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Preview – QA – Matt Jaques Victory First

Photography courtesy of Jennifer Dale and Nathan Murr

Blue Collar Tactical Trainer
Matt Jacques of Victory First Reveals His Views on Lazy Mindset, His Path to Training DVDs, and How Almost Being Murdered Didn’t Stop His Passion for Helping Others

If you can legally carry a gun and don’t, then you’re just lazy.

That is the stance of Matt Jacques, founder and chief instructor for Victory First — and he is far from apologetic about it. Jacques (pronounced “Jay-Kweez”) is a former Marine and former law-enforcement officer whose career path took a violent change of direction when a wanted felon tried to murder him. Though the injuries sustained were severe and career-ending, they did nothing to quell the drive that pushed him to a lifetime of service.

RECOIL recently chatted with Jacques to find out more about his public service (including a long stint as a trainer for the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service) and how his on-camera work on training DVDs and Make Ready TV can help concerned citizens develop a non-lazy, defensive mindset.

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RECOIL: You were military, then a cop, then went into the civilian sector because of a back injury, correct?

Matt Jacques: Yep. I graduated high school on a Friday and was on my way to [Marine Corps Recruit Depot] Parris Island on Saturday morning. I was an MP in the Marine Corps, where I was assigned to a billet with HMX-1 [the Presidential Helicopter Squadron]. I went from there to the city of Winchester Police Department for two years, then on to the Prince William County Police Department in Virginia. There I worked as a basic recruit instructor, undercover detective, SWAT team member, and Field Training Officer. I was also a founding member of Washington D.C.’s Capital Area Fugitive Task Force with the U.S. Marshals Service while working as a street crimes detective, which I’m pretty proud of being selected for.

Then on the Fourth of July in 2002, a guy we wanted for several warrants saw me on a traffic stop on foot away from my patrol car and tried to kill me — he hit me with a van. He launched me into a ditch, where I landed on a culvert, rupturing two discs — so there was literally bone on bone. The discs were herniated into my spinal column. [Editor’s note: His lumbar spine was fused in a double ALIF surgery in 2013.] After a couple of years of surgery and rehabilitation and me trying to fight it, the State of Virginia mandated a medical retirement, so they put me out to pasture.

You say that if someone can legally carry a gun and doesn’t, then they’re lazy.

MJ: Yep, pretty much. If you can carry a gun to defend yourself and your family and you don’t, I’d argue you’re lazy. Your car’s not a holster, and neither’s your sock drawer. Determine in your mind, “Hey if I’m going, I’m going heeled.” Make the conscious decision. If someone has taken the steps to buy a gun, spent the money on a firearm, money on a good belt and holster, spent the money and time to attend classes and train, why do it if you’re only going to carry the gun every now and again?

It’s a mindset thing. The responsibility for the defense of you and your family is yours. You’re either on or you’re not…otherwise you’re more of a liability than an asset. Carrying a gun for protection is a lifestyle. You may have to modify and change how you do things, how you dress in order to be carry in all the situations where you can legally carry. I cannot think of any other reason if you can legally carry a gun that you wouldn’t, unless you just write it off as laziness.

After you retired from the police department you went to work for FNH USA. How did that come about?

MJ: There was a guy who had gone to the academy, was a recruit while I was an instructor, and was a former Marine. He’d gone to work over there after leaving the police department a few years earlier. We ran into each other at a grocery store and he said he knew I’d been hurt. He told me, “Hey, dude, we’re looking for a guy and you kinda fit that bill.” I apparently had what they were looking for, and I started working there. I started in their long-gun section, then got involved in their belt-fed section (M249s, M240s, M2s, etc.). Shortly after that FNH won the SCAR program, and I spent the next couple of years working on that.

After working for FNH, you went back into law enforcement?

MJ: In a way. The U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service Firearms Training Unit was looking for instructors. It was quite a pay increase and sounded like a cool job, so I took them up on it. Honestly, more than that, I really wanted to get back into law enforcement in some capacity, so working for the Department of State [D.S.] was appealing. I was with them about eight years. We trained every DSS agent assigned to embassies around the world and to visiting foreign dignitaries, as well as the Secretary of State’s protective detail. I resigned from D.S. in June of last year and launched my company, Victory First, fulltime.

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