Tactical Defense Institute (TDI) Snubby Class After Action Review

Tactical Defense Institute (TDI) Snubby Class After Action Review

This is a discussion on Tactical Defense Institute (TDI) Snubby Class After Action Review within the Defensive Carry & Tactical Training forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I took the Snubby Revolver 2-day class from Tactical Defense Institute (TDI) in June 2011. The following is my review on the class. The Instructors ...

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    Tactical Defense Institute (TDI) Snubby Class After Action Review

    I took the Snubby Revolver 2-day class from Tactical Defense Institute (TDI) in June 2011. The following is my review on the class.

    The Instructors
    TDI is run by John Benner. John is a veteran LEO who served for 25 years on the Hamilton County Ohio Regional SWAT team. John is the lead instructor for TDI and he was the lead instructor for the Snubby class. He has an engaging and easy going manner and this influences his teaching style and that of his staff. While range safety was clearly paramount, and the instructors watched the students like a hawk, the training was provided in a conversational tone. There was not DI barking or dressing down of students.

    For the snubby class, which had 18 students, John led a team of 8 instructors. These instructors included a police chief, at least 2 SWAT team members in addition to John, ex-military personnel, active and former LEOs and one ex-CIA agent and author – Ed Lovette – who penned The Snubby Revolver: The ECQ, Backup, and Concealed Carry Standard and Defensive Living which he wrote with Dave Spaulding.

    The instructors were knowledgeable, easy going and willing to share their experience with the students. Each of the instructors worked with each of the students over the course of the weekend and they each brought complimentary, yet unique approaches to the students.

    The Students
    The students, as you would expect, were a mixed bag. We had several students who had previously attended TDI classes, and at least 1 who had previously attended the snubby class. We also had those who had never been to TDI and this was the first training they had received other than the obligatory CCW training required by their state.

    Geographically, we had students from Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia. Skill wise, although target groups varied, all the students were familiar with their weapons and were clearly familiar with shooting and gun safety. Our own Pistology shot, by far, the best target groups in the initial shooting on the range.

    There were 3 couples, and the rest of the group were guys. One of the couples can be heard talking about guns on Cincinnati’s 55KRC THE Talk Station (www.55krc.com has a stream if you want to hear it on the web) Sunday evenings at 19:00. All in all, it was a good group of people from a variety of professions and we all got along fine.

    The Course
    Day 1
    - The snubby course started with a short lecture entitled Optimal Snubby Skills (based on) Citizen-Involved Assaults. This lecture was designed to ensure that all students had a basic understanding on the role that the snubby can, and has, played in defensive situations. This was to be the only classroom lecture. All other teaching was at the range.

    The range time started with paper targets. The instructors were getting a feel for the shooting abilities of each of the students with their snubby. We performed several exercises with the paper targets, mostly from about 3-4 yards. All these early exercises were aimed fire.

    During the initial target practice time, we had a short training/demo on reloading the revolver. Techniques demonstrated included speed strips and speed loaders as well as how to properly hold the revolver to ensure a clean reload. At this time, we were instructed that all reloads during the weekend should be combat reloads. We were to get used to reloading our snubby assuming we were under fire and needed to get back in the fight. John explained that you will perform how you train and so, we had better train how we would like to perform should we ever become involved in a fire fight with our snubby. Many of us were reloading and pocketing the speed loader or speed strips. We were instructed that they are to go on the ground and can be picked up later as putting them in pockets wastes time you don’t have in a fire fight.

    After getting a pretty good read on the shooting skills that we brought to the class, we had a demo of how to draw and present the weapon for aggressors who are at various distances. Drawing to the ready position with 2 hands at mid-chest the pushing the gun to full arm extension; drawing and holding the gun in close one handed for maximum retention should the fight be in close and your off-hand is otherwise involved; drawing to the ready position and holding there for a close, but not contact range shot where extending would present retention problems, etc.

    We also got a demonstration of how to prepare for and defend ourselves in H2H contact while protecting our head and allowing us to draw and fire a contact shot(s) on the perp. After all these demonstrations, we spent time practicing the skills demonstrated on the range, or in the case of the H2H skills, with a partner – contact shots taken with fingers, not guns.

