Here is my AAR on the Combative Pistol I Course that I completed this weekend.
Location: Florence, SC...Florence County Sheriff's Office Range
What: Combative Pistol I/16 hours (Designed for Concealed carriers)
When: April 16,17 (9a.m.-6 p.m.)
Trainer(s): Tom Givens, wife Lynn Givens from Rangemaster out of Memphis, TN
Weapon: Glock 19/9mm
Ammo: WWB FMJ...Approx 800 rounds downrange...ZERO malfunctions
Weather: Day One, Cloudy, 78, Very Windy (20-30mph), Severe Thunderstorms
Day Two, Sunny, 75,beautiful day
Range: Outdoors, Approx 30 lanes, Approx 4 foot wide concrete paths to target, gravel approx 4 foot wide between paths, markers at 3,7,12, and 25 yards. The concrete/gravel extremely rough on mags.
Attendees: 19 Folks. Those training ranged from an Orthopedic Surgeon, a Spine Surgeon, to Law Enforcement personnel, Constables, Active duty Military, Business Owners, normal folks. Experience ranged from Very good with a pistol to average.
My Goal for taking the course: To refine/improve my defensive pistol skills in hopes that it will help me protect myself and/or my family in the event those skills are needed in a bad situation. This is my 3rd course taken that concentrates on defensive pistol skills.
All range drills/exercises, both days, were performed with a buddy We operated two groups, one on line firing and second group/buddy observing what you were doing, offering corrections to minor things he noticed (i.e. not resetting trigger after shot before being ordered to low ready, etc).
Day 1...The weather was extremely bad on Saturday the 16th. Winds were ranging from 20-30 mph with gusts to 50. Tornado warnings were out the whole day. Occasional thundershowers, but we tried to watch the radar and head to the classroom when storms/lightning was imminent or bad. It certainly gave us an opportunity to see how we would function in a not so shooter friendly environment.
We started out in the classroom with introductions, safety briefing, range etiquette expections, reenforcement of firearm safety rules, and paperwork. We discussed Defensive Shooting Techniques, developing a system of training designed to produce rapid, accurate, and decisive hits under stressful conditions. We covered drawstroke and reholstering. Firing platform (stances) were discussed and when they would be beneficial/used and when they would NOT come into play. We went over grip, sight picture, breathing, trigger control (reset), follow through (getting back on target, keeping focus on front sight, reset trigger), and recovery. Example: Draw, weapon on target, take up trigger slack, focus on front sight, press trigger, BANG, see front sight, reset trigger, back on target, etc. All happening in a VERY short period of time. An important thing to remember is "when the gun fires, you are actually only half way through firing that shot". When you fire a shot you will have two sight pictures. One when you acquire the target and fire and the next when you acquire for the next shot if needed. If you fire two shots, you will have THREE sight pictures, one when you acquire, then shoot, then acquire, shoot the second shot, acquire again if third shot is needed, etc. Proper reloading techniques when needed. It just makes you think and understand what your brain is processing in millesonds. When we were not on the range, other classroom time was utilized discussing SA, shooting incidents from the past and their probable causes, results during the shoot, and final outcomes. Most shootings occur in public areas, parking lots, malls, NOT at home. Wear your gun!...
Range time on day one spent with basics and building speed of draw, presentation, getting on target, discharging, MAKING HITS. Only hits count. You cannot miss fast enough to keep from getting shot!. We worked on basic bullseye targets, then to silouette, slow repetitions, single to multiple shots, varying distances. Then time, and shot location was introduced, and distances varied. I.E. from 3 yards, draw, 6 shots to center mass (between the nipples and center) in five seconds. Anything outside the center mass did NOT count as a hit. Upon completion of the drill, reload, go to low ready, prepare to fight again, Holster weapon. Back up to 5 yards, same drill. Back up to 7 yards same drill. Of course the location of shots, number of shots, distances, and time alloted was varied on every drill. Each drill was demonstrated first and then executed by the students. Corrections in grip, stance, trigger control, reset, shot pattern and cause etc was made as needed. Introduction of shooting with non dominant hand was made.
Other than bouncing back and forth tween range and classroom because of the weather, it was a productive and energetic warmup for day two. We ran about 250 rounds (kept down because range time was limited based on storms).
Day 2...The majority of Day 2 was on the range. We ran abut 500-600 rounds. Big difference was, all weapon handling/firing was done utilizing your conceal garment. Demonstration of Open Conceal garment (i.e. vest, shirt, etc) and access to weapon, draw, acquire target fire, reholster) was given and discussed, Then the same with Closed Conceal garment (i.e. t-shirt, polo, etc). Then to the line to begin the day of exercises. Distances were varried from 3 yards to 25 yards. The stress innoculation was ramped up a bit based on timing of certain performed exercises, number of hits, location of required hits, etc. 50 round graded exercises (pass/fail) were instituted. We normally ran one practice and then the graded. These drills continued during the day with draw, "movement off the X", reloading, holstering, ALL a part of each and every drill. We utilized both dominant hand with non dominant off the grip, and non dominant hand, with dominant hand off the grip. The pace during the day was hectic. This also increased the stress as well as reduced times for certain drills. Toward the end of the day we added the fatigue issue in with the other stress factors and all of us noticed the effect it had on our performance and the concentration needed to maintain our accuracy and safety. That afternoon, we went over malfunctions and remedies. All of the afternoon drills incorporated malfunctions into the effort. The end of the day, we had a very simple drill to perform that was a pass/fail drill for performance. The drill was: Your buddy was given one of your mags and one dummie round. He loaded five live rounds and one dummie in YOUR mag. Insert this mag into your weapon, You did the same for his weapon. You did not know where the dummie/malfunction would strike. Now, on the clock, you had twelve seconds, from 3 yards, DRAW, put 5 hits on center mass, deal with the malfunction induced by the dummie round, drop mag/reload, put 3 hits on center mass, go to low ready. Times ranged from 7.47 seconds to 12.19 seconds...They allowed the .19 for a pass on this drill...LOL...All students completed/passed the drill, albeit a couple had to go a second and/or third time. The day ended with presentation of completion certificates etc etc etc.
Things of note:
*Your pistol is for the fight we didn't know we were going to have. Carry your pistol! In EVERY emergency life or death incident, your only viable answer will be your gun. CARRY YOUR GUN..
*Be alert and aware. The sooner you are in the loop, the better your chances of winning.
*Accept that violence can occur anywhere there are people. ANYWHERE...
Have your gun and spare ammo on you. YOU CAN'T GO GET STUFF AFTER THE FLAG FLIES.
*Get hits!!! Only hits count!!!
*Pistol bullets are not effective against boney structures. Make your hits count in the areas that will cripple/destroy your danger.
*practice with NON-dominant hand!
*TRAIN WITH YOUR CONCEAL GARMENT ON...i.e. vest, etc. You have no idea how it will affect your actions if you don't train with it on.
*Bullet placement is key to wounding effectiveness, coupled with a bullet capable of getting to and then through vital organs. LOCATION. LOCATION. LOCATION.
*several weapons broke down the second day. ALL Glocks ran flawlessly.
*more target = less time (the closer you are to a target, the less time it takes to acquire center mass (sight picture) and make hits)... less target = more time (i.e. from 7 yards or further back, it takes more time to acquire center mass (sight picture) and make good hits.
* You will have to deal with trouble with what you physically have on you. Carry your gun, carry spare mags. DON'T EVER QUIT!
All in all a fun two days for this old man!!!