Sept 24-26, 2010
I attended Handgun 1-3 at TDI Ohio (http://www.tdiohio.com) on Sept 24-26, 2010. We had 28 students and 8 instructors at the beginning. We had a few extra people join for day 2 and a few people leave for day 3. There were two 13yo’s in the class, one of whom was the son of one of the instructors and shot very well! There were at least 3 sets of husband and wives there. We went around and introduced ourselves and what kind of work we did. The class was very diverse - medical people, truck drivers, salesmen, housewives, and even a piano tuner. The staff is also very diverse including several active law enforcement personnel as well as a psychologist, attorney and financial guy. Many of the staff volunteer their time to teach there.
We were in the class room for the morning. We went over a lot of the legalities on gun fights and also as they pertain to the CCW laws. John Benner did most of the talking with some of the other staff members interjecting on few sectionsl. Bill Posey, one of the staff members who is also a practicing attorney, talked about how the average criminal and legal defense fees for being involved in a shooting typically run $50-100k each, but that if you have the correct clause in your homeowners insurance that they will cover the civil portion of the defense. This applies whether the shooting occurred at home or outside the home.
They give you an hour for lunch. I suppose you could run to the closest town for something eat, but its easiest to just bring your own food. We ate at the diner next to the Comfort Inn every morning and just bought a sandwich at breakfast and took it for lunch. They have a refrigerator and microwave, but no drinks unless you want tap water or coffee. There is ice in the freezer. I had tap water every day with lunch.
After lunch we were out on the range. We went over chest ready position and pushing the gun out, taking up trigger slack as you’re doing it and then letting the trigger out to just the point that it resets so you're set for the next shot. They “roped” our guns with a piece of rubber tubing, which makes it impossible for it to be loaded or for the action to cycle. Its an interesting way of making the gun safe. I was always brought up to never point the gun at anyone, loaded or unloaded, but after its roped, they have you point it at them and pull the trigger over and over in the drill. It was a little weird to get used to. They also went over drawing from the holster into a smooth presentation.
That day we all had our own target which was nice. No taking turns. We started with a drill where we’d shoot one shot at a time, regain sight picture and then back to the chest ready. They’d say “shoot about 30 shots” although if you shot 20 or 70 that was fine also. Then we did it with 2 shots, 3 shots, alternating targets and eventually with entire magazines with increasing speed. I’ve never blown through so much ammo so fast! While we were doing all of this the staff would walk around, observe and make corrections all in a very helpful, constructive, non-critical way. When Sam saw me using my M&P, asked if I’d done any work on it at all and I said no, he went and retrieved his from his truck and let me shoot a mag of his ammo through it. He had one of David Bowie’s (http://www.bowietacticalconcepts.com) trigger jobs done to it and I must say it was pretty nice! I later shot Bowie’s own EDC M&P9 and it was darn nice as well! The down side of these trigger jobs is that it takes several months to get your gun back from Bowie.
Day 2 again started in the class room where we went over situational awareness and watched a quite enlightening video on the stopping power (or the lack there of) of most hand guns. We then went out to the range and did malfunction clearing drills. The way they explained it made so much more sense than the way I’ve always thought about it. You don’t care whats wrong with the gun, you just want to get it working again (assuming you’re in a gun fight) so instead of trying to diagnose what the problems is and learning a clearing technique for each type of malfunction, learn one set of techniques that works on them all. Don’t put your hand over the ejection port when racking the slide so you don’t block the round you are trying to clear from coming out. My left index finger was a little raw by the end from racking the slide so many times with 2 fingers. That was a new technique for me as I’d always just put my entire hand over top of the gun to pull the side back. We learned the technique with empty guns and magazines (checked to be empty by at least 3 different instructors) and then often had them pointed at the instructors while doing the drill. Again, just took a bit to get used to point the guns at someone. We then handed the instructor a handful of rounds which they would mix up with some empty shell casings and put them randomly in out mag and the put the mag back in our holstered gun. As an instructor watched each of us individually had to shoot through the mag dealing with the different malfunctions that the empty casings caused
We then started doing moving drills/box drills on the steel targets. Also drawing and moving off center as you fired. John Benner took is in small groups over to live fire house #1 to give us an intro to the house stuff as a preparation for going through them the following day.
