Obituary: Louis Awerbuck, Trainer, Author

Louis Awerbuck

Louis Awerbuck, well-known firearms and tactics trainer, passed away on June 24, 2014.

Louis Awerbuck
The late Louis Awerbuck, well-known firearms and tactics trainer, strongly endorsed shotguns as self-defense tools. Image Courtesy of Yavapai Firearms Academy and Teddy Smith SOC.

Born January 27, 1948, Awerbuck, 66, was a native of Kimberley, South Africa. He served in the 1 Special Services Battalion in the South African Defence Force before emigrating to the U.S in 1983.

Louis (pronounced “loo-e”) Awerbuck was the owner and lead instructor of the Yavapai Firearms Academy, a Mobile Training Unit that provides training in gun handling, marksmanship and tactics.

Awerbuck was a member of the National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA), the International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors (IALEFI), and the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA). He was employed by Colonel Jeff Cooper at the original Gunsite Ranch as Chief Rangemaster until 1987, attaining the title of Shooting Master.

With more than three decades of instructional experience, Awerbuck was a contributory adjunct instructor to the Marine Corps Security Force Bn Atlantic combat small arms program and an adjunct firearms/tactics instructor for the Central Training Academy, Department of Energy. He trained extensively in the police and civilian firearms field and instructed military personnel from various United States bases, including Special Forces units.

Awerbuck authored several books, including Plowshares into Swords, The Defensive Shotgun, Hit or Myth, Tactical Reality, More Tactical Reality, and co-produced three videos, including “The Combat Shotgun,” “Only Hits Count,” and “Safe at Home.” He was a contributing author to SWAT magazine.

Robbie Barrkman, a friend of Awerbuck’s, said on his site, “Louis had a series of serious and debilitating medical problems that left him very ill, weak, and at times, barely able to move physically; but perhaps most seriously, medical problems that left him filled with despair and without hope for recovery. My friend Louis made the ultimate decision to end the many months of pain and suffering that he had been experiencing.” Awerbuck’s family, friends, associates, and former students are contemplating holding a celebration of Awerbuck’s life in Phoenix, likely in July. Contact Yavapai Firearms Academy for more information.

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Comments (25)

  1. As Louis family in South Africa we were extremely shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of our cousin. We were not aware of Louis health challenges.

    As many of you probably know Louis was not one to communicate much, so our connection was at most bi-annual and yet we always treasured any contact that we had with him. Louis and I shared a common love of Dogs and we discussed our pets with great passion.

    It was also Louis who advised me after I was Hi-jacked at gun point in Johannesburg, that I was better off not ‘arming’ myself in case of this scenario happening again in the future, as he said that the gangster would always be in the position to be more prepared! Such good advice!

    We are so sorry that we were not in a position to offer Louis and Leigh our family support during what sounds like was a very painful period both (physically and mentally) for him, but from all these posts, we are so pleased to know that he was much loved and supported.

    RIP cousin Louis!

    All our love from Beth-Ann Keschner, Connie, Jack and Stefan Joselowitz

    1. You talked about your love of dogs. If you want I can send you a picture from August 2013 of Louis with my Landseer Newfoundland “Charlie”. It was in Lebanon, In. Louis had a Newfoundland, Curley Sue. Louis would always say to me, “Steve, play with Charlie.” I am Louis.

      E-mail me if you would like the picture.


  2. This sad news brings back a flood of memories from the “old days. ” I knew Louis from Kimberley – around 1975. Louis taught me how to reload a 9mm so wouldn’t tumble, then later how to properky “size” a “just-cast-45”. His dad sold my father our 1st pistol, As a kid, I remember Louis – riding a Honda Goldwing, a Saturn-finish Combat Commander on his hip and ever present mascot, Snoopy always around. He lived life on his own terms. He left on his own terms.

  3. I met Mr Awerbuck once and as a professional firearms instructor I had a great deal of contact with his writings and videos. I found myself in 100% agreement with all of his positions. Furthermore, he was a shotgun devotee as I am. I perfectly understand his decision to end his life. He had grown increasingly pessimistic about people and his own future. He had no family, no one to look after him, no one to worry about, no one to grieve him. Looking at an increasingly bleak future of illness and disability he decided to stop the clock. I live in Oregon where we have an assisted suicide law and I uphold a person’s right to end their lives on their terms.

