Tuesday 26 May 2009.
My class this week was US Training Center's advanced pistol class titled, Tac 2 Pistol. This is the next step up for shooters who have completed USTC's 'Tac 1' pistol course.
The course begins by refreshing students with core pistol skills including the draw, emergency and tactical reloads and malfunction drills. Students are expected to be at a proficient standard in these skills prior to arriving on the course.
After completion of the warm up, students are put on the shot clock and assessed for speed and accuracy at close range engagements.
Students then are required to test their accuracy with the 'back up' drill. This drill sees shooters engaging a single 12x12 steel plate at ranges out to 80 yards.
Day 1 focus' mainly on fundamentals of marksmanship in combat pistol shooting. Students are drilled repetitively and critiqued to improve efficiency of all core pistol skills.
Wednesday 27 May
Day 2 - Zero Distance shooting from retention. The class really enjoyed this up close and personal style of shooting. Palm and elbow strikes followed up by single rounds from retention and failure drills to high and low percentage zones.
After a short water break it was onto injury and protection drills with the master and non-master hand.
One handed reload drills using the holster and behind the knee for concealed carry. Malfunction drills including non-master hand double feeds utilizing equipment and clothing to assist in rectifying stoppages.
Wednesday finished up with accuracy drills with both left and right hand including groups at 25 yards.
Thursday 28 May
Day 3 - We left the paper in the target shed and engaged steel targets all day. Speed drills out of the holster to decrease presentation and set times for the first round. The students then built on the first round to fire multiple rounds and count drills working on timing and predictability of the gun and front sight in addition to recoil management.
The class was introduced to the 'Bianchi' drill concentrating on accuracy over speed for the first run. I shot a reasonable score of 44 from 48 plates in the required times which really highlighted the importance of Speed, Efficiency and Accuracy in combat shooting.
After reloading magazines the class returned for a refresher on moving targets. A skill that is super important for combat shooters on a dynamic battlefield.
The next drill included shooting steel targets on the move. I call it 'Steel Alley'. It includes multiple static steel targets and a few pieces of cover, staggered to the left and right forming a tight lane to move through. The targets range from 60 yards to 7 yards and students will shoot up to 5 rounds per target while moving to and from cover and conducting emergency reloads as required.
We finished up with the 10/8 drill on IDPA targets which was a good compromise of speed and accuracy.
I had a good run and cleaned to course with a perfect score of 65 with a 5 second par time.
I always shoot every assessment with the students so they can see that it's achievable as well as build confidence amongst the students by showing them what is required for each phase.
The boys went off to dinner before the night shoot which began at 1900hrs and finished at 2230
Students were practiced in low light engagements with hand held and weapon mounted flashlights, moving and shooting, reloads and malfunctions drills in low light and darkness.
Friday 29 May
Day 4 - Started with dynamic practical scenarios IDPA style. Students were on the clock shooting multiple targets from around a vehicle putting into practice plenty of what they had learnt in the previous days training. Rapid engagements and close range on high percentage targets to shooting on the move while backing up to cover. Students were taught the importance of concurrent activity during dead time by conducting tactical reloads on the go. Then engaging low percentage and hostage targets from cover in tactical order after reloading the gun.
After a quick range clean up we departed for the 'Roger's' range. The Roger's range has 8 bays of 7 eight inch head plate targets ranging from 7 yards to 20 yards. It's a computer controlled pneumatic range that really hones in on the shooters trigger control and sight management.
Students were able to be assessed on first round hits out of the holster at close, medium and far targets. Reload times were assessed on shooting 2 separate targets at different distances with an emergency reload in between. Students were also able to increase their skills in shooting on the move on varying distance targets.
After burning up about 250 rounds we headed back to the square range for and scored assessment of the 'Hackathorn Standards'.
The Hackathorn standards in my opinion is one of the best assessments of a shooters ability. It has a little bit of everything from speed drills at close range to accuracy at 25 yards.
Here it is in a nut shell for those of you that don't know it.
3 IPSC targets 1 meter apart and staggered heights.
5 yards - 1 round to each head freestyle. 3 secs
5 yards - 1 round to each head strong hand only. 4 secs
5 yards - 1 round to each body strong hand only. 3 secs twice
8 yards - 2 rounds to the body left target. 2 secs
8 yards - 2 rounds to the body middle target. 2 secs
8 yards - 2 rounds to the body right target. 2 secs
10 yards - El presidente 10 secs
10 yards - Weak hand pick up (pistol on ground, butt strong side. Flip pistol with weak hand and fire 1 round per target to each body.) 5 secs
12 to 8 - Shoot on the move, 2 to each body 5 secs
15 yards - transition drill, 1 to each body 4 secs
20 yards - standing to prone, 2 to each body 10 secs
25 yards - using vertical cover and tactical order, 2 to each body tactical/retention reload, kneeling, 2 to each body. 24 secs
The score is out of 300. 5 points for an A, 3 points for a C and 2 points for a D
I shot a 288 which wasn't too bad. My highest score is a 298 (unofficial) no one was there to witness it!
Saturday 30 May
Day 5 - Friday morning students met me at the CQB shoot house for a day of live fire 'structure searching'. My tactics and techniques for this phase of training is based on a single operator clearing their own home either from the outside or from the inside out.
There were multiple target engagements including no shoot and hostage targets simulating family members.
The day finished off with a stress course which included a short run to a 60 yards shot on a 12x18 plate. Another short run to a vehicle and engage 2 targets. Run to cover and shoot 6 pie plates from 12 yards through a window. Then shoot 2 targets on the move before another run to the next range. The next range was a dark room which forced the students to produce a flashlight in order to engage targets. From there they ran to the next range, a shoot house and cleared multiple rooms engaging shoot, no shoot and hostage targets.
Everyone got a real kick out of the stress course and also learnt a lot of lessons from it!
The course fired approximately 2,500 rounds each in 5 days and one night.
Take care and stay safe.