June 8th, 2005 11:29 PM
August 19, 1970 - June 2012
NTI XV After ACtion Review
Having just returned from the 15th National Tactical Invitational, I thought I’d share my impressions.
After a nice relaxing ride southeast from Pittsburgh to
Harrisburg, we arrived at the Holiday Inn & Conference
Center mid-afternoon with plenty of time to spare prior to
the Registration and Range Briefing at 1830 hours Tuesday 31
May. I linked up with James Yeager, with whom I was sharing
a hotel room at the Comfort Inn [located across the street
from the Holiday Inn], and secured my valuable possessions
prior to adjourning to the Elephant & Castle, an English pub
located on the grounds of the Holiday Inn, for supper.
It was outstanding to see Yeager again and we reminisced and
caught up throughout the week. He is in fine shape and very
busy with Tactical Response, which is growing by leaps and
At the briefing, I discovered that I was assigned to Squad
#5 which consisted of me, James Yeager, John Hearne and a
fellow from San Antonio named Matt. We were to shoot the
event on Wednesday. Squad #5 was to become quite notorious
over the course of the week.
Additionally, I was somewhat surprised to discover that the
vast majority of persons present were known to me. After
meeting some of the other practitioners, I was further
surprised to discover that I had corresponded with a
significant portion of them either through online forums or
via email. By the end of the week, I had made the
acquaintance of everyone present, but by the end of Tuesday
evening, I realized that I already knew 90%+ of those
Shoot Day—Wednesday, 1 June 2005
Following breakfast at a Bob Evans restaurant [a poor Yankee
attempt at a Cracker Barrel], I made my way to the West
Shore Sportsmen’s Association Range where the NTI is
actually held. Squad #5 was scheduled to begin at Stage 10
“Subway Madness” at 0800 hours.
The ‘bedtime story’ for this stage consisted of a
terrorist attack on an urban mall. Your instructions were to
retrieve an infant and transport it to the safety of the
subway entrance, which ended the stage.
Upon entering the range, you are faced with a camera
wielding non-shoot target to your left and three terrorists
at distances of between 5 and 15 M. Two of these are the
infamous NTI skipper targets which require rounds to high
center mass, followed by rounds to the head to cause the
clothed steel target to fall. Engaging while advancing and
taking advantage of the vehicles as cover was the most
viable solution. Once the three initial threats were
neutralized, you needed to move to and recover the infant
strapped into a stroller. The infant’s mother was present,
dead with a pistol in her hand. Adjacent to the decendant
and the stroller was a dead terrorist armed with a Chinese
Type 56 [AK-pattern] rifle. If you were aware of the AK and
its’ spare magazine, you could retrieve it prior to
vacating the site. Within 4 M, another car was available to
utilize as cover as you engaged additional threats. At
approximately 50 M, two uninvolved innocents were present.
Behind them, at a distance of 65 M, were two AK-armed
terrorists and, up the hill, somewhere around 125M were two
additional RPG-armed terrorists. The subway entrance was
approximately 4 M beyond the car.
Following Stage 10, we moved on to the A.T.S.A. Village,
which is where the force-on-force component of the NTI
occurs. Stages 1 through 4 occur in the Village.
My first scenario began with instructions to enter a local
pawn shop and purchase a handgun. Initially, do an oddly
constructed building, I moved through the role players,
through the pawn shop, out the back door and down the
hallway before they had any idea that the scenario had
commenced. On the second attempt, I decided to depart
without the pistol when the owner and another customer began
to exchange words concerning the sale of certain illicit
substances. Again, I was directed back inside with the
admonition that I really needed to purchase a pistol. This
time, I purchased the required gat and when I was attempting
to leave, a rather larger fellow in a leather jacket blocked
my egress. I ‘talked’ with my hands, utilized a soft
crosscheck to insure that I could move past, if he attempted
to physically interfere with my progress and exited the
shop. As an aside, while waiting for my chaperone
[evaluator] to determine which stage to move to next, I
opened the gun box, mimicked removing the gun and sticking
it in my waistband so that I would not be stuck carrying a
big blue Springfield gun case around the
Village…Unfortunately that was not allowed either.
