Downrange Photographers Live To Die / Derp Another Day

It’s clear that I’ll never be operator enough to understand the point of this:


Check out the full video – HERE

What you’re looking at is a screen shot of FXhummel1 shooting his AK with a photographer snapping away no more than a few feet from him and the target.  This has been going on at Buck Yeager’s Tactical Response training school since 2009 (and probably before) for reasons none other than “buy a killer photo of yourself, and an autographed shirtless photo of Yeager after in the gift shop bRah” as far as I can tell.  Well I’m assuming he actually gives the students the pictures, or puts them up on his forum or something… either way it’s retarded.  There is no waiver in the world you could get me to sign that would make me feel comfortable shooting that close to a human being just for “fun”, considering a <$20 remote camera trigger and a tripod would suffice.  Hell I can even hook my tablet up to my digital SLR, adjust all the settings and focus… zoom etc… from it.  Hell even GoPro cameras look decent now and they are cheap enough that it doesn’t matter.

This next screen shot is from 3:14 where FXhummel is doing move while shooting maneuvers around those plastic drums.  He’s shooting… his guy in front of the muzzle the whole time:


It’s sure lucky that guns and ammunition are so clean NOTHING besides the shiny bullet and clean air come out of the barrel.  Also, there have never ever been accidents at shooting ranges even with professional shooters so I’m sure no one ever has anything to worry about.

It’s funny I actually starred the video in my reader to watch someday when I had a chance, but I got two emails today from people who were outraged and said they unsubscribed to FXhummel because of it.  I really don’t get the whole “I unsubscribed!” thing… but people seem to like to tell others they did that because it shows how mad they are.  Like when people tell me they are never reading my blog again after I say something that pisses them off… LOL sure buddy, I’ll pour out some liquor and try not to drown in my tears every time I think about losing one reader (who most definitely is silently coming back daily anyway).


FXHummel1-ENDO-Defend-FreedomFXhummel is wearing a handful of different ENDO Apparel t-shirts in the video you can hit the link to pick up if you’re interested.

Hat tip: Antti, Jerrod



fxhummel1 July 18, 2013 at 04:02 am

When I’m there training, and a photographer is downrange, it causes me to take even greater care, if that’s possible, in placing and taking responsibility for each and every shot I send downrange.

In the moment, I’m not thinking about whether or not the practice of downrange photography is acceptable. I’m not asking myself “Is this practice right or wrong?” I’m considering the fact that there is precious human life in front of me, behind me, and on my sides that I am responsible for not shooting.

Lastly, during the entirety of the class, I never once let my muzzle cross anything I was not willing to destroy.

So if you’ve unsubscribed to me because you were offended that I would include this in my video, I applaud you for taking what you feel was immediate necessary action. Have fun watching videos of people unloading their guns on camera so you know they’re safe.


jpcmt July 18, 2013 at 11:47 am

I think what needs to happen is one student, with balls of course, would need to either ask the photographer to leave his immediate area, or refuse to do drills and risk the scorn of Yeager when he calls you a pussy. Until someone does that, photogs will be at risk and WILL eventually be shot, no doubt about it. I don’t know what kind of range safety Yeager employs before each training session or if he mentions muzzle discipline at all, but whatever it is it’s not complete or very, very negligent. Hopefully he’s not saying “Maintain muzzle discipline, especially when people are in front of you…”

If there’s any concern towards you FXH1, it’s that you didn’t make this bold move and ask the photog to leave your area or that you didn’t protest or withdraw when a photog was down range. This goes equally for others intimidate or fooled into thinking it’s ok to do this practice. Other than that, still love your musical and cinematographic content.


Sean M July 18, 2013 at 07:37 pm

I agree 100% with you fx. My thoughts were exactly that!

As far as folks here getting all worked up about this practice, there’s a very easy solution – just don’t go to a Tactical Response class and you needn’t worry about it! Simple!

I personally did learn a hell of a lot from the Fighting Pistol class that I attended, so if you choose not to go, then you’re missing out.

Lastly, if you think that folks that attend training classes (of any kind) “Just for fun” rather than to improve their shooting (or whatever it is they are training for) then, you are mistaken.

All that aside, I do love ENDO – it always gives me a chuckle!


bandroidx July 19, 2013 at 06:33 pm

All I want to know is, does the cameraman get hazard pay? Because if he doesn’t, Yeager is ripping him the hell off.

Shit happens, people trip, people get bumped into, weapons malfunction, ammo can be defective, people slip, the possibilities of something bad goes on and on.

I don’t care what youtube personailty Yeagar brings in for the course and claims this is safe (good networking for growing channels you guys all go going on i must say), I won’t ever agree with this practice.


Will July 18, 2013 at 05:09 am

fx, you broke an AK bro… didn’t think that was possible!


AJ187 July 18, 2013 at 02:45 pm

FX has the WORST luck with guns I’ve ever seen. lol


Jeff Baker July 18, 2013 at 05:19 am

fx, I won’t unsubscribe from your channel and still think you’re a solid (and entertaining) chap, but trying to defend what’s depicted on the video will, I think, diminish your credibility with your fan base.

I’m a police sergeant in a large Midwestern city, and have 25 years LE experience. We have one of the most stringent patrol rifle training programs in the nation and our instructors are militant about safety throughout the week long (40 hours) certification process we put our guys through in order to carry a carbine on duty. Nevertheless, mistakes are still part of the game. Heat, fatigue, a momentary lapse of concentration, equipment issues and a host of other conditions sometimes get the best of even the most highly trained SWAT personnel – and good people get hurt as a result.

Grist for the mill. I wish you all the best. God bless, and stay staunch.


Jay Gibson July 18, 2013 at 04:40 pm


SittingDown July 18, 2013 at 05:30 am

There’s an award for this…And it’s not an Oscar. ;)


Jay Gibson July 18, 2013 at 04:41 pm

An Emmy.


dave w July 18, 2013 at 05:34 am

If you are not willing to point your gun at someone, whats the point of having it?


Paul July 19, 2013 at 06:39 am

Dave W said “If you are not willing to point your gun at someone, whats the point of having it?”

