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Firearms trainer interview – Marty Hayes

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Marty Hayes is the President of the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network and the President of the Firearms Academy of Seattle. He is a former Law Enforcement Officer who pursued and received his Juris Doctorate to best serve the needs of his students and Network members. Because he has somewhat different responsibilities in those two roles this interview will address them both.

We asked Marty seven questions about training and what it means to him.

1) What is the value of training?
It depends on the level of the training and trainee.

  • Entry level training provides the minimum skills a firearms owner needs to know.
  • Once an owner has the fundamentals of shooting and gunhandling perfected, that skill level leads to a high degree of confidence.
  • At a higher level (decisional shooting), training removes the mechanical aspects of shooting from the conscious mind and allows the shooter to focus on the more intricate questions of tactics and legal justifiability.

2) Why did you become a trainer?
I enjoyed competition, at that time Police Pistol Combat, which led to my appointment as the firearms instructor for my department.

3) What is the emphasis of your class?

  • In my role as Chief Instructor of FAS, I train students to a level of confidence such that they are equal to the task of armed self-defense.
  • As President of ACLDN, I educate members about the legalities of an incident and its aftermath. Note: the ACLDN provides its members with significant distance education materials such as DVDs and the monthly Network Newsletter.

4) Who is your market?

  • Firearms Academy of Seattle serves brand new gunowners and long time gunowners who realize their skills can use some improvement.
  • ACLDN appeals to the well trained and skilled shooter who has come to understand that shooting skill is only a small part of the equation of self-defense.

5) What do YOU do to train/practice?

  • I am a firm believer that students should have a demonstration of every drill I expect them to do. Consequently, I do a lot of demonstrations of the skill drills I want the students to learn.
  • Shooting IDPA is also an integral part of my physical skill practice.
  • Every trial that I am involved in as an Expert Witness requires its own specific legal research. So, in the legal arena, I regularly do research that keeps me up to date on the legal aspects of self-defense.

6) How would you describe your training philosophy?
My philosophy is a combination of ‘old school’ and ‘cutting edge’ techniques and tactics.

  • For my private sector entry level students, I run drills similar to what will be found today in a good police academy firearms training curriculum.
  • FAS training includes more low light shooting, shooting while moving, and shooting at moving targets than do most schools in the US.
  • ACLDN’s philosophy is specifically oriented to teaching members how to make good decisions when confronted by criminal violence and justify those decisions afterward.

7) Why should people take training?
One of the most significant things a person may have to do in their lives is use a gun for self-defense. People need to train so that if that situation occurs, they have a good grounding in the skills, both physical and mental, that they need to prevail both during the incident and in the aftermath.

Gila Hayes, editor of the Network’s Journal and a trainer in her own right, added that it is a mistake to confuse possessing a tool with knowing what to do with the tool. If we do that, we cheat ourselves. She opined that many people keep themselves in a state of “willful ignorance” because of the daunting aspects of the issues associated with self-defense.

We appreciate Marty and Gila taking the time to share their thoughts on this important topic.

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