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Posted: 9/3/2010 7:22:30 AM EDT
Progressive F.O.R.C.E. Concepts
Defensive & Combative Pistolcraft – August 23-25
Blue Trail Range - Wallingford, CT


Progressive F.O.R.C.E. Concepts (PFC) returned to Connecticut for the second time this summer – this time for a full 5 day training week; The 23rd was Defensive Pistolcraft, the 24th & 25th were Combative Pistolcraft, and the 26th & 27th were Combative Carbine. Once again, all courses were held at Blue Trail Range in Wallingford. Having taken their Defensive and Combative Carbine course back in May and leaving it extremely impressed, I was signed up for this 3-day pistolcraft series as soon as it was made available.

PFC is not the kind of organization that just wants to fill a course with bodies, they want to run a good course and give each shooter the attention that they deserve. They succeed at this task without question. Unlike some others, where you get one instructor and 20+ students, PFC again rolled into town with 4 instructors, which included both their Chief Instructor and Director of Training. Each of the 4 are incredible instructors in their own right, but together they bring so much experience to the table. Brian, Ray, Mike, and Gerry (I’ll let you read their impressive bios at PFC Training’s website) worked the line and absolutely nothing got by them. This keeps the safety level high and gives each shooter a ton of hands-on attention.

Training day 1 (Defensive Pistolcraft)
was filled with 14 students with very different levels of experience. There were shooters who didn’t yet own a handgun, relatively new shooters, shooters who had previous training, and even an IDPA-ranked shooter. Regardless of the experience level, everyone checked their ego at the door and the instructors worked appropriately with each shooter based on their performance and their needs. For the first part of the day, we worked on fundamentals… trigger management, sight management, recoil management, and weapon manipulation. The "Goldilocks” drill was something I was familiar with from the carbine course and it was equally effective in this course to build confidence and identify issues at a very short range before moving the line back in increments. Everyone got lots of attention here on grip, stance, trigger management, sight management, recoil management, and presentation from the holster. Peppered among the drills were what I can best call mini-lectures from the instructors to help drive home the practical point and purpose behind the exercise.


Training day 2 (Combative Pistolcraft)
had about 12 students with a lot of repeats from the previous day as well as a few additions. The day started with a practical discussion on concealed carry. Given the law enforcement and executive protection background of several of the instructors, there’s a lot of real knowledge to be shared. The discussion covered choice of clothing, tactics, presentation, and nuggets of info so that folks just starting to carry concealed don’t have to learn the hard way, such as securing the common elastic bungees on your jacket which can be a negligent discharge danger.

PFC encourages students to run their gear the way that they would run in "real life” instead of just demanding a specific loadout with gear that may not be realistic. That said, I ran the 3 days with a closed-front shirt with an M-TAC holster. Some others ran with an open front (unbuttoned shirt or jacket), while others used a straight belt holster. There was zero discernable difference with how the course was conducted despite the varied setups of students. We rounded out the day with after action drills, turning movements, bilateral operation of the handgun (dominant and support side shooting), and shooting responses.

Training day 3 (Combative Pistolcraft) began with Mike running some dry drills with the entire class to re-emphasize trigger preparation and trigger reset. Even though up to this point there was no instructor-imposed time limit on the drills, some shooters (myself included) were rushing shots and getting sloppy at the end of Day 2, so this was entirely appropriate.

We moved on to continue turning movements as well as traveling movement. This is where the day really started to get fun… the instructors paired off shooters for the "gunfighter” drill which demonstrated the action/reaction process. The shooter designated as the initiator would stand with arms straight out and when ready, would present their handgun and fire a single shot at the A-zone (head) of the target. Next to them, the shooter designated as the reactor, would wait for the initiator to go for their handgun and then would present their handgun for a two hits to the B-zone (center mass) of the target. It was very an extremely interesting exercise and humbling to say the least.

Soon after, "Malfunction Junction” reared is ugly head. We reviewed each of the malfunction types, discussed the causes, as well as remediation methods. After some demos and walk throughs, the instructors set up each of our pistols with malfunctions on the 25 yard line, we had to sprint to them, attempt to fire and then remediate the malfunction and put two rounds on target. We ran this a couple of times. Let me say this unequivocally – PFC’s methods work. You may have read in my previous AAR for the carbine course about malfunction junction and I’m a big fan of it here too. The idea is simple: get the gun running again as quickly as possible and get rounds on target.

Multiple target engagements were covered and these were enhanced with the "buddy” exercise of downloading another shooter’s magazine to an unknown number of rounds so that they did not have enough rounds to complete the designated course of fire. That meant an emergency reload, moving, and re-engaging the target based on where you left off in the drill and what was appropriate. Good stuff.


Finally, we finished the day with shooting positions. Getting in and out of them, benefits and disadvantages of each of them, etc.

The course was dominated by Glocks, with a few XDs, two HKs, a Sig or two, an M&P, and a couple of 1911s… including two 1911s that were carried by very attractive young ladies. John Moses Browning would be proud.

