On this week’s episode of The Mag Life Podcast, Daniel is joined by Mickey Schuch of Carry Trainer. Mickey is a firearms instructor, martial artist, Youtuber, 2nd Amendment advocate, and security consultant. His channel, Carry Trainer, is dedicated to educating viewers on firearms
training, defensive tactics, as well as gear overviews.
Daniel and Mickey discuss extensively the realities of today’s firearms training trends, fighting your own ego, acknowledging our predecessors, and understanding the reasons why we train.
Host: Daniel Shaw
Guest: Mickey Schuch
Introduction/Timeline: Eric Huh
03:01 Why do you provide free content?
Mickey emphasizes the point that far too much of what’s posted on the internet by the average gun owner is performative-based entertainment rather than actual valuable training content. There is a difference between being a hobbyist and being a trainer.
Daniel then asks Mickey, why does he continue to upload free training and gear content on the Carry Trainer channel. Mickey explains despite the fact that we currently live in the safest period in human history, violence and danger will always be a constant threat to innocent lives. Just from his personal circle alone, Mickey can list several friends who were murdered without warning while in a relatively safe area north of Chicago. Mickey believes that society is largely failing at teaching the next generation how to be prepared for threats. As such, he believes the Carry Trainer name serves as a resource that helps prepare individuals to be more self-reliant.
Daniel adds that he believes that society is slowly losing warriors faster than it is forging new ones. Negative labels that get tossed around such as “toxic masculinity” are attempts to discredit the idea of individuals willing to be strong, self-reliant, and willing to make the hard choices.
Ultimately, for Mickey, being a trainer is about serving others to be better and safer throughout their lives.
14:50 The realities of firearms training
Mickey warns those just getting into the firearms training world that context and credibility mean everything. A glowing resume in one particular field does not necessarily mean that this individual is the most qualified person to teach an entire demographic. This is often the case with military vets that attempt to transfer their firearms tactics knowledge over to the civilian world.
“Because you were a Navy SEAL doesn’t mean you have skills that are applicable to training ‘Susie Homemaker’ on how to carry a gun. Doesn’t mean that person doesn’t [have those skills] but to the best of my knowledge… they aren’t teaching guys how to covert carry in purses in the SEAL Teams. Now that’s not a dig. But that person then needs to go out and develop new training doctrines that are applicable to the people at hand.”
This careful consideration of credibility also extends to whether or not a trainer is even honest or honorable. Mickey has unfortunately known certain firearms trainers who are simply in it for the money. Some have wholesale robbed students of their money by never showing up, others
have refused to pay range fees or pay back those who supplied them with resources. For a large portion of new gun owners, they are young and impressionable people looking for guidance and it becomes too easy to take advantage of their trust.
18:17 Why do we train?
In Daniel’s many decades of firearms teaching, the vast majority of why people train is out of love for their fellow man. In Daniel’s mind, a true warrior is someone that endures the hardship and trains for the fight not because they enjoy violence but because they have a duty to protect
their loved ones. As such it is indeed very important, as Mickey had pointed out, to lead these people on the right path.
Mickey adds that mindset is the key to the “why” we train. Mindset is often lazily associated with the idea of just pure mental toughness and grit, which is important, but this is not all that it encapsulates. Having the mental discipline to have a consistent schedule, to get up in the
morning to do a run, or to come back home early to help your family are equally important in supporting a healthy lifestyle.
Mickey will actively ask students “Why do you want to train?” and all of the answers boil down to “I want to stay alive to enjoy my life.” Training to protect life, as Daniel mentioned, should be the primary goal for anyone looking to become more defensively minded. Mickey highlights that self-defense training should go beyond learning how to shoot guns good but also taking into account your overall health. That can range from learning hand-to-hand martial arts skills, reading books, or having a regular workout routine. After all, what good is being a master in shooting guns when you die prematurely to heart disease?
Daniel agrees completely and adds that his teaching philosophy for his firearms classes is less about becoming the faster shooter alive and more about teaching life skills. He uses the firearm as an extension to teach students to become better friends, husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, and partners to the people around them.
Mainly, this is done through promoting self-control and perseverance. In his classes, Daniel forces adversity in his students that reveals to them how they react under pressure. In order to be competent with a firearm, a measure of focus and discipline is required. If every student can walk away from the class having reevaluated their priorities towards helping themselves, then he would have done his job as an instructor.
