2012 was a fantastic year for I.C.E. Training Company and many projects that I have been involved in. In fact, it was our best year ever. And, 2013 looks to outdo it! Let’s take a look at some of the highlights and take a quick peek at what we’ve got coming this year.
The cadre of Instructors in the Combat Focus® Shooting program took huge leaps forward in 2012. After a couple of years where we ran many Instructor Development Courses to certify instructors, 2012 was more of an internally focused year. Although we did add some great new members to our team, we really focused on making the team better and empowering our outside instructors to be more successful in sharing the program with as many students as possible. Not only did we have noticeably more Active instructors teaching more students in more places, but we also doubled the size of our Annual CFS Instructor Conference.
As demand for the CFS Program continues to increase, I am looking to the team of certified instructors to pick up an ever-increasing percentage of the courses. CFS is much bigger than me, or even I.C.E. Training Company and 2012 was the year that many people in the training community really took notice of that fact. There was more media attention given to outside instructors teaching CFS than I was personally involved in for the first time ever! This speaks for the quality of the our team and the program itself.
2013 is the Tenth Anniversary of the formalization of the CFS Program and it is sure to be our business year yet!
It was an incredible year for Personal Defense Network in many ways. Of course, we produced scores of new content items, both video and articles with our team of world class contributors. We reached all of our social media, subscriber and membership goals noticeably ahead of schedule. We also had three stand-out developments:
The PDN Training Tour – Since 2008, I have taught at over 30 venues a year all around the country. As it often is with any growing business, in the early stages of developing the I.C.E. business model, it was impossible to say “No” to any opportunity to teach. This created a pretty convoluted travel schedule that criss-crossed itself many times a year. By 2010, however, we were booking courses far enough out that we were able to arrange for the entire “spring training season” in 2011 to be arranged as a cross country drive from east to west…. A drive which we became known as the Combat Focus Training Tour. In 2012, PDN officially became the title sponsor of the Training Tour and we added classes from some of our contributors and were able to recruit additional sponsors to help underwrite the costs of training in more remote locations and at smaller venues. The PDN Training Tour was a huge success. You can see over a dozen Video Updates from the tour at the PDN Site, filled with student comments, training tips and information about our sponsors and their products.
Premium Membership– The most significant evolution for PDN has been the addition of our Premium Membership option. Premium Membership means access to the next level of content from our team, including the streaming of Full Length Training DVDs, exclusive high definition clips taped just for the Premium Collection and groups of related videos and articles that create online classes which give you a one-stop-shop for comprehensive information on a given topic. Best of all, Premium Membership is available for an annual fee that is about equal to the retail price of the average training DVD! Learn More by watching this short video.
The NRA Personal Defense News- One of the things that I am proudest of from 2012 was the launch of this co-branded newsletter with the National Rifle Association. The Personal Defense Network was born from the Personal Defensive Video DVD series that was created for distribution with the NRA as a partner. Since 2006, Millions of those DVDs have been sent to members of the largest pro-gun organization on the planet, so it was natural for PDN to start providing online content to NRA Members as well. Personal Defense News features articles and video clips for PDN, as well as important Second Amendment news & info from the NRA, and it is emailed every month to over 1 Million NRA Members!
As announced in this newsletter last fall, I teamed up with my longtime friends Gary & Teresa Meares and their team at DGG Taser & Tactical Supply to totally revamp I.C.E.’s online store, order fulfillment and class registration process. A few months into this relationship, I can tell you that it has been a huge success! Customer Feedback has been unanimously positive and the changes have allowed me to add a number of new products to the web store… and dramatically streamlined our fulfillment process.
I have been active in the firearms industry for over 15 years, but I had never actually brought a product to market. In fact, I have only very rarely lent my endorsement (or that of I.C.E. Training Company) to any specific product or company…so, it was quite a big deal for me to take an idea that I had for an Emergency Manipulation Sight through the design & manufacturing process and be able to offer it for sale. The feedback from the industry and our customers has been great and The Claw has been selling fast!
