The following AAR on this last weekend's class was posted by Rob Tackett over on the PFT forum...
Pat Goodale’s Practical Firearms Training “PFT” conducted a Defensive Handgun Level 1 and 2 programs on the weekend of June 11 and 12, 2011 at the PFT training center near Alderson, WV.
This was our fourth weekend of the open enrollment combined Defensive Handgun 1 and 2 programs this year at the West Virginia facility and we had 22 shooters in attendance over the two day period. Some of these shooters came for Training Day 1 (TD1) only as either the beginning of their training or as a refresher. TD2 saw returning shooters from the previous day and previously enrolled students who were continuing their training with PFT or had sufficient references from other top rated instructors to forgo Defensive Handgun 1.
The weather conditions for the weekend were hot and humid both days with temps in the high 80s/low 90s. TD2 saw overhead storm clouds that threatened us most of the afternoon only to sprinkle on us several times with no ill effects. With only 2 drills remaining in the afternoon (around 1630) we had overhead lightning and a severe downpour that forced a program break for about 15 minutes.
Most of the pistols on the line were Glock, M&P, and 1911 platforms with one Sig 220 showing up on TD2. One shooter started TD1 with a Smith J-frame and even though he was running it very well decided to switch to a Glock after making the point to himself and to us that he could indeed run that little J-frame so that it could be listed on his training certificate.
No major gun problems occurred through the weekend except for the 1911s needing to be regularly maintained and lubed.
Gear was a range of low quality gun store injection molded plastic to high quality custom holsters from some of the top industry producers.
Ammo was another issue. We continue to see cheap PLATED ammo being listed as FMJ. This crap is essentially painted to look like it is actually a jacketed bullet but it is a ruse. This thin plating shreds off as the bullet travels down the barrel and at close ranges you can actually see shards of this platting sticking in the target. During retention training we have to give shooters ammo to shoot the drills with to reduce the chances of injury since the gun muzzles are in a retracted position.
We also had a round Winchester FMJ in 40 with a primer pushed in sideways.
TD1 kicked off at 0900 with 3 hours of lecture where Pat teaches the PFT philosophy of marksmanship, gunhandling and tactical theory. A quick lunch and then into a 30 minute block of instruction where we help shooters adjust their gear, make suggestions, and go through a series of dry-fire drills. This allows us to get all the shooters on the same page, correct any problems and get grips, stances and mindset all moving in the right direction.
At 1330 the first shots were fired and the technical shooting portion of the program began. For the next 90 minutes shooters are taught to shoot to technical perfection and the first building blocks of tactical componentry are added. With around 100 rounds down range and all the shooters performing very well the transition was made to shooting the pistols one handed and then moving in close to shoot from a position we call retention.
With the paper targets in the not so distant past we move on to steel reaction targets. Starting on the plate rack shooters are challenged to shoot three plates down from 15 yards, scan and assess, then perform a tactical reload.
With an introduction to steel reaction targets down the last 3 hour block is focused on the dynamic shooting encountered in real life firefights.
Moving to the primary steel line the shooters are taught to moving to shoot and then shooting on the move engaging threats from 25 to 8 yards while advancing on and retreating from them. Adding to movement the need for good cover the next layer includes a “dash” to a point of cover and engage from various positions of cover from asymmetrical positions, including the first experience with prone.
The capstone event of Defensive Handgun 1 is a 3 threat vehicle exit exposing shooters to working in and around the big piece of steel that we all spend so much time driving. With targets placed strategically to force the shooters to use all the points of cover that the vehicle provides.
With the clock nearing 1800 we cleared the weapons out and gave some closing comments.
Thanks to all the shooters for staying safe and motivated as we continued to apply stress and force everyone out of their comfort zones.
We look forward to seeing you all again.