Intuitive Defensive Shooting for Dynamic Critical Incidents
Feb. 1, 2022

SHOT Show Interview with Mike "Ox" Ochsner (007)

SHOT Show Interview with Mike

In today's episode, Rob kicks off immediately following the conclusion of the 2022 SHOT Show.  Rob sums up some of his observations. Next, in today's Politics and Gun Rights segment - brought to you by the , Rob takes a what some may think as a...

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In today's episode, Rob kicks off immediately following the conclusion of the 2022 SHOT Show.  Rob sums up some of his observations. Next, in today's Politics and Gun Rights segment - brought to you by the 2nd Amendment Organization, Rob takes a what some may think as a controversial position on in the Mandated Gun Training. Is this good or bad? You'd think a leading defensive arms trainer would welcome State mandated training to own a firearm. Listen to Rob's position and consider your own. Your voice is needed in this discussion.

Then in the Training segment of the podcast and from the floor of SHOT SHOW, Rob talks with Mike "Ox" Ochsner, about 'neurological-based training' and his newly released book, Real World Gunflight Training. Mike's approach takes traditional training and drills one step further and incorporates how the brain learns (vision, balance, and hand-eye coordination) to accelerate training adaptation. 

Listen as Rob talks to Ox and follow/subscribe to the Podcast today!

You can find Ox's book wherever you buy books or directly from his website:


The Rob Pincus Podcast is brought to you by The Personal Defense Network. PDN is the leading destination of high-quality, personal defense video content online and a no-nonsense gathering place for those serious about arming themselves for defense in every aspect of their lives


The Rob Pincus Podcast is produced and edited for you by Growing Planet Media, LLC. 

Music: I'm Not Running Away by Max Brodie (PremiumBeat)

Copyright © 2022 by Growing Planet Media, LLC


Episode 007 - SHOT Show Interview with Mike "Ox" Ochsner


Rob Pincus:This is Rob Pincus and welcome to The Rob Pincus Podcast.


Introduction:The Rob Pincus podcast is brought to you by the Personal Defense Network. The Personal Defense Network is the leading destination of high-quality online personal defense video content and a no-nonsense gathering place for those serious about arming themselves for defense and every aspect of their lives. To learn more, visit Now here's Rob.

Rob:Welcome to this episode of The Rob Pincus Podcast. This is always an interesting time of year for me. It's before the big training schedule starts. Of course, the Personal Defense Network tour kicks off in March every year and it's also right after the biggest trade show, the biggest business event of the year for me, SHOT Show, The Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show. This year was great. 2022 was a comeback year for the SHOT Show and I will tell you it was my 25th SHOT Show, so I think I have some perspective on what makes a good show and what doesn't, and this one was great.

It was great on almost every level for me and for many of the attendees, for many of our collaborating companies that we work with, product companies, whether I do product development consulting with them, whether they're a host of a class. There were lots of range owners there, range and retailers that come to SHOT Show, or obviously a lot of the product companies that I work with in an educational capacity. Great, great meetings, great things will come of it and you're going to see a lot of those videos through Personal Defense Network.

We're going to do something unique so far at The Rob Pincus Podcast. I imagine will be the first of many live interviews, and this is going to be the first interview in our training segment. We're going to switch things up a little bit in that way too because the training segment is going to come second. Today, we are going to start with our politics and gun rights segment, which is brought to you by Second Amendment Organization.

Second Amendment Organization is the organization that focuses on grassroots advocacy. We want you to be a more articulate and educated gun rights advocate and just by being a responsible gun owner, you're already doing good work. You're setting a good example and you're setting it for people that are paying attention, but an advocate is one who goes out to talk to people who may not even be aware that there's an issue to be discussed or have a differing opinion of those issues. Second Amendment Organization helps you get educated and become more articulate.

