This came to my inbox today from Matt at Hammerfour:
I wanted to write this letter to both of you via Facebook in the interest of opening a direct dialogue with you, rather than continue to engage from afar. I am under no illusion that this will be reposted in your respective forums and will be yet another avenue for criticism, but I thought it was best I address you directly.
We understand that the video we posted and that came under the scrutiny from you and others may not have been the best video we’ve ever shown. We freely admit that if it were misinterpreted by the wrong people, there would be techniques that were up for debate. We even tried to explain this on our Facebook page. It was a dry-practice drill and there were no violations of safety rules. That said, people have differing opinions about how to reholster and that is fine. I can see the valid point that was being made by you and others.
We do not train for competition shooting which is the perspective that many of your readers come from. We do our best to train people that want to learn how to shoot safe handling and manipulation. I believe that this has been your point of contention. We have never claimed that our style is the best, nor do we claim that it is superior to anything else out there.
Yes, we are a relatively newly formed company. However, Scott Hill has been teaching this method for more than 20 years and has taught it to thousands of students all over the world. That is not a claim that this system should be used by everyone, or that it is somehow superior to anything else being taught. It is just an option. The same way that not everyone that picks up a gun will shoot IDPA or try to compete for time.
Relentless attacks on our page forced us to remove the “offensive” video, even after repeated attempts to engage in respectful dialogue with commenters.
We deleted comments that strayed from the topic of the video or that became personal attacks, rather than legitimate criticism.
The debate became more about our “stupidity”, or how we looked, or our deletion of irrelevant comments, than about the techniques themselves. It became more about proving us wrong and causing damage to our reputation rather than finding out what we were about. Comments were posted, then screen-capped, then posted elsewhere just to prove that we were deleting them and to fuel more attacks.
We DO believe in constructive dialogue about our methods, and have no problem talking to anyone about what we do so long as that conversation is respectful, rather than abusive. There are plenty of ways to do something and if we are wrong, we correct it. But as I stated in the other video that you loved so much, different does not mean wrong.
What NEVER happened throughout this bashing was having someone reach out to us FIRST to discuss the video before publishing misinformation on blogs and forums. Assumptions about what we do or how we teach were made, and immediate comparisons were drawn between us and other training companies that you choose to dislike. The internet being what it is, these opinions can spread very quickly and cause seemingly small issues to escalate.
We will be the first to admit that, hindsight being what it is, perhaps that video never should have seen the light of day. However, we believe in posting video and pictures from the entirety of the training process, good and bad to illustrate the learning curve. Typically, we provide context around the videos, and in that case, we were mistaken and wrong for not providing more clarity around the drill, the operation, and the technique. I alone assume responsibility for that.
However, photos and videos show only a moment in time. Without context, any picture or video can be manipulated or explained to promote incorrect information. There were rarely questions directed to us about why something was being done. Instead, the response from this audience was an assumption of something happening or being taught incorrectly, and then violent disagreement and judgement without first asking questions. When we tried to respond rationally, we were called stupid or dangerous.
In the end, we will have detractors, and many people that disagree with our methods will continue to promote negativity. There is nothing we can do but invite them to our classes and have them see for themselves that we conduct safe, proven training.
We still fully believe in the methods by which we train, but we understand that these techniques may not be for everyone. We never claimed that they were. We certainly do not promote that these are the most high speed techniques you will ever encounter, nor do we believe that every shooter MUST use our methods. Are there better methods for competition shooting? I’m sure there are. But once again, we do not claim to focus on training competition shooters. However, we do hold a very high standard of marksmanship for our students and we do not sacrifice accuracy for speed. Safety is always our primary concern.
Several high profile competition shooters stopped by and added comments to whom we replied and tried to provide perspective on the methods. We respect what they do and have done and have no problems with the competition community. However, when the comments in the thread from others became overwhelmingly negative and vicious, we deleted the thread, even though we tried our best to respond intelligently to comments deserving a response. Unfortunately, in the end, that included deleting discussions that were worth leaving up and disabling further comments.
If you want us to admit fault, fine. The video should not have been posted in the best interests of the shooting community. That said, relentless attacks on our integrity or our instructors are unfounded, and we hope that by opening this dialogue you can begin to understand what we are truly about. If you choose to continue the conversation with me, I welcome it. If you do not, I understand that as well. You wanted my attention and I am here to talk.
Best of luck with your businesses,
My reply, which I sent back to Matt:
Thanks for reaching out to me. I’ll be brief in my reply, which should put everything in perspective – if all I had seen of Hammerfour was the actual techniques, the robot movements or whatever, I wouldn’t have cared. But the technique in the video – speed holstering at the appendix position without looking at the holster isn’t taught by any reputable instructor that teaches appendix, and all of the well known instructors that I know who do teach appendix call the technique in your video dangerous.
I can’t speak for Ben and the pack of hyenas on his forum, but if you’d simply said “hey, shit you’re right slamming a gun into a holster that’s pointed at your femoral artery is kind of dangerous” that would have been the end of it. But for at least two days you guys defended a technique that literally no other reputable appendix carry instructor teaches.
My concern has always been safety – I don’t want some dillhole to see the video of Tatiana slamming her M&P into an appendix holster at speed and to try it for his own dumbass and blow his pee-pee off…or worse shoot himself in the femoral and die.