    After practicing shooting from a variety of distances from close 3-4 yards to closer to contact, we moved to the steel target range and “timed in”. This consisted of timing a 1 shot on target from the ready position twice then adding in a 3 shot-reload-1 shot string. We got a feel for how fast we could accurately shoot and reload. We then spent some time doing exercises on the steel target range. Then we took a break for dinner.

    After dinner, we got a demo on various ways to use a flashlight and were encouraged to find 2 ways that were comfortable for us; 1 with the light near the gun and 1 with it remote from the gun. We practiced this with unloaded guns and lights off as it was still light out getting a feel what felt comfortable. After we gained some comfort, we loaded up and practiced to see if the positions we selected worked when recoil was added into the mix.

    Finally, it got dark and we got to practice our new (for some) flashlight skills in the dark with lights on. They lined us up at about 21 feet from the target and we took turns flashing to ID a target, then lighting it and shooting it. This was a blast and I was surprised to see how accurately I could shoot in this situation (accuracy being defined as hitting the steel target which was about 12 inches wide and 18 inches tall). After this exercise, we called it a night. We had started at 09:00 and ended at about 21:30 – a very good day.

    Day 2 – We started Day 2 with another “timing in” exercise to see if we had improved our skills from day 1 and to warm up for the day. It was during 1 of these “timing” exercises that I really learned that while getting a speed loader out of a pocket most of the time is pretty easy, when you are sweaty and your arm sticks to the pocket fabric, the time to reload can go up dramatically. Maybe I need to rethink how I carry my speed loader.

    After timing in, we worked on shooting with less than fully aimed shots. Shots where we bring the gun up so the sights are in our line of sight, and are on target, but are not precisely aligned. This allows faster shots to be taken should the need arise. We then began shooting from distances farther than on day 1. We lined up and shot at paper targets from 10, 15 & 20 yards. These were slow fire exercises and this was the only time the instructors suggested using SA if your weapon could. We were trying to see how precise we could be at these distances to determine the max distance we could comfortably engage a target without fear of collateral damage.

    After shooting some more steel target exercises, we took a break for lunch. After lunch we would have 3 more exercises, but they were not only great fun, but greatly instructive.

    We broke into 3 groups and went to the 3 different exercises to facilitate getting through them on a timely basis. My group started at the Force on Force house. We had 2 simulated situations which I won’t share in detail as they are likely used in other classes. The first situation was a store robbery while you are a customer and the second was a home invasion. The staff was shooting students with Airsoft guns and we were shooting the staff with our snubbies – albeit with paintball rounds fired by primers. Obviously, every gun was triple checked and no live ammo was allowed at this station.

    We entered the house one at a time and did both exercises. The instructors critiqued our performance and pointed out what we did right and how we could have improved our performance. After doing your situations, you could watch the next guy/gal do his/hers. As much as I know to get off the X, in the store situation, I just stood there and traded shots with the perp. This situation was great for getting knowledge into practice (or showing where you didn’t and need to improve).

    After the force on force house, we went back to the range and worked in a simulated restaurant. We worked on drawing and shooting while seated behind a table, drawing covertly then presenting the weapon and shooting and/or re-holstering and drawing, shooting and moving to cover while reloading. We also focused on how to sit in a chair so that when you get up you can clear it and not trip over it. This was an interesting and practical training session. Ed Lovette was instrumental in teaching this situation and one had the impression that he was teaching from practical experience as a CIA field agent, not just book or range learning.

    We then went to the live fire house and had 2 scenarios to run through. We were not clearing a building, but were entering a library as if we were a normal customer. We were presented with 2 situations and you had to decide how to respond. In the live fire house you are shooting paper targets with live ammo. Staff are the voices for the targets so you can interact with the targets to determine their intentions. We had one hostage target and I don’t think anybody shot the hostage. He was a kid, so he was only about chest high, but the only real shot was a head shot. There were misses, but at least nobody plugged the kid. This was my best shot of the scenarios. While I hit in all the scenarios, I got the hostage holder just below the tear duct between his nose and right eye. Now, did I properly use cover and/or movement – well that is another story.

    After the live fire house, we returned to the steel range and “timed out”. We then went back to the classroom for closing comments from each of the instructors and we got our certificates.