Before finishing that day we did a roughly 20 minute relaxation/meditation session with the psychologist staff member. Apparently people have had really bad experiences with the live fire houses where they get anxious, hyperventilate, ball up into a fetal position, etc. I guess some people really don’t do well under the small amount of stress in the houses. They’ve been doing these sessions at the end of day 2 for about 10 years now and have apparently really seen a positive effect. John Benner, who points out that he is not a touchy feely kind of guy, said that he would not waste our money and time with a relaxation session if he hadn’t seen that it actually helps.
We didn’t really end up shooting that many rounds on Day 2 compared to Day 1. At the end of the first day I was fearing that 1800 rounds might not be enough. At the end of the second day I realized I had plenty.
No class room stuff on day 3. We start on the range. We learned shooting from cover and different cornering techniques depending on if you have a lot of very little space to go around the corner. They demonstrated how “space is your friend” when going around corners, clearing places and in everyday life in general. We learned off handed shooting and how to move the gun from one hand to the other. How to clear around the off handed corner, looking through your non-dominant eye and using your off hand or turning the gun sideways, all done to expose as little of you as possible.
We went in small groups with Bill Posey to do “furtive movement drills”. They got you to move off center while drawing and shooting and then we each did some role playing as the group watched where Bill would start talking to us casually and at some point the conversation/situation was going to go bad and we had to decide what to do and how to get out of it. Or whether to draw your gun on him. It was great to think through these situations and then get his input on them after wards.
We did some timed drills to see how fast you could present and get a shot on the steel target, then how fast you could get 3 shots on 3 different targets.
We went individually to the live fire houses. I wish we would have had a chance to do more than one of them. There are 3. We each got to go through a random one. For me at least, the house is no pressure. No one is shooting back at you. Its not times. Nothing bad can happen. Its really just an exercise where you get to use all of the techniques you’ve learned and put them together. There is a staff member with you as you go through and then you watch the person after you as they go through.
They have a small pro shop there. Really its just a small glass enclosed counter where you can buy belts, holsters, flashlights, etc, and also the TDI KA-bar knife that they all carry. They also sell some TDI clothing.
We stayed at the Comfort Inn, as recommended by TDI. It is very nice and clean. Free wireless internet. You get a discount for mentioning that you are there for TDI. Several of the instructors also stayed there. The free breakfast at the hotel is actually not too bad. We went over to Cruiser’s Diner right next door before and after the classes. Its about a 25min drive from the hotel to TDI. If you’re using GPS, your unit will tell you that you’ve arrived at TDI when you are still in the middle of nowhere. That is the edge of their property. Keep driving for about another half mile or so and you’ll come up on the TDI sign.
In the end, I only shot 900 rounds. I can not say enough good things about my experience there and can’t wait to go back either to repeat HG 1-3 or for HG 4-6 where they shoot back at you. Several people there had been through the HG 1-3 several times, including Bill Posey, who after taking it 6 times, was promoted to being on staff. The staff explains things very well. They explain why they do everything they do which really helps understand why they are teaching a particular technique. John Benner is a very unassuming individual. They don’t name anything after them. There isn’t anything known as the TDI Cornering Technique. They teach what they think is the best technique for a particular thing such as stance, cornering, hand switching, etc.. If tomorrow they find what they think to be a better technique they will start teaching that. The whole weekend was very casual and comfortable. Definitely dress for the weather. We had perfect weather, but they apparently shoot in anything except for lightening.
Here are some pictures:
Inside the class room. Pro-shop is bottom left
Targets we used on Day 1 when we each had our own
A "roped" gun. Now you can point it at people and pull the trigger.
Distance shooting. When you're back against the garage its 75 feet
Conceal and cover shooting as well as close cornering
Cruiser's Diner, right next to the Comfort Inn
Room at the Comfort Inn