Rob Pincus Training

Has anyone trained with Rob Pincus? Would you recommend him or not?

If you’ve trained with Pincus and have trained with other trainers, how do they compare?

I reached out to some folks that I’ve trained with. One trained with him and hasn’t been back. The other recommended avoiding him, but didn’t offer an explaination as to why.

I’m looking specifically at his one day Fundamentals of Intuitive Defensive Shooting. The timing of that class fits with my schedule. It would get me back into training and the cost isn’t exhorbitant. I’m sure he knows more about shooting than I do, so from that standpoint, I can’t imagine going and not learning something. On the other hand, I don’t want buyer’s remorse. I see his name as someone that some of the USCCA authors have trained with.

After this window of time, I’d be looking at mid-December to be able to train next. Larry Vickers comes within a couple hours drive. Then Tom Givens is within a 3-4 hour drive of me next spring.

What do you think? Spend my dollars on Pincus? Or wait for Vickers and Givens? Or do all three?

Appreciate any feedback–especially from folks who’ve trained with him and have also trained with others.

I have not personally trained with him, but I have met him a few times and yes, he was crucial to helping create some of our educational materials.

I love that you have the mentality that you will learn something regardless. I don’t think you would look at training with him as a waste of time. His personality may not be one that fits with yours ( not intended to insult him, but we all have personalities that differ) but those classes can also be the ones that help you grow as an armed American because I can tell you that he will challenge you.

At the end of the day, Rob will always have your best interest in mind and wants to help you become better and defending yourself and your family.


I can’t speak for Pincus, but I can’t recommend Givens enough! I’m going to another Rangemaster course next month and very much look forward to it. TG is straight forward, no nonsense, and the man simply knows what he is doing.

I haven’t had the pleasure of training with Vickers, but I plan to if schedule and location ever workout for me. I hear from some very legit people it’s worth the time.

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My bucket list includes Reid Henrichs and John Lovell.


@Tim_D_USCCA I appreciate the heads up. I’ve read about his personality on other forums. I get that bedside manner can make the difference on learning, but on the other hand it’s not like the bad guy he’s training me to beat is gonna be nice to me.

Thanks for the compliment on the attitude. A preacher one time said he listens to sermons with a bucket not a magnifying glass. Maybe that applies to firearms instructors? I hope I go to learn not with a know it all chip on my shoulder.


@mattm Warrior Poet is on my list next time he comes close enough.

I had forgotten about Pincus’s take on those 2a issues. On the other hand is his positive justification for “high capacity” magazines.

I think I read the 2nd article you posted. I wish we could all be staunch supporters of everything 2a. But I also don’t fault someone for having a conversation.

Thanks for these reminders.


I have not trained with him personally but have watched a bunch of his videos. Sometimes people have a different persona in person than on camera. But the videos all seem useful and well thought out.

Whoever you end up taking the training with let us know how it works out. I’m trying to save up for some more advanced classes and am always interested in first hand experience with trainers.

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@Shamrock Will do. Most of my training at this point has been with Tactical Defense Institute in West Union, OH. These guys designed the K Bar TDI knife that some may be familiar with. Their stuff was excellent. I wrote up a review of that training for my superiors in my church security context. Any further training I take is driven from that context and I’ll do a write up of it if for no other reason than my own personal retention. But I’ll try to post something here as well.


I completed Rob’s Combat Focus Shooting class back in 2009 and thought it was excellent. Completed more training since then and trying to fit in another of Rob’s classes.

Reid will inspect your gun before class looking for polished parts. After watching his YouTube ch for awhile I decided to spend my money elsewhere.

It looks like you found it, but for anyone else who maybe missed it Pincus has a training website Personal Defense Network with free and paid videos and articles. While it may not give you a complete picture of training curriculum or training style (personality), it does at least give you an idea of what you are in for. I really like it when trainers have videos available to see their teaching style.