Go to,, to learn more about what we think you should be doing when it comes to representing gun owners and the responsible gun owners, especially in this country, when you're talking to your neighbors, your coworkers, anyone in your community. Of course, that also means those elected officials that have so much power to affect our gun rights in a way they've done. Unfortunately, they're free in many places. Check out

Today, we're going to talk about mandatory training. Now, this is something that as a professional educator, I find a lot of people are shocked at my position on it. Do I think that every gun owner should be educated? Absolutely. Do I think that there are minimum skill sets that anyone should have if they're seriously going to believe that they can defend themselves or others with a handgun or with a rifle or with a shotgun and when they need to? For sure. Are those skill sets different outside of the home versus inside the home? Yes, they are. Should those skills be practiced over time, frequently, especially when you first learn a skill frequent practicing, we call it front-loading your practice? Yes, for sure.

Should they be refreshed? Absolutely. Should the concepts and tactics be updated? 100%. Should the government make you do it? Absolutely not. That's where we get to the rub, and that's the problem with the concept of mandatory training. For a lot of people outside of the gun community, think it's self-evident that a gun owner should be doing all those things as do I. We agree on that, but they believe it's appropriate or acceptable for the government at any level, whether it's a local government, a state government, or the federal government to mandate a requirement for training and or practice.

Of course, this is where we have to come back to the second amendment. Shall not be infringed is a really, really clear statement and any mandate would be an infringement. If you follow my work and if you've paid attention to Second Amendment Organization's work, you know that we never stop at shall not be infringed. It's part of the conversation, but it's not the end of the conversation because let's be honest. It's just not that compelling to people outside of the gun community. While that's unfortunate and we can lament that, and we can discuss it, and we can try to change the attitude of people towards an enumerated civil right in our constitution, that doesn't help us discuss mandatory training in and of itself.

Why is mandatory training a bad idea? Well, my first go-to is the lowest common denominator factor. Again, as a professional educator, as someone who has spent over two decades full time teaching people primarily about arm defense in person, through books, through DVDs, on TV shows, and yes, even on podcasts, I know that setting a lowest common denominator bar is the best way to have a poorly trained group of students.

If we say to a group of students at the beginning, and unfortunately, this happens a lot in our military or policing academies or armed security certification course, if we say to our students, "This is what you have to be able to do to earn the certificate or earn the piece of paper at the end of the class, well, guess what students get focused on. They get really focused on passing that test. Unfortunately, those tests are all too often far too easy and very specifically testing performance in isolation.

Now, performance in isolation is definitely more of a training segment topic than it is a politics topic, but I want you to understand that if we're going to evaluate someone, if we're going to certify someone, if we're going to give them the stamp of approval, if we're going to say they have completed the "mandatory training," when that happens, those students are going to feel like they've accomplished their goal, and all too often, stop trying to get better, stop trying to further develop their skills.

When we think about isolated performance and what you're doing on a range trying to shoot a tight group or hit a target further away, the skills that one would develop to do really, really well at those kinds of standardized tests or objective standards, shooting skill tests, those aren't necessarily the skills, and certainly, the way you develop those skills isn't the way we want to develop the skills we need for defense in a dynamic critical incident.

Now, we've talked about that. Go back and listen to some of the earlier podcasts. You're going to hear things like the integrating the startle reaction. We're going to talk about counter-ambush methodology. We're going to talk about intuitive, working well with what the body does naturally, and working well in the intended context of use. Well, those objective tests are not the intended context of use. The lowest common denominator factor is very, very real. We've seen it all too often in what I would call the shall issue era of concealed carry.

If you go back to the 1980s that it was very hard to get a permit almost everywhere in the country. In fact, there were 13 or 14 states as late as 1987, some of which would surprise you, including Texas and Alaska, for example, where you could not get a concealed carry permit. You could not legally carry a concealed firearm for the purpose of defense, to defend yourself or others in the public space.

Well, that has changed. now. All 50 states and the District of Columbia have some opportunity for you to get a permit, and what happened in the 1990s and through the 2000s was we had the explosion of shall issue. Shall issue is permitted carry that the government must allow you to do. They must provide a path for you to get that permit, to carry the firearm in public unless you've done something to suggest that you can't handle it responsibly, that you might be violent criminal, things like that. The quote, the term is "Adjudicated, mentally deficient." In other words, there's been a judgment in a court that said, "No, you, because of mental issues cannot handle the responsibility of a firearm."

