Dear 140906P2C participants,
First, let us extend our gratitude in having you to select TAC-1 for your CCW training. Without your support we would not have been able to grow as one of the exclusive firearm trainings in So. Cal. We say exclusive because although we have been offering training for almost 4 years, we are still one of the best kept secrets in the industry providing you with relevant training with personalized attention. With over 65 combined years of carrying conceal and firearms instructional expertise, the students were sure to receive a great insight into the reality of carrying conceal in TAC-1’s P2C.
The class of 140906P2C was a 10 hr conceal carry training offered at Angeles Shooting range from 1200 to 2200 hrs. Although the duration of the training was the longest that we’d ever offered, with 4 solid hours in the air-conditioned classroom the actual range time went by rather quickly. The amount of information was abundant and every bit of information was vital for all CCW holders’ survivability and success – staying out of prison and mostly an unnecessary visit to the coroner’s office.
The classroom portion first began with the aspect of mindset when carrying concealed. It was Lou’s and our intent to bring this aspect of the training first to remind all students about the seriousness of carrying and what is required and asked of from the person who had volunteered to carry concealed. Carrying conceal is an inherent right for most American people but it’s not a requirement – those who had decided to carry are volunteering (just as going into military) and thus it is asked of them to become proficient in surviving deadly encounters and be a responsible citizen – not be a liability to society.
One of the hardest aspect of concealed carry is to distinguish what is a justified shooting and what isn’t. The ability to make a split second decision is asked of CCW holders. Students were reminded to visualize and rehearse difficult scenarios to aid in preparation before carrying concealed. Students were given numerous scenarios where discussions followed. Although seeking legal representation and invoking the right to remain silent after being involved in a shooting is highly recommended, shooters must eventually articulate their own actions and the students were reminded to be prepared to answer why they did what they did under oath, in court. Lou’s recommendation was:
“to provide a brief of what happened, then “Shut Up.” Don’t tell anyone including family and friends what happen. If accusatory questions are asked or you are handcuffed then ask attorney. You will most probably be taken to the police station for an interview but don’t say anything without attorney advice (criminal).”
Dean shared his arsenal of holsters and gear that may save some headaches for the students. There are many options and choices in the market. There are 2 ways for any shooters to find the right gear – one is to buy everything and try it yourself and the other is to ask a person with sufficient knowledge about gear and take his advice. Dean’s reasoning for selecting gear was essential for knowing what to look for when selecting the right ones. Dean also shared the 3 C’s of Concealed Weapon Concept where Caliber, Capacity and Conceal-ability was weighed in. Caliber debate was discussed where “penetration” was presented as the most important aspect when selecting ammunition. The notion of “Stopping Power” was refuted as a legitimate way to measure ballistics. Although, non-LEO’s in California are required to only use magazines with 10 rounds or less. Having less than 11 rounds in the weapon certainly does a person disservice where it is calculated that 70 to 80% of LEO shootings are misses. Most students brought the new M&P Shield with only 7 or 8 rounds of 9mm – many took a second look at its sufficiency.
I will post what Dean had recommended in terms of gear on our website for all to see. I will also create an ammunition page where we promote CCW holsters to always get high quality ammo in their weapon when carrying.
Presentation from conceal carry is no easy task. Selecting the right garment for your carry is essential. The weapon must be completely concealed and have ease of access to your weapon. Students were reminded to look discrete and not to look “tactical” to avoid suspicion. (One day I went into a store where a male cashier asked me if I was a shooter. I was puzzled and had to ask why he was asking. He said that my t-shirt was a dead giveaway – I was wearing a 5.11 t-shirt [no logo design but a small tag at the bottom of the shirt]). People notice things like that.
Most students were dressed correctly and sufficiently. Without naming names, one person showed up with beach sandal to this tactical shooting class. This was not only dangerous for his feet and ankle but he would’t have had no other options if and when that scandal’s straps broke. His training would have ended. This reminded us to remind all students to have proper and safe wear on the range and ban sandals all together.
