I train with JDC frequently, I rarely see a program/school that brings so much value to a day course; the amount of individual coaching, the high-level instructors that come from various backgrounds in military, law enforcement and competition sport shooting, the time they put in, not only mastery of the information, but learning to teach others in a way that the individual can grow and improve. The program is very effective at scaling up skill levels and showing exactly what needs to be done with post-course drills and dry fire to ingrain those skills. JDC imparts students with a plan and path to success; value added.
Justified Defensive Concepts
Four Count Draw
Justified Defensive Concepts
Four Count Draw
A friend joined me for her initial course with JDC. Anna was fresh off a two-day training weekend with Greg Ellifritz, taking his Defensive Shotgun and System Collapse Medical classes, (which I have an AAR up for in several locations). I’ve known Anna for going on 5 years, first meeting her and her now husband in a defensive pistol course as students when they had first started dating. She has a strong background in martial arts, and is on a regional search and rescue team. If you recall the tracking course I wrote an AAR on several years ago, Anna was the instructor in that excellent course. She trains hard and is a very good student, fast to learn and adapt, she also puts in the work outside of class to move towards mastery.
We met up with the cadre and other students in the classroom at NRA headquarters in Fairfax, VA. There were several faces I see often, training in highly populated NOVA, an indoor course always brings some new shooters due to the accessibility and secure feeling a fully staffed and comfortable climate-controlled range offers. We started with an hour long lecture from Brett Harnish on the mechanics of drawing a firearm, then added the complexity of clearing cover; both open and closed garments, as well as multiple layers. JDC never instructs on one way to do things, they prefer to teach multiple vetted methods, letting the student experience what works best for them. (One note here to students, don’t be closed minded and stick with what you have always done/what you are good at, in classes, under instruction, is the place to branch out and try new techniques. I have been at this for decades, one thing I will never do is close off my mind to trying something new. I may discard it upon trial, but I absolutely will give it a shot if it comes from a solid source). We then moved on to the always solid justified use of force lecture, and a thorough safety brief before moving to the range.
We started by running draw strokes from the holster with unloaded and double-checked guns. New students were asked to not run concealed until they had developed the skill to clear garments safely. Instructors observed closely looking for any safety issues or technique problems before loading weapons with live ammo. Higher skilled students were asked to push themselves on speed without passing their safety levels, less experienced students were instructed to concentrate on clean technique, everyone was tasked with not sacrificing accuracy for better/faster times. A super-fast miss or peripheral hit is not as good as a solid upper thoracic hit that took a quarter second longer to make. Only good hits end fights for sure, and a miss on a crowded street is going to be life altering if it finds a non-threat civilian going about their day.
We started live fire at 3 yards on a 1” square with single shots from the holster, a timer with audible start and end tone was set for 2.5 seconds. You may have a sub-one second draw on a full silhouette target, but no one is going to go sub-second on a 1” square. Both hands use explosive movement to clear cover and get to the gun, perfect grip from the holster, smooth efficient presentation to high chest, meet off hand and build grip at your chest, slide level with sights lifted to your dominant eye, arrive at near, but not quite full extension with a smooth stop, refining sight picture and trigger prep on the way out. You are not going to meet more challenging par times without proper grip and draw stroke mechanics, you won’t meet the accuracy standards without fundamentals.
Brett’s perfect analogy for zero stop is you are driving your Grandmother to a family pot-luck, she has her prized chicken casserole on her lap, as you approach a stop sign; you are not going to stomp on the brakes and have her dump that meal in the floorboard, you are going to apply the brakes slowing to an easy, zero stop, or catch her wrath. With a pistol, rushing the gun out at full speed, coming to a sudden jerk-stop at full extension is not only less effective at controlling recoil for additional shots, but dips the muzzle as you get to full extension, breaking your sighting plane and dropping shots low, as well as taking more time to acquire another good sight picture.
The lessons advanced quickly from there, as drills and strings became more challenging. Each new lesson resulted in students running the drill individually on a shot timer after running it several times as a class and receiving individual coaching and refinement. Targets stayed small, the largest we shot was B-8’s at 10 yards, with only the black acceptable, that is 8 ring or better. I always enjoy higher round count drills; we ended the night by running quite a few Bill Drills from the holster on time; 6 rounds from concealment at 5 and 7 yards on B-8 Blacks, I believe par was 2.5 seconds.
Gear: I ran concealed under a polo, Gen. 5 G17 with Holosun 509T, from a Tenicore Velo 4 AIWB rig, Dale Fricke horizontal mag carrier on an Ares Aegis Belt. Zero issues with malfunctions. I was complimented on my slide lock reload speed, and efficiency. Only to later be scolded when I put a lot of excess movement into the gun while accessing the extra magazine. I love being under watchful eyes and corrected on the slightest imperfection, it takes a very competent mentor to catch some of those failings and an even better one to know how hard to push a student towards improvement, without discouraging them. At some point in the evening, I developed some inefficient movement on my draw, leaning back slightly upon draw. Brett caught it on video and showed me, and I promptly corrected it.
I heard from several students that getting an individual video to view while being coached to correct what they were doing was a highlight and much appreciated. You can be told about a deficiency, but seeing it, really lets you understand where you are going wrong. There were 13 students enrolled, and JDC brought out 6 instructors. I do not know how they do it, but that level of individual coaching and time typically is very expensive. I cannot recommend this company highly enough if you are on the east coast they are very much worth your time to visit and train under.