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Old September 26, 2012, 09:46 PM   #1
StainlessSteel215
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Anyone take self defense pistol classes...or have a real life experience?

I probably have a solid 6 years on the range....and I'm pretty reliable shooting 9mm and 45acp from 15 yards. However, I would like to think I could handle a stressful situation successfully if one were to arise. My local gun shop offers a monthly self defense class and simulates all kinda of high stress situations. Ive been putting it off for years now and sure I could benefit from it.

anyone else have experience with this sort of training...or have an actual situation where they were confronted with a self defense scenario with their carry pistol?
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Old September 27, 2012, 05:52 AM   #2
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I took a "tactical" class because a friend had a discount coupon at a local range.

We ran around in circles and shot frangible ammo under the expert tutelage of some guy who had extensive military service--as a motor pool mechanic.
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Old September 27, 2012, 05:57 AM   #3
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I've had military training - but that was a lifetime ago. I think a tactical training course would be both "fun" and "useful". I've been thinking about this for about a year now too.


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Old September 27, 2012, 06:48 AM   #4
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It greatly depends on your trainer. That said, there are ways to simulate stress. Physical exhaustion is the easiest. Do some burpees or wind sprints, pick up your gun, start firing and see how your groups open up (they will).

Time is another way to simulate stress. Have a buddy stand near you with a shot time and give you a course of fire (3 to the chest, 1 to the head for example) and a time (2 seconds for example) and have him yell at you while you fire. One of the reasons drill sergeants yell at recruits is it trains them to perform under simulated stress. Same principle applies here.
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Old September 27, 2012, 09:23 AM   #5
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I've taken Front Sight's 4-Day Defensive Handgun course twice now...the 2nd time with my wife...excellent training, superb instructors. They offer some spectacular discounts on their web site from time to time...ours, for instance was $89 for a four day/600 round course of instruction. Don't let the low price mislead you that this in BS...they're very good at what they do.

They're based in Pahrump, NV, about 60 miles west of Las Vegas, but also have a course and range facility in Anchorage, Alaska. I highly recommend them. They will take you from a slow fire handgun shooter to shooting controlled pairs from the holster, two to chest, in 1.8 seconds. Best Regards, Rod
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Old September 27, 2012, 10:24 AM   #6
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I have military training, but the pistol isn't an important weapon in the military. I took one civilian course.

I'll make the observation that anytime something new was added, it took a little time and practice to adjust and get good at it. For example, I recall the first time I shot at pop up targets as opposed to paper targets. I didn't do as well as I usually did. But I figured it out after a trial or two.

So, if you are concerned about a real life situation, I suggest that you take some courses that expand your envelope beyond basic pistol marksmanship skills because you aren't going to get to redo it after it happens. There is no guarantee that you will learn something that you will use, but it will improve the odds of it not being the first time you've done it.

Real life. I've never shot a pistol at a person. A wild hog, an armadillo or three (rampaging in the wife's garden) and a couple of poisonous snakes (for which I would have preferred a shotgun).
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Old September 27, 2012, 10:41 AM   #7
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Quote:
I took a "tactical" class because a friend had a discount coupon at a local range. We ran around in circles and shot frangible ammo under the expert tutelage of some guy who had extensive military service--as a motor pool mechanic.
I received extensive defensive/offensive/jungle warfare/survival training while in the military and have taken SD/HD courses in recent years. Since retiring I too have attended several courses that were taught by ex-military instructors, one a Marine and the other Army and both professed to have vast military experience, I proved that not to be true of the ex-Army reservist. I did not check the Marines past military history, he is no longer envolved in training courses. I also attended a conference/seminar on the west coast of Florida that had a speaker named J. Giduck who claimed to have vast experience but has since proven to be a fraud. A total waste, on my part, of conference/seminar fees and my 5 hours driving time and gas each way to the event.

