During the last week of October in 2016, I was able to attend a three day Low-Light Counter Ambush / Vehicle Defense (Dark Gunfighter) course with Talon Defense. This course was intense and focused heavily on fighting in and around vehicles in low-light and no-light situations. Chase Jenkins was the instructor and is the owner of Talon Defense. This course was held in Oconee County, Georgia and hosted by our friend and guest-instructor Clark Sparrow of Sparrow Defense.
There were 17 total students in the class, including myself. However- out of all the students enrolled, I was the only student who had not previously trained with Chase. I've heard stories about his classes, so I wasn't completely taken off-guard as to what we would be doing.
Day 1 began at about 14:00 with everyone doing some basic drills so that Chase would be able to gauge the skill level of each of the participants. Being the only person that Chase had not previously taught, I figured he was paying specific attention to me to make sure that I was both capable of handling the pace of the course content as well as my muzzle awareness, trigger-finger discipline, and other safety concerns. Whether he was actually paying specific attention to me or not is unknown, but I intentionally tried to place a little more pressure on myself by keeping this in mind.
Over the past three days, I've been getting some awesome range time in with Super Dave Harrington. If you don't know who Dave is, you should do a quick internet search on him. He's one of the foremost and sought-after instructors in the country. Here is a little bio section on Dave from Panteao Productions:
Dave Harrington (a.k.a. “Super” Dave) is the President of Combatspeed LLC which is located in Tampa, Florida. Dave is a two time retired senior weapons instructor from the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare School at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. He has 23 years of military experience, the last 16 of which were spent in the Army’s Special Forces. He qualified as an expert infantryman, conventional and HALO (high altitude, low open) paratrooper, Ranger, and finally combat weapons craft instructor at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center at Fort Bragg, N.C. Some of the nation’s most elite counter terrorist fighters trained under Harrington there.
I was fortunate enough to get into the Integrated Weapon Systems course with a specific focus on Instructor Development hosted just a few miles from my house. The course itenerary was nearly as intense as Dave is... See the breakout of each day's itinerary below.
In short, this course was reserved for seasoned shooters, and the pace was very intense. This was the most challenging course that I have participated in to date, and the amount of information that I came away with is mind-boggling. I truly believe that Dave has forgotten more about shooting and fighting with firearms than I could learn in five lifetimes. He is truly a master of the craft.
On a warm August day in the Georgia heat, we had a great group come out and do some rifle training at Fair Weather Farms in Monroe. We began the course with classroom discussion and instruction covering a variety of topics:
- Brief history of the AR-15
- Identification of parts and components
- Terminology, vocabulary, and application of terms
- Line of sight, mechanical offset
- Fundamentals of Shooting
- Questions and Answers
This section took about 2.5 hours, and then we headed to the range for the remainder of the day. Using our Rubber Dummies as our targets, we began our drills with controlled pairs on two targets each. With a specific focus on shot cadence and transitioning between targets, we made sure that everyone was warmed up and ready to build on each exercise with additional levels of complexity.
I'm a firm believer in repetition, and I will always add on to each exercise that we are practicing with additional complex tasks to push the skill sets of everyone involved. This allows us to push the more advanced students the next levels of performance without leaving the less advanced students behind and neglected. In our courses, it's not about being faster and better than the guy next to you... It's about being better than you were on the last repetition. This is the focus of all of our exercises.
The first level of complexity that we added was to introduce movement into our controlled pairs on multiple targets. We began with shooting on the approach as the two groups alternated and practiced keeping their feet, eyes, and hands engaged in a rhythm that would allow them to maintain a good shot cadence while scoring hits on the move. After everyone seemed okay with this exercise, we changed the direction of movement and performed the same task while on the retreat.
Over a warm July weekend in Georgia, we hosted a group of 21 people at Fair Weather Farms to enjoy a day of rifle and handgun shooting. We were contacted by Service Now, a company in Atlanta who wanted to have a fun and safe introduction to tactical shooting for several of their customers. The concept of the tactical shooting event was to be approximately half educational, and half entertainment- and I would like to think that we accomplished a great balance of those objectives.
We began at about 10:30 a.m. with a presentation from ServiceNow regarding their corporate offerings for their clients. Given the large crowd, there was a wide array of skill levels present in the room. We had three instructors present and three ranges set up for live fire. The idea being that we would be able to push the skills of the more experienced shooters without intimidating or "leaving behind" the less experienced shooters. There were also three optional breakout sessions scheduled throughout the day. The beginners of the crowd stayed with Cy in the lodge to cover the 7 fundamentals of shooting and to go over extensive safety briefings. The more experienced handgun shooters immediately went out to the range with Richard to begin getting some range time in after a short safety briefing and a quick run-down of the proper grip of a semi-automatic handgun. The more experienced shooters interested in rifle training joined Clark on the top range.