Historical Perspective


W. E. Fairbairn Pic

W. E. Fairbairn

In the early part of the 1900’s in Shang Hi China, William E. Fairbairn was the Officer-in-Charge of firearms training for the Shang-Hi Police Department. He began the process of developing combat shooting methods to replace the training programs that were present in his department. The reason why he sought changes in training was simple. At that time in history, Shangi-Hi was one of the most dangerous places in the world and the members of that department engaged in “urban combat” in the back alleys, streets and dwellings of that city against a ruthless adversary. Simply stated, his department’s training methods were failing in combat. Those officers who had the courage to fight lost their lives because even though they were “trained”, the methods were inappropriate for the environment they were facing in combat. In short, training failures lead to the death of brave men in the field. As more appropriate training was developed, the situation was reversed and success in combat replaced defeat.

Rex Applegate Pic to Lou

Col. Rex Applegate

During World War II, Col. Rex Applegate took the lessons learned from Fairbairn’s experience in Shang-Hi China and further developed training methods while he was the Office-in Charge of training for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during the war years. The methods that were refined and further developed by Col. Applegate were immediately applied in combat by OSS operatives. Program development was enhanced by direct feedback by those who had to apply their training to stay alive. This process ensured that the methods were not based upon theory but reality.

During the post World War II era, many of the methods taught in handgun training programs have become based upon target shooting or competitive shooting methodologies. The result of this has inundated training programs with unrealistic training that doesn’t prepare the operator for combat.

Lou with Sword Pic

Louis M. Chiodo

Through my direct affiliation with Col. Applegate, I was able to gain the knowledge of both his and Fairbairn’s experience and further develop the methods that will enable me to rapidly develop an individual’s ability to employ a handgun in close-quarters combat. Whether the methods are applied on the “battlefield” of urban America by law enforcement or in the streets, back alleys or structures where current military operations take place, or in civilian self-defense / home defense applications, the methodology is equally applicable. I have developed training protocols that maximize the participant’s ability to rapidly grasp the concepts presented and integrate force-on-force training into various classes and workshops to allow for a realistic application of the principals presented in training.


“Our goal is to perfect simplicity”. The cornerstone of my training programs is that the methods taught are uncomplicated and once learned easy to retain over time. No special equipment or facility is necessary to produce the most effective combat hand-gunners. Simplicity rules and everything taught has been developed to work under the stress of combat. My years of study, research, and application of these methods have allowed me to fine-tune the method of instruction to rapidly gain results. By their nature, handguns are weapons designed for use when in close-quarters with an adversary. The methods needed for those engagements are distinctly different than what is conventionally taught in many training programs. My curriculum addresses the unique circumstances present when a student is in close proximity to the adversary and tenths of a second separate life and death.


There have been three main endeavors that have shaped the programs that I have developed. Each has contributed significantly to the manner in which I have structured my training protocol and ultimately, the way I present the material.


Approximately 50 years ago, I began training in the martial arts. I am a Grand Master in the Korean Martial art of Tae Kwon Do and currently teach and train daily. I am currently an 8th Degree Black Belt. The martial arts taught me how to teach and develop a student’s psychomotor skills methodically. I have applied this knowledge and experience to my firearms training programs. The combat shooting methods taught at GUNFIGHTERS LTD. are designed to enhance performance where it counts – in a fight against an adversary determined to seriously hurt or kill you. The law enforcement officer, military operator, and martial artist have a common training goal. It is to take their training into a dynamic, combative situation and rapidly dominate the situation and win the fight.


As a Captain in the United States Marine Corps (Regular) I served in the 1st Maine Division, 3rd Maine Division, 3rd Marine Amphibious Force and Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, California. I was exposed to a variety of training methods and operations that helped me develop a greater appreciation for realistic and relevant training. Attention to detail in training yields less casualties and greater success in real world operations. From those magnificent, disciplined instructors and leaders who trained me, I learned that there is no compromise when it comes to dedication to one’s duty and developing technical and tactical proficiency. The principles that are discussed above are the foundation on which I have built my programs.


As a law enforcement veteran of 23 years of active service in a large, diverse state police agency, I know from personal experience not only the rigors of law enforcement on the street level, but also what type of training is relevant and necessary for the law enforcement officer. I have been training law enforcement officers within my agency and from many other agencies for the past 30 years. A significant advantage that I have had in the formation of my programs is that I remained on the street working my entire career on graveyard applying what I teach and more importantly, observing hundreds of officers applying the principles that I have taught in actual street operations. What I have developed in my training programs is equally useful for the beat cop as well as the special operator because the methodologies taught are combat proven in a multitude of environments. I have trained hundreds of law enforcement officers from patrol officers to SWAT team members and members of the military community in the methodologies offered by GUNFIGHTERS LTD. Absolutely nothing beats experience and results. I have had the unique opportunity to develop experience in presenting my programs to personnel at the operator level. The results have been success in gunfights and officers alive to verify that the training works where it counts – in a fight against an adversary determined to seriously hurt or kill the officer.