There is an essential difference between being willing to shoot in self defence and being willing to take an unnecessary risk with someone else’s life.

I apologize in advance if you were being sarcastic and I just totally didn’t get it.


Duke July 18, 2013 at 05:54 am

Why are people so insistent on stopping Darwin’s law?


True Blue Sam aka David Johnson July 18, 2013 at 05:55 am

Came home yesterday afternoon with photos from a shooting event and the wife said, “They’re all butt-shots!” Well, of course. She doesn’t really want me out in front when the shooting is going on, but it’s our little joke. A camera goes on a tripod for those unsafe-looking shots.


SittingDown July 18, 2013 at 06:04 am

“Clevon is lucky to be alive. He attempted to stand downrange at Yeager’s school and got his crotch blown off. [edited for relevance] But thanks to advances in stem cell research and the fine work of Doctors Krinsky and Altschuler, he should regain full reproductive function again. [in the background] Get your hands off my junk!”

“You see, a pimp’s love is very different from that of a square.”

(C) Mike Judge. ;)


Jeff Baker July 18, 2013 at 06:41 am

Here you go, boys. How downrange cameras OUGHT to be deployed as demonstrated by John Holschen, 20 year veteran of the US Army and SOF community:


Suburban Sheepdog July 18, 2013 at 07:04 am

FX: Love your music. I’d never unsubscribe. But we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one.

Having any person downrange who doesn’t NEED to be there is creating a risk that doesn’t have a reason. We do risky things all the time in the name of training or practice and, because training and practice matter, those risks make sense. We go in harms way when there is something worth running the risk of being harmed. The candle is worth the game, as folks used to say when they, you know, used candles. But these practices seem like a guy standing tall on a backlit ridge line in a combat zone, to take a picture of a pretty sunset.

If someone could articulate a pedagogical justification for having a guy downrange taking boudoir shots while you engage a target, then that would be one thing. But no one ever has and I don’t think anyone ever can. The problem isn’t that it’s a risk, but that it’s not a necessary or even a useful risk — indeed it seems pretty much only to be a stunt. As for me, I wouldn’t train where that was the practice. And I have been blessed to train with some top guys, who taught me a lot and never felt the need to this stunt.

Anyway, best to your and your lovely bride as you prepare for “incoming.” I’m excited to see what songs ]Baby Mark 1 Mod 1[ will inspire. I wish both of you happiness — and a sleepy baby.


fxhummel1 July 18, 2013 at 07:30 am

You’re not really disagreeing with me. I put up the video because that’s what happens there. I can honestly tell you I don’t agree or disagree with the practice. It’s what they do. It happens there. The fact that I’ve angered people by showing that, and that somehow me showing that in a video is my 100% endorsement of the practice is ludicrous.

I’m not an angry, 20 something, college attending, make a difference, stand for something, pick a side just to pick a side, stubborn dude anymore. There are things I believe in, yes. I’m not apathetic, trust me, I take the danger involved with a downrange photographer VERY seriously. But I don’t spend a lot of time trying to figure out if the practice is right or wrong. It just is.


Suburban Sheepdog July 18, 2013 at 08:22 am

Well, fair enough, I suppose. I’m not entirely sure you can claim just to be journalisticly documenting the practice, as you also participated in it — and certainly could have chosen not to. So that seems like, if not some kind of endorsement, then at least acquiescence.

Still, this is by no means a “thing” I need to get into with you. You seem like an awfully intelligent guy and you’re entitled to do as you please. As for me, I wouldn’t chose to train where that was the practice, nor would I engage in that practice if it came up in a class I was taking. (And if I were Yeager’s lawyer, I might caution him that there probably isn’t a waiver anyone could sign that would protect him from legal exposure if the the photog catches one. Not sure how much Yeager is inclined to listen to any lawyer, but sometimes listening to us DOES help you stay out of jail and keep all your stuff.)

Still, different horses for different courses (as they used to say when people, you know, rode horses a lot) and I presume everyone was an adult and made reasoned decision about how to behave.

And on this we agree completely: Unsubscribing from a content creator you like in protest — or getting butt hurt over how others chose to act — is unnecessary panty-wadding.


SSGCasper July 18, 2013 at 09:55 am

Suburban Sheepdog,

I am with you 100% on not training with someone who does things that are unnecessarily risky or dangerous. If we as a nation of shooters take nothing else from the Zimmerman trial we should understand that our training and photo/video records of that training will be used to persecute us in a criminal trial even if we were justified in our actions. As the legal process continues I full expect a lawsuit by the Martin family against Zimmerman, where his training (or lack there of) will this time be used against him successfully in civil court. (Not that it should)

FX, Love your music, but with this recent love of all things Yeager I have to wonder why you jumped feet first into the Yeager fan club (at least on your channel) after he got in trouble for threats made online. That alone is why I wouldn’t train with him, as if god forbid you ever do have to use the training he gave, while it might save your life, you will be raked over the coals for the association. Since there are many other training schools out there that don’t have a spokesman/owner getting his CCW revoked and making public death threats it seems smarter to avoid the controversy and get the same level of training elsewhere.

The whole camera thing while needlessly dangerous to the cameraman, and not my cupo’ tea, he is an adult and could at any point say “no thanks” to the paycheck for filming down range. But it does continue to show a reckless nature by Yeager and his school that would be a prosecutors’ and civil lawyers dream to have to point to in a court case against his students. For that alone I find any defense of the actions a little hard to swallow.

That said, keep up the music, and enjoy the training your getting while you can….


Jay Gibson July 18, 2013 at 12:48 pm

The majority of trainers strive for and often achieve status quo.
This is all that their students ask of them.
This is all they are willing to do… they dont get fucked with….on the internet.


jake July 18, 2013 at 12:51 pm

Shooting near a cameraman is not an achievement.


