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Posted: 7/26/2013 8:01:52 AM EST
Practical Firearms Training
Advanced Handgun
Alderson, WV
19-21 July 2013

On 19-21 July we ran our Advanced Handgun program at our primary training facility in Alderson, WV.   This is truly an “advanced” class and as such there are certain prerequisites in place for those wishing to attend.   All of the students have trained with use numerous times in the past and were hard shooters across the board.

TD1 started at 0900 with a concealed carry skills review just to knock the dust off and get everyone warmed up.  From there students went through various square range drills to polish skillsets for absolute efficiency in draws, reloads, recoil management and malfunction clearance (two hands, weapon hand and support hand only).  

At that time the class was spilt in two separate relays.  Each relay would report to an adjunct instructor to be led through simultaneous drills.  This frees up a lot of extra time that would normally be wasted while the entire line stands around waiting on each student to finish a drill.    While one group was performing a stress drill involving a 75 yard dash before entering a doorway and engaging a specific target, the second was working on shot speed delivery by engaging multiple targets at varying distances.

The groups were then split again with one working on various movement drills on the plate rack that included front and rear, lateral movement, dashing and changing speeds.   This was done in conjunction with a simultaneous drill that had students moving to various pieces of cover while engaging a target from 40 meters to 15 and then back to 40.  

Jake and Jay from Ares Gear were on hand and during lunch they discussed the benefits of having a quality belt and how it relates to your load carriage system.   Several students showed up with less than stellar choices in belts and all commented on the results of switching over to a Ranger belt.  Life is much easier when you aren’t fighting your own gear.

At this point the whole class came together to run a continuous movement drill that involved targets facing 180 degrees that they had to engage from behind cover with only the strong or support hand for any and all manipulations.   Single hand manipulations are one thing while standing in a line on the square range, it is something else when trying to conform to various types of cover.

Things then slowed down as students worked on long range engagements.  The needed skills were refined by engaging the plate rack at 25 yards before moving on to steel silhouette targets at 100 yards.  

Next up was a block on intermediate barrier penetration.  Students were able to see how their personal carry loads performed when shot against a windshield, car door, various thicknesses of building materials and lumber, and finally concealable body armor.  More than a few students were surprised by how their particular load performed, ranging from rounds disintegrating when passing through the door to splitting in half exiting the windshield.   The day was finished with a demonstration on how a 5.56 rifle and 12 gauge shotgun performed against the same barriers.

TD2 started out with a block on backup guns.  This included a lecture portion, safely drawing the weapon, shooting through a cover garment and how to use the BUG as a impact weapon when empty.  

After strapping the “primary” pistols back on, we worked on fighting from retention.  From firing while striking the target and holding it off of you , to engaging the targets from retention and moving off angle to the rear while still delivering accurate shots.

The class then came back to the classroom for a block of instruction on tactical and range medical care.  Topics included how to build or pick a kit for different needs, the pros and cons of various medical components, and how treat gunshot wounds to different parts of the body.   Each student then got practical examples on how to apply self aid and buddy aid with various tourniquets and pressure bandages.  

Next up were some situational drills. The first is designed to teach students how to clear malfunctions and deliver hits on target with slippery, “bloody” hands.

The class was once again split with one half completing a drill simulating being forcibly removed from a vehicle and physically attacked my multiple assailants during a carjacking.    Students engage multiple targets from supine and while using the vehicle as cover.  

While this drill is taking place, the rest of the students participate in a drill that has them engaging targets from inside, around and under a vehicle before dragging a downed partner behind the vehicle and administrating a tourniquet to a simulated injury.

The day concluded with a drill that had students engage a target before simulating being struck in an arm and having to self apply a tourniquet.  At that point they reengaged a target with the TQ in place.  This was an eye opener for many as the TQ provides discomfort and resistance which can simulate an injury that does not take the arm completely out of action.

TD3 largely took place in the shoothouse and on the scenario range.   After a bit of ground school on various methods to enter rooms, work corners, target identification, and use handheld/weapon mounted lights, students started with one room entries.  

After each student finished the one room entry they then proceeded on to a full house clear.  This involved multiple different lighting situations, dealing with both open and closed doors, multiple threats and hostage rescue type shots.

Students cycled through and ran the entry one at a time while the rest of the class shot various drills against moving targets on the scenario range.   These ranged from engaging a latterly moving target with the shooter stationary, to having a target “charge” the shooter and finally drills that incorporated the shooter moving as well.

Student then work multiple vehicle based drills against the moving targets that involved shooting from inside the vehicle at a target quickly approaching from the rear as well as the front.  

Next up was a drill that involved placing the weapon in condition 3 inside a vehicle wherever the student generally deposits it when entering a restricted area.  The students then have to move to various pieces of cover while being engaged by an “active shooter” armed with an airsoft gun until making their way back to the vehicle and retrieve their handgun and engaging multiple targets from there.

The final two drills were ran in yet another split.  The first was a vehicle based drill with two students performing a tandem vehicle exit drill and engaging multiple moving targets at the same time.  

While this was going other students were performing another tandem vehicle drill that involved engaging multiple hostile targets that were interspaced with “innocents” from a moving vehicle.  

And with that, Advanced Handgun came to an end.  In three days, a group of very solid shooters got to take their square range mechanical shooting and manipulation skills and put them to the test in various real world situations.   Learning that the best par times or reload speeds in the world do not always carry over into fighting in a house, on your back, out of a vehicle, in the middle of a fist fight or while injured.  

That realization along with the training to counter it is what makes a shooter truly Advanced.  

Link Posted: 7/26/2013 10:18:06 AM EST
Your FB post on the WVCDL site brought me here

Good write up!

I plan to take his Defensive Handgun 1 and 2 class sometime, hopefully this year.
Link Posted: 7/26/2013 1:13:12 PM EST
Pat, Rob, Bart, and Wayne always offer an outstanding training experience.  Looks like there have been some updates to the class, looks like a great time and great training.

Now I just have to figure out how to get back to the East coast to train there again.
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