In 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.