Jay Gibson July 18, 2013 at 03:28 pm

I am the cameraman, and yes it is.


jpcmt July 18, 2013 at 10:13 pm

(This is where we all give a collective *slow clap* to that achievement)


nosbiG yaJ July 19, 2013 at 06:29 am

Well, I hope you don’t take a round to the chest one day if Yeager decides that you don’t think as highly of him as you should.
I don’t know why you do what you do, but I just hope you have a damn good life insurance policy.


Jay Gibson July 19, 2013 at 06:48 am

So you just signed in with my name spelled backwards……you are fuckin creepy.


Ray July 20, 2013 at 08:50 am

Why are you allowing yourself to become ENDO troll bait?

P. Allen July 18, 2013 at 07:54 am

I still don’t get why people freak out about this.


Suburban Sheepdog July 18, 2013 at 08:32 am

If you look, for example, at my post above, I don’t think you can fairly say I “freaked out.” Certainly some folks do (vis. anyone who would un-sub Fx in “protest.”) [Not suggesting you were singling me out — even if your were — just want to have this discussion.]

Disapproving and offering some basis for that disapproval (fairly calm and reasoned basis at that) isn’t freaking out. Instead, these are exactly the sort of discussion that ought to be had by people who care about these issues. In that vein, I’m still waiting for a calm, comprehensive explanation of the value of the practice for trainer civilian self-defense shooters, that rises above the level of “Sack up, you pussy! You afraid of a couple teeny little bullets?” I don’t think that’s freaking out.

Ultimately, trainers like Yeager and (I think) Suarez and (not for nothing) Puzikas will put people down range in their classes if that’s what they want to do. Good on them. And I don’t suppose they “owe” anyone an explanation of anything. But it’d be nifty. These are valid topics of discussion and the discussion — if it’s kept civil and sensible — benefits everyone.


fxhummel1 July 18, 2013 at 08:37 am

You didn’t freak out dude. It’s all good. I think what you are saying is 100% valid.


Jay Gibson July 18, 2013 at 03:53 pm

Me either.


MakoGroup July 18, 2013 at 10:06 am

I don’t support the practice of placing a photographer downrange but seriously, a lot of you guys are so quick to condemn and damn people over participating in stuff like this. The dude was there to take a rifle class, not take the moral high ground and call Yeager out and stomp off the range in protest in what he may or may not believe to be safety violations. If all of you guys are this “serious” about safety, I wonder if you have ever sped on the freeway or not worn your seatbelt, or hooked up with a questionable chick with loose morals after a few drinks. I think statistics would show you would be more likely to get hurt doing one of the mentioned above (see Michael Douglas) then to blast a photographer’s head off at three yards with a rifle. I get that yes, it is unsafe, and I agree with you guys, but damn, people are so quick to throw stones around here as if you live your life completely safe and never ever intentionally or unintentionally break any safety rules.


fxhummel1 July 18, 2013 at 10:47 am

dude, great comment. THANK YOU. For heaven’s sakes…I really do appreciate it.


PJ July 18, 2013 at 10:57 am

Well one reason most of the people here frown on stuff like this is an attempt to publicly shame people for unsafe gun handling in hopes that it will prevent others from doing the same, potentially saving lives. That’s not to mention the bad publicity the entire shooting community gets whenever someone is killed at a range. This is made all the worse if it happens at a training class.

Your examples aren’t equivalent to putting a photographer downrange. Most obviously not wearing a seatbelt or hooking up (in your example) are almost certainly only endangering you. Even driving fast is primarily a danger to yourself and in some circumstances (surrounded by other cars all speeding for example) is probably safer than following the posted speed. Driving fast and hooking up provide a benefit (real or imagined) that can’t adequately be obtained in another way. As mentioned above there doesn’t seem to be any reason for putting a photographer downrange other than taking pictures, which can also be achieved with remote equipment. Also even if statistics could prove those were more dangerous

As a final point (at least in the comments to this post) I don’t see anybody damning fxhummel1 or attacking him personally. We like him. He’s entertaining and seems like a genuinely good guy. What I see being disapproved of is the act of firing while another human being is downrange. Most of the guys here disapprove of that and we know Mike does. When my friends do stupid stuff I call them on it. I don’t want to see them hurt or someone else hurt on their account. Likewise I wouldn’t want to see fxhummel1’s life screwed up because he accidentally shot someone. I’d imagine most of the posters here are the same way.


MakoGroup July 18, 2013 at 11:17 am

I agree with you PJ. I was trying to draw a parallel in that we do far more dangerous things every day than what was shown in the video and most of us accept that and do nothing to stop the behavior or risk taking. And while that does not make it ok, hearing the internet commandos pass judgement, whether validated or not, gets a little old after a while. We watch these videos mostly for entertainment, and a little training. I am not defending Yeager or his practices, but I think we have all seen whether in real life or on the interwebs what can happen when common safety practices are not adhered to. I just find it funny when the outrage and public shaming happens every time something like this comes up.


PJ July 18, 2013 at 10:21 am

Out of curiosity did you know they were going to put photographers downrange before you went or was this something they kinda sprung on you?


fxhummel1 July 18, 2013 at 10:47 am

I’d seen them do it in videos, yes


PJ July 18, 2013 at 11:06 am

I wondered because personally I’d have thought they stopped.

I don’t blame you. If my reply to Mako sounds like that way its because my response was more towards his assuming the general disapproval was a personal attack on you rather than general disapproval of the practice. You were already there and as Mako brought up it’s pretty much either shoot or make a big scene. Given what you’d seen you made a personal call and I don’t know the rest of the circumstances up to that point.

BTW what did you think of Yeager after you met him? Watching his videos I still can’t figure him out. I’ve actually joked about taking one of his courses just to see what he’s like.


Jay Gibson July 18, 2013 at 12:51 pm

Why would I stop.


Fan Speed July 19, 2013 at 06:30 am

Because it is an idiotic practice.


BBJones July 22, 2013 at 10:45 am

Better question: Why do you continue?


Jay Gibson July 22, 2013 at 10:53 am

I always take pictures of our students.


Jim July 18, 2013 at 10:55 am

Gun safety is drilled into people as a very black-and-white issue.

