“It’s not you, it’s me.” A shift in focus…

You need to know something about me – I (Caleb) am a research junky when it comes to all things security, firearms, etc.  Since we began One Shot two years ago, I have relentlessly pursued the best way to teach, train, and encourage those who come to us for training.  I consider this a major responsibility and my time in front of people is short – every moment must count.

After taking a Combat Focus Shooting course with industry great Rob Pincus, I knew it was time to make a change in the focus of our classes. Instead of teaching the basics alongside a precision shooting emphasis (stacking as many shots as you can onto the same spot), we are shifting to more a practical defensive shooting focus (stopping the bad guy using the least amount of time and energy). Grant Cunningham, a seasoned CFS instructor, explains the difference in this article.  If you’re not a big reader, skim the first three sections and you’ll get the idea. 

The most popular class we’ve taught is the NRA Basic Pistol Course, nearly 100 people have attended that class over the last two years.  Note: We LOVE the NRA and are retaining our Instructor and Safety Officer certifications through them, no change there.  I couldn’t go any longer, though, without making this shift in our curriculum. The new course is the ultimate mix of basic shooting fundamentals with a focus on defensive shooting in everyday life applications.  If you’ve taken the Basic Pistol course in the past – this is the same material but with more intentional time and a different application on the range. So many former students have indicated on surveys that the range time was the most-beneficial to them, you helped us make this decision!Image

Defensive Pistol: Level 1 is still the best place to begin if you are an inexperienced or slightly experienced shooter.  Afraid of guns? Start here.  Been shooting for years but want some formal training on operation of your pistol? Start here.  Check out the course page for the topical outline and other details.  Dates are being posted soon and a waiting list has been started – get in line! 

Thanks for listenin’,


(If you are a former One Shot Basic Pistol or Carry Permit Class grad, watch your email this week for a special offer.)

What Type of Gun Owner Are You?

As I scrolled through pictures posted by friends and family from Christmas, I came to an interesting realization. There are several different types of “gun people” that exist. I’ll try and describe several of the types and you can decide which group you fit into. You may fit into several of these groups, if so decide if this fits your ultimate goal as a firearms owner.

First you have “the collector.” This is the guy that owns dozens (possible hundreds) of guns. He probably is a carry permit holder and is a staunch 2nd Amendment supporter. Unfortunately, this guy rarely (often times never) seeks out any training. Because of his vast knowledge of firearms… he doesn’t feel the need to go and seek out any kind of training. He might go to the range (or to a friend’s property) and shoot a few times a year or try out a new gun purchase, but that is all. All his friends think he’s good to go in a critical situation, but in all reality this guy is a huge liability. He hasn’t prepared himself, mentally or physically, for a situation in which he would need to use one of his collector’s items to protect himself.

Next you have “the hunter.” This guy is the ultimate outdoorsman. He hunts and fishes all year long. His wife can tell what month it is by what camo he wears and the fresh game they have for dinner. There are mounts on every wall and multiple rifles/shotguns in the safe. The hunter will also have a high probability of having a handgun carry permit, but he too rarely practices with the pistol he carries on his hip. He shoots all the time, there’s no need to go anywhere to get training on how to shoot a gun! (Is my sarcasm thick enough?) He too is believed to be the go to person during a critical life saving situation. The hunter has prepared himself to execute with a firearm in the woods, but has he practiced putting his pistol into use to save his family?

Thirdly we have “the competitor.” This guy has a carry permit and practically lives at the shooting range. He cuts the X out of the target every time he goes to practice. There are probably all sorts of guns in his safe, similar to that of the “the gun collector.” He travels to compete in different types of shooting disciplines like IDPA, IPSC or USPSA. All his friends strive to shoot as fast and accurate as he does. But has he prepared mentally to put that gun into use against a real person that shoots back? Has he thought about how different tactics are required in a real life gun battle, as opposed to gaming it in a competition? How much time has he spent working with a trained professional learning how to take his skills and apply them to a life saving situation?

Somewhere sprinkled in the world of gun owners we find “the hobbyist.” This person may own one gun or several guns. They probably practice shooting once or twice a month. There is also a good chance they have a carry permit as well. He tries hard and means well, but his/her efforts are misguided. Unfortunately with targets being designed the way they are… he is constantly trying to shoot smaller groups. Getting all the shots in the X-ring or as close as he can is the goal. He never takes into account that in a critical situation – he won’t have all the time in the world. He won’t be able to get a perfect stance or a perfect sight picture. There has been no desire to find the balance between speed and precision. One without the other is all in vain when it comes to preparing to protect your own life or the lives of your loved ones.

