PERSONAL SECURITY TRAINING
I started shooting firearms about 3 years ago regularly after having little experience other than a little hunting during my teenage years. I enjoy going to the range with family and friends shooting clays, sighting in my hunting rifle or “punching paper” at the pistol range. I have no background in the military or law enforcement, therefore what I have learned have been through videos, books or self-teaching.
Once I started to learn and get into the preparedness lifestyle about a year ago, one of my goals was to seek out formal training with firearms other than standing a predetermined distance from a paper target and pulling the trigger. I had never had the opportunity to experience drawing from a holster, engaging multiple targets or shooting while moving.
So after looking at different training schools and classes, I signed up to take a pistol training course in mid-March. The class was made up of 6 students and an instructor. It was a good age and experience mix from younger to older, newer shooters to former military. We had a safety briefing before the shooting started to reinforce the importance of the range rules and more importantly knowing where the muzzle of your gun is pointed at all times.
The instructor eased us into the course with several rounds of slowly drawing, presenting and firing on target at close range to get us comfortable with our surroundings. From the easy standing and shooting exercise we moved to drawing and shooting from our backs. Once we had been through that drill the instructor ramped up the uncomfortability more by having us go from shooting from our backs to shooting our way to a kneeling and then standing position.
Magazine changes was the next drill the class went through before we had to start adding “dummy” rounds into the magazines. Dummy rounds are plastic bullets that are used for practice but do not fire. Clearing these malfunctions when they came up was definitely the most difficult part of the training for me. Shooting at public ranges, I was used to pulling the trigger and having the gun fire every time. But through instruction and a lot of practice I was able to improve in this area by the end of the day.
Before we stepped back to start shooting at further distances, the instructor put us through one last up close shooting drill. The name used for the drill is called shooting from retention. In this drill you are standing at arm's length from the paper target. It is simulating an attacker that has gotten close to you before you have identified them as a threat. In the drill, you bring your non-shooting arm up for cover. You point your elbow at the attacker to help create space while wrapping your hand around the back of your head for protection. At this point you draw your weapon from the holster and only bring it to your side pointed at the attacker. During this drill, we drew and fired three rounds into the target. For anyone that has never experienced this, the concussion from the muzzle blast and tearing of the paper is one of the most intense feelings I have ever had. Being so close to everything really helped define my takeaway from the training.
After learning magazine changes and clearing malfunctions, we started to work on shooting with our non-dominant hand. Before the class started, I would have predicted this would be the most difficult drill for me. However, after working through the early part of the training, I found it to be far less complicated than anticipated. It was very intuitive to just point and shoot the gun.
From this point we moved into working on one handed drills as if one arm had become injured in the fight. We were drawing, shooting, performing magazine changes and working through clearing malfunctions all with one arm. These drills were also done with our dominant and then non-dominant arms which was a real challenge!!
The last part of the training dealt with shooting while moving and shooting from cover. In the first series we had to maneuver around and between obstacles while shooting and dealing with magazine changes and possible malfunctions. Then the class moved on to shooting from cover and concealment while moving to different positions. The drill was basically designed to tie all of the training we received into one drill making us focus on all of our surroundings while dealing with the threat. After doing this the instructor paired us off and we went through the moving drills again, but with a partner. The main focus of these drills was to establish communication between the “team” to engage and deal with the threat.
The total length of the class was around 8 hours. By the end I was mentally exhausted and physically worn out. But the knowledge gained and the time spent was well worth the effort and I am already looking into taking some of the other classes offered by this training school. Going in I had no idea what to expect from the class. Sure, there was a basic class description, but I had no idea how I would be able to react to the drills. But now I have a better understanding of where my strengths and weaknesses are and have a baseline to gauge my preparedness in personal security.
After being in several up-close drills like shooting from retention, I also want to look into different types of self-defense training. Seeing how quickly things can be on you before you notice made me think of a hand to hand fighting course or maybe even learning martial arts. Either way, this class is only a starting point as I look to be prepared to defend myself and more importantly, my family. If you own firearms and like me have only gone to a local range and punched holes, I would strongly encourage you to look into some type of formal training if you have never taken any. In my opinion, it is well worth the time.
Like any area of preparedness, mindset is very important when it comes to your personal security. The feeling of improvement never gets old, no matter what the task you are working on. So, I am going to continue to train and try to improve my firearm skills as well as my brain to be ready if they are ever called into action.
Thanks for reading.... J.C. Out
Bravo Echo Out