IMO, if your budget can fit it in… get as many different perspectives as possible. There is value in getting a perspective you disagree with. It may confirm your choice to do it another way, or it may give you an option to use in a specific scenario, or maybe you can use it to teach someone else an alternative if they don’t like “your way”. If dollars are tight, then prioritize and train with the one you want “most” and eventually work your way down to other trainers.

If you do go to any of those classes I’m sure all of us here would love an After Action Review on how it went.


Oh of course, and yes, he is a great guy and a great instructor. I apologize if it made me sound like he is anything different.

If you have the ability to go to his course, I would take it. The more courses and perspectives you can learn from, the better protector you will be for yourself and your family.

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No apology necessary. Your remarks towards him were kind and professional. I didn’t take them as disparaging to him at all. I apologize if my response to you was less than clear on that.

At this point, I intend to take the course. I’ll post an after action report and let everyone know how it went.

My next problem is that the class is in NJ, making my “high capacity” magazines illegal in that state. Time to go buy some 10 round magazines.


Thanks @Mike270 for the experienced feedback. I appreciate you taking the time to respond.

Depending on the type of gun you are taking to the class, I suggest you obtain (training) magazines from ETS. They make excellent magazines at a reasonable price.

The class was outstanding. I will post a fuller review when I get a chance over the next several days.


I’ll begin my review by answering my own questions.

#1. Would I recommend training with Pincus? In a word: absolutely.

Two of my training mentors discouraged me from training with him. The one gave no reason. I dismiss this. The other stated that Pincus seems to be teaching the latest fads. I don’t know if that’s true or not because I don’t know what the latest fads are. What I experienced was this: everything Pincus taught was followed by a detailed rationale for teaching that particular technique. Every rationale he provided made good sense. While there might be a couple of things that I can see a different perspective than Pincus taught, he had a clear rationale for what he taught and he is definitely more of an expert in all of these matters than I am. In one instance I found myself affirmed by Pincus in the dissonance I had with previous training experiences.

Pincus’s training was challenging. If you want to know the basic ideas he taught, look up Fundamentals of Intuitive Defensive Shooting. The course description will give you an accurate high level overview.

#2. How does Pincus compare to my other training experience? In some areas he is different and some areas he is similar. Pardon the vague description.

They are similar inasmuch as my previous training experiences were excellent and so was Pincus. They taught some of the same things such as stance and grip. One example of a difference is that Pincus doesn’t teach staging the trigger/come to the pressure wall taught at TDI. (Look up Chris Cerino’s training videos. TDI teaches the same fundamentals.) Pincus teaches to steadily press the trigger rearward until the shot goes off. Another example was I got “fussed at” once for shooting while I was still moving. For this class Pincus taught us to move, get into our stance, extend the gun and only fire after arms were locked out and stance was correct. Previous training had us moving and shooting. Likely the difference was that this was a one-day no prerequisite class. I assume at some point Pincus teaches shooting while moving. A third example is that Pincus teaches out of the gate that you only use your sights when you need them. I wouldn’t call this point shooting. I would call this teaching the student to recognize when he needs his sights and when he doesn’t need his sights. Previous instructors recognized that you might not use your sights in a real self-defense encounter, but blamed that on training that didn’t focus on teaching you to use your sights. They advocated using sights all of the time. This seems to indicate one advantage of training under different instructors with differing philosophies. I’m not saying either system is wrong.