Lastly, there is another type of gun owner, “the defensive shooter.” This person can be any of the other types of gun owners. The greatest factors differentiating this category are “mindset and training.” The defensive shooter has the proper mindset to respond in a critical situation. Notice I said “respond” not “react.” Anyone can react during a life saving situation, but have you prepared yourself to respond? Do you know what you would do? Have you planned what to do with your family? The defensive shooter also seeks out additional training. He may not learn anything new and life changing during this training, but he tests himself under stress to reinforce the skills that he has developed. Being a student of the gun is the ultimate goal for the defensive shooter. He wants to know that he is as prepared as he can be when everything goes wrong around him.

Which type of gun owner are you? There are others too. Are you the person that bought a gun to keep in your nightstand so you can feel safer at home? Do you carry a gun in your purse, just in case… but you’ve not been to the range in 2 years? People, don’t fool yourselves. Don’t let your pride or your ego or possibly even your fearfulness get in the way of being able to protect yourself. It’s often times said that shooting a gun is like riding a bike, once you learn you never forget. I’ve not ridden a bike in several years; I certainly wouldn’t want to risk my life according to my bike riding abilities. Why would you risk your life to your gun handling skills?

If you are unsatisfied with the type of gun owner you are… make a change in 2014. If you got a gun for Christmas, make the decision now to prepare yourself in 2014 to be able to protect yourself in a critical situation. Hopefully One Shot can assist you with you training needs. If not, let us know and we will do everything we can to support you or point you in the right direction for quality training.  We are currently setting our own personal training schedules now for 2014 involving travel to several defensive shooting schools in our region. Contact us if you are interested in more information.  

Part 2: What is the best gun for a lady?

If you have been fortunate enough (wink wink) to attend one of our NRA Basic Pistol Courses you’ve heard both Caleb and I’s soapbox about girls and guns.  We cringe every time a lady says “this is what the guy behind the counter recommended I get” right before they show us their first gun they JUST purchased. They are often pretty and pink and small – every woman’s dream!  A dream, that is, until they shoot the pretty, small pink revolver or tiny .380 semi-automatic. Three times we’ve been with ladies on the range who are anxious to shoot their cute new guns for the first time.  Two of the three ladies got to 5 rounds fired but all three of them said the same thing after shooting: “I’m never shooting that again!”  SO – there are two things that I’d like to point out:

1: Ladies should NOT default to revolvers or cute little guns that would fit in their pocket.

2: Choosing the right gun for a lady is simple and fun.

Purchasing a gun is an investment.  A controlled explosion is going off in your hand which may result in saving your life or the life of someone you love. Seriously, worth the time! Here’s how we recommend you determine the right pistol for you:

  1. Take a Basic Pistol class so that you can figure out what the heck is going on.  Learn for yourself how a gun works – why is it so dang loud!?!? Learn HOW to shoot correctly, how to aim, how to hold it, etc. We haven’t had a student yet – male or female – who doesn’t walk away from our class able to load, shoot, and unload a pistol.  Revolvers or semi-automatic, either one!  Does the man in your life already know everything he needs to know?  Leave him behind and come to class!  The last thing we cover in this course? WHAT TO ASK YOURSELF WHEN SHOPPING FOR A PISTOL!
  2. Shoot as many guns as you can to figure out what you like/don’t like. You may like the grip of one pistol but not the recoil, or you may really like 9mm but know you want something small enough to carry comfortably in your purse. If you have a friend with a bunch of pistols, hit them up for a range day.  If you don’t have a buddy who’s loaded (literally), this is where I give a local gun range, Coal Creek, a little credit.  On any Tuesday (free range time for ladies), you can go there and for one $10 rental fee and the cost of ammo (which you must buy from them), you can shoot many different guns from their rental case.  They have a decent selection of Glock, Smith & Wesson, Ruger and others.  I (Sarah) love to meet women there and help them in the process of deciding what they like and what they don’t like.
  3. You can purchase from a store, buy new online, or buy used online through a reputable website. We can help you navigate that process also and advise you regarding fair pricing, etc. As a licensed Federal Firearms Dealer, we can process the transfer on any internet gun purchase or may be able to get you a better price.