The only equipment problems I saw throughout the 3 days were some magazine problems (it was muddy) and some holster issues. The holster issues were primarily due to equipment choice.


Equipment Notes:
Glock 19 (gen 3 with Heinie Ledge sights) otherwise factory configuration
Comp-Tac M-TAC holster
2 x Blackhawk single mag carriers
1100 rounds – Winchester 100rd Value Packs (WWB)

What worked:
Zero firearm/ammunition malfunctions throughout the 3 days.

What didn’t work:
Blackhawk mag carriers… I’m not a fan of these to begin with, but I just haven’t found a mag carrier that I like yet for concealed carry. The Comp-Tac mag carriers aren’t perfect either, but the Blackhawk carriers are pure crap. Their only redeeming quality is that the retention method for the magazine itself is consistent and positive. One of the carriers repeatedly popped (flew) off of its belt clip during Day 3’s position changes.

Link Posted: 9/3/2010 9:27:49 AM EDT
I was there with my 17 year old son for all 3- days. We ran the following:

9mm XDm
BladeTech SRB Carbon Fiber Holster
BladeTech Carbon Fiber Dual Mag Carriers

It should be noted for Day 1 that our BladeTech gear had not yet arrived so we were working with the stock Springfield XDm holster and mag carrier for me while my son ran a SERPA and the stock XDm mag carrier.

As a note the stock XDm mag carriers leave a lot to be desired. The carrier is molded to accept the magazines in only one direction and that is facing each other. As such the rear mag when you pull it you must twist it in your hand to get the rounds pointing in the right direction. Additionally the mag is canted away from you. I was yelled at by Ray for twisting my mag and told him I would show him the reason why I was doing that when we got back behind the line. When I showed Ray and Brian the inablity of the mag carrier to have the mags pointed in the same direction I believe the words "thats fucking stupid" were the words of choice.

The stock holster was adequate but not my first choice- my son loved the SERPA until we got home that night and switched to the BladeTechs. Day 2 and 3 both my son and I felt we ran much much better with that gear.

We had a lot of fun and learned a lot. This course also opened up some quality dad/son time while driving to/from the range where we talked about CCW, what we learned and so on. Allof the instructors were great and I would especially like to thank Mike who gave my son a little extra attention so that by the end of Day 3 he was consistently on target.

We liked the "gunfighter"drill (espacially my son who beat dad 3 out of 4 times).

I think the thing that made the biggest impression on me was what Brian called the "this will scare the shit out of you demo" where he kept the gun at his side while Ray had his gun up and sighted in on the target. Ray couldnt fire until Brian began to move- every singe time Brian got a round off and into center mass before Ray could shoot. This was done to show that it takes time for the brain to process and tell the trigger finger to shoot- that the person who ACTS first can get a round on the target even if they looked "unprepared". That demo really got me thinking about scenarios that play out in my head- basically I could get the drop on the BG but if I dont pull the trigger and he reacts first to committing to firing I will probably take a round. Quite sobering and for those who didnt get it who were there think that demo over very carefuly.
Link Posted: 9/3/2010 9:49:24 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/3/2010 9:50:31 AM EDT by rgaper]
Blackhawk, as I told your son after Day 3, he did awesome. I am very envious of him for getting to start out on the right foot without years of bad habits and training scars.

The only thing I took offense to was him needing to remind us all that he was the youngest one there. At least I was the shortest one there... hey... uhhh... nevermind.


Link Posted: 9/3/2010 11:41:55 AM EDT
I'm surprised that you had an issue with the OEM XDM mag holder. Though cheap, I didn't have the same issues. My .40 mags went in either direction, so I was able to carry them facing the same way. The only issue I had was that they weren't tightened enough when we did the runs on day three, so the first time I "sprinted" to Malfunction Junction both my spare mags popped out onto the ground. A quick twist with the allen key fixed that.

I also ran the OEM XD(M) holster all there days without a hitch. It worked as I figured it would, which was fine for the range. I wouldn't want to rely on it for proper retention on the street, though.

I ran the XD gear through the class as I had just gotten the pistol two days earlier, and wasn't sure what I was going to want for better carry gear yet.
Link Posted: 9/3/2010 12:30:18 PM EDT
Originally Posted By rgaper:
Blackhawk, as I told your son after Day 3, he did awesome. I am very envious of him for getting to start out on the right foot without years of bad habits and training scars.

The only thing I took offense to was him needing to remind us all that he was the youngest one there. At least I was the shortest one there... hey... uhhh... nevermind.




Well its kind of funny because he begged me not to make a big deal of his age which I didnt. Then he popped that out so I gave him a whack to the back of the head in the car.
Link Posted: 9/8/2010 5:59:07 PM EDT
Sounded like fun.
Good AAR Rgaper.

Maybe next time. Too much shit going on with work and family obligations.
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