Training Reports

Partners Shoothouse - Sentinel Concepts, Steve Fisher

Partners Shoothouse 

Shoothouse Catwalk

During a beautiful September weekend in 2017- two friends loaded up the truck with me and took a 13 hour drive north to Alliance, Ohio. The destination was the famous Police Training facility with their 8,100 square foot live-fire shoothouse. The course was taught by Steve Fisher of Sentinel Concepts, who has long been on my short-list of instructors that I wanted to train under. Joining me would be two friends of mine with whom I have spent plenty of range time, guest instructor Clark S. and a gentleman named Matt who is a Team Commander of a SWAT team in an adjoining county from where I live. The car-ride was fairly brutal, but the commradery that the road provides was all in good fun.

Disclaimer

Due to the nature of the content in this course, there are several areas that will be intentionally vague and/or completely omitted. Photos and Videos including course content or participants are strongly discouraged or prohibited for multiple reasons, and all of which are completely understandable. Some members of both the instructor cadre and participants are still operational in their roles in Law Enforcement, so their identify is sensitive. Furthermore, the Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTP's) that would be taught and practiced at length are sensitive in nature as it contains many of the same TTP's used by both law enforcement and military units. Therefore, the photography in this AAR will be slightly less inclusive than I usually provide, and the descriptions of much of the course-content will be censored. This will also help to not confuse or convolute the topics for any potential future students that are considering taking this course.

Facility

The facility at Alliance Police Training is truly top-notch. While I could describe it in detail for you, it is easier to show you... Below is a video that walks you through the facility that hosted this course. In fact, many of the people featured in the video participated in the course! Click the tab below to see the video:

Alliance Police Training - Highlight Video

Introductions

As everyone got settled in, the instructors took time to introduce themselves and provide a little bit about their backgrounds. Our instructor cadre would include Steve Fisher (primary instructor), Joe (Army), Chris (Federal Agent), Mike (SWAT LEO), and Bill (Army). One highlight worth noting here is that during the introduction of the instructors, all of the instructors (minus Steve) revealed that they had on matching T-shirts which had a picture of Steve smoking a cigar and the slogan "Yeti lives matter" on them (Steve's nickname is "Yeti"). As one would imagine, this received a loud laugh and set the tone for the course as everyone was clearly going to have a good time. Throughout the introduction, the instructor cadre reinforced that each participant would have fun but that the course content itself was not to be taken lightly. Another point that was driven home was that everything we would be learning throughout this course was a way of doing two-man CQB; not the way of doing it. There are literally countless ways to go about any given task, and each of the instructors were able to provide their own experience, preferences, and "tricks/tips" that worked well for them. We'll come back to this later, but this served as an invaluable contribution to the class, as everyone has different physical assets that provide them with opportunities or challenges.

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Home Defense (CQB) Force-on-Force with Talon Defense

IMG 2605

During a hot August weekend in Calera, Alabama, I had the opportunity to go to Double Tap Training Grounds and participate in the Home Defense (CQB) Force-on-Force class with Chase Jenkins of Talon Defense. Per usual, I'd like to break out an After Action Report of my take-aways from the course and provide feedback for both the instructor as well as future potential students.

Day 1- Angles: They are ever-present, and always changing

I arrived at Double Tap about an hour early and prepped my gear. This would be my first experience running the new HK VP9, and I will write a separate review on it as well. I tried to run a minimalist setup for this course for two reasons:

  1. The forecast called for miserably hot weather
  2. Chase's courses are usually fairly rough on gear 

I had been assured that this course would be less abusive on our gear, and that turned out to be true. Still, I was already plenty warm and so the less I had on me, the less weight I would have to carry around. We started out in the classroom and began with our safety brief. Usually this is the most boring part of training, but with Chase it is always comical, entertaining, and enlightening. 