Moral of my story; do a little research before plucking down your hard earned dollars for any training courses.
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Old September 28, 2012, 12:20 AM   #8
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I took a "advanced pistol class" put on by a group of law enforcement officers. It was a all day class, shot over 300 rounds that day. I was taught how to shoot from cover, how to move left and right, forward and back to cover while shooting. How to draw and protect your self with the off hand while shooting from hip at a target within 3 feet. It was a ball, thinking of taking it again next year. Luckily I have no real world experience.
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Old September 28, 2012, 06:48 AM   #9
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I took military traing classes and even LEO classes but never one of those stress/action classes. It's on my to-do list.
In real life, to be prepared, you must 'expect' and plan for 'it' at every moment. Things can happen fast. Like hte wife mentioned, once, the back door had just shut and in the next second, I was shooting. Everything was over, from stepping outside to last shot in less than 10 seconds I believe. You just have to be ready. The shakes, and adrenaline didn't leave for an hour or so.
Several other instances, you just have to get it in your hand and the threat turns and leaves. Once, wife said "He's got a gun!" and I see a guy coming up behind a LEO drawing one! I drew and said/hollered something and he froze and spun around and took off before the LEO quite realized what was happening. He got away but it was really scary. It was in a place called Essex Village in Henrico. Google it. Several other 'things' happened at my shop including two shootings night before last in which I wasn't involved. It's in Blackwell, Richmond. Google that too.
Of course drawing first can be 'interesting'? I got there one morning and found two guys rummaging around. Wife got on phone to 911 as I drew and confronted them before they could start something. Turned out, they were LEO Detectives, incognito, investiging 'last nights' mayhem. It turned out OK, but it was tense. After slowly showing badges, we all got along fine.
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Old September 28, 2012, 10:00 AM   #10
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We have four good trainers locally. I took the advanced class from one who had us firing between, around and under barriers, forward and back, side to side, shoot and reload, at moving targets, at night with flashlights, a whole list.

They just held a more intense two-day class in which they told us to bring at least 1200 rounds. I couldn't afford that one.

I participated as much as I could (getting up from the ground is very hard) and highly recommend such a class from an accredited instructor.

Plinking at fixed targets is only the beginning.
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Old September 28, 2012, 10:30 AM   #11
Frank Ettin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StainlessSteel215
...However, I would like to think I could handle a stressful situation successfully if one were to arise. My local gun shop offers a monthly self defense class and simulates all kinda of high stress situations. Ive been putting it off for years now and sure I could benefit from it....
Stress can really change things, and you can't know until you've actually performed under stress. It's said that under stress we default to our level of training.

Classes both help teach useful skills, they require you to perform under the gaze of others -- the instructor and fellow students. Competition, especially USPSA and IDPA also can help inoculate you to performing under stress.

Quote:
Originally Posted by StainlessSteel215
...anyone else have experience with this sort of training...
My first class was quite a few years ago with Bennie Cooley. Since then I've taken three classes at Gunsite, LFI-1 (now called MAG-40) with Massad Ayoob, a couple of classes with Louis Awerbuck and several others. I've also taken NRA Personal Protection Inside the Home and Personal Protection Outside the Home, as well as the instructor classes for those courses, so I'm certified to teach them. Oh, and I've been an assistant instructor for Massad Ayoob for one of his MAG-40 classes.

I also used to compete regular in USPSA matches, but that's tapered off a lot these days.

Anyway, I'm a strong believer in good, professional training.
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Old September 28, 2012, 11:41 AM   #12
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I have taken several courses. One that really opened my eyes was PSD/VIP protection with TFTT in LA. It really jumpstarted my thinking on communicating with others during a fight and wokring as part of a team while shooting. I also thought the lecture that Max Joseph gave on explosives and IEDs as part of the class was some of the best info on the sort I have ever gotten and I work in contract security overeas and have had a lot of training on that.
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Old September 28, 2012, 12:32 PM   #13
StainlessSteel215
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Wow Frank....impressive. You are officially Navy Seal-ready with that multitude of defense training! I will absolutely start with my local gun store classes and branch from there.

Great posts....makes me realize how truly false my sense of security may be under stress!
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Old September 28, 2012, 12:40 PM   #14
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Frank--what are your thoughts on the 'training scars' that can result from IDPA competitions? Overblown? Real?

I tend to think they're a real possibility. I once saw a Soldier empty their gun after a firefight while still on patrol (range habbit after shooting); he was quickly corrected and couldn't believe he did it nor did he really seem to understand why he did it.... That kind of thing has steered me away from IDPA and other shooting sports (also ranges with rules like that...). But I'm open to other opinions on the matter...
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Old September 28, 2012, 02:00 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by StainlessSteel215
Wow Frank....impressive. You are officially Navy Seal-ready with that multitude of defense training!...
Gee thank you, but not even close -- not even the same planet, let alone time-zone. Just an old, short, fat lawyer who likes to try to be reasonably good at the things he does.