What is the best gun for a lady? The answer is as different as the lady doing the shopping.  It doesn’t have to be scary – it can be fun with a little preparation!

Be safe!  Happy gun shopping, ladies!

Part 1: What is the Best Gun for a Lady?

We get asked all the time: “What’s the best gun for a lady?”

Ladies, let’s gather around my kitchen table for a moment and chat.  Whether you are young, old, married, single, plump, or thin; you are in charge of protecting yourself. YOU. Often the men in our lives try to nudge (or PUSH/DRAG) us into the gun/shooting/personal protection world. It’s sweet…really!  They want us to be equipped to protect ourselves. They want us to be around a very long time, regardless of what tricky situations we may find ourselves in (downtown late at night, shady grocery store parking lot, broken down car on the highway, etc.).  Other times, there is no man in your life steering you, just your gut instinct that you need the ability to protect yourself. It’s simply impractical to carry a baseball bat everywhere you go, right?!?


When you decide to get a pistol (via peer pressure or self-motivation), there are a few basics you need to consider when deciding whether to get a revolver or a semi-automatic pistol. (If you want the expanded version of these tips call me for a private session or join one of our NRA Basic Pistol courses!)

  1. Revolvers ARE simple. Yes, they are so simple. Put in a cartridge (bullet), pull the trigger, repeat.
  2. Revolvers usually hold 5-7 cartridges and are not easily reloaded if additional ammo is needed in the heat of the moment.  It can be done if you want to make speed reloading a new hobby.
  3. Semi-automatic pistols are a little more complicated.*
  4. Semi-automatic pistols usually hold 6-20 cartridges and are quite simple to reload if needed.
  5. BOTH revolvers and semi-automatic pistols can be found in pretty colors if that’s a deal-breaker.
  6. There are a ba-jillion options for HOW to carry both kinds of pistols – in your bag, in your purse, between your ta-ta’s, etc. The sky’s the limit!

*Other activities I would describe as “complicated”:

  1. Making dinner while talking on the phone
  2. Shaving your legs in a stall shower
  3. Responding to a child who just face-planted while riding his/her bike
  4. Beating level 65 on Candy Crush
  5. Driving a car

Bottom line: you can SO do this!  We want to empower and educate you so that you can make the best decision possible when you choose to purchase a pistol.  Watch for a post later this week with specific steps to choosing the right pistol.

Leave your comment below: Ladies, how did you begin shooting?  Tell us about your first experience!


“I just need to learn to shoot for home protection. I’m not going to being carrying a gun for a living.”

     I don’t know how many times I’ve heard this from friends and students. Let me break something to you… if you carry a gun for protection… You ARE carrying it for a living! If you ever have to use that gun to protect yourself or others, you are doing it to save your life.  Prepare yourself for some truth in love…

     People tend to think that only military and law enforcement officers need to have “advanced” training using their firearms. Again let me break something to you… the only difference between you and a police officer is that they are duty bound to enforce the law – you are not. We both carry firearms to protect ourselves and be able to go home to our families at night. Gun owners, and especially carry permit holders, should be trained to be just as proficient with their firearm as the police.

     Gun owners can be found everywhere screaming about their 2nd amendment rights. The internet, news stories and bumper stickers abound with gun guys fighting for their constitutional rights. Unfortunately I don’t hear many of those people mentioning our responsibilities as gun owners. Whenever you have a right, you also have responsibilities that are part of the package.

     It is our responsibility, as gun owners, to be trained. No, I’m not talking about going to the range and shooting at paper targets. I’m not talking about shooting at cans behind the barn, either. I’m talking about truly learning how to run your gun. When was the last time you practiced drawing from your holster and shooting? Did you put any time constraints on yourself? When was the last time you practiced stepping off line and shooting? It’s a lot harder to hit a moving target… have you practiced that lately? Did you ever think about what you might do if you got injured? Can you run that gun with your support hand? How about reloads… have you practiced reloading that gun with your spare magazine? Do you even carry spare magazines?