Having the photographer so close to the line of fire blurs that distinction (some you should not shoot is now within your field of view and near the life of fire). It *should* register as “something’s not right here.”

What if the guy trips and falls directly into your line of fire? Heck, HE’S not watching where he steps among piles of shells on uneven terrain.

• Did the photographer signed off on waiving any rights should the shooter or firearm fail?
• Does the facility have the staff and means to address accidents on the spot?
• Are YOU covered in case of an error by you or by your gear, or even by his error?


jake July 18, 2013 at 11:48 am

The photograph knew what he was into as did the shooter so at the end of the end it isn’t my problem. My concern is one day someone slips and makes a mistake and then everyone is on the news and gun owners get profiled badly for it. Whenever doing something risky, which every needs to realize all training is, you have to ask yourself What benefit does this give me?”. If the answer is a cool picture then time to think things over.


Jay Gibson July 18, 2013 at 12:53 pm

When you screw up it doesnt affect me.


jake July 18, 2013 at 12:55 pm

Its does if my screw up is shooting someone else by accident. Makes gun owners look reckless.


Jay Gibson July 18, 2013 at 03:01 pm

So we are all in this together, good.

I do not feel that I can depend on you.


Fan Speed July 19, 2013 at 06:31 am

When you take an accidental double tap to the chest it does, dumbass.


Jay Gibson July 19, 2013 at 06:51 am

Thats not an accident.


David July 18, 2013 at 12:05 pm

I guess some people put their career ahead of their own safety and well-being. Not sure who’s dumber though: the photographer, or the guy who’s shooting (I’m leaning more towards the latter to be honest).


jake July 18, 2013 at 12:07 pm

The whole thing reminds of teenaged being pressured into things because everyone else is doing it.


Suburban Sheepdog July 19, 2013 at 06:51 am

I think there is a strong element of this, or seems to be.

I find it troubling any time a trainer seems inclined to build — or even accept — a pack of acolytes that are tied up in his persona. The Facebook tough talk, the provocative videos, the locker room bluster, the Chuck Norris-y jokes — they all seem to be the opposite of the behavior of the instructors I’ve had whom I value, and who can trace their lineage back to something lasting and of value. Show me a human being who is worshiped, or allows himself to be, and I’ll . . . well, I’ll make you show me from a distance.

Whereas one instructor might make a face book post with a bunch of guns, a stack of cash and some vaguely gangster bravado, the best instructor I’ve ever had — not just firearms instructor, best instructor for anything — tends to have a Facebook page discussing camping and jazz music. There are guys who would be better placed as high school history teachers who run their line in a way designed to remind you every 15 minutes that they are a BAMF who has BTDT. Then there are guys who really are kind BAMF, but run their line in such a way you might take them for high school history teachers

As between the two, I know with whom I’d rather train — and fight. I’ve been privileged to know and work with some truly valiant men — none of whom ever needed to tell me how brave they were.


Jay Gibson July 19, 2013 at 08:22 am

I dont have a Facebook….you all have implied the rest.


Suburban Sheepdog July 19, 2013 at 09:12 am

Jay, you DO understand, don’t you, that not all of this discussion — indeed, not even most of this discussion — is about you personally, right?

Please feel free to wear whichever of the shoes fit. But at issue here are, well, issues — you know: concepts, ideas, broad policy considerations, pedagogical technique, doctrine, mindset, philosophy even.

If you are stuck on taking everything here personally, or even thinking it is about you, maybe spend some time with this kid:


Jay Gibson July 19, 2013 at 04:17 pm

Not at all, if you should find yourself in Camden you would find me a humble and gracious host.


Jay Gibson July 18, 2013 at 12:57 pm

Fxhummel1 dude I would stand next to your target everyday and no days off.


Suburban Sheepdog July 18, 2013 at 01:06 pm

I’m still looking for someone to explain the value of the practice to me.

In training, everything needs to serve a purpose or have a role in the instruction. That purpose ought to be reasonably easy to articulate. Simply doing something because “it is not the status quo” isn’t a justification in itself.

To use silly examples, I know of no firearms training where members of the cadre inflict and then treat a small-caliber bullet wound to every student, or requires ever student to shoot drills barefoot, or insists that all students wear plaid.

Certainly putting a photog or fellow student downrange is more common than any of those three practices. (I mentioned three trainers above who engage or have engaged in it, compared to none for intentional GSWs, bare feet or tartan.) So can someone tell me what it is supposed to accomplish, or what it is supposed to accomplish better/more easily/faster/more lastingly than can be accomplished in a class without that practice?


Jay Gibson July 18, 2013 at 02:44 pm

” I have too much to lose if I….”

YES. You have everything to lose if you do not.


ern July 20, 2013 at 08:57 am

It doesn’t accomplish anything that couldn’t be accomplished more safely with readily available, inexpensive equipment. There’s no advantage at all, nothing gained, which is why it’s a silly risk to take. Like the lady that straps herself to the spinning wheel to act as a target for a circus knife-thrower, it’s a *stunt* and nothing more.


SerbWizard July 18, 2013 at 01:41 pm

This is pretty f-d to say the least. If I was in a class and someone tried to pull this crap I would load my stuff up and just go home. The cameraman is putting himself in a bad situation, and the shooter is stupid for even allowing the guy to stand there so he can look cool on video. Buy a tripod, and other accessories so you don’t look so irresponsible towards yourself, others on the range and gun owners in general.


Jay Gibson July 18, 2013 at 02:46 pm

Defend your limitations and they become yours.


Suburban Sheepdog July 18, 2013 at 07:17 pm

“Defend your limitations and they become yours.”
— Jay Gibson

“Do or do not. There is no try.”
— Yoda

With respect, Jay, that’s a nifty aphorism, and it appears you approve of the practice — I think — but it’s not an explanation of its utility. I’m honestly not kidding, certainly not trolling you. As i stated above: “In training, everything needs to serve a purpose or have a role in the instruction. That purpose ought to be reasonably easy to articulate.”

So, please, can you articulate what this practice accomplishes that cannot be accomplished in in its absence? Or what it accomplishes better?


