Training Reports

2 Man Tactics CQB with Talon Defense

2 Man Tactics CQBOn 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.

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Active Killer Resolution - Talon Defense

Active Killer ResolutionOn 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.

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Graham Combat - Killhouse (CQB)

Killhouse CQB RulesIn 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. 

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Integrated Weapons Training for CQB

22310624 10159417929450608 1931985685052826274 nIn early October of 2017, I had the awesome opportunity to train with "Super" Dave Harrington in his Integrated Weapons Training for CQB. Almost exactly a year ago, I participated in his Integrated Weapon Systems course with a specific focus on Instructor Development. This course had many overlapping drills and exercises from that report, so I will try to focus this AAR on the differences moreso than the similarities of the previous report.

I'd like to start with a note about this training. There will be exercises that I mention that shouldn't be run by inexperienced shooters. This is not a beginner course... In most training environments, especially for more beginner courses, the range is set up to control any/all variables possible to ensure a safe range. Safety areas are generally utilized to minimize the chances of someone pointing their firearm near any other person. There is a 180° rule which limits shooters from pointing their firearms in unsafe directions. There are limitations on where/how you can administratively handle your firearm and/or ammunition... The more advanced the training topics become, the more these control mechanisms start to diminish. This particular course is focused on Close Quarters Combat. There is absolutely no way that you can expect to learn to fight with a firearm in confined spaces while enforcing a 180° rule for the participants. We don't live in a controlled environment in the real world, and therefore we won't be fighting in such an environment. The point of all this is that it is absolutely vital to create safe shooters instead of always trying to create a safe environment for the shooters. Dave ran this course with "big boy rules" and a "hot range" which basically means that you are free to handle your weapon and ammunition at any time so long as it is done in a safe manner. How safe? 100% safe. Safety is ALL of our responsibilities, and Dave has ZERO tolerance for unsafe gun handling.

Day 1: Do the Right Thing at the Right Time, Every Time.

Day 1 began at 07:00 on the range with a safety briefing, medical briefing, and general discussion about logistical items. Dave is an incredibly thorough instructor, and leaves no stone unturned when it comes to planning out the medical and contingency plans in the event of an incident that would require medical care. We identified those with medical training, identified and placed an advanced medical-kit in a known area, and assigned key roles to necessary participants familiar with the range and local area (who would call for medical assistance, who would be a driver, etc.) Dave really goes the extra mile during his safety briefing and reminds everyone of the potential dangers that could happen in the event that anyone is unsafe. To break it down, he says: "Do the right thing at the right time, every time. If you don't know what the right thing is or do not understand the task you are being asked to perform, DO NOTHING."

After the safety brief we spent a decent amount of time confirming the zero on our rifles for a 50 yard zero. Dave is adamant that your zero is absolutely vital to being able to perform confidently and effectively, and he stresses this importance more than any other instructor with whom I've trained. It's a valuable lesson, and makes a lasting impression. To confirm our zero, we then headed down to the 100 yard line and each placed 3 consecutive hits on a steel IPSC plate free-standing.

With our rifles properly zeroed, it was time to do the same with our handguns. We headed back to the top range and began pistol drills for accuracy at 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25 yards. These exercises were to learn (or confirm) our ability to make accurate shots at each distance. Naturally- as the distance increased, so did the size of the groupings. Once we completed these, we loaded our mags again and headed to the 15 yard line where we shot 10 round groups on each of the 5 targets (which were 4" circles). Then we moved to the 10 yard line and worked the same exercises with our strong hand and support hand, one at a time. The purpose of these exercises was to emphasize the importance of accuracy and our ability to consistently make accurate hits while reading our sights.

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