You might be entertained by this article I wrote on my last class at Gunsite.

Quote:
Originally Posted by StainlessSteel215
...I will absolutely start with my local gun store classes and branch from there...
Good for you, and enjoy it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by plouffedaddy
...what are your thoughts on the 'training scars' that can result from IDPA competitions? Overblown? Real?...
Way overblown. To some extent it depends on how one approaches the game (USPSA or IDPA).

It is a game and not training. But it gives one an opportunity to learn and practice under stress a lot of important, basic skills such as moving safely with a loaded gun, drawing and firing, shooting quickly and accurately, shooting from unconventional postures and positions, moving and shooting, reloading, good and safe gun handling, engaging multiple targets, target recognition and acquisition, etc. These are things that are often difficult to work on in ordinary range environments.

The subject of the value of competition to self defense preparedness is being discussed in this thread.
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Old September 28, 2012, 02:03 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by plouffedaddy
...I once saw a Soldier empty their gun after a firefight while still on patrol (range habbit after shooting)...
It's hard to imagine why, unless there was a range officer standing over his right shoulder saying, "If you are finished, unload and show clear." In competition, we learn to respond to the RO's direction, not unload on our own initiative.
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Old September 28, 2012, 04:01 PM   #17
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I've taken some classes in the last 5 yrs or so ...like InSights....and some of them are very good ...some not so much ....it just depends on the instructor and what your goals are...

http://www.insightstraining.com/

In general, I would recommend InSights, GunSite or FrontSite....I think they are all reputable programs...especially at the intermediate to upper level classes...( where you're past the point of having to learn how to manipulate your weapon, execute a draw from a holster, make a basic mag change, etc...) - not that the upper level classes can't clean up some bad movements or bad habits you may have developed...they can.

a 3 day class - at Insights - like Intensive Handgun skills...is a very good class.
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Old September 28, 2012, 04:18 PM   #18
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Took one just this past weekend - Defensive Handgun II from Practical Firearm Training (pgpft.com). It was an all day class and we shot in the neighborhood of 500 rounds. (465 in my case) I'd recommend their classes for anyone.

We shot everywhere from contact distance to 70 yards, the last just to show us we could do it - 6 hits on a 15" steel plate required. The former was shot from retention.

It's a fun class, taught in WV where they are based and here in MT. I've taken it twice. The bruises from doing one handed failure drills, both strong and weak side, should fade by next week.

I'll probably take it again just to keep my hand in. We're also members at Frontsight, because it cost next to nothing at the time, but have yet to make it down there. My wife is pushing to go so maybe next year.
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Old September 28, 2012, 04:19 PM   #19
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It's hard to imagine why, unless there was a range officer standing over his right shoulder saying, "If you are finished, unload and show clear." In competition, we learn to respond to the RO's direction, not unload on our own initiative.
I think it's just like how police officers used to put the brass in their pockets on the range then were found dead, out of rounds, with brass in their pockets. I'm not arguing that one shouldn't compete, just giving the opposite view. I think it's like you said earlier, under stress we default to the lowest level of training. He defaulted to clearing the weapon after firing a string of rounds.

Now, conversely, he was the only one that did it of the 2 squads that were there so it's certainly not something that is direct causation because everyone else had similar training. I guess the human detention of a shooting scenario is just very complex....
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Old September 28, 2012, 05:14 PM   #20
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Quote:
Frank Ettin

Quote:
Originally Posted by StainlessSteel215
Wow Frank....impressive. You are officially Navy Seal-ready with that multitude of defense training!...
Gee thank you, but not even close -- not even the same planet, let alone time-zone. Just an old, short, fat lawyer who likes to try to be reasonably good at the things he does.

You might be entertained by this article I wrote on my last class at Gunsite.
I have to agree with Frank's post about training and that "it is what it is", and not going to get us to the level of 10 year veteran Navy SEALS.

I read Franks post about his 2011 visit to Gunsite. It brought back memories. I'm glad to see they are still innovating, and not just teaching what and how they always have for the last 30+ years.

