The Oral Histories Project evolved from an idea that Tom Givens had back in 2016 for a possible new book. More and more people were hanging out shingles as firearms instructors, and Tom realized that many in this new generation of trainers were increasingly disconnected from the origins of formal civilian defensive pedagogy. Young trainers were more distanced in time and philosophy from the likes of Col. Jeff Cooper and other giants of modern pistolcraft, and Tom worried that this could jeopardize the quality of instruction.
To help solve this problem, Tom initially set out to write a book documenting the storied development of modern handgunning and the historical contexts from which today’s favored defensive tools and techniques emerged. In doing so, he hoped to give the next generation of trainers a road map from the past, so they could still be free to innovate but without losing sight of where we came from.
As part of his research for the proposed text, Tom scheduled interviews with some of today’s renown firearms instructors. He carefully selected instructors whose longevity, first-hand experience, and deep respect for history could be useful resources for up-and-comers following in their footsteps. Before long, Tom realized that instead of reducing these interviews to a hard-bound text, they might reach a broader audience through publication here on the Rangemaster website. And so, the Oral Histories Project was born.
Each of the interviews will be featured here on the Oral Histories web page for all to enjoy. Over the coming months, we will reveal several new interviews, including transcripts and audio recordings. We encourage all firearms trainers to heed the sage words of these respected industry leaders, as no one can successfully blaze new trails without fully understanding their past.