Safe Shooters, Not Safe Environment

IMG 2602Chase provided us with a similar version of the safety briefing that he usually provides. He gave us examples of why we do certain things in certain ways and also discussed some of the training flaws that had developed into industry standards because of flat-range environments. He even breaks out some of the common "Gun Safety Rules" and talks about their inherent downfalls. Some examples below:

"Don't put your finger on the trigger until you've made the decision to fire." We've all heard it. Admittedly, I've taught it to students who come to my courses. And in just a few brief sentences, Chase has a way of making you both laugh at yourself and slap yourself in the forehead. He uses "Doc" as his example... "If Doc busts in the room right now with a gun in his hand and is yelling that he's going to kill me, and I have my gun in my pocket with my hand on it, do you think I've already made the decision to fire? Obviously, I have... But should I have my finger on the trigger yet? Obviously not, because the gun is still in my pocket."
"The gun is always loaded." Chase explains: "yeah, but guns aren't always loaded. And when we know they're not loaded, we start handling them differently. And every time we handle a gun, that's a training repetition. The mind doesn't distinguish between good and bad habits- it just files them away as possible solutions for gun handling. When a high-stress environment arises and it's time to go to guns, the brain will search its filing cabinet for a solution to the problem. I don't want there to be a bunch of bad solutions in there with the good ones. Therefore, nevermind the idea that the gun is always loaded. Instead, let's use proper gun handling skills at all times."

In short, Chase takes a significant amount of time reiterating all of the ways and reasons that we should strive to create safe shooters instead of the flawed mentality of creating a safe range.

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Vehicle Defense / Counter-Ambush (Handguns)

IMG 1966On June 10-11, 2017, I had the opportunity to participate in the Vechile Defense / Counter-Ambush (Handguns only) course by Talon Defense and hosted by Sparrow Defense. I've trained with Chase Jenkins (Talon Defense) in the past and have written AARs for both the Dark Gunfighter and C2- Fightin' and Fixin' courses. This course was a 2 day, handgun only, and daytime only version of the Dark Gunfighter course. Per usual style, I'll break down the events of the course and then end with the "The Good, The Bad, The Ugly" sections.

Keep in mind that this is not a beginner level class, and there was a requisite skill level in order to participate. The exercises that are outlined in this AAR will at times be intentionally vague so as to not promote exercises that should be performed outside the supervision of a qualified instructor nor to disclose sensitive information regarding the instruction, participants, or course content.

Day 1

Day 1 began with a safety briefing. If there is one thing that Chase Jenkins does superbly well, it's a safety briefing. It's informative, productive, and even entertaining. Chase uses humor to reinforce important points as well as set everyone at ease for the rest of the course. The safety briefing was thorough and emphasized that we will not be instituting a safe range, but rather we would all be safe shooters. The point being that we can't control the variables in our daily lives, but we can control our muzzle. Our muzzle is our responsibility. Period. End of discussion.

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Dark Angel Medical - Training Review

Dark Angel Medical CertificateOn December 12th and 13th, 2015, I was able to take part in the Dark Angel Medical Tactical Aid course in Norcross, Georgia. This course was taught by Ross Francis from San Bernardino, California. Ross is a Navy combat veteran who had multiple deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan as a Navy Corpsman and later as a contractor. He is also a registered EMT both federally and in the state of California. To preface this review- I must say that the real world trauma experience that Ross brings to the class is absolutely awesome and a large contribution to the course. He has flown with the Air Force Pararescue Jumpers, been the Corpsman attached to Marine Corps scout sniper units, and provided medical aid in the civilian world as an EMT. To say the least, his experience and resume left no doubt that he knew the content that he would be teaching for the duration of the weekend. The Tactical Aid course is 16 hours and focuses primarily on the treatment of life threatening, traumatic injuries. Per their website, the course content includes:

  • Physiological and Psychological reactions to environmental stress
  • The importance of having the proper Combat Mindset
  • Basic Anatomy and Physiology of life-sustaining systems
  • H, A, B, C’s—Hemorrhage, Airway, Breathing and Circulation
  • Breakdown and usage of Individual Med Kit components
  • Proper stowage and employment of the IMK
  • Hands-on application of the IMK
  • Basic and Advanced Airway management -treating and monitoring tension pneumothorax, sucking chest wound and flail chest
  • Airway adjunct device placement-Nasopharyngeal Airway
  • Basic First Aid and Advanced wound care
  • Application of Bandages and Hemostatic Agents
  • Application of tourniquets
  • Recognition and Treatment of various injuries (Gunshot, Laceration, Burn, Airway, Head, Orthopedic, Environmental)
  • Recognition and treatment of hypovolemic (hemorrhagic) shock
  • Moving and positioning victims with various injuries
  • Response to active shooter situation
  • Proper use of cover and cover vs. concealment
  • Casualty recovery in an Active Shooter situation
  • Mass casualty triage procedure
  • Emergency Medical Dialect/Lingo (911 protocol, cooperation with LE, Fire and EMS and First Responders)

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