    1. Wow! I met him once and know all about him. Really? Many people knew Louis a lot better than you, once? You shouldn’t write anything about anyone, with only your vast knowledge a topic you at best only slightly informed and 1/2 witted about. True, Lou didn’t owe anyone. But he was a compassionate man, empathetic to other, yet hard, firm, dedicated, and stubborn. Louis was respected and loved. And Dan, he had someone that would of stayed at his side no matter what. His life long partner Leigh.He wasn’t pessimistic about people. Louis had one fear, and he dealt with it while he could. Louis made his final choice that afternoon. It wasn’t a spur of the moment but thought out in advanced when faced with it. Please don’t dishonor this Great Man who has given so much to so many.
      Remember, Miss, Honor: Louis Awerbuck, “Keeper of The Flame”

    1. Your comment Mike clearly shows that you didn’t know the man, otherwise you would of never made such a jack as z statement as you did. So in the future Mike, please don’t try to engage in some sort of intelligent comment when what comes out of your mouth reflects the lack of brain matter in your head. That’s that lump three feet above your as z! With respect…your an idiot Mike.

  4. Many people don’t want an extended, painful, savings account emptying death. You have to make that decision while you are still in control. Once you are in the hospital control can easily be lost. It is an individual’s right to decide where he or she wants to draw the line that they do not want to cross into for quality of life. Protecting a nest egg for your partner sometimes comes into play, especially, when you pay your own way. We will miss you, Mr. Awerbuck. RIP.

  5. As a retired NYPD officer and current prison chaplain,NRA member and supporter of our God given 2nd Amendment rights; can tell you from experience that without faith in Christ- not religion- life becomes un-manageable. Take it from me. a former atheist (911-changed that) who has seen many former friends who were on the job take there own lives, we need Jesus in our lives.

  6. Louis Awerbuck was a true gentlemen and a terrific instructor. I’ve had the privilege of taking classes from several “experts” some of which had egos bigger than their resumes. Louis Awerbuck was not one of the egomaniac instructors I’ve met. He was humble and inspiring. I came to love the defensive shotgun as a result of Louis’ instruction.

    The one thing that will stick with me forever is something Louis told our class. He said, “There is no such thing as advanced combat shooting”
    by that he meant if you do the basics well, then that is all you need to do.

    RIP Louis!

    1. I’m always baffled when those on the anti- 2nd Amendment side quote death by suicide with a firearm in their statistics. Why do they or you care how and why someone decides to end their life? It’s none of theirs or your business. Instead of worrying about the effect Louis Awerbuck’s suicide had on gun rights why don’t you spend your time asking those opposed to the 2nd Amendment what people committing suicide has to do with anything in the argument. If a person truly believes in individual freedom they would also believe in an individuals right to exit this life anytime and anyway they choose. Provided an individual is not infringing upon your right to do as you please why do you give a d@mn what they are doing? In other words, when it comes to others living (or ceasing to live) their lives, quit nibnosing and mind your own d@mn business.

    2. I find your comment to be at best callous, self centered, and lacking any empathy, and very narrow minded. You sir, seem to have little scope for the big picture. He was a man in deep pain and without hope. Our cause is not so damaged by the actions of a great man, teacher, and loved one in terminal pain who had lossesd all hope, but so much more so by the cold heartless and utterly contemtuous attitude that you operate from that shows no concern for your fellow and brother at arms or the spiritual principles that all great men operate from and by, regardless of religion or lack there of.

    3. Louis damaged nothing and did a TREMENDOUS amount of good in his life. Only a fool (and someone destined to be a subject ) would accept the premise that others have the right to decide if you live or die. And you’d think the idiot Lib’s would appreciate his lack of use of Medicare, etc. His death is the ultimate expression of personal Liberty and it could have been accomplished 1000 ways but a gun is just efficient. I’m guessing he was terminal or destined to an existence that many know to be worse than the liberation of death. It’s a choice many will have to make at some point and frankly I applaud a man brave enough to put himself down and not be a burden to others. I pray God will understand and have mercy on his soul. To know all is to understand all! RIP

    4. J Smith,
      I just read your comment. I wish I would of read it sooner. That way I could of called you a Jack-ASS sooner than just now.

  7. I had the privilege of participating in a number of Louis’ pistol classes and finished each more impressed with his integrity, keen eye, and incredible depth of knowledge: not just in firearms but human nature. He was an inspiration to his students in the art of self defense and the value of a life worth defending. He will be missed, but his mark is indelible.

  8. Do not judge him too harshly, pain is a killer. Take it from one who knows. (1968 Vietnam, Purple Heart recipient).

  9. I only know of Louie what I have read and heard from others. None of it was ever negative. Rest in Peace Louie.

  10. I had heard we had lost Louis from a close friend of his. I “assisted” with organizing and got to shoot on the line in five of his classes held at the Richmond Rod and Gun Range in California back in the 1990’s. He was amazing in his perception: once stopping the line and correcting a slightly mispositioned pinky finger in my support hand that he spotted from the other side of the line a good 50 feet away. A truly innovative teacher and a gentleman.

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