Jay Gibson July 19, 2013 at 06:13 am

I cant take credit for the saying though. I am just taking pictures, it has nothing to do with the drill(s).
Every now and again some guy finds this and the dogpile ensues. He says “If I was there I would blah blah…” He doesnt doubt his ability because he cant, he doubts it because he wont.
Then there is the guy worried about waivers, lawyers,creds, and what may be said about him on the interwebs. Its all crap. No piece of paper can keep you safe (as no painted line on the ground) as no drivers license can keep you out of a wreck. Worrying about the wrong stuff….Front sight and Trigger.
Next if I continue this practice , you “responsible ” gun owners will feel the wrath of the anti-gun crowd. Nothing you or I say will appease them , we are better off just getting on with it. They are coming after us no matter for what and for how long.


fxhummel1 July 18, 2013 at 07:35 pm

Jay, next time I see you I’m gonna buy you a beer. Or ten.


Jay Gibson July 19, 2013 at 06:23 am

Thanks man, looking forward to it.


Jim P. July 18, 2013 at 08:04 pm

I could see having a photographer downrange on a “cold” range with the shooters acting like they are shooting.

But that the photographer is moving in and out just is dangerous. He could stumble and move the shooter in the wrong direction. A round can hang, misfire or otherwise be off-target.

There is no way that I would ever do it.


Jay Gibson July 19, 2013 at 04:19 pm

That wouldnt make a very good picture, though.


Jerry Nuss July 18, 2013 at 08:42 pm

There is a utility to it besides getting more interesting photographs. The shooter needs to be aware of the target, and what is around the target and not just what is behind the target. The photographer is not directly in front of the muzzle but in a lane to the side or below the shooter. The photorapher actually helps the shooter experience a more three dimensional shooting experience that simulates real world situations. Think active killer in a movie theater or school where people are moving all around the shooter.

In the military and now as a LEO I frequently have people move in front of me. If it is clear I shoot or stay aimed in, if I need to divert my muzzle I do and let them pass. The photographer in the photo above is a close personal friend of mine. He is far from reckless and is well informed and has done a risk/benefit analysis of what he does.

The students in the class are briefed about the photographer and how to let the photographer move around. If the student is uncomfortable they can tell the photographer they are not comfortable and the photographer moves to a spot that is acceptable to the student. This has happened hundreds of times. It is not an issue. Another factor that gets considered is the actual student shooter. The instructor spends most of the time behind the firing line teaching and observing. He knows who he can and can’t move around safely. The shooters that are following instruction and doing things correctly get the photographers attention and subsequent better quality experience and photographs.

I understand peoples concerns. I has a lot to do with conditioning and experience. Most people are taught to stay out from in front of shooters and stay on line. Yet these same people are comfortable driving on a two lane road with a car coming at them in the opposing lane a couple of feet away.

Approach things with an open mind. Everything in life has a risk benefit relationship. Don’t live your life in fear.


Suburban Sheepdog July 19, 2013 at 04:39 am


Thank you. Sincerely, thank you.

That is by far the most complete explanation I’ve seen and I appreciate you taking the time to offer it.


Jerry Nuss July 19, 2013 at 07:19 am

There is value in everything, sometimes it is not always easily seen. No, thank you for being open minded yet a critical thinker. The world needs a lot more people with the qualities that you possess.


Jeff Baker July 18, 2013 at 09:01 pm

Jerry, if you’re prior military and current LEO, you know there have been members of the Armed Forces shot in live fire training exercises, and you’re also aware we’ve lost some highly trained, well disciplined cops to fatal miscues on the range as well; if it can happen to them, it can happen to a photographer.

In the final analysis, proponents of what’s depicted on the video are in a losing battle to mitigate the practice. That none of the Tier One instructors (e.g. Haley, Vickers, Rogers, Costa, McNamara et al) can be seen deploying live human beings downrange from the business end of rifles being fired by students, many times students with little to no combat experience, should tell you something.



Jay Gibson July 19, 2013 at 06:16 am

Ken Hackthorne


Jay Gibson July 19, 2013 at 06:20 am

My Mom says that I am Tier One.


Fan Speed July 19, 2013 at 06:34 am

Does daddy Buck Angel say that too?
Honestly, I want to see Bucky Yeager shoot somebody in an entirely unjustified case, such as calling him a little bitch who runs and hides.
This would put his dumb ass in jail, where he can’t put any more innocent lives at risk.


Jay Gibson July 19, 2013 at 06:53 am

Dude, you are about fuckin crazy.


Jerry Nuss July 19, 2013 at 07:23 am

I still don’t know what Tier 1 is. When I was in it meant the units that got the large share of the budget. We considered the whole Air Force and Navy Tier 1.


GreenMountain Human July 18, 2013 at 09:34 pm

I’ll never understand the practice of putting people downrange at a training class, and personally I would never shoot at a class that puts people in this position, but I’m not here to condemn or internet judge anyone. I just hope the “schools” that engage in this have some kind of insurance or fund set up in case of an unlikely but awful worst case scenario. Also, unless these downrange photogs are single, and with no children, they are being very irresponsible. Otherwise, they really need to re-evaluate what family means to them… Even if they have great life insurance, or something set aside for their kids/spouse, it’s not worth it and money does not replace the hole in one’s heart/soul/life that a dead loved one leaves.


Jerry Nuss July 18, 2013 at 10:03 pm

Green Mountain Human,

I understand your concern and the photographers have considered what they are are doing and have accepted the risk, just like people that go horseback riding, ride motorcross, cheerlead, do gymnastics, or play soccer. Most of those activities we would not consider dangerous but they are way more dangerous than what the photographer is doing. People only get concerned when they see or experience something that is out of the norm for them.

When you state the photographer is being irresponsible if he has dependents a person could counter anyone that drives a car or god forbid rides a motorcycle on a public road is irresponsible. My point is we all know people that drive or ride, some of us may even do it ourselves, the photographer has considered the risks and benefits. He made the informed choice freely.