     I think you get the point. Many gun owners think that they can go to the range a couple times a year and that’s good enough. Folks, YOU ARE WRONG! If you ever have to use your gun to protect yourself, you are responsible for every round you send down range. Can you tell yourself with 100% certainty that you can own that? Shooting at the range with static paper targets is a lot different than a real gun fight. You will develop tunnel vision and you will lose all fine motor skills. It is your responsibility to prepare for that situation. If you don’t, you are doing a disservice to yourself and those you love. Don’t think that you are prepared because you can shoot tiny little groups at the range.

     If you want to get serious about training, contact us or someone else qualified to help. If not, please leave your guns at home.

P.S. We offer classes for every level of experience in a comfortable, non-intimidating environment.  865.406.7633 / oneshotknoxville.com

“I know how to shoot.”

Typical Target

Nice target, right?  Most of you reading this would say that your target looks similar to this after a few rounds at the range. We see targets like this in class all the time. It’s about average for the majority of shooters out there. I want to take a few minutes to examine how people identify themselves as capable of protecting themselves with a handgun.

These three targets were all shot from 6 yards with a Glock 22:



Which shooter would you say is the best? Everyone would agree that target A is the best, correct? It displays a tight group at center mass.  BUT – what if I told you that all three of these were shot by the same person? They were!  Each target represents a different set of circumstances:

  • Target A was shot under ideal conditions… no rush, no stress, just trying to be as accurate as possible.
  • Target B was shot in sets of 2, while drawing from the holster. We made it more realistic to an everyday situation by drawing from the holster and shooting in sets of 2… adding a little stress… when someone means to do you harm, you won’t slow down to get that perfect sight picture.
  • Target C was also shot in sets of 2, while drawing from the holster, but this time in was in a dimly lit range. This was much more realistic to a majority of the situations when you might have to use your gun… bad guys love the night time.

I’ve heard all the stories…

“I grew up with guns in the house. My dad and uncles and brothers all shot, so I know how to shoot.”

“My dad taught me how to shoot when I was a kid. I used to shoot at shotgun shells with a pellet gun, so I know how to shot.”

‘My uncle’s cousin took me to the range to teach me how to shoot 12 years ago. I shot a bullseye my first shot, so I know how to shoot.”

Folks… I grew up with a mom and younger sister, there were makeup and tampons in the house, but that doesn’t mean I know anything about either of them. My dad taught me to shoot too, but if you’ve not touched a gun since you were a kid, you might need a refresher… unless you plan on using that pellet gun to save your life. And finally, I don’t really care how well you shot 12 years ago… how well did you shoot yesterday, or last week, or last month. If you are not practicing; you will lose any skill that you might have acquired over your lifetime.

I don’t want to seem harsh, but too many people have a false sense of how well they could protect themselves or their loved ones if the need were to arise. One of my greatest fears is to hear about a friend getting into a bad situation where they were not able to defend themselves. In that moment… you will not rise to the occasion, you will not be superman… you will fall to about half of the skill that you have mastered.

So what? Get out and shoot, go to the range, come take a class…take ANY class!  Don’t fall victim to a misconception of your own abilities.

Oh… the group of targets shot by a single person, were shot by a Knox County officer. He spends a large percentage of his training time practicing for low light situations. The target at the top of the page… the one that most of you recognized from your last trip to the range… that was shot by Kailey, my 7 year old.

Are you a “Not-So-Basic” shooter?

Are you hesitant to carry your pistol because you’re not exactly sure what to do if faced with a threat?  Do you need some refresher training regarding carry permit laws and mindset?  Look no farther… <insert superhero music here>

As we see more and more ‘students’ through our NRA Basic Pistol Courses and Handgun Carry Permit Classes, we’re being asked “what’s next?” often.  Shooting is a diminishing skill…in other words, you use it or you lose it.  Don’t get rusty with your skills…WHAT IF YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT? Yes, those words in all caps were on purpose.  

SO…what’s next is our Not-So-Basic Pistol Course.  Designed by One Shot – a one of a kind!  Check out the course description here and sign up.

Mindset: MORE THAN Half the Battle

With permission, we are posting this article, “A Warrior’s Mindset!” from Nicholas Irving.  This content is very relevant as ONE SHOT prepares to release a new class in our training series called “Not So Basic Pistol.” This course will act as a refresher on carry laws but will focus mainly on mindset for armed citizens.  Students will be guided through common scenarios in a way that will help them to decide how to act and react in a situation where it may be appropriate to use a firearm to defend their lives.


