Be Very Careful Where You Train

Back in November, we covered the story of VODA Consulting and “Lucien Black.” At the time, we billed him as possibly being “The World’s Worst Firearms Instructor.”


Ladies and gentlemen, we may have a new contender for the crown.

So, THIS happened.

A couple of days ago I was reaching out to various training schools to ask if they’d be interested in hosting a Law of Self Defense Seminar, a routine task in our office. I’m pleased to say that several of the schools got back to me and seminars are in the process of being scheduled–more on those later.

One of the schools contacted initially expressed interest in hosting, then followed up with a rather bizarre email. There was no request for privacy of this communication, and the nature of the email was sufficiently, well, crazy, that I thought the training community and those who pay that community for training, ought to be aware of this particular school’s interesting perspective.

That school is the “Caliber Training Group,” based out of Atlanta and apparently run by Samuel R. Hayes III. Mr. Hayes returned my initial inquiry with an expression of interest in hosting, and as usual I responded by offering to send him out a complementary copy of our recently published book, “The Law of Self Defense, 3rd Edition.” So far so good, and completely typical for these types of initial contacts between myself and a prospective host.

Then this morning I awoke to find a most curious, and extremely lengthy, email from Mr. Hayes. I replied to him in detail, and below I reproduce my email to him. This naturally includes portions of Mr. Hayes email, which have not been changed in any way from what he sent me (except for the occasionally added paragraph break so that I could insert a response). I found particularly interesting Mr. Hayes’ statement that “I’ve had more than my fair share of rides in the back of police cars while handcuffed…” I’ve spent much of my life around self-defense instructors, and I don’t recall hearing such a statement from any of them. Curious.


After seeing Mr. Branca’s post, I hopped over to the Caliber Training Group web site, quickly scanned their “Who we are” page, and then went looking for instructor bios… and couldn’t find any. When I can’t find biographies listing who their instructors are and what qualifications/training they have, I immediately become suspicious… and I’m apparently not alone.

Branca’s readers started digging into the background of Samuel R. Hayes III, and what they found doesn’t look good.


Perhaps the most interesting feedback has centered around Mr. Hayes’ own claim that “Again, I’ve had more than my fair share of rides in the back of police cars while handcuffed … ”  I found this a rather odd claim by someone who professes to teach self-defense professionally, but I am generally too busy to give such nonsense much further thought.

Apparently others on the internet have the time to dig into these things, however, because additional information allegedly about Mr. Hayes’ purported past interactions with the criminal justice system started coming to my attention.  This information pointed specifically to a felony criminal charge brought against a “Samuel Reginald Hayes III” in Cobb County GA in 2002.

Is the “Samuel Reginald Hayes III” charged with a criminal felony in the records below the same “Samuel R. Hayes III” who runs “Caliber Training Group” out of the Atlanta GA area? It’s impossible for me to know for certain. Of course, Mr. Hayes would know for certain, and if he’d care to deny that he is the same person in these online records I’m more than happy to post that denial prominently.  Sadly, my previous communication to Mr. Hayes asking for clarification about his “more than my fair share” of handcuffed police car rides has gone unanswered.


In other words, we’re not only seeing a defensive training school where the instructors are unnamed and their backgrounds are unknown, we’re also seeing a company where one of the principals admits he’s been handcuffed in the back of police cars on numerous occasions, and who may have a problem staying on the right side of the law.

Guess where I won’t be training?

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