Jeff, I agree with you. But again the photographer is doing it informed and of his own free will. And no one is forced or coerced to shoot around him. And no students are required to go down range or participate in anything they feel is unsafe or uncomfortable. The photographer may be violating a traditional range rule but he is not violating any firearm safety rules. I can not speak as to what the instructors you mentioned do because I do not know them personally. As for Tier 1, whatever that means, I put Jay Gibson right there with Tom Givens, John Farnam, Clint Smith, and James Yeager.


denver chris July 19, 2013 at 12:38 am

I don’t really care either way for this – I’m kind of over getting my knickers in a bunch over what other people do.

My big thing is reducing risk – how can I reduce my risk of being a target of burglary, how can I be safer in day to day stuff, wearing my seatbelt, going to the needle exchange before I shoot up meth, ect. – and with that being said, I might just be missing something, but why not just toss up a tripod and eliminate the risk of a tossed shot completely? It’s not like the classes are cheap, it’s a pretty inexpensive insurance policy. It’s not that I’d expect a shot to be tossed, nor is the average shooter in these classes incapable of – with 100% reliability -making a 5′ shot, but why risk it? I said this in my last post, but is all this just part of an elaborate troll just to piss off safety sallies?

If people want to do this, let them do it…it’s not like they don’t know the risks.


Jay Gibson July 19, 2013 at 06:18 am



denver chris July 19, 2013 at 02:53 pm

…what an incredible post, thanks Jay Gibson!


Jay Gibson July 19, 2013 at 04:20 pm

Thank you.


M Gallo July 19, 2013 at 08:21 am

Fucking clownshoes; creation of unecessary risk in a recreational/entertainment setting.

If you’re going to do stupid shit, please shave the ‘hawk, as you make those of us who have ‘hawks and aren’t idiots look bad.


fxhummel1 July 19, 2013 at 12:49 pm

My sincere apologies to you and every other gentlemen with a mohawk. I never intended to make you look bad. I know up to this point, those of us with ‘hawks have been considered by most to be the pillars of society, and I have unfortunately sullied that reputation. Please forgive me.


SPQR July 19, 2013 at 08:26 am

Pure fail. This is a great way to sort out the incompetent “school” outfits from the good ones. Putting out video that shows their incompetence.

And extra points for showing up in comments with more fail to confirm, fx.


fxhummel1 July 19, 2013 at 12:51 pm

You’ve confirmed it. I’m incompetent.


Jay Gibson July 19, 2013 at 04:21 pm

You arent signing up for those either.


Tam July 19, 2013 at 10:49 am

I gotta hand it to these guys; they’re getting to be almost impossible to parody. Are we absolutely sure this isn’t some elaborate decade-long Poe’s Law troll of the firearms training industry?


Steve July 19, 2013 at 10:53 am

I don’t care how many of my favorite YouTube personalities Yeager trots out. I don’t agree with this, and never will. It’s a stunt, and and a stupid stunt at that. It’s like some sort of signature pointless act. It has nothing to do with the training, and it has nothing to do with proficiency. And it shows lack of respect for the power of firearms. It may well never come back to bite him in the ass. But if it does, tell it to the guy that takes the round again why it was necessary.


John Boch July 19, 2013 at 02:58 pm

Won’t happen at any of my classes.

Reckless. Dangerous. Stupid.


Jay Gibson July 21, 2013 at 06:41 am

Front sight and Trigger


GreenMountain Human July 19, 2013 at 03:29 pm

I think I’ll sign up for Carnik Con’s super carbine course instead. Dugan Ashley is my kind of operator. Maybe Richard Ryan can be a guest instructor and show how to use a remote camera and not put a human being downrange. In glorious slow motion to boot. Those guys are Tier 1 at what they do in my opinion
Yeah, obviously I know they aren’t training instructors, but I’d 100% 10/10 operate with them over taking a Tactical Response course. The swagger and bluster image Yeager puts forward is bad enough, putting people downrange is just off the chain. The armchair operators here can try to justify it all they want, but it makes no logical sense whatsoever. I’d like to see more instructors who would never put a photog downrange weigh in here. Thanks John Boch for doing this already.


Jay Gibson July 19, 2013 at 04:25 pm

What mythical operation are you guys going to choose to invent reasons not to go on?


fxhummel1 July 19, 2013 at 04:40 pm

I wonder if anyone for, against, or neutral to this discussion will be convinced to change their mind on account of anyone posting anything here.

The reality is, I would train both at Tactical Response and other fine training establishments where downrange photography is not permitted. And I know Yeager and those guys train all around, no doubt at many places that do not allow the practice of downrange photography.

I respect the opinions of those who disagree with the practice. To me, there are various degrees of ‘downrange’ photography. In a way, the proximity Jay is to the firing line, in other words, he is only a few feet in front and directly in between each rifle on the firing line, is less dangerous than say, if the firing line was shooting at targets at mid range to longer distances. I hope that makes sense. The “downrange photography” only happens at very controlled, very close distances. Will this fact change anyone’s mind? Most likely not, but I thought I would mention it none the less. Also, during these, for lack of a better term, photo shoots, we are shooting at very close IPSC targets directly in the center of the brain box and heart. I feel the danger of downrange photography would increase exponentially when pulling further and further away from the cardboard targets and photographer.

Am I ‘comfortable’ with a downrange photographer. No, I am not ‘comfortable” with it. It takes my already heightened alert state, the state I’m already in when handling a hot weapon preparing to shoot, and takes it up a notch. I could never see any reason to swing my barrel so far in the wrong direction that I’m shooting anywhere near between my and the student next to me’s targets (I.E. where the photographer stands). But I also recognize it ‘could’ happen if you were a rather clumsy, stupid person.

Yeager always encourages everyone to train with as many different trainers as possible. I am still in the ‘learning’ phase of firearms training. I’m sure there will be places I will train in the future that will not allow downrange photography. That’s absolutely fine. But realize that when, in the future, I potentially train at those places, it will not mean I now think that what Tactical Response does is “wrong.” I choose to be a student, and I want to learn from teachers who know infinitely more than me.