32:30 Ego vs. doing the right thing
Mickey believes now more than ever we need people strong enough to do what’s right to lead others to do the same. And that easily applies to the firearms community at large. In more recent events, Mickey heard of a competitive shooter who tripped and fell during a match, who then accidentally let a round off towards the direction of the audience. All across social media, other shooters are ridiculing this man due to his accident often because it’s the trendy, cool thing to do. Mickey finds this sort of behavior beneath him and that it does nothing to promote a positive space for gun owners. As leaders in this industry, he and all other trainers have a responsibility to do the right thing and not simply rag on people for making mistakes.
Daniel agrees, that this trend of attacking people is simply childish ego-boosting. Social media has made this all too tempting and accessible, especially in the most recent viral memeing trend surrounding famous Youtuber gun influencer, Sootch00. As many already know, he posted a picture of a class he had just taught in which many students were unsafely pointing the muzzles of their guns at one another. He had since been ridiculed nonstop, but, as Daniel points out, few were willing to actually lend a hand to tangibly improve the situation. If there is a lack of training or understanding, the 2nd Amendment community should be aiming to lift each other up.
46:12 Teaching without ego
Daniel and Mickey both promote the idea of teaching and disseminating information without one’s ego in the picture. Most notably, Daniel has seen too many instructors needlessly complicate their teaching to new shooters with vocabulary no one outside of their circle has ever heard of. This is often done to feed an instructor’s own ego, with a need to self-affirm their own worth to their students. Daniel completely disdains this behavior and promotes the idea that no one should be blindly loyal to any one teacher, rather students should be seeking knowledge everywhere from as many reputable sources as possible.
Mickey adds that when instructors do present their information as the Gospel and the only true way to train, it creates a long-term divide in the gun community and further confuses new shooters.
“I’ll see dudes and I’ll say, like, not ‘here’s THE way’ but ‘here is a way’… but then that guy will message me and say ‘hey I was at this other guy’s class and he said what you said was stupid and that his way is better.’ And now it’s created this muddiness because there are so many guys out there that do tell people this crap and… so this student is lost in a quagmire of what’s the right or wrong way [when] at the end of the day, they could have just stuck to a path and got good at it.”
55:45 What should the classes be offering students?
Mickey speaks on the actual value of taking a class from a competent instructor. In a Carry Trainer class, he is able to take a novice shooter into doing faster follow-up shots, moving and shooting drills, cover manipulation, and other complex techniques. Mickey does so with a standard in mind, using shot timers and shot placement groupings as a metric. At the end of the day, groups and splits don’t lie.
In Daniel’s classes, students are consistently surprised at how much they learn in a short time period. Everything from learning weapons malfunction clearing, cover usage, position changing, weak hand shooting, and working with a partner is instilled in his students. Each step in the class is earned, students have to show that they are safe and competent with each phase of the training module in order to progress to the next step. The kicker is, Daniel claims that nothing that is being taught is what he considers to be “advanced”, but simply a honing of the
fundamentals applied in more stressed scenarios.
In Mickey’s mind, training should absolutely replicate what you are most likely to encounter in the real world. He will train with his everyday attire, his carry gun, and use his pockets to stuff magazines. And while this is certainly not an ideal setup, it is the most realistic. Mickey also
notes that too often people hyper-focus on things that really do not matter at any practical level. For instance, people freaking out over whether or not someone press checks their guns before starting an exercise.
01:03:51 Firearm Training Pioneers
Daniel and Mickey reflect on the greatest firearms trainers who have dramatically influenced how we train today. In the competitive IPSC and IDPA world, Mickey notes that special operations type guys do in fact go to competitive shooters like John Shaw (no relation to Daniel) to understand learn more efficient and faster shooting techniques. Daniel adds that when the Magpul Dynamics DVDs featuring Chris Costa and Travis Haley came out in the early 2000s, this alone launched many careers in the firearms training world. The Magpul series were among the first accessible training mediums that effectively taught people real-world tactics and techniques in a highly digestible manner.
What is quite unfortunate is the fact that many of today’s shooters have no clue where these influential trainers had originally acquired their information from. Mickey notes that a lot of the contemporary training curriculum is an extension of the methodologies of the competitive shooter, Ron Avery. Sadly, quite a few don’t even know his name outside of the people who were part of that scene. Over time, we see more dogmatic approaches from new shooters who treat each piece of curriculum taught by a certain trainer as if it was theirs alone. In reality, almost all training knowledge is a pool of mixed and matched information that evolved over time.
To Learn More about Carry Trainer
Visit their website: https://carrytrainer.com
Follow him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CarryTrainer
Follow him on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/carrytrainer
Follow him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/carrytrainer
Follow him on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/CarryTrainer
Article/Show notes by Eric Huh