, I spent most of 2010 and some of 2011 actually homeless because it was cheaper and easier to just stay in hotels on the road. While I am moving around, I run 3 companies, handle all my own social media, manage a world-wide team of CFS Instructors and work with 3 or 4 different partners on major projects at any given time… so, all that stuff I listed is what I KNOW I’ll need on a daily basis… most of the time I am good-to-go without water purification tablets or strike-anywhere matches. Given the different laws and restrictions I encounter when I travel from state to state and country to country, it is impossible to have one set of gear on my body, or even with me all the time. Of more Tactical Interest: On the range, I always have a small bag with a pressure dressing, tourniquet and hemostatic agent nearby. When I am traveling, I’ll have a D.A.M.N. medical kit with me, with both trauma equipment and a customized “daily use” section. At home (or in storage with a relative, depending), I have a small duffle with medical equipment, base layers, rain jacket, magazines for ARs, Glocks and Beretta 92s, some boxed ammo in .38, 9mm & 5.56, a couple knives, flashlights, basic tools and some other ‘survival’ stuff. At the end of the day, my brain is my Go Bag. I invited a friend to meet me for dinner at a casino a couple of years ago and he expressed great concern about the fact that he couldn’t carry a gun there. I assured him that if society collapsed during dinner we would be able to get what we needed.
Follow this link to read more about Rob and I.C.E.!