Posted: 3/16/2008 3:45:43 PM
[Last Edit: 3/16/2008 5:15:08 PM by Muad_Dib]
THE IMAGE ABOVE IS A PAID ADVERTISEMENT
After reading one of my other reviews, Glenn Rehberg sent me a message asking if I had read his book and if I’d posted a review anywhere. I had not read it, but told him that I would read it and post a review here. I received my personalized copy three days ago and finished it last night.
First, a little about the author and why he wrote this book.
The Amazon.com product description is relatively light, “Written by an active police instructor, this book discusses how to effectively use a handgun in a defensive encounter. Some of the topics addressed include selecting a handgun, concealed carry methods, tactics, multiple attackers, mindset, and dealing with the aftermath of an attack. This book takes the reader through the considerations and skills needed to survive the event.” While this is all factually correct, I think that this book is more than what their modest description indicates.
The book itself goes into a little more detail about the author. According to the “about the author” section of the book, Sergeant Rehberg is the training coordinator at his police department and is certified by the State of Wisconsin as an instructor in Firearms, Defensive and Arrest Tactics, and Vehicle Contacts. He also lists advanced training from a variety of well known and respected schools.
The author states that this book is his attempt to compile a complete system of handgun fighting that excludes any intersystemic contradictions. That is precisely why I think this book deserves more credit than the Amazon.com description. I think Sgt. Rehberg does an excellent job of compiling information from various sources into one cohesive text. He explains that his intent is to minimize the decision making process by focusing on only a few technique options that work in the majority of circumstances. He does this well, and the techniques he recommends work. I could end my review there and be perfectly satisfied recommending it to new shooters, but I will expand on a few things that stood out to me.
This well written book is broken down into nine sections, plus an introduction, glossary and a bibliography.
The main chapters of the book are:
Why the Defensive Handgun?
Basic Elements of Handgun Use
Loading, Reloading, and Malfunctions
Carrying the Handgun
Drawing From a Holster
Post Shooting Actions
Selecting a Defensive Handgun
The bibliography is actually the first thing I noticed about this book. Citations and references seem to be lacking in many techniques driven texts on shooting, especially those that are self-published. Authors occasionally make reference to where they learn their skills, but more often than not they give the impression that the information in their writing is something they invented themselves. The author goes out of his way to tell the reader that nothing in this book is a creation of his own. The bibliography for this book includes many texts that I consider must-have books for a defense skills library. I’ve read or am currently reading most of the books referenced and some of the government publications. I should point out that a couple of his references are no longer in print, but while they were in print were restricted by the publisher to law enforcement only.
Sgt. Rehberg gives the reader a no-nonsense presentation of techniques that work well in the majority of circumstances that one would expect to encounter. It is full of established techniques that work well under stress. There isn’t any flashy nonsense or extraneous self-supporting or self-promoting commentary, and unlike some books the pictures take up a minimal amount of space. As an introduction to defensive pistol shooting for the beginner, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Defensive Handgunning. It is much more than a simple introduction and could be a springboard for in-depth study of the subject.
I found myself thinking several times while reading that this book reads like a compilation of expanded notes that I could have written while reading various books. The book also reads very much like my LFI-1 notes in some places. That shouldn’t be a surprise considering the references, and anyone that has been through LFI-1 will probably note the similarities. There are a few things that I would have expanded on more, but as an introduction I think his intent was to not overwhelm a reader with lots of extra things.
There is one small deficiency that I found and I mention it only because I think it could be problematic for some shooters. I’ll say up front that it is rare for me to find so few things in a book on handgun shooting. In his section on gripping the handgun he recommends a thumbs-forward variation of a crush grip and “Ayoob Wedge”. The descriptions and picture of how to hold a handgun on page 17 are perfectly acceptable for anyone shooting a semi-auto (and is how I usually shoot). However, this is not how a revolver should be held, and the author fails to note the important differences. This could lead to injury if someone attempts to shoot a high power revolver or one with an improper gap space with the “thumbs forward” grip as demonstrated. For his second printing, I hope that he includes a small amendment on how to properly hold a revolver.
I fully understand and appreciate the concept of minimizing techniques, but I think he has occasionally cut too much in order to streamline his book. I think this is just my differing of opinion on what one needs to know, so take what I say with a grain of salt. For instance, he recommends and demonstrates only the isosceles stance. Later in the book he mentions that one or the other arm may need to be pulled in while shooting around cover. I think it would have been good to at least show pictures of the Weaver, Modified Weaver, or other appropriate arm positions for shooting around cover.
The only other thing I can point out is that he occasionally makes reference to a technique but doesn’t explain or demonstrate it. Specifically I’ll mention his section on low-light shooting. Entire books have been written on this subject, so I wouldn’t expect a huge amount of detail to be included, but he does mention how to hold the flashlight by technique name without any technique description. While I know exactly what he means when he says, “Harries, Surefire/Rogers, Ayoob, FBI, and Neck Index” (p.103), these names are completely meaningless to someone that doesn’t have a prior knowledge of them.
I don't want to sound negative. The truth is that I point these things out because it's easier to point out the very few faults rather than the extensive positives. What I've mentioned are small faults in an excellent book. The vast majority of this book is well written, well cited, and superb advice for shooters of all skill levels.
As I’ve said already, I believe that this book could make an excellent springboard for further study. I consider myself relatively well read and well trained on this topic, and as such I think his material is light in places. That being said, it is tried and true advice. If the author expanded into minute detail on every single topic that he covers, this book would be many hundreds of pages longer. It would surely be overwhelming for the vast majority of readers, especially those who are just beginning their study of defensive shooting. He makes reference to several texts that have in-depth discussion on virtually every subtopic of self-defense shooting. If the reader wishes to, he may trace the author’s sources to some of the most up to date and authoritative texts available.
With all of that in mind, I believe Defensive Handgunning would make and excellent addition to anyone’s library.
This book is available here from Amazon.com.
Edited to remove department information.
Posted: 9/2/2008 9:01:19 PM
This is indeed an excellent text. Concise, well written... a great overview of defensive handgunning.