    Summary
    Overall, the class was great fun. We got to shoot lots of rounds from our snubbies. The course called for bringing 700 rounds. I brought 850 to be on the safe side, and shot about 600. Shooting that many rounds through snubbies in a short period of time can induce sores and pains, and some had pretty taped up hands by the end of the 2 days, but I did not hear anybody complain. I think everybody at least had cuts from hitting the ejector rod on their gun over and over.

    The snubby course included much of what TDI offers, including the force on force house and live fire house. Obviously, over a 2 day course, while you can use these tools at an introductory level to become familiar with skills you need to work on, you will not become proficient at all the skills taught during the course. The course is designed to give you the info you need to practice and hone the skills you already have into more refined skills that you can use in real life.

    This was my first TDI course and I will definitely go back for more. I heard this echoed by others. There were a couple of guys from Michigan who had heard good things about TDI, but did not want to spend the time, funds or ammo for the 3 day Handgun I-III class until they knew more about TDI. They were clearly impressed and plan to return to TDI. A great many of the students in our class were repeat TDI customers.

    I personally had a great time. I learned a lot about what I have to learn and practice. Much of what I learned was that I need to apply what I already know, much of that learned from DC’s forums. I also enjoyed meeting and working with the other students. While we had a lot of different personalities in the group, we all worked together and there was not a bad apple in the bunch.
    It's the Land of Opportunity, not the Land of Entitlements - Vote America!!!

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    VIP Member Array JDE101's Avatar
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    Thanks for the report! Now there is one other course there I want to take! I've got to figure a way to save the money to take some of their courses. Problem is, I'm retired and the government hasn't given retirees a cost of living or social securtiy increase in two years--yet the cost of insurance and cost of living has continued to climb. I guess I'm going to have to try and find a part-time job just to earn the money for ammo and classes.

    I've heard nothing but good things about TDI and want to take several of their courses. Luckily, they are in southern OH not too far from where I live, so at least I don't have large travel expenses to have to worry about.
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    Once my new life as a civilian starts to stabilize, I really need to get out there. Nice job on the write-up too. Sounds like a worthwhile class to attend.
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    Nice write up. Sounds like you had a good time. I'm glad you went.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    For you taking that class: Respect.

    For doing it with a snubby: Double!

    RE: Single action on snubbies - Michael De Bethencourt advises to make the snubbie DAO to eliminate the potential of someone accusing you of cocking the gun and having your shot be alleged to have been a ND instead of an intentional shot.

    It's very interesting that TDI seems to take the other position.

    Would it be fair to say that instead of focusing primarily on close in fighting with the snubbie, they want to make the snubbie all it can be and stretch your ability to engage out as far as possible, as well as deal with close in threats?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MitchellCT View Post
    For you taking that class: Respect.

    For doing it with a snubby: Double!

    RE: Single action on snubbies - Michael De Bethencourt advises to make the snubbie DAO to eliminate the potential of someone accusing you of cocking the gun and having your shot be alleged to have been a ND instead of an intentional shot.

    It's very interesting that TDI seems to take the other position.

    Would it be fair to say that instead of focusing primarily on close in fighting with the snubbie, they want to make the snubbie all it can be and stretch your ability to engage out as far as possible, as well as deal with close in threats?
    The primary focus for the snubby was on close in fighting. The only reason for moving back was to see what your effective range could be if push came to shove and you had to take that precision shot and only had a snubby. My snubbies don't have an exposed hammer and I would say that most in the class had DAO revolvers, but there were a few with exposed hammers. The instructors never indicated that anything other than DA should be considered except in making a precision long shot. They also told us to shave a few yards off our best range efforts to account for the heat of battle shakes. The focus, however, was more up close and personal as a normal SD engagement would be. They were not giving advice on what gun to shoot, but how you could use your gun if it had SA as an option.

    Thanks for the kudos, but I shot the course with my 640 which is a steel snubby. Pistology shot it with a S&W Bodyguard .38 which is much lighter. There were a lot of 642s and LCRs there. Most of the hands I saw getting taped up to address cuts or blisters were the lighter guns. One guy brought a 340 Scandium j frame and tried to shoot the course with it. Fortunately, he brought a heavier snubby as well. He switched out pretty quickly.
    It's the Land of Opportunity, not the Land of Entitlements - Vote America!!!