Thanks to Next Level Training for assisting with the initial design specifications and AmeriGlo, the manufacturer of The Claw, you can now get an excellent rear sight designed for efficient sighted fire when needed during a defensive shooting situation that also enhances your ability to perform emergency one-handed manipulations in a worst case scenario. Initially available only for Glock pistols, we will be adding XD, Sig and M&P models early in 2013!
The success of this first product has also inspired me to push forward with additional product ideas that will be coming to market in the near future.
Counter Ambush book & Home Training Course
Since 2006, I have published a new book every other year… and 2012 brought “Counter Ambush”, a book that explains the WHY and HOW of training for response to a threatening situation that you didn’t see coming. We all know that if you “keep your head on a swivel” and “watch your six”, you might be able to see an attack coming and take the best defense of avoiding conflict… but, we also know that having total awareness at all times is impossible. Criminals look for victims who aren’t paying attention or who are distracted. Sophisticated criminals will even create the very distractions that they capitalize on to take attack their victims. When we look at the majority of situations where people need to use force (armed or unarmed) to defend themselves, we see that there was some element of bring surprised or caught off-guard involved. The Counter Ambush book examines why this happens and what it means for the way we should train, what we should train and even what equipment we should be training with. I am especially proud of, and somewhat humbled by, the foreword written by Lt. Col. David Grossman.
The new book is only part of the story, however… I teamed up with USCCA to create an entire Home Training Course that allows you to take a complete class in the Counter Ambush Training Concepts & Principles and then complete an online test to earn a certificate of successful completion. This is the first time I have ever offered a distance education opportunity in one of my programs and it has been a great success so far! Students have really enjoyed the material and the experience. The Home Training Course includes the book, a five DVD set of lectures, audio CDs, a workbook to personalize the information and guide your learning and more! You can learn all about it in THIS short video. Originally, the book was available exclusively as part of the complete course, but we are now offering it through the I.C.E. Online Store as well!
After leaving The Best Defense in 2011, I promised that I’d continue to be involved in the production of valuable training segments for television and, with the help of TAG Productions and The American Trigger Sports Network, I was able to deliver!
Trigger Time TV– I taped 13 comprehensive home defense segments for the first season of Trigger Time in early 2012 and these segments aired on Pursuit Channel through the summer and fall. Covering a variety of topics including storing a gun in your home, carrying a gun in your home, increasing the security of your doors & locks and dealing with law enforcement response, I am extremely proud of the work. In addition to my own segments, TT featured contributions from Brannon LeBouef, Ronin Combat Strategies and Jim Gilliland The best thing about the collection of Trigger Time material is that is has all been made available on the internet through the show’s website… so, if you missed the broadcast version, head on over and check out the segments. You’ll also get to see one of the last contributions to our community from my friend Mark Craighead, founder of Crossbreed Holsters, whom we lost in August. Mark was the key sponsor of the show and also served as host!
Stop The Threat!- I participated in 4 episodes of ATSN’s Stop the Threat in 2012. STT features high quality re-enactments of actual events that are shown to a panel of guests for the first time as the show is being taped… we then discuss our observations, thoughts and advice based on what we saw. STT is unique format and it creates a great learning experience for the viewer as they get to see experts from a variety of personal defense related fields react to these situations and each others’ comments. Again, if you missed the broadcasts, you can see all of the STT Episodes online at the show’s website.