Couple of other reasons why you might not be able to carry, domestic abuse, for example. Those things would bar you from exercising your rights. Shall issue as opposed to may issue where you have to justify the need to exercise your right, obviously, that's ridiculous. That's what happened in '90s and the 2000s. Well, now we're in the constitutional carry era. What we always see is a little bit of a pan from firearms instructors in these states that are looking at constitutional carry.

We now, I think have 22 states as of those recording that have the permitless right to carry. If you can legally own a firearm, you can legally carry it concealed for purposes of defense in the public space without any training requirement. We always have these instructors who go out and will actually campaign against this. Unfortunately, a lot of it's just simply because it's their livelihood. The only reason a lot of instructors get to charge a single dollar or get a dollar from a student is the fact that the student must take a lowest common denominator, state-mandated class. Generally, these are the lowest common denominator, state-certified instructors teaching those classes.

Now, there's some great CCW instructors out there and there's a great many instructors who are capable of teaching many, many, many other things, but they start their business model off with concealed carry. Those aren't the people that are lobbying against constitutional carry. I guarantee you that having met some of these people and certainly working with thousands of great instructors who are advocates of constitutional carry or permitless carry. They find, like I do that the person that comes up to the gun counter, buys their first handgun, and asks about being able to carry it in public, that finds out there's no government requirement, guess what they do. They become a consumer of education.

For the most part, people understand there's a great deal of responsibility that goes with carrying a gun in a public space and there certainly are physical skills and mental decision-making processes that need to be established, and they go out and seek quality instruction. They don't simply take the lowest common denominator. Here's the $35 course. Here's the $100 course. Here's the half-day course that doesn't even require shooting. This is how you get qualified to carry a gun. They go out and they seek quality instruction.

Of course, just like those lowest common, excuse me. Of course, just like those lowest common denominator courses go away under permitless carry regimen. Of course, just like those lowest common denominator courses go away once constitutional carry comes about, the lowest common denominator instructors also go away. What we end up with is a much higher quality of the average class that's being taught in those states.

We know that, we've seen it in Arizona. Now we're seeing it in Texas. We've seen it all over the country. Kansas was another one where I personally knew some instructors who were really afraid maybe people were just going to stop training. That's not what happens. We know empirically that mandatory training isn't necessary to get responsible firearms owners to train. We talk about lowest common denominator issues. We talk about the importance of getting students to seek out quality training and making sure that the average class that's being taught is actually worth being taught.

Then we have the economic burden. I think this is a much more tactile objective standard that even if someone doesn't trust the average gun owner, what they can trust is the financial burden of mandatory training. When you go to a population and you say, "Hey, you have to take this course." Well, a lot of people would say to me, "Rob, over the years as an educator, you don't want lowest common denominator training and you don't want lowest common denominator instructors. How about if we just raise the standards?

Well, in theory from outside of the gun community, I can understand why you think that's a good idea, but if you're talking about mandating quality classes if you're talking about mandating the kinds of classes that cost multiple hundreds of dollars a day. If you're talking about mandating training with thousands of rounds a year, if you're talking about mandating the reacquiring of the skills or the updating of the skills from year to year, this is going to get really, really, really expensive.

Of course, it's incredibly unfair, and it's certainly an infringement if you're going to charge someone an exorbitant amount of money or require them to spend an exorbitant amount of money, even in the private sector, to exercise a civil right. That brings us full circle back to that aspect of why Rob Pincus is against mandatory training. It's not that firearms owners shouldn't be trained and shouldn't practice. It's that it is an incredible infringement to require quality training, [crosstalk] lowest common denominator training, any training, any expense to exercise a civil right. I will always be against mandatory training while I will always be an advocate for a well-trained and educated gun owner.

