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Combat Focus Shooting: Resolve to Protect… and Survive

Kevin shooting5

By Kevin Reese

Glock2It’s no secret, stories of home invasions, car-jackings, armed robberies, murders, assaults and even domestic violence are never-ending and the themes, eerily familiar, as they relate to the victims’ inability to protect themselves in one way or another; often, for gun owners, the shortcoming is a lack of effective defensive training. This New Year’s I challenge you to a resolution. Rather than focusing as much as we do on weight, finances or the next big promotion, try something a bit more selfless and impactful. Resolve to be the protector… and survivor your family may depend upon. For me, this critical commitment was launched by Rob Pincus’ life-changing Combat Focus Shooting program; in fact, consider CFS, as it relates to ending threats and surviving, the gift that keeps on giving.

Kevin IwoJima93The basic premise of Combat Focus Shooting, like many training programs, is survivability. I was familiar with this logic, first, because I want to survive just as much as the next person and second, my extensive Marine Corps handgun training, through countless hours of instruction and range time, also preached the same – we just didn’t train the same. Unlike my military training and qualification with a 1911, and most other training programs, survivability, pursuant to Combat Focus Shooting, hinges on distinctly different cornerstones, chiefly among them, a balance of speed and precision, and beginning with fundamental principles of defensive handgun shooting; the operative word being “defensive”, shooters should certainly possess at least basic handgun experience and study which equipment is deemed most appropriate for defensive shooting – walk on the rocks I stumbled on! Let me explain…

As a professional in the hunting and shooting industry, I knew Rob in advance but had no concept of the premise of the I.C.E. Firearm Training Combat Focus Shooting program. Like most of my Marine Corps buddies who had trained and qualified (I proudly qualified Rifle Expert, 6th Award, and Pistol Sharpshooter) and, indeed, all veterans exposed to concentrated handgun training, I thought I knew precisely how to defend myself and what gear I needed to do it. Nothing could have been further from the truth.

My first CFS experience was to have Pincus condemn my holster before my first drill.

“Put this on.”

ICE RAC7He handed me a new I.C.E. RAC Kydex OWB Holster and I did as he instructed, quickly changing holsters and joining the rest of the class for “balance of speed and precision” drills. This is the overwhelming theme of Combat Focus Shooting and a primary factor in survivability. The rest comes from instinctive, aggressive movements both in firearm manipulation and sustained fire without ever losing sight of the threat. In Pincus’ words, “If you’re looking down you’re not focused on the threat and if you’re not moving, you just might stay that way. Simple as that.”

Like a broken record, “balance of speed and precision” played on through every intense, physically grueling exercise from repeated, advanced versions of our first online drill to exhausting live-fire wind sprints and unnerving high-stress figure-eight drills. After two full days and 1,000 rounds of mentally and physically intense training, we survived. Of course, it’s worth noting the I.C.E. Kydex holster was a complete game-changer – the best I’ve ever used and still on my belt.

By the close of training, I was battered and bruised with rock-tape, expertly applied by CFS Instructor, Alessandro Padovani, running its X-pattern of support down the length of my strong-arm but I never broke… only persevered, learned and earned. I learned that before Combat Focus Shooting when I thought, as a concealed carrier, I knew everything I needed to in order to protect my family, I actually knew very little. I learned that the best way to protect my family is to train to stop a threat and survive to do it again if need be. Sadly, I also learned my beloved Marine Corps does not adequately equip my brothers-and-sisters in arms with training conducive to engaging an active shooter and surviving the experience.

CFS Coin6After training, Rob asked how I felt about Combat Focus Shooting. I chewed on his question for a moment, never truly answering. How does someone sum up a life-changing gift like CFS training in words that do it justice? You don’t. I was elated to have graduated the course, the prized CFS coin in hand, but my emotions were mixed. While elation was present so was humility and sadness. It wasn’t enough to acknowledge I knew much less than I thought, or even that personally, CFS was impactful beyond measure. I struggled with memories of the inadequate combat-focused handgun training I received as a Marine and that I suppose is still a disheartening reality.

At this time of year, when we search high and low for the right resolution to add depth and breadth to our lives, why not consider becoming the protector… and indeed the survivor, in the event of a threat, you are called to be? What better gift to your family is there than survivability? It truly is the gift that keeps on giving.

