On the Shoulders of Giants

October 6, 2015  
Categories: Learnin'

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On the Shoulders of Giants

Anthony Winegar

The words are mine, but the ideas were forged in blood by very special men and women. While most of the influences in my professional career are still alive, I have chosen some photos of those that are not. I try to live as humbly as possible, because no matter how good I get, it is only because I sit on the shoulders of giants who paved the way for me (thanks JD).

Here are some lessons I’ve learned over the years; I encourage you to develop your own and share them with your comrades.

Kris Eggle Memorial 2

1. There are three aspects to any violent encounter: chance, circumstance, and the will to fight. The first two are at least partly out of your control and always will be, but the will to win us up to us. To win, we have to fight back and break our enemy’s will. Sometimes the “fuck anybody who isn’t us” attitude isn’t all bad.

2. Just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should. Never confuse enthusiasm with skill. And remember that speed kills, so recognize when it is in your favor and when you are going too fast.

3. If you do not possess the skills, tools, or momentum to win the fight, you MUST break contact immediately or wait for a lull in the fight to try and regain momentum. Fight if you have to or are reasonably sure you can win it with the tools that you have at that moment. But be honest with yourself, be capable of applying tactics that fit, and do it quickly and early.

4. Think of your abilities in terms of money – if you only have ten dollars’ worth of skills and you are spending eight bucks trying to make accurate shots, work your holster, etc., than you only have two dollars left for problem solving. It should be the other way around.

5. Have a plan for the major things that can go wrong. You can’t plan for everything, but you have to plan for major foreseeable problems.


6. Recognizing what a situation is early and dealing with it quickly is a recipe for success. Novices wait until they are at the threshold to deal with what’s in the room.

7. End fights as swiftly and violently as rules allow under the circumstances. The longer you stay in a protracted fight, the greater chance that an unknown circumstance will inject weird and unknown variables which you have no control over.

8. If you think you have cover, you probably won’t have it for long. If you are being targeted… MOVE! Mobility is your friend and a direct manifestation of unpredictability to your adversary.

9. If you find yourself being targeted inside your vehicle, get out quickly and move away from the vehicle to the next piece of closest cover. There are only so many places inside a vehicle that a human can be, and only one place for a driver. Those bullets are going to hit you eventually if you stay there, so move and then fight. If you are incapacitated inside the vehicle, fight until you die or get rescued. Those are your only options. If you are riding dirty with two, do a head count once you get to cover. If one didn’t make it, we will always go back.

10. Fight complacency as hard as you fight admin bullshit. We seem to constantly re-learn the same tough lessons as a profession. It does not have to be that way, and learning starts with each of us as individuals.

11. You owe it to your family, the public, and yourself to train and retain the information you are presented. Training is fun when done right, but it is also for work. If you cannot retain your training, don’t get pissy when your performance evaluation doesn’t reflect your high self esteem. If you are a supervisor, don’t turn into a pussy when you need to be honest with people about their performance. This profession has plenty of room for articulation and there are plenty of ways to accomplish a goal. But it has no room for excuses.

on the shoulders of giants - brent stephens on the shoulders of giants - Kris Eggle IF on the shoulders of giants - sgt reeves on the shoulders of giants- margaret anderson






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About the Author

winegar 2Although he looks like he’s about twelve years old (even with the beard), Anthony Winegar is actually a seasoned, long-time law enforcement officer with a federal land management agency. Despite working in a major metropolitan area for the past fifteen years, his major areas of study have always focused on rural operations (with a special love for tactical tracking and fieldcraft). He is a firearms and use of force instructor whose major criminal apprehensions have included armed robbers, rapists, suicidal subjects, poachers and artifact looters. The study of tactics, techniques, and procedures for criminal apprehension in rural environments has been (and remains) his true professional passion – to that end he has trained with and sought instruction from a veritable wish list of military and civilian specialty and SOF units and teachers. The unique demands of law enforcement activity in his jurisdiction have given him the opportunity to work alongside personnel from unusual agencies in the conduct of a few singularly interesting operations. Those experiences have given him some rare insight, though sadly they’ve yet to help him start shaving any more often. Winegar is one of those primitive weapons nerd who enjoys knapping, fletching and assorted similar tool building activities. This obsession hobby allows him to bloviate at length about such things as the relative merits of oak foreshafts, pine pitch glue, river cane arrow shafts as well as the varied properties of turkey feather fletchings and whiteail sinew. Unfortunately it also has the tendency to set him at odds with many of the Mad Duo’s other minions, who’d just as soon go hunting with an SBR and a spotlight from inside the warmth of a pickup cab.

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About the Author


  1. Louis E. Beaujon

    Great on the Information, We need more true Americans to step up and join the fight, To keep America strong and free 1S 1K Louie

  2. Phil

    Not sure where #4 comes from, but there is a motorcycle racing handbook (A twist of the Wrist, by Keith Code) that describes this exact same principle – I think it is an extremely useful analogy for available attention and how training can “reduce the spend”. I think it applies to just about anything where you need to react under pressure.

  3. Frank


    Can I re-post this, with credit but not images on my site? These are good words and more weenies need to hear and incorporate these ideas.

    stay safe……..


    • AW

      Of course. I hold no monopoly on the knowledge.

  4. Erick

    Another well written offering. Thank you!

  5. Matt

    Absolutely excellent. Thank you.


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