    "When governments fear the people there is liberty. When the people fear the government there is tyranny." Thomas Jefferson

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    Thanks for the great write up! It's because of write ups like this that TDI is on my short list.

    You said "As much as I know to get off the X, in the store situation, I just stood there and traded shots with the perp."

    Do you normally add moving into your training?
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevem174 View Post
    Thanks for the great write up! It's because of write ups like this that TDI is on my short list.

    You said "As much as I know to get off the X, in the store situation, I just stood there and traded shots with the perp."

    Do you normally add moving into your training?
    I have not because the ranges I use don't allow it. I am going to figure out a way to add it in a dry fire situation so that I think of moving before the AAR. I also need to do more dry firing as my trigger control was good in slow fire, but not so hot shooting more rapidly.
    It's the Land of Opportunity, not the Land of Entitlements - Vote America!!!

    "When governments fear the people there is liberty. When the people fear the government there is tyranny." Thomas Jefferson

    You are only paranoid until you are right - then you are a visionary.

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    VIP Member Array MitchellCT's Avatar
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    What was the reload method taught?

    Did you transfer the gun between hands when reloading or keep the gun in the firing grip?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MitchellCT View Post
    What was the reload method taught?

    Did you transfer the gun between hands when reloading or keep the gun in the firing grip?
    It is a transfer to the off-hand capturing the cylinder so the shooting hand can hit the ejector rod and then load from a speed loader.
    It's the Land of Opportunity, not the Land of Entitlements - Vote America!!!

    "When governments fear the people there is liberty. When the people fear the government there is tyranny." Thomas Jefferson

    You are only paranoid until you are right - then you are a visionary.

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    VIP Member Array MitchellCT's Avatar
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    Did you do any non-hand transfer reloading?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MitchellCT View Post
    Did you do any non-hand transfer reloading?
    Not at the course, but I have done in the past. For me, their way is faster.
    It's the Land of Opportunity, not the Land of Entitlements - Vote America!!!

    "When governments fear the people there is liberty. When the people fear the government there is tyranny." Thomas Jefferson

    You are only paranoid until you are right - then you are a visionary.

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    If I lived in Ohio I don't think you'd get me away from that place. I'd go broke training there.

    Great write up! I have and sometimes carry the a 360PD scandium frame .357 and when you said someone was there with one and tried to shoot the course with it (well, the 340, hammer-less version) I winced. I'm glad he brought a heavier gun. I can't imagine the pain of trying to shoot a course with it.. OUCH!!!

    I'm really glad you went! They have so many courses I want to take. And as soon as this baby hatches I'm planning my next trip out there!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ksholder View Post
    I took the Snubby Revolver 2-day class from Tactical Defense Institute (TDI) in June 2011. The following is my review on the class.
    Our own Pistology shot, by far, the best target groups in the initial shooting on the range.
    This was pushing the gun from compressed or chest-high ready to single sight-shooting the target. There was a lot of room for improvement as the instructors had a lot of helpful advice over the two-day course in which I was degrading in maintaining good groups or even hitting the target. But the istructors let me know it and helped me to stay in the ball park.
    Ksholder's review is excellent. I'm glad to have met him in such a fun place with so many nice people. Please read my complimentary review of the Snubby course.
    Americans understood the right of self-preservation as permitting a citizen to repel force by force
    when the intervention of society... may be too late to prevent an injury.
    -Blackstone’s Commentaries 145–146, n. 42 (1803) in District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008)

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    Quote Originally Posted by limatunes View Post
    If I lived in Ohio I don't think you'd get me away from that place. I'd go broke training there.

    Great write up! I have and sometimes carry the a 360PD scandium frame .357 and when you said someone was there with one and tried to shoot the course with it I winced. I'm glad he brought a heavier gun. I can't imagine the pain of trying to shoot a course with it.. OUCH!!!

    I'm really glad you went! They have so many courses I want to take. And as soon as this baby hatches I'm planning my next trip out there!
    Amen...my 340 is abear in .357. I could shoot all day with 38s but that .357 is a handful.
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