CFS TargetAB-2CFS TargetC-2Side note – Balance of Speed and Precision is a simple concept. When engaging a threat your primary focus should never be precision accuracy, nor should it be to spray bullets in the actor’s general direction. Your best strategy for stopping an aggressor is somewhere in the middle, what Pincus refers to as the balance of speed and precision. Your goal should be to fire as rapidly as possible while maintaining a reasonable degree of accuracy; that is to say, keep your shots contained in an area referred to as the high-center chest.

CFS_Logo_GreenSpecial thanks to Combat Focus Shooting’s expert instructors Rob Pincus, Alessandro Padovani, Ken Crawford and Michael John Lowe, as well as fellow students and range hosts, Ken and Maggie Ortega.

I_C_E-Firearms-Training-Logo2Visit I.C.E. Firearm Training at or the Combat Focus Shooting website at for more training information and scheduled classes. More information about the best OWB holster I’ve ever used, Pincus’ personally designed I.C.E. RAC Kydex Holster can be found here at and in the following video. The I.C.E. RAC Holster can be purchased at I.C.E. Training ( or Global Outfitters (

More information can also be found in the following video:

The I.C.E. RAC Kydex Holster: Range and Carry Holsters’ Finest Hour

How much innovation can you fit in I.C.E. Training’s new personal defense holster? Maybe enough to save a life!

By Kevin Reese

I_C_E-Firearms-Training-Logo2As someone licensed to carry a concealed firearm, with a ridiculous number of hours of handgun and shooting training over eight years of Marine Corps service and of course, concealed-carry training under my belt, I thought I was well-equipped for personal defense and survivability; I was wrong. I showed up to personal defense expert, Rob Pincus’ two-day Combat Focus Shooting training with a soft-sided outside the waistband (OWB) holster complete with Velcro strap, my Glock 17 Generation 4 and 1,000 rounds of my personal favorite factory ammunition, Federal’s American Eagle.

Just as quickly as I walked onto the pistol range, Rob Pincus himself escorted me back to the prep table. He didn’t smile or say much at all. He simply un-holstered my handgun and asked me to remove my holster. As I removed my personal holster, he handed me a new I.C.E. Range and Carry (RAC) Kydex Holster and instructed me to put it on, re-holster and join the other students for the morning’s training brief.

ICE-RAC Holster-smWhile I was familiar with molded holsters, including the one I owned for my standard-framed Glock 20 Gen 1, I was not a huge fan. In my experience many had clumsy releases I always fumbled with during drawing exercises. While I’ll acknowledge that showing up with such a poor excuse for a training holster and having it changed out in front of the class was a bit embarrassing (no one has ever accused Rob Pincus of being shy) I later counted it as the most positive equipment change I could recall in all of my handgun training experience.

During my Combat Focus Shooting training, I fired over 850 rounds with an average of four shots per repetition. Crunching numbers revealed I rapidly drew and holstered my Glock 17 Gen 4 at least 200 times without a single glance down to my side. Doing so or fumbling would have resulted in compromising drills and losing sight of my targets, especially during wind-sprint and figure-eight drills.

My first observation of the I.C.E. RAC Kydex Holster is that while it hugged my Glock and kept it passively secure, there was no inhibiting release mechanism. The result was a seamless, lightning-quick draw every time; in fact, my draw was more efficient than ever before! The outer wall is also shorter allowing for quicker clearing out of the holster, although the trigger assembly and magazine release are still protected. Throughout over 200 drawing and holstering repetitions, the holster’s passive grip design significantly improved vertical drawing and forward driving of my gun into a firing position.

rolled lip court ICEI.C.E.’s RAC holster also integrates a higher sweat guard against my body and rolled-back upper edge from front to back, something I’ve never seen on competing models, although I’m sure others will attempt to emulate this innovative feature. The rolled upper edge, combined with raised sweat guard keeps the gun higher and closer to my body while creating a funnel to accept my handgun in a safer, more vertical and efficient manner; I don’t have to fish for the opening like many holsters that may cause an unsafe habit of pointing the barrel towards my hip to avoid a collision with the holster’s top edge. Tins innovative design allowed for seamless, efficient holstering as quickly as I could possibly holster my handgun. From the beginning, I had never holstered more efficiently than with the I.C.E. RAC holster. The fact still holds true today.

The I.C.E. RAC Kydex Holster was easy to install on my belt with the molded belt loops and wide platform and with 80-percent of the gun’s contour to the holster’s exterior face, it was comfortable all day long. Considering the extreme drills and physical movement I encountered throughout Combat Focus Shooting training, I can’t recall a single uncomfortable moment or instance of impeded mobility; at least, not from the holster although I’m sure I wasn’t the only one taking a few Ibuprofin in the evening! But, then again Rob Pincus doesn’t pull any punches. Your joints might hurt but survivability… and Combat Focus Shooting bragging rights are worth it.