Incident Number 2 occurred while I at the bank attempting to
get some change. Two armed goons entered, demanding money
and ordering me to turn around. I offered them my cash,
content to let them go on their way and shoot them in the
back. Unfortunately, they decided to abduct the cashier.
Since I wouldn’t let that occur ‘in real life’, I was
forced to act. Having maintained an awareness of their
respective locations, I turned, drew and engaged each of the
bad guys with two well placed, high chest shots.
The Parking Garage Incident was next. Upon entering the
garage to stow the package in my trunk, I became aware of an
altercation between a gun wielding ne’er do well and a
female. I took up a position of cover and gave verbal
directions to the woman to ‘Get Down’. While I had a gun
drawn, neither of the involved parties could see it. During
the time while I was jockeying for position to get a clean
shot on the bad guy, the sheriff arrived. The bad guy
ditched his weapons and both he and the female insisted that
I had drawn a gun [which, of course, I had, but they had no
way of verifying].
The final force-on-force stage revolved around a Tattoo
shop, a large black man, a female tattoo artist and a garden
gnome tattoo. No major problems there.
Upon leaving the Village, we moved to Stage 5 “Don &
Kenny’s Hard Luck Café”. You are meeting some friends
at Don & Kenny’s. As you enter bad guys with guns try and
do mean things to you. Try and not shoot your friends or
uninvolved innocents. Immediately upon entering, I was
accosted by a midget with a gun. After shooting him, I moved
rapidly down the wall to the nearest corner. Unfortunately,
while I was tracking down the wall [moving towards my
right], a threat appeared in the window on the left wall.
Since I was moving at the same time as the target, I failed
to key on the motion and failed to engage it. While tracking
down the wall to my right, I picked up an armed ‘runner’
target that should have attempted to exit the structure.
However, the target had not been actuated yet, so I put
three rounds in it’s skull from 9 M and then transitioned
to the AK armed assailant out the back side of the
structure. After eliminating those threats, a new threat
appeared in the window on the right wall. There were, also,
two non-hostiles present in the room. I did not shoot them
and did dump 6 or 8 rounds into the final threat in the
window. This was the one structure-clearing stage where my
speed overrode my awareness and I missed a threat in need of
The “Dueling Banjoes Medical Clinic” followed. In this
stage, you are equipped with a leg brace on your right leg
and dressed in a hospital gown. You have no access to any of
your own equipment. You are at the clinic for your annual
checkup and your wife has brought your son for his
appointment, as well. As you enter the doctor’s office,
you discover that he is now dead and there is a single shot,
break open .357 Maximum carbine sitting on his desk, along
with a handful of .357 magnum ammunition. You must locate
your wife and kid and get them out safely. I armed myself
and began calling for my family members. If they were
present, I entered the room to retrieve them and progressed
through the building. An armed thug was present with my son,
so I shot him three times with a single shot .357 long gun,
prior to retrieving my wife and then engaging two additional
threats at the rear of the building.
Stage 7 was the ‘Skills Demonstration’ stage. This stage
is designed to access the competency level of the
practitioner with his core skills. The stage began at 3 M
and consisted of at least 1 shot on three targets within 4
seconds from concealment. It was repeated twice. Following
this was 2 rounds, from cover, on each of 3 targets at 5 M.
Next was the DTI Dance from 7M [1 threat, engage until you
encounter a stoppage, fix it, run the gun dry, speed reload
and fire two additional rounds]. The last stage began with
the shooter in the doorway at 15 M. You moved to cover and
engaged a clothed skipper target until it went down. Again,
they gave me fits! Part of the assessment involved how
ingrained movement off of the line of attack and 360-degree
scanning was into the shooter’s repertoire.
