Tactical Response - Fighting Pistol
Tactical Response Course Review: Fighting Pistol, Camden TN 14-15 May 2011
This was my third time training with Tactical Response in Camden, Tennessee. I had previously taken Fighting Rifle in February 2010 and Fighting Rifle again in June, 2010, that time with my teenage son. After three trips to Camden, I can assure that there will be a fourth.
This trip to Camden, like my others, began with the short drive from my hometown over to Camden and straight to the Team Room. I walked in on the usual suspects telling the same old lies and was met with a hearty hail fellow well met. HRCC has just wrapped and the informal debriefing was underway. Dinner with teammates at a nearby joint followed, then more lies, some gear prepping and then sleep.
After breakfast, the class assembled at the Gear Store at 0900 on 14 May 2011. This class had twenty-four students. Six students were female, including one fifteen-year-old. This was my second class with a student who was not yet old enough to have a driver license, the first was my own son. In both cases, the adult classmates accepted the youth readily and the young adult blended in and successfully completed the class.
Other students included father/son, husband/wife, and boyfriend/girlfriend combinations. The day jobs included LEO, construction industry types, teachers, a pharmacist, an eye surgeon, a lawyer, insurance salesmen, a car dealer and assorted others. Some had been to a number of training classes, and some had never been in a training class at all.
One important thing I have noted in my three trips to Camden. In every class, there have been Tactical Response alumni, often retaking a class they had previously taken. This is illuminating. When a person is willing to not only return to the same training school, but also to take the same class, that person has given a huge vote of confidence to the school and the class. In Fighting Pistol, May 14-15 2011 I counted at least ten Tactical Response alumni, most of whom had taken Fighting Pistol, some of whom had taken that and other Tactical Response Classes.
The instructors for this class were Jay Gibson, Tim Morris, Jacob Herman and Calvin Lim. I have trained with Jay Gibson and Tim Morris in previous classes. I would gladly train with any of them again, and I can pay no higher compliment than that.
After class introductions were done, Jay covered the medical plan for any incidents. Following that, the four rules of safe gun handling were covered. One thing that is somewhat different than some schools is that at Tactical Response, there is only tactical gun handling, no “administrative” gun handling, and the range is “hot” always. I concur in the Tactical Response philosophy that “unloaded” guns are particularly dangerous. At Tactical Response, I have never observed anything that made me feel unsafe.
After the safety plan, gun handling and other administrative matters were covered, we adjourned and reassembled at the range a few miles away. One great thing about training in Camden, it doesn’t take long to get where one wants to go.
My gun for this training was a Glock 17 with a Surefire X300 with a DG switch. I used a Kaluban Cloak kydex holster mounted on an Original Special Operations Duty Belt with OSOE pouches. All of my gear functioned without problem. One advantage to the numerous training classes I have attended is that I have worked out my gear and found what works and what doesn’t. I had classmates this time who arrived with new or otherwise untested gear. They were often disappointed to learn that the guy at the gun store or the genius on the interwebs had given them bad advice on gear and/or guns. Before you spend hundreds of dollars on tuition, and hundreds more on ammo, food, lodging, gas and gear, make sure that the gear you are bringing to class will not interfere with your training. Play dress up, go to the range, run your gear in bad weather. Do not arrive at training with new gear that you have never tested, you will be sorry and your training will suffer.
We began with the basics of the draw stroke, building slowly but steadily to our first shot. Every class I have attended, at Tactical Response and elsewhere, begins slowly reiterating the basics and fundamentals. I used to chafe at this, but I have come to realize that this might be the most important training that I do. One can never be too good or too trained up on the fundamentals.
The first shots are taken at DEA dots. This requires focus and attention to detail. The instructors worked the line, tweaking students’ grip, draw stroke, front sight focus, and other details. We moved on to reloading.
Next, the concept of FAST (fight, assess, scan, top off) was introduced. One thing I like about training with Tactical Response is that the training, the drills, everything is oriented toward avoiding a gun fight, but winning a gunfight if you wind up in one. All drills, everything that is done is tactically sound. Even retrieving spent magazines from the deck is done with gun pointed in on the target.
We moved on to the several most common malfunctions and how to address them. Again, Tactical Response trains you to most efficiently deal with the most likely real world scenarios. We set up and trained to respond to multiple malfunctions, and the solutions were those that work for any handgun under any scenario.
The next phase of training begins to press the envelope for some people. Different body positions are introduced, from kneeling to supine. Movement is introduced, including turns. Off hand and one hand only shooting is done. By now, the reason for intensive instruction on the fundamentals that begins the class is revealed if there was any doubt.
We broke for the day, appropriate beverages were enjoyed and more lying ensued.
Day two begins at the Gear Store. There is a three hour presentation on what it really means to be an armed citizen. This presentation is, by itself, a compelling reason to attend Fighting Pistol. I have carried a gun every day, every where for almost twenty years. I have saved the life of a gunshot victim. I have thwarted what I know was going to be a robbery or worse with my handgun. I have practiced criminal law for almost twenty years. With all of that behind me, this lecture was still informative, interesting, compelling and – best of all – on the mark.
We returned to the range for more drills. Instructors refreshed the medical plan and the rules of safe gun handling.
Drills on Day 2 build quickly to full on movement while pressing the trigger, forward, backward, weaving through barrels, moving to cover, all while reloading and maintaining tactically sound tactics, to include FAST. Also on Day 2 the concept of shooting from weapon retention positions is introduced and drilled.
As noted, this was my third trip to Camden. If I had it to do all over again, I probably would have started with Fighting Pistol. This class has something to offer everyone who has a handgun, from novice to steely-eyed face shooter. I highly recommend that anyone considering training take Fighting Pistol. I know I will take this course again.