I also noted minimal protrusion of my Glock 17 from the bottom of the holster. This open design still protected my handgun in any position while allowing for variations in length. For example, I can carry a Glock 17 and Glock 19 in the same holster.

Since the moment Mr. Pincus asked me to put it on, it’s been the only OWB holster I’ve carried. Simply put, while it’s certainly not the most expensive OWB holster I’ve owned, I’m a huge fan. Of course, after two days with Rob Pincus, I would expect nothing less than near-perfect “awesomeness”. His quest for perfection is about protecting what’s most important – truth be told, it’s not your handgun but this holster might disagree. Yes, it’s that good.

MSRP for the I.C.E. RAC Kydex Holster is $59.99 and, in my opinion, worth every penny.

To learn more about the I.C.E. RAC Kydex Holster and other great personal defense gear, visit the I.C.E. Firearm and Personal Defense Training Store at

Click here to watch a video about the I.C.E. RAC Kydex Holster (

CFS_Logo_GreenTo learn more about Rob Pincus’ life-changing Combat Focus Shooting personal defense courses, visit

Cam-O-Bunk Bunk Bed Cot System Rises to the Top of Outdoor Sleeping

By Kevin Reese

Photoscape samplePursuing my passion outdoors as a lover of God’s creation, avid hunter, seasoned outdoor communicator and even, as you’ll see, a speaker, still leads to many primitive camping opportunities. Whether my assignments and adventures (often one in the same) lead to remote hunting trips, fishing excursions or just plain camping, I love it most in the company of others, especially my family. Each year, I also look forward to CrossTImbers’ Family Archery Adventure Camp in near Norman, Oklahoma, where most of us camp primitively and some of us are blessed to teach archery, shooting and hunting seminars to the young campers and their parents. It was in preparation for this camp recently, along with the knowledge that this time I would be sharing tent space with my younger brother, James Reese, and pseudo-brother, Brian Magee, from Fired Up Outdoors TV that I began a search for gear that I thought either might make us more comfortable or at least accommodate the three of us with a substantial amount of camping and instructional gear. My search landed me at where I quickly found the Cam-O-Bunk XL. As soon as the web page populated I knew I had found something amazing.

camobunk8One of the most amazing, innovative camping products I’ve come across in all of my outdoor years, Disc-O-Bed’s Cam-O-Bunk XL Bunk Bed Cot System rises above the “cot-petition” if there is any to be had, and “stacks up” comfort better than any camp bedding I’ve ever come across, especially considering eight years of gritty, active duty Marine Corps living!

I received my Disc-O-Bed Cam-O-Bunk Cot System just days before the family adventure camp, not as a result of slow shipping, Dis-O-Bed was incredibly responsive; rather, as a result of ordering at the last moment. I did not have time to unpack or inspect it before leaving, I simply loaded the soft carrying cases with rest of my gear and headed north.

camobunk3Upon arriving at the campground and picking the perfect spot, I pulled the soft cases out, laid them on the ground and opened them up. The contents were packed and protected incredibly well with detailed assembly instructions on top. The frame pieces are comprised of heavy-duty anti-rust, powder coated steel components; honestly, there wasn’t a scratch to be found. I studied the instructions for a few minute and began building. I erected the first cot, then the second, stacked them in the tent and had them tethered less than 10 minutes after I had retrieved them from my truck. I couldn’t have asked for an easier-to-assemble, better fitting system!

camobunk2While the Cam-O-Bunk is quite roomy, boasting mat dimensions of 79-in. x 34.5-in., I was amazed at how compactly it fit into my Browning Camping Black Canyon tent; we had tons of extra room for our gear! The Cam-O-Bunk also features a rolled steel base to protect ground sinking and damage to tent floors and other surfaces.

My first night in the Cam-O-Bunk, after a long evening of bowfishing on a nearby lake, was one of incomparable camp comfort. At 44, camp sleep often comes with a few aches and pain the next morning; however, the way the cot’s 600-denier material held fast yet fit the contour of my body had me feeling as rested as I’ve ever felt. We even took in an afternoon nap – tent windows open, cool breeze blowing through – it was a slice of heaven I don’t often get to experience, or generally cared to, given previous camp-sleep experiences. After the nap, we converted this bunk bed cot system into a comfortable camp couch. Yes, we were the only folks in camp with a couch in our tent! Does it get any cooler than a couch in your tent? No, it doesn’t.

