Armed Response-Handguns 101



Video Training for Self Defense

Learning about firearms can be intimidating for the new shooter.  Negative stereotypes of gun store employees, bad experiences at a range and caustic responses to questions from Internet forum members can keep an inexperienced shooter from learning about firearms and self-defense.

Fortunately, there are a variety of new-shooter friendly resources available if you know where to look.  The Armed Response video training series is one of those places to look.
The Armed Response series is a collection of DVDs produced by veteran gun and tactics writers David Kenik and Ralph Mroz.  The videos cover a wide range of topics including defensive shooting tactics, the legal aspects of the use of force, the use of white lights, using a laser aiming device and various drills to help you develop the skills you need in a gunfight.

In all, there are ten titles currently available.  Three additional titles are in production now, covering the home defense shotgun, snub nose revolvers and close distance defensive shooting.

For this article, I reviewed the Armed Response video titled Handguns 101: A Guide for New Shooters.

Handguns 101: A Guide for New Shooters

Handguns 101 is a wealth of information for the new shooter.  The entire video runs for more than three hours.  Mroz covers a lot of ground in 18 different sections, including:

• handgun types
• sights and sight alignment
• calibers
• bullet designs
• effects of recoil
• how to choose a handgun
• how to function test a handgun
• modifications to handguns
• gun safety and safe storage
• basics of handgun operation – loading, unloading, grip, etc.
• skill building drills
• cleaning & maintenance
• how to choose a holster

Mroz also covers common jargon used in the gun culture.  For example, he discusses the differences between rounds, bullets and cartridges.  I believe that many a new shooter will have at least one “ah-ha!” moment when they will suddenly grasp some arcane bit of slang they’ve heard.
One excellent section of the video is on fitting the gun to the hand. Mroz talks about the importance of finding a gun that fits your hand, and how to obtain a proper grip on the gun to check for fit.

Mroz does a fantastic job in explaining how to obtain a proper grip on your handgun, and uses the video to illustrate exactly what he means.  With the explanation and video demonstration, it is very clear to the novice how to properly grip the handgun.

Finding a gun that properly fits your hand is a very important aspect to accurate shooting, yet it seems to be one that is frequently overlooked by many people and instructors.  I am glad to see that Mroz not only brings the issue up, but clearly explains the idea and demonstrates how to check for good fit.

The videos have good production quality and the sound is very clear.  The videos are definitely professionally shot and edited.

During this video, Mroz does all of the instruction.  Mroz, a former police officer and director of the Police Officers Safety Association, is in his element while he is teaching.

The Handguns 101 video is not available directly from the Armed Response site, but is instead available from DeSantis Holster & Leather Goods (  The video is only $19.95.

All of the other videos in the series are available on the Armed Response website ( and range in price from $24.95 to $34.95.

Final Analysis

Mroz does a very good job of slowing down and explaining many of the aspects of shooting a handgun.  A novice will be able to keep up with the content, without feeling “talked down to.” 
Older hands at shooting will know much of the information in this video, and may want to skip ahead to another title in the series such as the Fundamentals of Defensive Shooting or Tactics & Techniques for Defensive Shooting.  I have watched other videos in the Armed Response series, and Mroz definitely covers some more advanced tactics.

Videos are not a substitute for quality training with an instructor on the range.  However, it is frequently hard to find time to attend training classes.  Quality videos can be a big help in learning the skills you need for personal protection, with the benefit of being available whenever you have the time.

If you are relatively new to shooting, or have recently considered carrying a firearm for self-defense, this video is an excellent place to start your learning.