“Harmony House” was a shoot house wherein your children
are home. They can be heard screaming for help and gunshots
have been fired inside your home. Again, I moved rapidly and
aggressively, more concerned with locating my kids and
getting them out than with stealthily slicing the pie and
clearing every inch of the structure. Again, bad guys died,
no innocents were harmed and I was cautioned to slow down.
The final live fire component was the “A.T.S.A. Old Folks
Home”. You are there to sign the will of your Aunt Agnes
and Uncle Homer. As long as they die of natural causes, you
stand to inherent 10 million dollars. Unfortunately, the Oly
Valley Mennonite Separatists have launched an attack on the
old folk’s home and your beloved aunt and uncle are
screwed. Again, I moved rapidly, killed bad guys, didn’t
shoot any innocents and saved my aunt and uncle. Fun, fun,
June 8th, 2005 11:30 PM
August 19, 1970 - June 2012
Following dinner, I attended Dr. Mike Shertz’ presentation
“A View Of Mindset” at 1900 hours in the Conference
Center. This was a very interesting discussion addressing
the issue of the average person’s lack of reference points
for dealing with [their own] traumatic injury and the ways
society teaches incredibly bad lessons when it comes to
fighting through adversity. Shertz is an instructor with Insights Training Center; a former 18D & current ER doc in Portland, OR
After Shertz' presentation, Tom Givens gave his analysis of the Miami Massacre. Tom does the , hands down, best analysis of this event
that I have ever seen. Tom's school is, of course, www.RangeMaster.com
Thursday, 2 June 2005
At 1000 hours, I delivered my AK presentation to a small
group. They were interested and involved. We broke for lunch
around 1200 hours. Jim Garthwaite, the pistolsmith, offered
a presentation on the ‘Seven Steps of Functioning of the
M1911’ at 1400 hours. And, John Hearne offered his
outstanding presentation on the Newhall Incident that
evening at 1900 hours. For those who don't know John, he is a
federal law enforcement officer currently stationed in
Mississippi and an instructor for Tom Givens.
The rest of the time was spent politicking and visiting.
Friday, 3 June 2005
Jack Feldman, a Professor of Organizational Psychology at
Georgia Tech, presented an outstanding lecture on
“Training for Unconscious Competence” at 1000 hours.
After lunch, I offered an encore of my AK presentation.
There were approximately 40 people present. After my talk, I
sold almost every set of my renovated East German sights
that I had.
After supper, Skip Gochenour hosted a panel discussion. I was pleasantly surprised to be asked to participate as a member of the panel. Skip would pose a question to the panel and then, each of
us, in turn, would pontificate in response. I’m pretty
sure I rattled some cages with my very loud opinion that
most people do not want to train realistically and that
trainers who do not wish to train realistically were doing a
disservice to the students, themselves and the community and
that they should “take down their shills and call it
Saturday, 4 June 2005
Beginning at 0800, we ran partner’s force-on-force. Yeager
and I worked together. Following that, we shared lunch at the
local “Eat & Park” and then met for the group debrief/AAR at
the Conference Center for 1400 hours.
Following the debriefing, I caught a cab to the Harrisburg
bus depot and began the trip back home. After innumerable
sidetrips, headaches and false starts, I arrived in Baton
Rouge at 0630 hours Monday, 6 June.
All in all, the NTI was an outstanding event and I am very
pleased to have attended. I will be back for NTI XVI.
June 8th, 2005 11:44 PM
Fascinating scenarios Paul - and thx for a great write-up. You drove by within a mere 13 miles of my humble abode!! Remember Bedford, before you got to Breezewood - assuming you travelled the pike!!
If I were a younger man I'd be well fascinated to get involved in the stuff you did - but it's good to read about. Did you get any pics at all?
Chris - P95
NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.
"To own a gun and assume that you are armed
is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."
- a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.
June 9th, 2005 12:17 AM
August 19, 1970 - June 2012
Unfortunately, I did not get any pics. However, James Yeager and Tom Givens both got some great shots, so once they get them sorted out, I hope to have some postable pics. I believe Tom is writing an article about this years NTI for one of the gunrags.
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