Students were given sufficient instructions in presentation from concealed carry. Students were instructed about the importance of being aggressive with their draws as Dean reminded that shooting is always about catching up to the other guy. Many began to realize the limitation of drawing from their own holsters they brought with them. Chris Anderson’s under shirt holster proved ineffective and potentially dangerous when drawing quickly – especially under stress. Chris’s shirt holster was accessible but had several other issues: He could easily cover his support arm during the Presentation, he could not obtain a shooting grip and had to adjust the weapon after removal, he needed two hands to re-holster and during Presentation he could easily cover students/others to his left. Ultimately, Chris realized its limitations and changed his gear to a belt holster (OWB) to meet the training need.
Jason came on to the class without prior TAC-1 experience and survived the class. He started with a Cross Breed type holster at the 4/5 o’clock position. His Alien Gear holster’s opening collapsed once he drew is weapon out which made it near impossible to re-holster without using his support hand’s assistance. This was not only in-effective but also dangerous potentially covering his own hand in the process. Jason switched to a kydex appendix carry – courtesy of Dean’s Rhino Holster. We advised Jason to continue training and up his technique to become more effective with his weapon system. He agreed.
We challenged our students to shoot at Santa Monica PD targets with color coded dots from 5 yard line. This proved extremely difficult for most students with their compact/subcompact weapons. With shorter barrel length, accuracy suffered. This phenomenon reminded students to train more with their compact weapons and not to neglect its trigger time (including me). There were more misses than the hits.
Shooting from speed kneeling, turning and shooting and moving forward and backward with conceal draw was administered to students. Again the hit ratio suffered on the steel.
Dean treated the class with the introduced of Modified SIS concealed carry
qualification course. This class was not for “sissies”. The students had the opportunity to get down dirty with prone position at 20 yard line. We stressed the importance of conducting firearms training like we fight – getting dirty and being OK with that notion was part of the training. I have personally never seen this course of fire before and one will not find it posted anywhere on the internet. The 9 students who’d participated in this class may be the first fortunate civilians EVER to shoot this course of fire directly prescribed by the detective in charge of SIS training. It was modified to exclude the 30 yard phase and it was not times.
Mike S. (-44)
Chris A. (-47)
Mike D. (-49)
*Great job to Jon for shooting the top shot in this course of fire. Sorry, not designed for a prize.
As the day turned to night we transition over to the low light shooting portion. We covered flashlight technique and Dean introduced weapon mounted light. We did not have the right condition to teach the technique in more illuminated setting. People had difficult time seeing the technique presented in the dark. We breezed through the technique and did not have the opportunity to practice them live. This proved difficult for half of the class who had no formal training in low light shooting. TAC-1 needs to revisit this portion of the training block to ensure that students have sufficient time learning the flashlight technique prior to having them shoot the combat course.
We then split the class into two groups to be switched between two ranges. Group A went with Lou to learn how to shoot from driver side of a mock vehicle door. Much of conceal carry incidents involve shooting from inside of a vehicle. This introduction was essential to understand how to draw, present and shoot from car seats.
Seban’s Bagels (Lou’s Note)
(Typically, usually, generally people have a sense of security when they enter their vehicles and frequently go condition “White”)
Scenario: During hours of darkness. You just purchased a bag of bagels, entered your car and placed the bag on the passenger seat. When you hear “Give me your fucking money” react.
Students started seated next to a mock car window frame with an armed threat target to their immediate left and an additional threat target (the lookout) offset to their left front.
Tactical concerns/issues: Any sudden movement (Presentation) could cause the threat to react with deadly force. How do you get to your weapon without a deliberate sudden movement? Ease of accessibility of the concealed weapon from the seated position. Presenting the weapon outside the window frame could make it accessible to the threat. Anticipate the secondary threat to react to your initial response. Can you see the threats weapons at night. If one threat is armed do you “reasonably” assume the others are armed? Assess for additional threats.
