Monday, June 1, 2009

Weekly Training

Tac 1 Pistol

This week I am instructing USTC's Tac 1 Pistol course. The Tac 1 is a five day class thats ideal for the shooter that wants to master marksmanship fundamentals with the pistol and apply them more dynamically. 
The class includes everything from reloading the gun and rectifying malfunctions to shooting on the move and shooting moving targets. 

Monday -   My class this week is very diverse and the students come from varying backgrounds, from retired Navy and Army to active duty Police, competition shooters, physicians assistance and a father daughter combo.
We started in the classroom reviewing fundamentals and how they apply to combat marksmanship, covering the usual suspects of stance, grip, sight package, trigger control and follow through. 
After two hours in the classroom it was time to head out to the range and have the students put into practice their new learnings. We had plenty of time to warm up with several slow fire groups which gave me plenty of time to have a look at my students to see what I was working with. 
As with most classes the common fault for this one was trigger control.  It's the number one reason why people miss their intended targets. It's the hardest fundamental to learn and can catch even the best shooters off guard from time to time. 
There was some drinking from the fire hose going on when the training tips and tactics started flowing. There was a lot of material covered today ranging from loading and unloading the weapon using efficiency and paying attention to the bodies natural biomechanics. We began building the follow through with single rounds and conducting the post shot sequence. From there I threw in reloads to include combat, tactical and administrative. I pushed the students to decrease their presentation time to target and decrease their overall time for the first round by demonstrating what an acceptable sight picture is at different ranges. From there we increased the efficiency of the draw stoke by taking out any unwanted movements and squaring away the sight package during the presentation to allow the shooter to press the first round faster with confidence.
We finished the day with a diagnostic fundamentals evaluation. By the end of the first afternoon there was a marked improvement in each shooter from the draw and presentation to trigger control and sight management.
I'm really looking forward see how tomorrow plays out.

Tuesday - I warmed the class up with another evaluation of the fundamentals that included a series of slow fire groups at varying ranges. These drills are all centered around accuracy. 
We moved into malfunction drills, immediate and remedial or failure to fire and double feed. I gave the students great insight into why the gun malfunctioned and at what part of the cycle of operation failed. Everyone learned a lot and brought there ability to rectify malfunctions to a much higher standard. 
I switched the class to steel to build on speed of both presentation first round shots on target. After demonstrating the requirements for the activity which were speed to the gun slow to establish grip and speed to target. I shot 3 timed first rounds. The first was a 1.70 showing the technique, then a 1.28 to highlight speed and efficiency, then a 1.08 center hit at 7 yards to highlight what can be achieved through quality training and repetition. All drills for this evolution were shot on a 12x12 steel plate at 7 yards.
All students were able bring their first round time down considerably with plenty of coaching and repetition. 2.00 sec first rounds are a standard for new shooters and everyone was able to achieve times under 2.00 secs. Well done everywhere!
I progressed the students through the day to multiple targets without cover demonstrating tactical priority and targets at adverse angles. These drills are designed to highlight efficiency of movement during rapid fire engagements when there are multiple targets to the front and both sides.

Wednesday - A full day of shooting steel. Pie plate racks at 10 yards to 15, 20 and 25 yards. Including the stress of the shot clock in order to decrease the dwell time of the first round. I set time hacks for 6 plates at all distances and finished up with a modified Bianchi drill for time.  
After lunch was shooting on the move and shooting moving targets. 
Steel Alley was everyones favorite, shooters engaging multiple steel targets on the move using cover and conducting emergency reloads, IN PAIRS!  The students really enjoyed to freedom of the USTC ranges being able to engage moving targets while on the move. A real training bonus as most real life engagements will take place in an asymmetric dynamic environment.

Thursday - Began with lessons on injury drills and shooting the gun with the master hand only. From loading and reloading in the holster and using the body to rectifying malfunctions with considerations for concealed carry during summer and winter.
Everyone picked up a lot of great tips and tactics when running the gun with one hand. Reloading from the holster and behind the knee, racking the slide off the boot, holster and clothing. 

Friday - We started the morning off with some scenario based shooting drills. Similar to those found during an IDPA competition. Multiple engagements from your vehicle, backing up and using cover while conducting combat and tactical reloads then engaging more targets from the other side of the vehicle including hostage targets.
We finished the shooting package off with a 'Run and Gun' using 3 separate ranges concurrently. The scenario is laid out, 'one of your loved ones has gone missing and you have not heard from them in 4 hours.' As you move on foot you find yourself engaging targets from 60 meters then running to a vehicle and shooting more bad guys. Move to cover and knock down 6 plates then reload and shoot on the move, more bad guys. Sprint back up range at the high port and make sure you have you flashlight! Enter a building to search for your loved one. It's pitch black, be careful not to shoot friendlies. Move out of that building and onto the 'shoot house', clear the rooms and watch out for any surprises! 

Well done to everybody, you did a great job. There were plenty of learning points too.
This was one of my favorite classes, thanks to everyone that attended. See you for 'Tac 2'

My thoughts on speed and accuracy in combat shooting.
Accuracy should never be compromised by speed. There always needs to be balance of both in order to progress as a shooter. Never dwell on a sight picture during a speed drill and look for that perfect shot when an adequate sight picture will suffice shooting high percentage targets. To that end, never shoot too fast when accuracy can not be compromised. For example shooting a 12 x 12 steel plate at 80 yards requires a near perfect sight picture every time.


  1. Hey Jason,

    Well it's been 2 weeks since Practical Tact Pistol 1. I am still reveling in all the information given in those 5 days. I still haven't been able to go to the local range yet (remember to stretch before running) but I know it will be more productive. My friend who also took the course with me has seen marked improvement. In his last 2 competition meets instead of being somewhere in the middle he has been in the top group. Thanks to the other 2 instructors as well. Looking forward in taking Tact 2 down the road someday.


  2. G'day Loran,

    Thanks for the kind words. Hope the leg feels better. Look forward to having you guys back down for a second round. Email me when your ready for Tac 2.
    Take care and remember, the Warfighter Proficiency Cycle: SPEED, EFFICIENCY, ACCURACY, REPETITION (SEAR).