Category Archives: training

What is the Tactical Conference?

The Rangemaster Tactical Conference started as an International Defensive Pistol Association Major Match in the late 1990s. The IDPA Indoor Winter Championship, as it was then called, was held at Rangemaster’s facility at that time in Memphis, Tennessee. The organizer was Tom Givens, the owner of Rangemaster, a long time pistol competitor, and the leading trainer for Tennessee Concealed Pistol Licenses in Memphis. It was a large enough event to be featured as a segment on Shooting USA.

Typically, a shooting match consists of a few minutes of shooting and hours or days of idle time. However, the Winter Indoor Championship presented a unique opportunity because it was held at an indoor range with classrooms. Tom Givens’ relationship with the training industry meant that he was able to host various trainers who could present concurrent lectures about Self-Defense and Personal Protection. Some of the earliest presenters were well known names such as Massad Ayoob, Marty Hayes, and John Farnam.

The Pistol Match is still an integral part of the Conference. All attendees are invited to shoot the Match to get an idea of the strengths and weaknesses of their skills. Not everyone shoots it, though, because of the wide variety of other training opportunities that are also available during the three days.

Eventually, the demand for the tactical lectures and training necessitated moving to larger venues. The Memphis Police Academy, US Shooting Academy in Tulsa, and DARC in Little Rock have all been sites over the years. The larger venues allowed a wide variety of instructional blocks, including lectures, live fire shooting classes, and unarmed hands-on training. As the Conference grew, trainers held classes such as Managing Post-Shooting Stress and Trauma, Snub Nose Revolver Skills, Tactical Medicine for the Prepared Citizen, and Home Defense Shotgun Skills.The 2021 Conference was held at the excellent Dallas Pistol Club.

Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make was inspired by lessons learned in an Experiential Learning Laboratory session conducted by Craig Douglas of Shivworks at one year’s Conference. The Experiential Learning Laboratory has become a staple each year as a well-structured Force on Force exercise specifically for Armed Private Citizens.

Starting from just a few lectures at its inception, the Conference has grown to an extravaganza of educational offerings attended by hundreds of people over a period of three days. A vast number of training opportunities are made available for the prepared individual. The 2021 Conference featured 54 different blocks of instruction by dozens of different trainers. Some of the sessions repeated to allow attendees access to them because there is so much going on at the Conference.

There is no other opportunity like it available for the Armed Citizen who wishes to be prepared to prevent criminal violence against themselves and their families. The Conference is held in late March each year. The 2022 Conference will be held at the Dallas Pistol Club in Dallas, Texas. Registration opens in May and sells out by October every year.

TacCon 2021 Match

The Rangemaster 2021 Tactical Conference is in the books. A small part of the Conference is the shooting match. Of the over 200 attendees, 161 elected to shoot the match. I didn’t bring a gun because of my flight situation, so I borrowed a 642 from a friend and shot with it. Only three of us shot with revolvers.

All shooters have the opportunity to shoot the first two parts of the Course of Fire.

The first part of the match is shot as a standard exercise using turning targets. This was my target for the Standards. My score was 198. The 99 percent score meant I was able to shoot the tiebreaker.

For those who score 95 percent on the standards, a five round tiebreaker is shot on a B-8 target using Comstock scoring (points divided by time). I shot this well, scoring a 49 but using a lightweight snub nose revolver meant I was slower than I needed to be to get into the shootoffs on Sunday.

The top 16 shooters then enter a man v. man shootoff using a double elimination ladder. The shootoff format uses falling steel targets. Each shooter has an array of three clothed steel target with an eight inch steel circle [Correction about the target: The plate is a vertical rectangle, 5.5″ X 6″. If you run a vertical centerline down the mannequin, and a line across at armpit level, the intersection of those lines is the center of the 5.5″X6″ plate] that has to be hit to make the target fall. After knocking down all the shirt targets, the shooter must knock down the mini-popper in back. The popper that ends up on the bottom determines the winner.

It was a fun match and I’m glad I was able to shoot it.

I’ll be recapping the Conference in the next few posts.

Nuances

The Spirit of the Bayonet

The Guard Position

“The will to meet and destroy the enemy in hand-to-hand combat is the spirit of the bayonet. It springs from the fighter’s confidence, courage, and grim determination, and is the result of vigorous training. Through training, the fighting instinct of the individual soldier is developed to the highest point. The will to use the bayonet first appears in the trainee when he begins to handle it with facility, and increases as his confidence grows. The full development of his physical prowess and complete confidence in his weapon culminates in the final expression of the spirit of the bayonet — fierce and relentless destruction of the enemy.”

Field Manual 23-25 Bayonet –October 1943 edition

Note the subtle distinction between the ‘spirit’ of the bayonet, “The will to meet and destroy the enemy in hand-to-hand combat” and the ‘final expression’ of the spirit of the bayonet, “fierce and relentless destruction of the enemy.” The first is philosophical, the second operational.

Recognizing how to put a concept into operation is an important step in turning information into knowledge. For instance, how can we operationalize the “O-O-D-A Loop?” My colleague Melody Lauer once asked me:

How do I use the OODA Loop? That’s not clear to me.

At the time, I didn’t have a good answer for her.

Now, I would say that the basis for making Boyd’s process operational is to dig deep into Orient. Boyd himself said:

Orientation is the schwerpunkt. It shapes the way we interact with the environment–hence orientation shapes the way we observe, the way we decide, the way we act. [emphasis mine] –Organic Design for Command and Control, slide 16

“I’ll shoot anyone I find in my house” is an example of an input to Orientation, probably a Cultural Heritage artifact from English common law of centuries ago. When we acquire New Information through training, observation, or experience, that also becomes an input to our Orientation. Then comes the hard part, Analysis / Synthesis. All the other inputs to Orientation coalesce through Analysis / Synthesis into decision-making that occurs ahead of an incident rather than during the incident. We may need to modify the plan and decisions as an incident unfolds, but that’s much easier and faster to do than making a plan up on the spot.