What we learned: Use a ruse to distract the primary threat which would provide you lag time for the Presentation. Dean provided an excellent example during debrief, “Do you want my credit cards too?” Appendix carry facilitated an easy presentation from this position. Primary side IWB or OWB should be practiced in your personal car to identify Presentation issues. While the immediate threat to your left could be rapidly and effectively point shot including head shots, the secondary threat required use of sights at a deliberate pace to get solid hits. Several students got marginal hits or missed by going too fast and/or trying to point shoot the distant threat. Nights sights on CC weapons are ideal in low light to no light situations. Students with night sights got great hits. No secondary lights were used for illumination(time to deploy?).
CCW Night Combat Course:
We’d designed a combat course on the B range to reflect all aspects of the training throughout the day. There were decision making aspect to this course as well as we gave the shooters the responsibility of managing their own ammo. The dark range required students to utilize their flashlight to maneuver through the course as well as draw, holster, reload and operate their weapon with a flashlight in their support hand. The proper usage of cover was stressed and not to illuminate themselves with their own flashlights when behind cover. This course was not timed and divided into Phases.
Phase I – long distance shot (approx. 30 yards). This was to test the limits of the student’s weapon. The distance shots proved difficult for many and there were more misses than the actual hits. Many students failed to look around and utilize what was available to them including the wall that was to the left and their upright knee to use as a brace. Many pointed out that they were not able to see their sights and acquire a good sight picture from this distance – which is an indication that they fired their weapon even if they didn’t know where the weapon was pointed at the time of firing their weapon – which could have resulted in liability in the real word. Students placed their flashlight on the deck illuminating the target. This gave the students ample light and two hands to shoot at this distance.
Phase II – Failure drill from right side of cover at 10 yard. Many students did not understand the concept of use of cover (P2B). Thus many “crowded” the cover and exposed themselves to the threat. Assessment was another problem we continuously observed. Students were too eager to go back in the holster without verifying that there were no additional threat(s). Remember, criminals work in numbers. Dean mentioned some work in a group of 5 or more. Average is 2. Always assess. If you were aggressive in drawing and beating the threat to it, why would you want to re-holster quickly without assessment unless you need to in an emergency – i.e. approaching police officer(s).
Students also kept the light on the entire time during assessment and reloading that they back-lit themselves behind cover receiving “splash backs” blinding themselves with their own light. Lights must be used judiciously and sparingly. Also not keeping their eyes on the suspect when reloading or clearing mal-functions may be costly. Many fumbled with their flash light which added to the confusion. For Jack, Harries flashlight technique was disadvantageous when peeking out of the right side of the barricade. Left handed shooter like Jack has his light on the left side of the weapon – he has to “pie” out more to the right of the barricade to get the light down range. Jack was not able to re-adjust his grip to place the light on the right of the weapon to accommodate this issue.
Phase III – Speed kneel at 5 yard line – Failure Drill. Jon’s weapon mounted light was very effective and proved to be advantageous over flashlights. However, since the light is mounted at the bottom of the barrel, it posed an issue since he did not adjust the height of the weapon to clear the barricade. The half of the light was hitting the barricade illuminating himself. He needed to raise the weapon higher to clear the barricade so that he won’t assist the bad guys in his target acquisition. Many failed to re-assess once they got up from the kneeling position. If you change elevation and if the view point changed, you must re-assess before holstering. Many who used the M&P Shield ran out of ammo here. Some just stood there not realizing that their weapon was out of battery, slide locked to the rear. I asked them what was wrong with their weapon and took them a moment to realize that they were out. Some were asked repeatedly and not realizing the problem.
Phase IV – Turing and shooting. Shooters were asked to walk up-rage toward a red cone. Along the way shooter was confronted with “GUN!” He had to turn, draw and fire 2 rounds at the steel target while back pedaling toward the red cone utilizing their flashlight. Some completely stopped, some moved forward instead. Many reloaded upon completion. Handling their magazines with their flashlight in their support hand posed challenge for many. I noticed that most ignored handling their weapon at eye/chest level. Most had their head down looking at their gun which was held at waist level. This made the shooter completely oblivious to down range condition. Keeping their eyes forward toward the threat and keeping track of the downed suspect is one of the ways to stay safe on the street.
