Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Gun School After Action Report

On April 18, I had the pleasure of attending Signal 88 Security's Intermediate Close Quarters Gunfighting class.

There was so much covered in the class that I hardly know where to begin.

Some highlights:
  • Two-handed and one-handed gun manipulations and malfunction drills.
  • Integrated combatives, using empty-hand techniques to create distance from an attacker and allow the defender to bring his/her gun into play.
  • "See what you need to see in order to do what you need to do." -- Threat identification and assessment being more important than having your sights dominating your field of view.
  • A gunfight is far more about the FIGHT rather than the GUN, and how poorly punching bullseye holes in paper prepares you to fight for your life.
  • The difference between AIMED and SIGHTED fire: all of our shots were aimed, but very, very few were sighted.
  • The Israeli approach to using cover: "When you're afraid, you hug cover, so don't be afraid to hug cover."
  • Avoiding tactical errors that get people killed.
  • Weapon retention, and how to shoot while aggressively defending your weapon.
  • Moving off the X, shooting on the move, how tactics need to differ against a knife compared to a gun.
  • The full three-dimensional 360 degree after-action drill, and the importance of always moving in the direction of the known.
It was eye-opening to see what fell apart and what didn't under increasing pressure. I need WAY more one-hand-only and weak -hand-only practice under non-square-range conditions. Much of that will have to be Airsoft due to the constraints of shooting range rules, but I don't seem to notice recoil or the weight of the gun anyway as the intensity of the drill increases. Anything that builds so-called muscle memory and provides stress inoculation has value.

To my amazement, this is the first training class I've been in that didn't draw blood. Every time I do any serious training, I end up hitting the first-aid kit at least once. Maybe things are looking up.

Signal 88's chief instructors are highly qualified. The class I was in was taught by Devin Crinklaw. Devin is a well-established tactical instructor with a vast amount of tactical training and experience ranging from defensive tactics to explosive breaching and hostage rescue operations.

He is an Instructor Trainer for P.P.C.T., and holds or has received numerous instructor and operator certifications including: Nebraska State Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor, NRA Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor, CQB Instructor, Rapid Deployment Instructor, Patrol Rifle Instructor, Concealed Handgun Instructor, S.P.E.A.R. Instructor, Dynamic Simulation Instructor Trainer, Bill Scott Raceway (High Performance Tactical Driving) and Emergency Vehicle Operations instructor, and holds numerous other credentials specific to combat tactics and training. He has executive protection experience domestically and abroad and is a Certified Personal Protection Specialist. He holds Black Belts in two different martial arts, currently works as a police officer and SWAT Team Member, and is a Primary Defensive Tactics Instructor Trainer for the Omaha Police Department.

I've also previously taken a Signal 88 handgun class taught by Trevor Thrasher: Trevor has wide ranging tactical and special operations experience as both an operator and instructor. This includes service as Army Green Beret, Police Officer, SWAT Team Member, Body Guard, and Private Military Contractor with operational experience in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Trevor has received certifications as an Israeli Counter-Terrorism Tactical Instructor, Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor, Israeli Tactical Shooting Instructor, Concealed Carry Handgun Instructor, S.P.E.A.R. Instructor, Police Krav Maga Instructor, FAST Defense (Fear, Adrenaline, Stress, Training) Instructor, P.P.C.T. (Pressure Point Control Tactics) Instructor, U.S. Army Special Forces Military Hand to Hand Combat Instructor, Police Take Down and Ground Control Instructor, and holds various other instructor and tactical operations certifications with a heavy emphasis on CQB and Combatives, He was the Primary Defensive Tactics Instructor at the Omaha Police Academy, and the primary tactical instructor/adviser for a group of foreign special forces conducting on-going counter terrorism operations, He currently works as a part-time police officer in the Douglas County area, serves as a Special Forces Weapons Sergeant with the 5th Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group (Colorado National Guard), and performs contract security services for various organizations both locally and overseas. He is the Director of Special Operations for Signal 88 Security.

Everyone who takes training seriously wants to go to the big name schools, Thunder Ranch, Gunsite, Front Sight, Blackwater, Lethal Force Institute. But top quality training can also be available locally, and you can afford more training if you don't have to pay for travel and lodging. And there's no such thing as too much training.

Don't overlook the valuable resources in your own back yard.


Lorimor said...

Huh, sounds vaguely reminiscent of a class I took recently. :)

Good write up. It was a good class.

Here's hoping the boys at Signal 88 get a FOF class off the ground this summer.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't free up the day for this class, but I'll try for the next one as soon as they fix a date for it. I've already got the required quantity of ammo stacked on the shelf, so I'm hoping our schedules match.

DaP said...

Great post - lots of useful info. I have trouble finding good classes in our area, and when I do, they are limited to law enforcement. I'm adding this school to my list.

zeeke42 said...

Sounds like a good class. Regarding resources in your own backyard, don't overlook having one of the nationally known trainers come to your range for a class. I'm lucky to have a group of instructors who teach at my gun club and also bring in outside instructors several times a year.

+1 to the commenter hoping for a force on force class. The group I mentioned above brought in Southnarc (www.shivworks.com) for a course with a bunch of force on force work and it was a huge eye opener and a lot of fun.