2012 was the first year that I officially became a “spokesperson” for a product line… and it took a great product line for me to take that step! The very first carry ammunition that I ever purchased as a Winchester product (Silvertips) and I was issued Winchester Ammunition when I worked as a full time police officer. For many years, I even loaded Winchester’s Ballistic Silvertip as home defense ammunition after seeing the way it performed in game while hunting! After extensive testing for reliability and performance, it was exciting for me to be able to help Winchester spread the word about the PDX1 line and why it makes a great choice for personal, family or home defense. PDX1 is the most extensive line of defensive ammunition in the market, offering popular center-fire rifle & pistol rounds, shotgun shells and even rimfire cartridges… all specifically engineered to help you stop the threat during a defensive shooting situation. Throughout 2012, I was able to spend time in the Winchester Booth at Trade Shows and conduct training & media events where the performance of PDX1 was demonstrated and discussed. After a year of getting to know the line (and the company) even better, I am extremely proud to be continuing into 2013 as a representative of this outstanding product.
New Projects for 2013
After a banner year, there is nothing to do but up the ante and launch a few new projects with some great partners:
If you’ve watched many of my television segments, training DVDs or read what I’ve written about home defense, you should already know that I am a huge fan of quick access safes in general and the GunVault line of products. They are the safes that I have used for years to store defensive firearms that I wanted to protect from unauthorized access and yet be able to get into my hands efficiently if I ever needed them. I also use large Cannon Safes (the parent company of GunVault) to protect my firearms collection. This year, I’ll be working with the companies to raise awareness about their product line, the best ways to use their safes and why I think they are the best products available for the safe storage of not just firearms, but whatever you deem worth protecting. I believe that ever home should have a safe, just as it has a refrigerator and a stove…. and, for those of us interested in home defense, one may not be enough.
I’ll be kicking off my relationship (see Press Release) at SHOT Show, where we’ll be giving away a new safe with Cannon’s new EMP Lock everyday!
Association of Defensive Shooting Instructors
In 2012, I published the seven Tenets of Professionalism for Defensive Shooting Instructors and held a meeting at SHOT Show with instructors from across the industry to discuss the formation of an organization dedicated to increasing professionalism and education in the defensive shooting community. I am excited that we are about to launch that organization very, very soon! For the first time ever, I am proud to announce the inaugural members of our Advisory Committee: Massad Ayoob, Robbie Barkman, Tom Givens, Marty Hayes, Ken Murray, Mike Seeklander, Dr. Robert Smith and myself.
Keep your eye on the Internet for announcements.
ADSI will be offering a variety of resources to our members for continuing education and professional development for those who currently teach any aspect of defensive shooting or are interested in doing so in the future. More information, including how to become a member, will be announced soon!
S.W.A.T. Magazine TV: The “Lost Episodes”
When S.W.A.T. Magazine TV paused production of its third season in 2011, we had already taped a great deal of outstanding footage on a variety of training topics and with several expert guests including Kyle Lamb, Cecil Burch and Instructors from the ALERRT Training Facility in Texas. Now, thanks to Crossbreed Holsters and Personal Defense Network, we’ve been able to produce 8 complete episodes from this material. We’ll be releasing the episodes online throughout the first and second quarters of 2013.
2012 ended on a low-note for the firearms community in the aftermath of a spree murder at an elementary school in Connecticut. In the midst of calls for armed teachers, programs for armed professionals to be stationed at all schools and anti-gunners screaming for more useless gun control laws, I.C.E. Training Company launched the School Attacker Response Course program. SARC is designed to give teachers and students practical options that they can use immediately to help them survive an assault by an armed school attacker. The end user training at public schools and instructor certification courses are being conducted completely FREE of CHARGE. This program’s first instructor certification courses will take place this winter in California, Ohio and Minnesota. Learn more about the program in This Article.
This exciting new project is headed up by Lt. Col David Grossman and Ken Murray and will feature some of the best information available to those interested in personal defense. I’m proud to be associated with this project… keep an eye on the website for more information!
There is no doubt that when I sit down to write the 2013 Yearly Recap, we’ll have lots of great things to talk about in addition to the new projects mentioned above. I look forward to training with as many of you as possible during the new year and hope that you’ll continue to send messages, comments, LIKEs, SHAREs, RETWEETs and emails to let us know that you find value in the information that I.C.E. Training Company is putting out!
Owner, I.C.E. Training Company