We occasionally run HEAT seminars for long-time, trusted students who I feel will take the concepts and information presented and utilize them responsibly. Lately, James has been talking-up to seminar series, and as a result, I’ve had several conversations with students of late on this very subject. To understand the genesis of this seminar series, you’d first have to understand what it is to live in Texas. In short, there is still a healthy “can-do, do-it-yourself, stop whining” attitude here. Some residents carry pistols, as I do. And, with that right comes a brick-ton of responsibility.

Hostile Environment Aptitude Training (HEAT) was initially conceived as I became aware of the substantial need during my concealed handgun licensing process. Without going into details, most of the class should not have been there. They simply were ignorant, unsafe, and had no business carrying a concealed weapon; they were the untrained. For example, a young lady in her 20’s loaded a few rounds into the magazine of her Glock with bullets backwards. That’s nearly impossible by the way.

On the range, a retired gentlemen, using his father’s revolver attempted fire off a round. Nothing happened, so he unloaded the round. As he spoke to me from his firing lane, he shoved the struck round – dimple in the centerfire ring – into my face, saying “What do you think about this?” Needless to say, I grabbed the round and threw it down-range. Really? I told him to stay in his lane and keep his revolver and ammunition to himself.

Thus, I began to understand the need to people to have access to handgun training – and not just handgun training but an integration of handgun training and defensive tactics (as “fighting to your weapon” is a real possibility). And, HEAT was born.

In the video provided, I’m simply going over a modified stance and the presentation of the weapon from the holster. There are a myriad of other skills and issues obviously, but this is where we start.

Check out the video, and as always, walk in peace!


We step (when possible) into a stance before firing the pistol. This is a foundational skill worth mastering. The HEAT stance provides optimal target-oriented assertiveness, balance, strength in multiple directions, and facilitates pivoting/turning when needed. The four concepts are:

  1. STEP: take a natural step forward with your weak side foot
  2. SHARE: your weight should be slightly forward (60/40)
  3. SQUARE: your shoulders and waist should be square to the target
  4. BEND: your knees should be slightly bent, as you bend forward slightly from the waist.


This is also a critical, foundational skill set is to master and includes several concepts, including GRIP, RIP, ROCK, PRESS, PRESS, PRESS, FIRE:

  1. GRIP: the dominant hand grips the holstered handgun with the web of the hand snuggly into the beaver tail of the handgun; the trigger finger is indexed; the middle, ring, and pinky fingers are wrapped firmly around the handle (middle finger set tight under the trigger guard; the thumb rides the safety with 1911 models or is set into the thumb groove on the handle. The hand, wrist, forearm and elbow are all in line with the front of the shoulder (i.e. a front on view shows no arm “leaking” outside the line of the shoulder).
  2. RIP: With the proper grip initiated, the defender rips the handgun straight up and out of the holster (with all holster retention defeated) until the shoulder no longer has any range of motion to support the elbow lifting upwards (within reason). The muzzle is still pointed at the ground and should not “laser” the defenders dominant leg or foot.
  3. ROCK: defenders rock their arm forward with an emphasis on the arm moving as a single unit, the elbow should end snug to the ribs, forearm straight, wrist straight, and muzzle pointed straight down range.
  4. PRESS: defenders begin the process of pressing the gun arm straight out with the intention of pressing to a fully straight arm, as high as the shoulders, and on target.
  5. PRESS: defenders press the off hand onto the handgun (see GRIP MECHANICS) during the process of pressing the gun out to the target.
  6. PRESS: defenders begin the process of taking the slack out of the trigger as the initial press process begins; once at the “wall” pressure remains constant.
  7. FIRE: as the defender locks out the arms from the continuing and initial press process, the trigger wall is breached and the handgun is fired (note: the handgun should be on target as the press process comes to lock-out or near lock-out).

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