Phase V – Shooting Failure drill from both sides of the cover – 10 yrds. Again, students were asked to fire failure drills from cover, but this time from both sides – right and left. But the left target was intentionally set up as No Shoot. Again, students were briefed to identify the threat – that they needed to make sure that their shooting was a “good” shooting. This element is another dimension added to their decision making process. One of the most critical decision a shooter can make – is to shoot or not to shoot. Everyone with the exception of Jon and Jason – everyone else shot this “innocent” bystander. When we asked the students why they shot, some said “I thought I saw a gun,” “you told me to shoot,” “I didn’t see it,” “oh shit,” and many became silent. Even still, shooters must eventually articulate why they shot. Bottom line – must identify the threat and don’t assume. Being able to use your flashlight effectively in conjunction with your weapon now becomes critical in this process. Weapon mounted lights are a great tool, but keep in mind that you can’t point your light in the direction where you end up covering innocent people and violating the firearms safety rule. It has it’s limitations.
Phase VI – Moving cover to cover utilizing cover fire. You don’t necessarily have to hit the target. It’s a distraction shot so you can quickly and safely get to another cover.
Phase VII – Breaking cover and charge at your threat and fire 1 failure drill. When would you ever break cover especially as a civilian? Cover is your friend and we recommend that you stick with it. Nevertheless, there may be that one time when the opportunity arises and if that was your only option to break cover – this was the scenario. We wanted to inoculate further stress and assess your ability to shoot while moving forward. Some failed to reload behind cover and ensure that they had enough ammo in their weapon for this aggressive maneuver. You certainly do not want run out of ammo while you are charging at a bad guy and resort to speed reloading at toe to toe distance. That is a disaster and the shooter’s worst nightmare. Ensure that you know the condition of your weapon at all times when feasible. Due to the elevated stress level, hit ratio suffered. Many were non fatal shots. Hopefully, voluntary de-escalation kicked in.
Phase VIII – Assessment and threat left. I wanted catch you off guard here. Napoleon once said, “The moment of greatest vulnerability is the instant immediately after victory.” That’s when we let our guard down. Once it’s down its difficult to bring it back up. Many panicked and fumbled as they were caught off guard. There were many misses at this phase as well.
As we said, we wanted you to make mistakes and many did. Mission accomplished.
We hope you enjoyed the class as Lou, Dean and I had attempted to make it informative, engaging, instructional, eye-opening, revealing and most of all fun. We now recognize that this class was way too advanced for new CCW shooters and to those who are just looking to get a certificate. We are intending to create a Pistol-I(a) and (b) for CCW certification course (Module CCW1, 2) which will be up soon to cater to Orange, Kern, Ventura and eventually LA County certification. Having said that we wish to continue with this intermediate/advanced CCW course for shooters with higher skill level – which may also include LEO’s.
Please give us your feed back for this class below in the comment section. We are using a blog format just as in Facebook but not all have Facebook. Here we are able to cross compare each other’s comments and reflect upon it.
Some things we hope to hear from you are:
– Did P2C meet your expectations? How?
– Did your perception and understanding about CCW and shooting in Low Light change? How?
– How did you like the pace of the class? 10hrs vs 8hrs
– How did you feel about the amount of information and technique that were presented to you? Classroom vs Range time
– How were the instructors helpful with your training? Were they easy to understand? Were they informative?
– What did you like the most about the class? Least liked?
– How was the ammo count?
– If you could change anything about the training, what would it be?
– Would you suggest this class to anyone else?
– Have you received CCW instruction before? With whom? What were the differences?
– Do you find the pricing to be expensive, inexpensive or just right?
Thank you and see you at the range,