If I sound excited, I am! As a Marine Corps veteran, I immediately realized Cam-O-Bunks value well beyond a simple campsite. Disc-O-Bed has developed a product primitive or temporary medical, humanitarian or military quarters; hunting, fishing and camping outfitters; emergency or human services shelters; youth camps; extra bedding at home when the relatives drop in for the holidays, etc.

Looking high and low for something I didn’t like about Disc-O-Bed’s Cam-O-Bunk XL Bunk Bed Cot System was futile. The only worthwhile mention is weight. The entire system weighs about 60 pounds. While I wouldn’t suggest backpacking everywhere with it, Cam-O-Bunk is compact, easy to carry and even easier to transport.

camobunk4Disc-O-Bed also offers an array of great accessories, including a cabinet, footlocker, mosquito net, polypropylene mat, IV stand, extenders to create more space between bunks, and other innovative accessories. My system included side organizers that attach easily to the sides of each cot and provide more than enough room for my Glock 17, flashlight, smartphone, tablet, beverage, a good book and much more.

The Disc-O-Bed Cam-O-Bunk has taken its rightful place alongside my favorite outdoor gear. I can’t imagine spending another night in camp without it!

For more information about the Cam-O-Bunk XL and Disc-O-Bed’s other innovative products, visit

Bowtech Insanity CPX + Ripcord Code Red Arrow Rest + StarrFlight F.O.B.’s = PERFECTION!

Last year, as a result of many hunter and archer questions and a complete lack of anyone willing to step up, Good friend and master archery technician, Jerry Reeves, and me set out to be the first to document the ability to shoot StarrFlight’s controversial Fletching Only Better, also known as F.O.B.’s or FOB’s. We found success quickly. Using my Bowtech Invasion CPX and a Ripcord Code Rest arrow rest, safe travel for my FOB was easy!

This year, we set out to do it again! Many asked and again we appear to be the first, or only, ones to answer the question definitively. “Can you shoot FOB’s through a 2012 Bowtech Insanity CPX? Not only did we accomplish this task, but like last year, we have the first video to prove it!

And, to throw an exclamation point on this success, it’s important to point out that success was achieved using my personal setup, a short draw length, maxed out draw weight and a shorter brace height than the Bowtech Invasion CPX that we used to test the setup last year. My personal bow is comprised of a 27-inch draw length, 70-pound draw weight and 6-inch brace height, shooting 308 feet per second! The shorter brace height, short draw length, max poundage and the increase of 13 feet per second arrow speed over last year’s test mean that we’ve really pushed the envelope on the performance of my Ripcord Code Red Arrow Rest.

I have to attribute our success to the incredibly fast performance of the Ripcord Code Red arrow rest. The rest fell, leaving plenty of time for the FOB to pass through the shelf. Even better was the complete lack of bounce back from the Ripcord. I slowed the video time down exponentially. Unfortunately, even slowing the clip down from less than one second to over 6 minutes, did not demonstrate FOB flight well enough to use; however, I could clearly see that there was absolutely no bounce back. I was definitely impressed with the rest. I’ve used Ripcord arrow rests for years now and love them, but I have to admit I was shocked when I saw just how well it performed. I have also enjoyed shooting StarrFlight’s FOB’s for years so the opportunity to continue shooting them from a setup I was skeptical about was a relief. For now, the Ripcord and the FOB’s will remain an integral part of my bowhunting adventures!

Hunt hard, hunt often!



What Matt Morrett Learned from a PhD Gobbler Named Bubba

By Matt Morrett as told to John E. Phillips,

Every cowboy believes he can ride every bull he gets-on, and each turkey veteran believes that he can take every turkey he hunts. But, PhD gobblers are as crafty and as smart as the bull that’s never been ridden. Matt Morrett is a multi-winner World Champion turkey caller and a professional hunter for Hunter’s Specialties. One of the PhD gobblers he’s learned his craft from was a turkey named Bubba.

“I first came to work with Hunter’s Specialties about 1987,” Matt Morrett remembers. “Hunter’s Specialties had a farm in Kirksville, Missouri, and Bubba the turkey already had established his reputation there, before I arrived at the farm. The hunters saw Bubba almost every evening with two-other gobblers. He was 6 or 7 inches taller than the other birds. I spent my whole season trying to take Bubba. Since this ole PhD gobbler had been spooked, shot-at and overcalled, he’d learned just about everything he could know about dodging turkey hunters. He was one of those kinds of turkeys that would get your goat. He always would be one of the first turkeys to gobble, and he’d gobble at every call you made. However, that’s all he would do. He wouldn’t come to any call you made. Because I’d focused all my hunting time on Bubba and hunted him every day I could hunt at the farm, I’d spent my entire season without tagging a gobbler. Bubba was one of the best teachers I’d ever had.” 