I think some people think that because I love training at Tactical Response, I must believe that everything they do is the best/only way of doing things. I do not. It’s their way. I like training there. Yeager is a good dude. You can argue with me all you want. I’m not saying he’s perfect. But he is good. I’ve seen him go out of his way time and time again to help people, to be generous to people that don’t necessarily ‘deserve’ it, and just do good things. I can hear it now, “Oh here we go, another Yeager fanboy.” I’m happy to call Yeager a friend now. And I’m really, REALLY happy that my friends don’t expect me to always act in perfect ways and say perfect things. I’m not even here to defend Yeager. He’s a grown ass man, he doesn’t need me to do that.

Whenever a debate like this rages on and on, people tend to pick hard and fast sides. I know many are sided ‘against’ me now. That’s ok. Just know that I don’t feel the same way. I’m happy to be friends with folks I disagree with, whether disagreeing about minor or major issues. So if you hate my guts and think I’m a dumbass today, I understand, but if you ever feel like it, I’d be happy to return to just friends, internet acquaintances, or whatever.

Now, I know I didn’t change anybody’s mind. But I thank you for expressing your opinions in this thread and challenging me to take a close look at what I deem “acceptable” practices. Believe me, I’m not so thick headed that I don’t consider valid arguments on a given issue.


Jordan (a.k.a. fxhummel1)


Jay Gibson July 19, 2013 at 05:19 pm

Some concepts such as Mindset and Philosophy were brought up earlier.

My issue is that I expect greater things from the gun toting person than I do the general populace.
You are the guys that stop the school, mall, theater shootings. So when you invent reasons to NOT prepare yourselves and ENCOURAGE others to join in under the guise of protecting us from some abstract notion of rules, range safety or this Neverland known as downrange is very disappointing .

My Mindset is this ….Instead of thinking ” If I do this or that I could get in trouble or sued or Im not covered for this…”
Think …”What if I dont….” Then skin that roscoe and shoot that damned target !!
There are plenty of people standing around, NOT doing anything …and you will have to shoot past them. YOU will be the one…not the cops or military folks….just you.
I apologize if I have offended anyone here, unless you are a douche, I invite you to join our discussion forum for more discussion on Mindset . There are some men and women there with a lot more to say.


dave w July 19, 2013 at 04:53 pm

I dont see the problem, he will be safe, its not like hes wearing a hoodie.


Jay Gibson July 19, 2013 at 05:20 pm

Hoodies are like puppies, that you can wear.


dave w July 19, 2013 at 09:10 pm

did you say puppy? shoot it shoot it! /cop mode


absuperman July 19, 2013 at 06:01 pm

Man, after reading about people unsubbing FX over this whole ordeal I gave him a call. Let me just go ahead and tell you…that poor guys hasn’t been able to sleep since this was posted, and I’m talking the dude hasn’t even been able to take a nap. At least two people unsubbed him on YouTube, and those are just the ones we know about. I’m mean who knows it could be as many…like…4 or 5. He’s all tore up, I’m worried about him. Hang in there FX, we are rooting for you.


Jay Gibson July 19, 2013 at 06:14 pm

Fuck those dudes, they were timid souls.


Kristophr July 19, 2013 at 07:12 pm

I don’t give money to imbeciles who put people at needless risk.

And doubling down on the stupid by trying to defend this insanity makes me even less willing to train with you.

Go ahead and tell me I’m too timid and that you don’t want me in your class anyway. The more you post here, the more likely someone else will see this and make the decision to patronize someone who is not fucking insane.


Jay Gibson July 19, 2013 at 08:04 pm

You arent training anywhere now, what difference does it make?


Kristophr July 20, 2013 at 04:33 pm

I’ve paid for training in the past. I will pay for training in the future.

I don’t spend money on idiotic and self-destructive clowns like you.


Jay Gibson July 21, 2013 at 06:42 am

Front sight and Trigger…..that was free.


ThomasD July 19, 2013 at 07:17 pm

Set a high quality mirror where the photographer is, angle it to the shooter’s left. Have the cameraman stand to the shooter’s left and focus at the image in the mirror.

Exact same shot, and minimal risk of ventilating the cameraman.


Jerry Nuss July 19, 2013 at 07:39 pm

What if the mirror gets shot and the glass flys back and hits the shooter? Seriously it is a good idea. It would be even safer to just take head shots of the students then photoshop them on the bodies of people doing poses. No rounds would need to be fired and through the magic of digital effects an awesome pic could be produced.

But maybe Jay just likes to take photographs and took it upon himself to get in front of the shooters to get better quality action shots. He was never told to do it, he just did it. I can think of thousands of examples where photographers put themselves in harms way to get a photograph.

The shooters that feel uncomfortable with the photographer downrange can ask Jay to move, not point a gun in his general direction, holster or let the rifle or shotgun hang.

It is his choice.


Dave July 19, 2013 at 08:41 pm

There are times and places to have students/instructors/other people downrange during training courses (if you’ve ever been in an instructional period that -saliently- (not egregiously) included the Serpentine then you probably know what I’m referring to).

In all of those situations, ‘taking pretty pictures’ is not one of those reasons to have people downrange. All of this talk about, ‘ensuring the shooter knows where the target is’ etc ad nauseum is just that, talk. Talk and bullshit.

Is a drill with a training partner standing between transition targets valid? Though an advanced drill, the answer is yes; it is valid but has a place in some small communities and but certainly not for, ‘feel good’ or, ‘GP’ use. They are very specific drills for a very exact audience. Your basic Level 1 class is not appropriate for that kind of drill. Not at all.

Have there been catastrophic accidents when doing such a drill? Absolutely. There are several documented examples. A bee sting or a sneeze by -either- party can turn quickly turn one of these drills from, ‘oh this is awesome!’ to a sucking chest wound or DRT in a split second.

Hell, there are -plenty- of examples of people dying in far less arrant circumstances during live-fire training events. Yes yes, anything having to do with live fire weaponry is dangerous; that isn’t a reason to roll the dice with a random selection of people and mutter, ‘Inshallah’.