That puts a wrap on our politics gun rights segment today. Although, like I said, it does overlap with training a lot, and that's incredibly important to understand. What we're going to do now. Of course, this is the segment brought to you by personal offense network, personal offense, Your best resource for online training, free videos, and articles, as well as distance education courses, and a lot of long-format information and live shows. You can find those at after you listen to this podcast, after you subscribe to this podcast if you're not already subscribed, and after you've shared this podcast.

Right now we're going to do something that's really cool. It's the first time we're doing it. I look forward to doing more of them. I think it turned out great. This is an interview that I did with Mike Ochsner. Now, Mike Ochsner has just published a book and its real-world gunfight training. It's a concept book. It's a book about the methodology that one should use when they go about developing and practicing their arm defensive skills. Now, I've been in this industry for a lot of time and I worked with a lot of different instructors. Mike Ochsner is one of the smartest guys in the industry. I think this information is really, really valuable.

We didn't take the time to bring him into the studio and have the super clean audio. We did it right on the show floor, SHOT Show 2022. I think you're going to get a lot out of this interview. I hope that it makes you interested in doing more training, being better educated, and maybe even becoming a student of Mike's as well as a student of mine.


All right, today in the training segment, I'm really excited about this because I have somebody who I really respect in the industry. Somebody I really think does incredible work and who doesn't really get enough recognition. For what it's worth, we're going to help him get some recognition for his work here at The Rob Pincus Podcast. Mike Ochsner OX, tell everybody what it is you do and why I'm so impressed with it.

Mike Ochsner:Well, thanks, Rob. I'm a neurology-based firearm trainer. Basically what I did was I combined, performance neurology, which in a nutshell is vision, balance, and hand-eye coordination, and figuring out how to make them work better for people instead of just accepting them as they are. Combine that with, real-world context and training and accelerated learning for learning skills that you want to be able to use under stress.

Rob:Why am I so impressed with your work?

Mike:Because it works.

Rob:It does, it really does. It really resonates with me because immediately you don't talk about you did this in this place you are in this many shootouts, you won this many plaques, that's so much of what we see in the gun community. It's, "You should listen to me because I shoot goodly." You start off with neuroscience. I eventually got to neuroscience in the combat focus shooting program. I talk about it in the Counter Ambushbook and we really try to integrate what the body does naturally and how the body develops skills naturally for application and everything we've done at IC training.

When I see your work, even here, you talk about your work, I'm already intrigued, and having read your most recent book, which is really what I want to talk about in this segment. I will tell you that I think it's the most evolved piece of work that's ever been written on defensive firearms training. I think to include going beyond and deeper in a lot of directions, then some of the stuff I've written, which I think everybody knows, I'm not afraid to say if I didn't, think I had the most evolved program, I would change it and improve it and I will be changing and improving it based on your research in the future. Talk to me about the new book.

Mike:Well let me go to the neurology part, and how come I went down that rabbit trail. Basically, I had way too much fun in the first 40 some years of my life and had way too many concussions. My vision started going, my eyes didn't track correctly. I couldn't read correctly. My balance was off. My hand-eye coordination was off. I was a wreck. I get vertigo every night. It was a bad, bad situation.

I didn't want that to be my new normal. I did a deep dive into neurology and basically ended up getting, I guess, you'd call it the equivalent of a master's degree in neurology, trying to figure out how to fix myself. Then I started using the drills that I used on myself with students and saw just ridiculous changes and changes were happening very, very quickly that would normally take days or weeks.

Rob:Let's go down this road a little bit while we're here. Tell me about like, who were your students at the time and what were you doing when you said, let me try integrating this other neurology stuff. What were you doing just before that? In other words.

Mike:I was doing just standard firearms training. Where it really kicked in was people with eye dominance issues or not being able to shoot with both eyes open and being able to take them from having a problem with it. Never being able to shoot with both eyes open, to being able to shoot with both eyes open very, very well in two to three minutes.

Rob:This was using very traditional approach originally and then saying, "Well, let me try this other stuff," and seeing the efficacy light bulb moment, I'm sure, exciting or intimidating to think, "Oh, wait, this is going to break the paradigm."