#3. There was some discussion in this thread and on other blogs of Pincus’s demeanor/personality in training. I will say that Pincus isn’t the gentlest instructor I’ve ever sat under. However, Pincus isn’t mean. He is direct. He uses copious amounts of sarcasm, humor, and profanity. He is not shy on correcting students and doing so publicly. Nearly every student got singled out for something they weren’t doing correctly. Pincus didn’t correct you for little things that he didn’t teach unless it caused you to miss your shots. I didn’t always fully extend my arms and lock my elbows when shooting. However, I was making my hits. He never criticized me for not locking out. He did, however, point out when I self corrected this with positive reinforcement. However, if you didn’t do what he taught you to do, expect his verbal redirection to escalate. He might even make you do the drill solo in front of the rest of the class. After being singled out in front of the class and still never getting the technique right, I won’t forget what he taught. Isn’t that the point? (I got singled out for my reloads. He taught a different technique. Trying to change techniques for this class after hundreds of reps under a different methodology didn’t come easy for me.) At first his demanor can embarrass the student and come across as demeaning, but when you realize he’s going to do to it to most of the students in the class, you tend to loosen up, realize this is his style, and roll with it. There was one individual in the class that took a lot of this from Pincus. He seemed to be getting pretty upset at one point and, perhaps, Pincus took it too far. On the other hand, he’s trying to help you survive a potential deadly encounter. Some of this style seems to be the constraints of the class. There was one instructor for about a dozen students. At my previous training experience, there was a lead instructor and a team of other instructors. The ratio was about 2 or 3 students to 1 instructor. So there was a lot more one on one instruction. Those classes were also multi day classes. So you had more time for individualized instruction taught in a crawl, walk, run format. Pincus hit you with a lot of information over 8.5 hours (the class went long—we got our money’s worth). So it’s just different.

Would I train with Pincus again and recommend his training to others? Absolutely. Do I look at my previous training experiences with less appreciation for them because Pincus teaches some different things? Absolutely not. Both perspectives are valuable.

The facility was an indoor range. The disadvantage was we were shoulder to shoulder on the firing line. It was almost too tight, but it was well-run so that isn’t a criticism. Some drills we did with half of the students off the line so we could move. If I had my druthers, I’d personally prefer an outdoor range with less claustrophobia potential. Yes. I’ve trained at an outdoor range in a downpour interrupted by a thunderstorm. So there are advantages to an indoor range.

My only criticism is the copious amount of profanity used. I get that I was going to a defensive shooting class and not a Sunday school class. I also get that profanity is normal in the shooting community. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it or agree with it. I also admitted above that Pincus has a reason for everything he does. So I am sure he has a reason for that too.

Pincus began and ended the class with three questions.

  1. What am I already good enough at?
  2. What should I be better at?
  3. How do I get better at it?

It was his goal that by the end of the class each student would be able to answer these three questions for themselves and have a plan of how to improve at home after the training was over. He met that goal as far as I’m concerned. I have definite answers to all of those questions.

I have left every training class I’ve ever took with the sense that 1) training is a journey, not a destination. And 2) I need more training. I don’t see how I will ever be trained enough.

I personally wouldn’t call this training class “fun.” But I’ve never walked away from a training class and thought it was fun. So that’s a reflection on my own personality rather than the instructors. I see training as something that is teaching you to do something wonderful (protecting yourself or your family) by preparing you for the possibility that you might have to do something horrible (shoot another person) in order to do that. Parts of the class were fun. Typically the later in the day, the more fun the class is for me after I’ve loosened up.

If you have specific questions, I’ll do my best to accurately represent what he taught. If you have experience with Pincus and what I say doesn’t jive with your experience, please give Pincus the benefit of the doubt.

One more thing, when you walk into this class, Pincus has his name and personal cell phone on the whiteboard at the front of the classroom. He invited questions by text and I have no doubt that it was a sincere offer.

A sincere thank you to all of you who have provided input in this discussion.


That was a great detailed review of your experience! I’m glad that you had a great experience and an open mind to the importance of learning from different instructors with different tactics. Rob has always been good about explaining the “why” behind things and it sounds like he did that in your class.

Also, very cool that he gives you his number to text him. He truly does care about helping people be prepared to defend themselves if, God forbid, it were to ever happen.

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First THANK YOU for the review/AAR.

This is great when teachers (of anything) do this. If you understand “why” you do something, then it makes it easier to apply that something in the right scenario. Pretty much every technique has a purpose and situation it works in, the question is does it apply to you and the situation you are in.

Again, thanks for the thorough writeup!