Jay Gibson July 19, 2013 at 09:12 pm

I think you are referring to the Snake drill. If anybody gives a shit, each time I have been struck with bullets I have been UPRANGE, behind this magical line of safety. So there is no downrange, uprange, or any other kind of range. The entire world is downrange, and I wasnt even holding a camera.
Look around in your room and house, no lines, limits,or flags or any of that.
Next you will qualify it by saying its ok in a Level Blah or Blah course….presumptuous.
The only thing between this level or that is the physical act of doing it.
I know….all the reasons NOT to, bees, sunspots, werewolves, and pregnancy….

Defend your limitations and they become yours.


Dave July 20, 2013 at 05:36 am

Do you just have standard lines you spit out on demand? Your reply is completely (entirely!) Straw-man and nothing more.


Jay Gibson July 20, 2013 at 05:45 am

Yeah…sounds like I am getting close.


Dave July 21, 2013 at 09:37 pm

You are being either intentionally obtuse, intellectually dishonest, or some combination thereof. That said, Hanlon’s Razor may just as well apply…


Jay Gibson July 22, 2013 at 06:37 am


When it is time to shoot there is only front sight and trigger.


busdriver July 19, 2013 at 09:13 pm

What I have taken away from this discussion is that acclaimed muzzle-end photographer Jay Gibson is about halfway between my alcoholic uncle and the timecube guy on the crazy scale and that even if he were to catch a bullet while framing a shot from downrange it would be no great loss to society.

Stand wherever you like my friend. Not sure if you have a full grasp on the potential consequences of your choices or not but I am most certainly sure that I don’t really give a toss.


Jay Gibson July 19, 2013 at 09:40 pm

Thanks, I will.


Jay Gibson July 19, 2013 at 09:43 pm

Everyones time comes, think of how you want to go.


denver chris July 19, 2013 at 11:40 pm

If this is your train of thought, what happens if someone pulls a shot and a photographer gets shot? Gravestone reads:

“Here Lies the aforementioned photographer whom was the victim of an untimely and completely preventable death”

Again, I don’t really have too much investment in people doing this, other than I personally think it’s a useless risk that can easily be eliminated by a tripod. I’m not implying it’s likely, but there’s always the risk.


Jay Gibson July 20, 2013 at 05:05 am

There is a risk, and it doesnt matter where you are standing
Hell you had more close calls on the drive to the range.

Once you get there you gotta worry about Sitting Down and Fan Speed putting one in you from the next lane while they finger bang their 1911s….trying to get unloaded…for safety, I guess.


denver chris July 20, 2013 at 06:25 am

Nah, I dunno if that analogy really works. I think a more apt analogy between standing downrange and driving to the range is standing out in the middle of the freeway…you’re directly putting yourself in harms way, leaving all the control to factors other than yourself, directly in a potentially dangerous spot


Jay Gibson July 20, 2013 at 04:03 pm

No analogy works.


denver chris July 20, 2013 at 04:32 pm


“you had more close calls driving to the range” comparing driving to being as risky as standing downrange while live ammo is being fired? do you even draw parallels, bro?

I have nothing else to say on the matter.


Jay Gibson July 20, 2013 at 07:46 pm

Bro, I hope you nothing else to say.


denver chris July 21, 2013 at 03:41 am

lol, well, I lied. If all you can do is come back with some half-assed retort and/or a URL when I pose a valid question, I’m really, really, REALLY not impressed with your outfit. Your logic is flawed, and as I said I don’t really care either way. It’s not going to be my ass standing downrange, that’s all I know. Did you even read anything I’ve posted?


Jay Gibson July 21, 2013 at 06:44 am

Would an answer make a difference.

SittingDown July 20, 2013 at 08:26 pm

That’s golden tiger striped 1911s and deagle brand deagles with shiny vampire chrome. We iz experts. ;)


SittingDown July 20, 2013 at 12:46 am

This deserves it’s own bad song ripoff attempt…

I am Jay Gibson (To the tune of Titanium by David Guetta)

fxhummel shot it out,
But I can’t take a picture you say
I’m downrange and nearly died today
I’m nearly killed by bullets flying my way
Aim straight, or I may never get up

I’m not bulletproof, Yeager has too much to lose
Don’t fire away, don’t fire away
It’s Gibson! Hey, careful with your aim
Don’t fire away, don’t fire away
If you shoot me down, the flickr stream calls, watch the balls
I am Jay Gibson, ya’ll
If you miss and shoot me now, I like my t-shirts in XXX-Small
I am Jay Gibson……ya’ll

T-shirts small and loud
But it was free from Spike’s Tactical
Ghost ring sights on my SLR, that is all
Raise your muzzle, flying projectiles make me seem real cool
That other Gibson said it best
Aim small miss small, in that movie Patriot, says it all.

I’m not bulletproof, Yeager has a lot to lose
Don’t fire away, don’t fire away
Hey careful with your aim
Don’t fire away, don’t fire away
If you shoot me down, the flickr stream calls, just watch the balls
I am Jay Gibson, afterall
If you miss and shoot me now, I like my t-shirts in XXX-Small
I ain’t titanium

Not hard at all, but I operate Nikons for Yeager’s place
My curtain might call, but for the photo I’ll take a fall
Operate, with a blank slate, it’s too late

If you miss and shoot me now, I like my t-shirts in XXX-Small
I am Jay Gibson, ya’ll
Bury me with my SLR, and I don’t mean the car
I am Jay Gibson, afterall
Yeager’s photographic star, the one who went too far
I ain’t titanium
I chose my path, life wasted trying to hone my craft
I ain’t titanium…but…
I am Jay Gibson

[music fades]


Jay Gibson July 22, 2013 at 06:38 am

Hell, now I gotta look this Guetta guy up.


Crunkleross July 24, 2013 at 06:55 am

Just watched Fxhummels combat “run” on the VigSpecter video, to put it nicely he needs a lot more experience before shooting around live non targets.


Jay Gibson July 24, 2013 at 06:48 pm

YouTube Dr. Paul Whitesell’s speech on Heraclitus.

His 2cents are worth $37.50


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