About the author : Taran Butler

Taran Butler trains movie producers, directors and actors including James Cameron, Michael Mann, Keanu Reeves, Shemar Moore, Michael B Jordan,  Jennifer Garner, Collin Farrell, Chris Hemsworth, Josh Duhamel, and he was advisor for many films including Public Enemies, Miami Vice, Transformers, The Kingdom, Avatar, and Savages.

Taran Butler has won 23 consecutive South West Pistol League Championships in the open and limited division. He has the major pistol championships in USPSA Open, Limited, Limited 10, Production, and Single Stack divisions, IDPA National titles, Steel Challenge World Championships, and IPSC World Shoot Gold Medals in countries around the world.

He first ever USPSA Multigun Nationa. lHe is also the first and only USPSA Multigun Triple Crown National Champion by winning the Limited, Tactical, and Open Divisions. He has won the SSM 3-G Championship for eleven years in row; the longest winning streak in 3-gun competition history. Taran won the Ft Benning Open Championship against the best Open Division shooters in the world.

Taran Butler: There is no one-fits-all solution in shooting, but a constant learning process and an imperative to stay open-minded!

Maximum effectiveness in weapon handling makes great shooters

My life-long passion to shoot and to learn…

It seems that the industry, especially on social media, never gets tired of fighting over the different branches of our firearms professions.

Many deny the real-world value of competition shooting, because it does not take place in the immediate context of a military or law enforcement situation. 

But this is fairly short-sighted.

And I will explain to you why.

 The very core of every single profession related to firearms is the perfect manipulation and handling of a firearm.

You can train in the most realistic tactical environment, but if you fail in the perfect handling and manipulation of your weapon, you will fail on your mission later, no matter how tactical you feel and think about yourself.

And I can assure you this, because I trained some of the best guys in the military.

And they never hesitate to seek out knowledge from an external source, as long as they are able to learn something. 

Everybody is in a box. Lessons learned and routines can make you inflexible or short-sighted.

Finding Wisdom at Every Turn

That’s why the best of the best constantly seek out and learn from different sources, even from uncommon ones.

And this is where we come in: the guys who aren’t military operators, but have a way with weapons.  

For a better understanding, I will give you a brief retrospective of my career. It is necessary to get the full picture of what I would like to explain here. 

I got into competition shooting sports in late 1994. Soon, I won my very first match. I came in 7th in a group of about 118 people, with a Glock 45.

I went on to get a Glock 22 .40 caliber, then a Glock 24, long, 6-inch.

I got a Grandmaster Card in little over a year.

I am a seven-time Grandmaster. 

That was pretty awesome for me.

At that time, I was pretty happy. I shot a pistol for a while. Then a bunch of area matches. All the fun stuff. 

I got into 3-gun. That was when things really took an amazing turn. I ended up going to the 3-gun nationals. And winning those. I went on a five- or six-year winning streak.

 Around this time, I met a lot of military guys. That eventually led to them coming to train at my place.

I did a few military classes, here and there. Law enforcement, too. 

And what I have learned in the whole thing is that the best guys in the military world were hiring the best 3-gunners and pistol shooters out there. The man that really pioneered a lot of it was Jerry Barnhart, who wrote the book for West Point on tactical training. Then, there are guys like Michael Voigt, Rob Leatham, Todd Jarrett, Robert Vogel, Dave Sevigny.

From Military Training to Hollywood

And the military hired these men for training, because they wanted to learn how to manipulate a weapon well.

And when 3-gunners came into it, the whole process became even more interesting for the military.

We trained in several military places. I did not as much as some other guys in the industry did then, because when I started to do the show “Top Shot,” it led to all kinds of different projects to build my career.

And then, I ended up in the world of Hollywood, starting with John Wick, which was the biggest thing that happened to me. 

And now, I have been flooded with non-stop movie projects.

But talking with several military groups around the world and different military guys, they were always eager to seek out and learn from every available source about how to manipulate a weapon well.

There are top competition shooters, who make a lot of money to teach military and law enforcement.

And this works well for both sides for a reason.

Because at the end, it is all about how to manipulate your weapons well. 

The context maybe is different or changes, depending on your profession, but the core principle of a great shooter is to reach maximum effectiveness in weapon handling. 

And if you keep this in mind, the never-ending arguments about who shoots better or more tactical becomes quite pointless, because what we do is fundamental and every other branch carries these fundamentals into the context of its own profession, after the training. 

And this makes sense. Because there is no one-fits-all solution in what we do, but a constant learning process and an imperative to stay open-minded.

Parting Words on Competition Shooting and Tactical Training

I still train military and law enforcement units.

None of this goes out to my social media channels, because I am simply not allowed to reveal this kind of information.

But it is still a part of my business, 

I enjoy it, and it is an honor to me. And I will continue to do it, even though Hollywood takes 70% or 80% of my time now. 

Keanu Reeves is constantly at my place, because “John Wick 4” is coming soon, as well as a new “Matrix” movie.

Guns and Roses stop by. And the cast members of the “Mission Impossible” movies. 

A lot of great people, a lot of fun stuff. 

But I also see a lot of the Vegas SWAT, Anaheim SWAT, LAPD SWAT, too.

They’re also part of the never-ending group of people that stop by. 

But the mix works, because these worlds don’t have to be separate.

So, stay open-minded… and never stop learning!

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Article Photos provided by Taran Butler