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Kudos to the one percent of us armed citizens who seek professional training. And kudos to TDI for giving that professional training as among the best in the business. The eight masters and instructors trade good-natured jabs. The solid team of self-defense experts don't always agree but present the best ideas to research, experiment, and most important, to practice.
Among the masters in the field sharing their expertise was Montpelier, OH, Police Chief, Jeff Lehman. His smooth skills are apparent as he moves his giant frame like a cat. He's a cheerful chief. Dave Bowie is a rock star in the field of tactics and self-defense and is able to carry in his waist band at least one big snubby on a clip (clip draw is a product that obviates a holster) without protruding his slim frame of less than 8% body fat.
John Benner is master of his TDI / self-defense-skill instruction craft. During the course of two days, he seems omni-present, using well-honed observational skills to manage student success, ever giving insights and answering questions but mostly correcting or helping a student to perfect a technique without prompting from the student but guiding the student with what he knows will help. He's just there with the right advice. In all sincerity, I say that John is a mentor who takes his life's work to heart.
More than once, other instructors addressed me with mostly fundamental issues that John had already taken upon himself to guide me one-on-one as he did with other students along the firing line. Hearing the same, helpful advice in different ways from different experts is the best way I know to zero my shots and to perfect my technique for successful shooting. For example, one might say, sink the front sight into the rear channel while another may simply say, "aim low". Repetition is helpful.
The good, technical assistants reinforce and enhance the learning of important concepts. Complex muscle memory skills of hands moving together for garment clearing, drawing to high-chest ready with indexed finger, the action of shooting - after deciding to do so - in a single, minimal movement along the shortest possible rail-smooth line with a simultaneous squeeze of the trigger so that the hammer falls as the fully extended arms lock out or reloading on the move or hitting multiple targets each at COM from a stock-still stance or on the move with ten shots from a five-shot revolver in say, under ten seconds - these independent skills aren't things that a newbie can learn to compose and to perform as one smooth skillful self-defense movement in a span of two days. Because these aren't things that one can internalize in two days, the instructors of this snubby course show how one might, with practice, accomplish this goal and want me to take away from the course things that I can practice on my own for my personal defensive shooting success.
John Benner opened the course with introductions and brought on Ed Lovette to outline proven optimal skills with the snubby.
Ed draws on documents of cases of lone armed intruders into the armed citizen's home. His presentation summarizes and evaluates successful defensive actions of citizens armed with a snubby; the key elements that make successful actions possible given the likely characteristics of a violent criminal assault and the assailant in the home of the armed citizen. The purpose of Ed's presentation is to encourage in students positive habits that best get the snubby into the fight to win.
Ed presents similar summarization of data from other sources in his Snubby book and advised me to check out the NRA's Armed Citizen column / blog / crime blotter for more cases and to follow trends involving AC's.
After the presentation, we took a short walk up to the range where John drew on his experience in law enforcement to lead a talk on smooth skills with the snubby.
The too many tips to share here include, "The speed loader is 'king'" according to both John and Ed. Load two rounds under the thumb instead of trying to insert all five while keeping both forearms anchored to the pectorals to keeps eyes up (on threat) and to enable a reload on the move. Let gravity help with unloading when spanking the ejector rod but especially when inserting cartridges in loading the cylinder chambers: muzzle down. Gravity works!
This first day, we did target drills on the firing line, and we did box drills (firing while moving in straight lines) and speed drills and diagonal movement drills. First Aid supplies like stretchy, breathable self-adhering tape and old-school, first aid adhesive tape are readily available for your shooting comfort. We broke after 4:30 with an invitation to return at 7:30 for an hour and a half of low-light, flashlight drilling.
The scenario is advancing in low light and the drill is with gun drawn, widely and aggressively (to maximize element of surprise) sweep the light to illuminate a target area as much as possible. A threat will stand out. Fix the light on the target (threat) and shoot, then turn light out and move. Or, if no threat, light out and move.
Another drill was a tap drill: all lights out until receiving a tap when only one light performs the above.
My 120 lumens were surprisingly invisible at low light, while those with 200 lumens outshone the dusk. One point of contention is my finding the Bodyguard's integrated laser helpful in low light while Dave says to forget it's on the gun as it's useless in a fight.
Reload skills learned the first day served me well in low light. Black sights on a black, steel target through safety glasses at night make for impossible sight shooting. The instructors had me dinging 'em. Lighting the sites with a light at the temple is a good low light skill to practice at home.
The next day started with rain. We started with target drills from the firing line. But this last day was the fun house day. The Live Fire House and the Force on Force house. We also practiced the Stealth (or covert) draw. With all the help that I was getting, I still got shot. Otherwise, I am pleased. I have to learn to move for cover at the right time and to think outside of the box we'd been shooting in. In other words, paper targets don't shoot back, and using one's head and stealth can be powerful weapons against human opponents.
Down time is necessary to clear one's head in the intensive, two-day course, but John gives the benefit of his experience in the form of LE war stories and other tales from the self-defense industry. He and the usual cluster around him make me forget where I'm supposed to be: the Live Fire House, the Force on Force House, the lower range? The meth lab in rural Ohio? I didn't realize that I could get lost on an acre of property.
I enjoyed practicing my strengths and learned how to work on my weaknesses and can't imagine a much better course. It was a slower-paced course and with a five-fold better instructor/student ratio than the two days Close-quarter gun fighting class that I did at Suarez. But this snubby course was a good fit for me and my new snubby; and I recommend TDI as a fun learning environment to anyone who wisely seeks the best training for a very important aspect of their responsible and defensive living.
 

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Pistology - nice write-up. In mine, I forgot about the box drills that we did to work on movement. Glad you pointed it out. I enjoyed meeting you and getting to know you a bit.
 

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In the interest of journalistic form, TDI is at Home – Tactical Defense Institute - Tactical, Firearms Training, pistol, rifle, shotgun and the course was Snubby Revolver on the weekend of June 25-26 2011. I shot about 475 rounds - a bit less than the 700 advised. Description below:
This two day class teaches students the skills necessary to successfully use small handguns in backup, concealed carry, odd positions, and extreme close quarters environments. Topics covered will be: calibers suitable for personal defense, sights, grips, alignment, trigger management, and holster selection.
Low light shooting will also be covered. This challenging class will require 700 rounds of ammunition. Students choosing to use larger caliber handguns (.357 magnum and up should bring predominantly light loads that can be comfortably handled or have an additional smaller caliber handgun).
(no steel core or steel jacketed ammo permitted)
 
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