I’ve been fortunate enough to hunt with some of the greatest turkey hunters in the nation, and for more than 45 years, these masters of turkey hunting have continued to teach me better ways to take gobblers. But, while learning from the masters, I’ve also wanted to know who has taught these veterans to successfully take turkeys every spring. All these outstanding turkey hunters have agreed that they’ve learned the most from the PhD gobblers they’ve hunted. So, I’ve collected the stories of some of the greatest turkey hunters of our day and those PhD gobblers like Bubba that have taught them their craft.

To learn more about PhD gobblers and how to hunt them from the masters of the sport, click here for “PhD Gobblers,” a new eBook from Amazon’s Kindle by John E. Phillips. Or, you can go to and type-in the name of the book to find it. 

One of the 10-most-frequently-asked questions of Matt Morrett is, “How much do you have to call a turkey?”

Morrett answers, “I always explain to hunters at a seminar that this is a loaded question. It’s much like asking how often you have to call and talk to your wife or your girlfriend in a day’s time. Each turkey is an individual, and every day he’s on a different emotional level. But here are some general rules that will help you. In my opinion, a turkey is either really interested in breeding or has to be made excited and fired-up. If a turkey’s gobbling back to you every time you call to him, then quit calling. He knows where you are, he’s excited about finding you, and more than likely he’s on his way to you. However, if you call, and the turkey only gobbles back every now and then, he’s not excited. You’ve got to make him excited by calling more and calling more aggressively.“

One of the most-important things to remember about how-many times to call to a turkey is when the turkey’s gobbling and coming to you, call less, and call softly. The more you call to this kind of turkey, the more likely that the bird will stop 60- to 70-yards away from you and not come in, because you’ve told that gobbler you’re an excited hen and ready to breed. When he reaches a place in the woods or a field where he thinks this excited hen can see him, he’ll stop and expect her to come running to him. Here’s a simple answer to this problem: if a turkey’s gobbling and answering aggressively, call less. If a turkey’s not gobbling aggressively, call more.”

Watch the video above or go to to see the author interviewing Matt Morrett on how to try and solve the problem of the gobbler that won’t come in that’s in John E. Phillips’ latest Amazon/Kindle book, “Turkey Hunting Tactics.”  If you have trouble opening these links, please contact us.   

Night Hawk Publications Inc.

% John E. Phillips

4112 Camp Horner Road

Vestavia AL  35243

Phone:  205-967-3830  FAX:  205-967-7185

“Take it off AUTO!” Videography Workshop offered in Jacksonville, Texas

Alpha Omega Video – Bringin’ the Outdoors In!

Alpha Omega Video is offering a videography workshop on June 3 – 5, to anyone interested in capturing outdoor memories, especially that hunt of a lifetime! All training and filming is scheduled to take place at the Stretch-A-String Bowhunting Ranch, near Jacksonville; in my opinion, the 3,000-acre jewel of east Texas.

Workshop objectives include:

  • Understanding basic manual control
  • Learn shot scenarios and framing
  • Introduction to vital equipment
  • Tips all videographers should know before going afield

Professional hunter and videographer, Jason Mears, teaches filming strategies, what works and what doesn’t, based on the real life experiences from the perspectives of both videographer and hunter.

Learn what equipment is need, what equipment you want and when it’s important to use them. Students leave with a basic working knowledge necessary to successfully capture our outdoor heritage’s most memorable moments and tips to make your footage really stand out to your audience. More importantly, the knowledge and skills learned in this workshop ensure the improved footage you capture is ALSO easy to edit!

Mears’ professional videography credits include:

  • TNT Outdoor Explosion TV
  • The Experience TV
  • Trophy Hunter TV
  • Down the Road TV
  • Quest for the One TV
  • Hunting with the Judge TV
  • Buck Ventures TV
  • American Huntress TV

Mears has filmed professionally across the United States, Canada, Mexico, South America and Africa.

The fee for this course is $495 and requires a preregistration deposit of $200. Space is limited; register as early as possible. Food and lodging is provided at no additional charge.

Send deposits to:

Kelly Garmon
PO Box 43
Coupland, TX 78615

Complete details, including directions and course curriculum, are available by calling Kelly Garmon at 512-636-1798 or e-mailing