On the afternoon of October 21st, 2018, I was traveling east bound on 316 betwen Winder and Athens with my wife returning home from a weekend trip to Tennessee. After being in the car for several hours, we were within about 20 minutes of our house. Out of the passenger side window, I saw a doe and a fawn in the grass next to the busy highway, and I began honking to try to scare them away from the road. As soon as my attention went back to the road, I saw a car that was traveling east-bound appearing to change lanes from the slow lane to the fast lane- but much sharper than usual. The car entered the median and the driver tried to turn sharply back towards the road, over-correcting in the process. This caused the car to disappear in a tumbling cloud of dust in the median. The car rolled for an estimated three or four complete rotations, eventually settling on all four tires in the middle of the median. Having watched the accident, I was already slowing down and pulling into the median as well.
You always hope that during these kind of times you'll have the clarity of mind to say something worthy of a movie one-liner, but I didn't. I belive my exact words to my wife were "Oh shit- that guy's dead. Call 911 and DO NOT GET OUT OF THE TRUCK. If you do have to get out of the truck, crawl over and get out on the driver side." Not very poetic, but that's what came out... I always have multiple medical kits in my vehicle, so I retrieved the closest kit and started sprinting toward the accident. After a quick prayer that I would be clear in thought and decisive in action, I was close enough to the vehicle to begin calling out to the person(s) inside. I couldn't see into the vehicle really at all because all of the side airbags had deployed and were blocking my view. When I ran around the back of the vehicle I could see the driver's head and didn't see anyone else in the vehicle. Fully expecting the driver to be dead or (at least) unconscious, I called out to him telling him to be still and that I was going to help him. To my surprise I heard a clear "Yes, sir" in response. In my mental preparation, I had already sub-consciously told myself to expect a body, so when I had a response I immediately thought "Oh good, this is going to be alright." A premateur thought, as any of the more experienced guys reading this already know...
On a warm August weekend, a few weeks after completing his Active Killer Resolution course, I once again joined Chase Jenkins of Talon Defense in Calera, AL for some training. This time, I loaded up with Cy N. and we flew to Calera to cut down on travel time. This course was to focus on the movement and tactics between partners within a structure in a CQB environment.
Per the website, the course description is as follows:
Course will focus on working as a two man team during weapons manipulations, communication and movement. Teams will work in close proximity to each other during live fire range drills while incorporating safe tactics. Teams will learn to communicate efficiently, move safely and tactically and shoot effectively together. The course incorporates live fire range drills and force on force scenarios.
Day 1: Flat Range
The first day started out as one would expect with Chase- a safety briefing, medical plan, and outline for the training course. This course had 6 people in it, 5 of whom have trained with Chase in multiple classes. The exception was Cy, who had not previously trained with Chase, but has trained extensively with me and has taken similar courses such as the Killhouse course from Matt Graham. Because of the smaller roster which consisted of very competent shooters, Chase spent a little less time on his safety briefing than he usually does simply because we had all heard it numerous times. Note that this is not to infer that he omitted the safety briefing, as he thoroughly emphasized the importance of finger and muzzle discipline for a course where we would inevitably be working guns very close to one another.
From our safety briefing, Chase began talking about the principles and concepts that we would apply in almost every scenario for CQB. "Every angle is either a T, and L, or a 4 way (+). Understanding this will allow you to problem solve your way through a structure as opposed to trying to memorize a solution for each of the countless problems that you'll face." We spent some time in the classroom going through center-fed rooms vs. corner-fed rooms, obstructions, etc. as would be expected.
From this point we went out to the range and proceeded in usual fashion for a Talon Defense class. If you've read previous AAR's here, you'll know that means we started off cold with a "one shot showdown" between us and a partner. From holster, at about 5 yards, we would wait for Chase's signal and then both draw and place one shot in the designated target area. Fastest hit within that area wins... A little way to add a little pressure to the beginning of the class.
On a hot July weekend, I joined a crew of 8 people for Talon Defense's Active Killer Resolution course. It was hosted by Double Tap Training Grounds in Calera, Alabama. I've previously trained at Double Tap, so I knew what to expect in regards to the facility and location. The course called for a day of flat range work and then a day of force on force exercises in the shoot house. Per the website's description, the course was to cover the following:
This course will give insight into the history of the “active shooter” mentality and the events that have shaped the response to these events. Day one will start off in the classroom with a lecture on mind set and preparation to include the necessary equipment to properly intervene and/or be of assistance during a mass casualty event. A flat range work up will also be conducted on day one that will test equipment selection, set up and placement. All range work will be done from concealment, Accuracy standards will be stressed. Day two will be primarily Force On Force drills and scenarios.
Day 1: Safety Briefing, Classroom Discussion, Live Fire Work
We arrived on scene for a 09:00 kickoff in the classroom where Chase did his usual safety brief. I've written several times in the past about how Chase is the only person I've ever trained with where I actually enjoyed the safety briefing. He uses dry humor to make his points and covers not only all the safety protocols that he requires, but also why he requires them. The safety briefs that Chase does are worth the tuition costs alone.
After the safety briefing Chase outlined what we would be doing both on Day 1 as well as Day 2, and then he immediately took us into the Active Killer mindset and profiles. We talked about the different types of Active Killer events that are becoming more and more prevalent, and the usual profiles of the perpetrators in these events. Specifically we covered the profiles for school shootings, church / mall / public places, workplace shootings, open events, and terrorist attacks. In this course, we were primarily focused on workplace and public areas as the arena.
In December of 2017, I had the pleasure of going through Matt Graham's "Killhouse" course in Virginia. I was joined by two friends (Clark S. and Cy N.) that have done extensive training with me, and we had high expectations for this course for the months leading up to it. We arrived on a Thursday in preparation for the three day course that would run from Friday through Sunday.
Per the Graham Combat website, the course description is as follows:
The Graham Combat Killhouse is a comprehensive 3-day class designed to give you the fundamentals of defensive shooting, movement, and tactics within a structure. We spend the bulk of our lives in and around buildings – rooms, hallways, stairs, interior spaces and exterior spaces – and we need to be able to defend ourselves effectively, regardless of the environment.
This 30 hour course combines flat-range firearms fundamentals, live-fire engagements, and force-on-force validation. You will spend Day One refining your combat shooting skills through intensive and focused instruction. Days Two and Three take place in the Killhouse, learning the fundamentals of engagements within spaces. Additional time will be spent introducing, practicing, and then refining low-light and no-light principles within the same space. This course culminates with multiple force-on-force validations within the Killhouse – bring what you think you believe and put it to work.
Day 1: Weapon Manipulation
We met at the prescribed location a few minutes early and got checked in. We spent a few minutes meeting/greeting other participants who had come from all over the United States. There were representatives from Georgia, Massachusetts, Maryland, California, and several other locations present- and we enjoyed hearing about everyone's journey into town.
We were joined by Matt, and he began with a safety and medical briefing and an outline of the of the course contents. He also went through an explanation of the locations and facilities that we would use for the different portions of the course, and then rolled right into the course content.