We have recently learned of the passing of James Yeager, who had been courageously fighting ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease.  

I’ve known James Yeager for many years. A noted and controversial instructor of armed self-defense, he was famous for promulgating the “Get Off the X” theory, combining tactical evasive movement with return fire.  He had one persona on YouTube videos, and another in real life. If he had worked on the dojo instead of the range, it would have been fair to say that the YouTube James was sometimes akin to a WWF wrestler, while James in person was a humble but highly skilled sensei.  Those of us who knew him, knew him as generous, kind, and a deep thinker.

I can’t write a better obit for him than the one by our mutual friend Kat Ainsworth Stevens. 

His training school, Tactical Response, will continue under his very able staff.

I had a chance to pay my respects to him a few months ago when I taught a class for him at his school in Camden, Tennessee.  I was reminded of a case a dozen years ago when one of his adjunct instructors, Larry Hickey, was charged with multiple counts of felony aggravated assault for shooting two of three people who attacked him and his wife.  I’ve seen a lot of instructors fail to stand up for their students in court when they used their self-defense training for real.

Not James. He testified strongly in court.  His student/instructor walked away a free man. I have always respected James all the more for that.

Rest in peace, brother. You taught us all how to face death with courage and dignity.

Brother Yeager’s instructions for after his passing was to have a party, not a wake. He explicitly said, “No sad shit!”

Yup.  That was the James Yeager I knew, all right.

18 COMMENTS

    • James Yeager was reportedly only 49 years old on his day of death. His untimely passing has inevitably left a void. I have previously watched some of his videos and feel that I learned something new from each one. Now I will seek out everything that I missed. James contributed a lot personally and professionally to the cause of self-defense, and will long be remembered favorably for it. My condolences to his family and friends upon his passing.

  1. Im going to miss this man and his videos, he could be bombastic but if you watched all his videos especially film of him training and working with his students you saw a total professional in every way.

  2. Jame Yeager was quite a character and I thought he made the strongest case for why the 1911 was not the best choice for EDC. I was just encouraged to see his interactions with John Lovell (the warrior poet) & I pray for comfort & peace for his family.

  3. JY had a zest for life and wanted others to share. Your metaphor of public/private persona is right on the money. Thank you for this tribute.

  4. Two tragic cases in a row, Mas. First, I read in this blog about the death of James Yeager. I did not know him but I have seen some of his videos. As you note, he could be bombastic on video. I did not always agree with his views but I respected them.

    Then, I just received my copy of American Handgunner magazine with your Ayoob File on the Seth Casteel Shooting. The “Friend turning into unstable werewolf” incident. Another deeply tragic account.

    In reading your account of the Casteel Shooting, I was left with a couple of questions.

    1) Seth Casteel ultimately took a plea bargain deal and plead guilty to a charge of reckless homicide in exchange for a favorable sentence that kept him out of prison. Nevertheless, he became a convicted felon, under the law, by doing so. You say in the article that he worked as a part-time gunsmith. Wasn’t he forced out of this profession, by this plea deal, since he would have, effectively, lost his 2nd Amendment Rights as a result?

    2) Very often, you note the type firearm and type ammo used in the incidents that you document. In this case, you did note the type handgun (a Para Ordnance 1911 in 45 ACP) but you did not note the type ammo used. I am curious as to the brand and type bullet since the fabled “One Shot Stop” seems to have been achieved. Do you know the type ammo used?

    Thanks.

      • Wow, good old hardball. Still getting the job done after more than a century!

        That is one thing about using a .45 (I am sure Tom606 would agree!). It does not have to expand to make an impressive size hole. Penetration is usually good too, especially with hardball. I expect that there was full penetration on this shot. Still, the shot must have been well centered in order to be so effective, even with a .45 ACP.

      • TN_MAN:

        The .45 ACP ammo I carry in my 1911 type pistols is the Winchester Ranger SXT +P which launches a 230 grain JHP bullet from a 5″ barrel at 900 fps. It’s an improved Black Talon without the dark coating. In my informal tests, the Black Talon expands to 3/4″ between it’s six very sharp points. The SXT expands in the same test medium to 1″ even. I would hope it has a bit more stopping power than hardball. It probably approaches a third the power of currently loaded 9X19 ammunition, aka The Lung Exploder.

  5. So sad. Attending classes at Tactical Response, his videos, and the Get Off the X forum all helped shape my pistol training.
    Good to hear Tactical Response will carry on in his memory.

  6. Off topic but here is an interesting breaking news story out of Canada:

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/first-thing-police-say-10-killed-and-15-hurt-in-saskatchewan-canada/ar-AA11tXXK?ocid=msedgdhp&pc=U531&cvid=a4a93287adb64a70a75261abb2c9e17b

    I bet $10 to a donut that you won’t see the Anti-American Media splash this story all over the front pages. Notice that the ultimate source for the above linked report is the UK Guardian.

    No Sir! If this had happened in an American City and if the weapon used had been an AR-15, then the AA Media would have been shouting it from the rooftops! It would be the top story on every channel. Even Fox News would cover it. CNN would run it round the clock!

    However, given that it occurred in Canada and given that knives were used to do the damage, it does not support the AA Media’s favored narrative of firearms-prohibition. In fact, it could be used as an example to point out the futility of weapon prohibition laws.

    For this reason, I expect the AA Media to rapidly smother this story. At least, here in the USA. Read it while you still can!

    P.S. Reckon that Trudeau and his prohibitionists will push for knife control now? Follow the lead of the UK model? That is why the Guardian carried it. In the UK, it will support their narrative for knife control.

    Nothing is every enough for the prohibitionists. How soon before they start banning rocks, bricks, and beer mugs?

    • TN_MAN:

      I’m sure the wise Canadians want only to ban the dreaded Assault Knives. Regular models with 3″ or shorter, rounded tipped smooth blades will be exempt from regulation – for now.

      Rambo will not be vacationing in Canada or England.

      • @ Tom606 – “Rambo will not be vacationing in Canada or England.”

        Likely we will not see the movie where Crocodile Dundee visits Canada or England either. 🙂

        The way things are going in the Commonwealth, he may soon be banned even in his homeland of Australia!

      • TN_MAN:

        Sensitive girly dudes in Socialist countries don’t like men with large blades. C. Dundee will probably be stripped of his Aussie citizenship and evicted from Oz, and will have to move to some uncivilized racist dump like America.

    • TN_MAN,

      Also, the criminals are not white supremacists. As our fake President has told us, white supremacy is the biggest problem in America.

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