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The firearms community is feeling more than a little diminished this morning.

Pat Rogers, who served this nation in the U.S. Marine Corps and the NYPD before becoming one of the world’s most respected and colorful firearms instructors, passed away overnight from natural causes.

I knew Pat only a short time, meeting him at last year’s Beretta Tactical Summit. I found him to be incredibly knowledgeable and gracious, with a deep love for this nation and those who defended it. Other’s knew Pat better than I, and I’m sure you’ll find tributes to him all across the Internet in the days ahead from people who have taken classes with him, taught with him, or served with him.

One of those lives he touched was that of our own Jenn Jacques.

* * *

We often hear the phrase, “The man, the myth, the legend” associated with great men in history.

Pat Rogers embodied that phrase.

As a gun blogger, I had read Pat’s work and often shared his hilarious, sometimes off-colored but always spot on, commentary on an amazing variety of topics and products. At the Great American Outdoor Show in Harrisburg, PA this February, I had the opportunity to meet him in person.

In Rogers style, I walked up to him in the NRA News booth as he was deep in conversation with Andy Lander and put my hand out to give a firm handshake, and said, “I hear you’re kind of a big deal, so I thought I’d better come over and meet you in person.”

Which cracked him up to no end.

We talked about the industry, about new gun owners, about EAG Tactical and his current projects. He asked about what I was hoping to accomplish here at Bearing Arms and I spoke about being a relatively new gun owner myself, how I hoped to encourage more women to try new experiences, not only learning firearm safety and concealed carry courses, but especially new guns. I also shared with him my experience of shooting an AR for the first time with Daniel Defense at SHOT show and how I was truly excited to continue with my own training in the coming months.

Discussing these things with him was truly surreal, but the gravity of the moment and the measure of his character was set firmly into place at what he offered me.

He said, “You know what I’m going to do for you? I mean, I don’t like a whole lot of people, you know,” to which Lander laughed at and nodded in agreement. “but if you’re starting with handgun training, I’m going to introduce you to my friend John Murphy down in Virginia. If you’re going to get trained, I want you trained by the best.”

Humbled and honored, I graciously accepted.

True to his word, I was connected with John Murphy and completed my firearms training with him just over a month ago.Pat was even planning on coming out to meet Murphy and me for lunch during the course, but was unable to make it out to Culpepper. Regardless, it was truly a great honor to know that he was trying to make time to catch up with me again.

We continued to communicate via email about the firearms industry, his training schedule, current events and the occasional off color (and wildly hilarious) social media post. I was also lucky enough to sit in on a presentation Pat gave on AR training and firearm maintenance.

The lube jokes were priceless. The information, invaluable.

After the presentation, I had the opportunity to speak with him again and this time, the conversation floated to AR training and the modern day mom looking to protect her family. We discussed how I would train and again, I was extremely humbled when Pat not only recommended a specific training course for me, but a personalized one at that.

I never got to take him up on his offer to personally train me in all things AR or earn a moose cock from the great Pat Rogers, but I made a promise to him this morning that I will complete a training program this year in his honor.

Pat was generous and direct. Hilarious and wise. His love of country and passion for firearms are woven through his enormous career and the very fiber of his being here on Earth.

While his accomplishments are undeniably impressive, it’s the impression he made on others that will live on in everyone who was blessed to have met the man, the myth, the legend: Pat Rogers.

Semper Fi, sir.