Mike:It was intimidating because I wasn't a neurologist. I was using neurology when it really got intimidating was when neurologists and TBI therapists started coming to me for firearms training. I was using their profession on them in a way that they had never thought of before.

Rob:I had a student who was a eye surgeon at one point, and I was talking about the eye. It is intimidating to be standing there talking about how the human eye works to a guy who makes human eyes work. It's like, one of the greatest moments of relief, I think in my professional career when I started using stuff that was way outside of my formal education, but that fit in that work was getting feedback were like, well, I never would've thought of that, but that was really enlightening. I wonder if other students get it as much as I get it because I actually know how eyes work.

I said, well, "Honestly, let me ask you questions. Talk about it." I was really nervous because I don't really know how eyes work except in this application, in this sphere. I said the way I described it was right. He's kind of like, "Well, it was right for this group. I don't want you to do an eye surgery, but it worked in this context."

Mike:Yes. I use completely different language. In fact, I apologize for it to people with neurology backgrounds because it's got to be something that people can digest and use.

Rob:On a gun range or in a classroom or across the zoom or whatever it is, however, we're teaching. We're here today at SHOT Show 2022. It's day one and that's probably some time has passed. It's been a week or two or three now that this is being released to people are listening to it. If you're wondering what background noises is, just want everybody to know we are here and you are here and I'm going to keep circling back to this because I want you to sell some of these. I want people to read this book.

You're here letting people know about your new book. Give us the title and the executive summary of what is this book and why should people read it.

Mike:Absolutely. It's called Real World Gunfight Training and you can get it on Amazon or at One of the ways I explain it is you can take the exact same training from the exact same instructor, and if you apply this training structure, you'll learn quicker. You'll learn the same skills in a fraction of the time. You'll retain them longer and they'll transfer over to the real world better.

Rob:I'll tell you this and this is really one of the things I think is so elegant about this book and your approach is that you're agnostic on, for example, how you reload a gun. You're going to, "How do we want to reload a gun? Use my system, you're going to be able to get these skills to a level of performance, and certainly, a level of ability to apply them when you need them faster.

You're going to get higher faster because you're using this methodology regardless of how you're going to load a gun."


Rob:It reminds me of Mike Hughes with SIRT. He's like, "I don't care what you do with it. I want you to use it." It reminds me of Jedburgh Target Systems, Scott Watson saying, "Jedburgh Target System will help you do your training better even if your training is horrible." He says that jokingly, but at the end of the day it's about getting the tools to the people and letting them use it as well as they can.

Even Ken Murray, who I know you've worked with and I know you have the respect for and I have a lot of respect for his work, Training at the Speed of Life, "I don't care what your tactics are, but here's how you should integrate reality-based training and simulation and scenarios to develop your tactics and you're ability to apply them. That's really what you're doing here, is you're giving people not the techniques, but the learning system, the training methodology,

Mike:Exactly. You've written books on technique. There's a ton of different books on techniques and this is how do you learn quicker? How do you retain it longer? How do you make it transfer over to the real world better?

Rob:That's where I say, if I don't have the most evolved program, then I want to have. I want to figure out what's wrong with it and push it forward and that's where I'm thinking, people are going to see elements of your training methodology working their way into-- I feel like you put this book out there, people should use it. I'm here to use it.

Mike:That's the goal.

Rob:I know our instructor team's going to use it. Obviously, we credit where credit is due. I see citations to your book in my future work for sure. I'm excited about it. Anytime something comes along, it just makes so much sense and can make people better, I think it's a win for everybody in the community.

That's why I wanted to stress this idea that you're not fighting with someone for dominance on a range of how people should do things in the sense of looking at your gun or not looking at your gun or, indexing the front of the magazine or not indexing the front of the magazine or how you're going to clear the malfunction. You just want people, pick your instructor, pick your techniques, pick your tactics, train it this way, so you'll be more dangerous to your enemy, right?

Mike:Yes, exactly.

Rob:In the minute or two we have left, give someone an example of a real takeaway. We're going to give a free four pages of the book right now. What's something they can do that works in this ethos of yours?