“Many of us find ourselves on the range going over shooting drills, or in our living rooms conducting dry fires, week after week, knowing or thinking we will be able to use what we’ve been training for if the time presents itself. Joining the military and deploying at the age of 18 to Iraq in 2005, I had a mindset through repetition after repetition, that I would hopefully be able to use what I’ve learned over the course of training. Luckily for me and others, I was able to resort back to muscle memory and execute what needed to be done, but for some, they weren’t able to.

On a particular deployment to Iraq in 2007, I witnessed something that was hard to believe, especially when deployed with a special operations unit.  A young soldier neglecting to return fire on the enemy due to overwhelming odds, bullets snapping nearby, etc.  It was his first deployment and firefight he had ever been in.  I knew the guy had been through countless hours of training, but when bullets and bombs were aimed at us, he simply froze.  He was immediately sent back home after the mission.  For a while I held a grudge towards him, then I thought to myself, “this job isn’t for everyone.  No man or women for that matter knows how they will react when you’re looking death in face…literally.”  Having a mindset that reacts to danger in a specific way to neutralize the threat comes not only through training, but a certain mindset.  A few years after, I wrote down a few rules that all of my knew guys had to read and live by…a creed.


  1. Under any situation, no matter what it is, you must be able to go from 0-Mach 10 at a moments notice, having no regard for the threats feelings, life, future, or past and think nothing of what you have done.
  2. Rage is your friend. I don’t care what anyone says.  Rage makes you do things most are not willing to do.  Keep that “bottle of rage” with you at all times, even in your dreams while you sleep, you never want to be caught off guard.
  3. Always present yourself as a gentlemen around new faces, but in the back of your mind, have that monster willing to do whatever on standby at a moments notice.
  4. NEVER QUIT!  Death happens to all of us, just let it be on your own terms. Fight until the good man above or whoever you believe in shuts you down.
  5. Take accuracy over speed.  No man has ever won a gun fight missing the opposing threat.  It looks cool shooting a million rounds a second, but….what did you hit?
  6. Read rules 1-5 again.”

Check out this powerful video – a true warrior in action! 

Nicholas Irving is a former U.S. Army Ranger with multiple combat deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan. During his service within the 75th Ranger Regiment, Nicholas served as an Assaulter, Heavy and Light Machine Gunner, and Designated Marksman.

His proudest and most notable position was serving as Sniper. During his time in the Sniper Section, Nicholas attended and completed multiple Sniper Schools and Courses such as U.S. Army Sniper School, Long Ranger Sniper Course, High Angle Sniper Course, and Extreme Range Sniper Course. While his time within the Sniper Section, Nicholas also served as Sniper Team Leader, Squad Leader, and Master Sniper.

Hi, my name is Debbie and I hated pistols.

From a recent grad of Basic Pistol and Carry Permit courses – so proud of Debbie for telling her gun story!

“I was desperately afraid of guns; did not want to be around them, touch them, and certainly not shoot one!  Heaven forbid!  My husband bought a gun and wanted me to learn.  I watched him shoot it first and decided right then and there that I wanted no part of that!  I went in the house and that was the end of it (or so I thought).

Soon after, he signed me up for One Shot’s Basic Pistol Class.  I was sooooo mad!  I do not like guns, I do not want to be around guns, yada, yada, yada.  On the way to class, I was on the phone still fussing about going. This was not how I wanted to spend my night.

After just a few minutes in class, I realized, “Hey!  This is pretty cool!”  After the four-hour instructional part, I felt a lot more confident about the gun itself.  Knowledge eliminated a lot of the fears I had of a gun.  Once I understood how it worked, why it’s loud, how to handle it safely, etc. I had a whole different attitude.  Caleb and Sarah do an awesome job of teaching you what the gun itself is made of, does, etc.  I went home and quizzed my husband (thinking I was now an expert, Ha!)  I felt comfortable holding the gun and loading the gun.  I was not up to great just yet, but I wasn’t afraid anymore.


The second part of the class was actually shooting.  Now that made me nervous!  Another surprise – I enjoyed it!  Caleb and Sarah are wonderful encouragers, especially for first-time shooters.  Recently, I bought my own gun and my husband declared he has now created a monster!  Thank you Caleb and Sarah for all you have done!  You are excellent instructors and I would recommend this class to anyone!”