I first went to Gunsite back in the late 1970s and participated in the API 250 course. I did not feel I did well enough and went a couple of years later to take the API 250 course again, and did much better. A few years later I took the 350 course (Intermediate), and few years later the 260 course (shotgun) and a few years later the 499 course (Advanced).

Frank thank you for writing and documenting your post with so many nice photos.

I also have had training from a police academy and five years on patrol as a sheriff's deputy. I competed in some IPSC matches for a few years too.

The single most valuable thing I have learned is situational awareness. If you can see trouble before it finds you, you are way ahead.
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Old September 30, 2012, 06:52 PM   #21
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real situation

Back in December 2002 , about a week before Christmas, I was waiting in a walmart parking lot to pick up my then girlfriend now wife. I noticed a guy in a older model chevy caprice circling the lot and kind of casing me. didn't think much of it but mentally "flagged" the guy. He circled around again and drove about 10 ft away from me very slow and very close. I pretended to be checking a text but I actually dialed 911 on my cellphone but didn't push send. Now I'm mentally focused on this guy who has circled back and is now about 20yds away and has the passenger side facing me and is exiting his vehicle!!! All in an instant, I assessed the area and reached for my ruger gp100. 357 4". I opened my passenger door and slid out that way and pretended to be looking for something. As I did that, I heard, POP POP POP! then TINK and then the sound of my window shattering! I sat on the ground pressed send on my phone and put it on speaker. Still being shot at when the dispatcher answered. I stated I'm about to have to defend my life!!! Hearing the shots the dispatcher said she was sending police. As she said that, I peeked under my car to see the perp was walking toward my vehicle! I said to myself Lord help me, and engaged him, dropping him with 2 non lethal shots one to the right shoulder and the other to the upper right pectoral. After assesing he was "out of quarters" I advised dispatch he was down and to send paramedics. I decided to approach the perp and see his condition, as this happened, security approached exclaiming they observed the whole thing. As I got near the young man and he looked at me, I asked him if he was done, he said, who are you? I replied to him, obviously not who you thought. He broke down crying and apologized repeatedly. He left the scene under red lights I left under blue. I had to for questioning. Security gave their report and took the keys to my girlfriend now wife. After giving my side of the story and about 3 hrs later. I was walking out of the station. I never got my wheelgun back. I went and visited that young man (2006)after he got out of prison and asked him if he'd like to turn his life around and go to church with me. We still talk today and he goes to church with me from time to time. Turns out I drove a camry that matched the one that did a drive by on his little brother. I forgave him and he forgave me. My faith saved me, the military and my dad trained me. Shooting every Saturday since I was 18 keeps me sharp. Watching home and self defense vids gives me things to practice.
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Old September 30, 2012, 09:20 PM   #22
StainlessSteel215
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Holy hell man what a story! All I can muster right now is wow....and kudos for your control over the situation. You would easily have died had you not acted in such a swift manor. John McClain style reflexes but in the REAL WORLD. Thanks for sharing that
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Old October 2, 2012, 10:54 AM   #23
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Frank--what are your thoughts on the 'training scars' that can result from IDPA competitions? Overblown? Real?
I am not Frank.

I do have 30 Years of LEO experience, training, advanced training etc. and a competitive shooter for most of that time. I have no trouble with unloading at the wrong times. It could be that I am a firm believer in keeping my gun ready to go.
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Old October 2, 2012, 11:29 AM   #24
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I tend to think they're a real possibility. I once saw a Soldier empty their gun after a firefight while still on patrol (range habbit after shooting); he was quickly corrected and couldn't believe he did it nor did he really seem to understand why he did it.... That kind of thing has steered me away from IDPA and other shooting sports (also ranges with rules like that...). But I'm open to other opinions on the matter...
My very first USPSA match I learned of a habit I had picked up while practicing at home and shooting on the range. I shot the first array at my first stage and reholstered before moving to engage the rest of the targets.

My point is you may already be picking up some bad habits without even knowing it. Go out there and shoot some different disciplines and see what you're missing. Besides building skills and experiencing new situations, you'll meet a great group of guys and have a lot of fun.
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Old October 2, 2012, 12:10 PM   #25
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I think I may. I've got nothing to lose but an afternoon of shooting (which is really a 'gain' not a loss )
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