Active Response Training
Class: Extreme Close Quarters Gunfighting
Instructor: Greg Ellfritz
Location: Zanesville, OH
We all know that a large number of fights happen extremely close, this reality is exactly what Extreme Close Quarters Gunfighting was all about. How to get your weapon into play inside of bad breath distances.
The class was instructed by Greg Ellifritz. Greg is an officer for a central Ohio law enforcement agency, is a staff instructor for Tactical Defense Institute and is also the owner/operator at Active Response Training.
The class was held at Briar Rabbit Shooting Sports in Zanesville, OH. Rob Tackett from TacStrike and I were in Alliance, OH for a Magpul Dynamics SPR class and he made the trip down to Zanesville with me. He is currently nursing an injury so he did not partake in the class, but was there to check out the course and meet Greg.
We showed up right at the scheduled start time to find the class already seated inside a roomy (and thankfully warm) classroom with plenty of room for the participants. The course started with a safety brief and short student introductions. There were a total of 18 students; each had various levels of previous training ranging from a couple of handgun courses to a dozen or more. The course was designed and listed as not being for beginners, this would not prove to be a problem.
The class started out with dry repetitions inside the classroom. All weapons were cleared and live ammo was removed before running a rope through the barrel and out the magwell. This allowed the students to manipulate their real pistol with an instantly verifiable “safe” gun. This would prove helpful as a blue gun or SIRT pistol cannot replicate your pistol’s safety, sights, ability to simulate malfunction clearances, etc.
Taking a look around, I noticed a few gear trends in the class. Out of 18 students there were 8 running from appendix holsters and 5 with a red dot sight equipped pistol. I have not seen such a high number of either one of these trends in teaching courses at Practical Firearms Training. There we may see one appendix holster for every 30 or 40 students and have only had a handful of guns topped with a RDS. I’m not sure if that is due to the increased use of both from local instructors or some other variable.
Topics and drills ranged from the differences in our drawstroke in close quarters as opposed to on the square range, a couple of different retention shooting techniques, and how little tweaks in our body position could make a huge impact on our balance and stability. We then made our way out to the range.
Repetitions started out going by the numbers to ensure that everyone was on the same page. With multiple repetitions down we moved on to smoothing out the presentation and from single shots to multiple round strings. As things sped up, we were constantly reminded to keep our heads covered and not get lazy or sloppy with our stances or forward aggression. We then added more layers such as transitioning from retention to a two handed grip while moving to the rear.
From there we headed back into the classroom and once again roped our guns. Greg discussed various topics that we then tried out with our training partner. These topics ranged from stopping an attacker’s draw stroke, alternate positions, considerations for making contact shots, and various target areas/angles for different situations. These were all done against your training partner so you actually got a feel for the techniques instead of simply going through the motions.
While some evolutions would have you drawing your own weapon, others would require you to employ empty hand less lethal options such as an eye gouge or throat rip. We also discussed other various striking options.
From there we moved on to how to counter a gun grab against your draw stuffed. This included getting stuffed from the front, side, and rear. Instead of various different counters against each possibility, Greg prefers one or two techniques that will work against threats of any direction.
Up next was how to deal with an attacker that already has his gun drawn. This mostly consisted of getting offline from the weapon, controlling the weapon, and countering with either our own weapon or empty hand techniques. Weapon disarms were also briefly covered as well as when it is preferable to use the assailant’s weapon as opposed to our own. This was generally not suggested due to Greg’s background and experience from booking in all of the weapons from his agency. A large number were unloaded, partially loaded, or inoperable. The discussion also included what you should do with the suspect’s weapon when drawing your own.
Greg then touched on weapons retention both from the holster as well as in hand. Once again, he did not have multiple different options to roll through and pick from under stress. Greg had one or two simple, but brutally effective responses that would cover the majority of threats. While Greg is a mammoth of an individual, his methods relied on technique and not sheer strength or power. This meant they worked just as well for all of the participants in attendance.
From there, we moved back out to the range. After a short review of retention shooting at speed, we worked on firing from chest ready and with the gun floated (while not preferred, it is always a possibility when working less than ideal angles). With a solid body index, it was possible to get combat effective hits out to surprisingly long distances. The final drill replicated engaging a target that was both closing in as well backing away. As distances increased we were able to extend the gun and get a solid sight picture. The opposite was covered where we would fight from full extension to a solid retention position.
With that, the training day was over. The round count was right at 150 with some flexibility on most drills. This allowed students to manage their personal round count based on what they had available. Even though ammo is becoming more available, it was still appreciated my many of the participants.
I have been lucky enough to take dozens of classes from most of the well known instructors across the country. With that knowledge, Greg is the guy I chose to spend my money to train with. From knife, impact weapons, and medical, he is my go to guy. In a training world heavily based on ego driven square range drills, you will leave an Active Response Training class a little bruised and sore but with a solid grasp on the realities of a fight. I cannot recommend these classes enough.
This is what I've been looking for in Ohio. I'm in for details on upcoming classes in 2014?
You can check out Greg's schedule here: http://www.activeresponsetraining.net/