Mike:Next time you go to live training, do two things. Number one, read as much from the instructor as possible in the weeks before the class. Watch as many videos as you can in the weeks before the class. Ideally, by the time you get to class, you would know all of the head knowledge, all of the terminology and all of the concepts before the instructor says his first words. Go ahead.

Rob:Oh, I was going to say and this is the kind of advice that we give to our instructor-level students especially. If you want to come teach a program that you want to get certified, if you haven't already watched the videos and understood the terminology, and if this has all come out of the left-field, you're not going to do well in a three-day class.

I never really thought about how incredibly important it can be to the end-user as well. Having just even the vernacular in hand is going to be handy, right?

Mike:Yes. We're building skills on top of concepts and the concepts are made up of vocabulary. If you don't know the vocabulary, when you're trying to learn the skills, it's mind-boggling.

Rob:I'm going to take an extra minute in this segment to have you respond to this because it's something I've heard other people say about other people do. I feel like there's some people out there saying right now, you're making it more complex than it needs to be. I don't need terminology to learn how to reload my gun. This is a physical skill.

Mike:Well, it is a physical skill, but you're going to learn it based on communication from another human. You don't want to be tripped up by the words. You don't want to be tripped up by the concepts. You want to be able to go straight to skill when you're face-to-face with them, and then you'll be able to retain, you'll be able to code more of that skill to long-term memory and retain it longer.

Rob:What would you say to the instructor out there, or maybe the student of the instructor who would say, 'No, Rob and Mike are geeks. They're making this way more techno than it needs to be. The fact is you're going to come out here, you're going to run your gun. You're going to do your thing. You're going to put holes in the paper. You're going to ring the steel and it's going to be awesome." My terminology, if you don't understand it, you shouldn't have a gun. What do you say to that guy, the Neanderthal instructor?

Mike:Well, I'd say look at any other professional sport in the world throughout history and find one that teaches the same way that we traditionally teach firearms training, and it doesn't happen.

Rob:No, it doesn't. I think that is one. I've heard you say that before, and I'll tell you that is one of the most impactful things someone can process. If you look at the way we have traditionally approached shooting skill development, it is so far removed from anything else we expect people to do dynamically.

Mike:It's done because live firearms training has to be done in a safe location, in a safe manner and that restricts everything else.

Rob:It doesn't have to restrict it as much as it has been traditionally, right?

Mike:No, absolutely not.

Rob:Well, obviously, for those of you who followed my work, you know how my mind is. You're listening toRob Pincus Podcast and you've been listening. You're getting an idea maybe for the first time, how my mind works. I'm not going to go as far as to say Mike's works the same way, but I think at the end of the day, a lot of the things you say are exactly what I think people who are students of armed defense need to be hearing.

I appreciate your work. I appreciate you coming on the podcast. You're the first guest in the training segment of The Rob Pincus Podcast. Thank you for that.

Mike:Thank you very much, Rob.

Rob:Where can they find the book?

Rob:Check it out and it's fairly priced as well. Check it out, go buy it. Go buy one, buy a copy for a friend too.

Mike:Actually you can download a free summary.

Rob:Let's do that.

Mike:I can probably get it for free plus shipping if you go quick.

Rob:Do it.

Rob:I hope you enjoyed that. I really did enjoy a live because we're right there. People all around us, things going on, that was fun. I think that we will do that again. Even though it's maybe a little bit harder to hear, I know that Jeff in the studio cleaned that up a bit for you. Check that out and do check out Mike's book.

As always thank you for tuning in to The Rob Pincus Podcast. Please do share the podcast. Subscribe to the podcast. Let people know what you like about it and let me know, not only what you like about it, but maybe what you don't like about it, or more importantly, what you'd like to hear me talk about. Check us out at Hit me up on social media. I do respond to all of my social media, whether it's Instagram, Twitter, the Facebook pages.

If you can find me, I will get you an answer if you send me that direct message or just put something in the comments because I do share these episodes there as well. Let me know what topics you'd like us to cover, or maybe you'd like to request a guest here on The Rob Pincus Podcast. Thanks for listening.


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