Examining, expanding, and integrating all of our Orientation inputs is what allows us to ‘make’ good decisions quickly. When we have formed a solid Orientation, we are actually not making decisions in the moment, rather we are ‘choosing’ from a menu of pre-made decisions available to us because we’ve already considered the benefits, objectives, and consequences and made a rational decision about what’s in our best interests. It’s how we avoid making Serious Mistakes. http://seriousgunownermistakes.com/

My thanks to Melody and Joseph Edward Timbs for provoking me to write this post. Also thanks to Steve Moses, Shawn Vincent, and Don West of CCWSafe for inviting me to participate in a thought provoking podcast about the topic.

Riding Shotgun With Charlie

#mindsetmonday

I almost never listen to podcasts I’ve been a guest on, which is probably a mistake. Since Charlie put the clip of me with my long gun (Zombie MP5) in his intro, I had to listen to this one, though.

RSWC CW with MP5 airsoft

There’s a lot of good information in this episode that doesn’t usually get touched on in the industry. I’m very happy that Charlie gave me the opportunity to share it with the community.

e.g. My father used to say to me ‘son, you’re much more sophisticated about this than I am’ and I want my clients eventually to be more sophisticated about this than I am.

The Negative Outcomes mentioned are detailed extensively in my book Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make http://seriousgunownermistakes.com/ .

The LAPD Retired Officer Course and numerous other courses that can be practiced at both indoor and outdoor ranges is in my book Indoor Range Practice Sessions http://indoorrangepracticesessions.com

Before there was an FDIC

In the days before the FDIC, if banks didn’t protect their assets they had no assets.

“They aim to welcome bandits with hot lead.”

https://www.mcall.com/la-me-fw-archives-1928-pistol-training-for-bank-tellers-20171120-story.html

Feb. 18, 1928: Los Angeles Police Chief James Davis, left, with First National Bank teller Madeline Morneau at the police shooting range in Elysian Park. (Los Angeles Times)

Thanks to Michael de Bethencourt of I’m With Roscoe for pointing out the article.

Your Best Defense: Staying Out of Trouble

I was able to spend some time talking with Michael Bane last week about ‘Staying Out of Trouble.’ That means emphasizing the ‘Avoid’ and ‘Escape’ steps in the Avoid, Escape, Confront, Resist paradigm.

We had a great conversation that will be of interest to new gunowners, those who have been at it as long as Michael and I, and everyone in between.

Tactical Professor books (all PDF)

Why we practice marksmanship

Man shot multiple times while trying to steal couple’s SUV at gas station

https://www.click2houston.com/news/local/2020/09/17/man-shot-while-trying-to-steal-couples-vehicle-at-gas-station-police-say/

“The suspect walked away from his truck and toward a couple that was at a gas pump with their SUV, investigators said. Officers said the suspect then entered the driver’s seat of the SUV while a woman was in the passenger seat.

At some point, police said the man saw the suspect inside of the SUV. He then fired at the suspect sitting in the driver’s seat, striking him multiple times, investigators said.”

Note the position of the bullet holes in the windshield.

Hopefully, the wife exited the vehicle before the shooting started. If not, that was a scary downrange drill, i.e., friendlies or non-threats somewhere downrange between the defender and the criminal. Scary for both the shooter and the downrange friendly. Consider the position of the shooter when the shots were fired.

Armed Citizens are far less likely to have to make a 25 yard headshot on a terrorist than we are to need to make a close range precision shot with no-shoots downrange. It’s something that very few gunowners practice but ought to. In this situation, the hit ratio needs to be 100%, not 70% or 20%.

Even during the Beer Plague, we’re often out of our homes with our loved ones and there’s no guarantee that they will be behind us when trouble starts.

Tactical Professor books (all PDF) (not Free)

Private lesson –Training Modules

I had the opportunity to exchange a private lesson for a haircut today. The stylist is an experienced shooter who has taken a number of classes and can run a pistol quite competently. This made the choice of modules for the lesson a little different than might usually be done for a private lesson. Since we were at her home, no live fire was indicated. I used three different learning modules for her lesson.

Image Based Decisional Drills

The first module was using the Image Based Decisional Drills from The Complete Combatant. http://www.thecompletecombatant.com/image-based-decisional-drills.html Only one category of Negative Outcomes relates to marksmanship, the other ten relate to Bad Decisions of one sort of another. IBDD provides a useful method to practice interactive decision-making. Although it was originally developed for live fire purposes, it can easily be done without live fire by using an inert training pistol.

We set up a small training area with a face target.

3 IBDD layout face circled

It took only a few minutes to run through all 25 cards in the deck.

4 IBDD completed

Using IBDD to put context into the manipulation process showed that some supplemental instruction was in order. The supplemental items we covered were:

  • Correct grip for pepper spray.
  • Trigger manipulation under stress.
  • Sequencing of movement, verbal communication, and firing.
  • Non-verbal communication techniques for dealing with low life individuals.
  • Changing direction quickly (close order drill).

This is an overview of the Image Based Decisional Drill concept, process, and kit.

Using a SIRT pistol is an excellent tool for non-firing sessions with IBDD but even an inexpensive toy gun from WalMart would be an adequate training aid.

Walmart XD Glock

NRA Pistol Marksmanship Simulator Training Course

Even with experienced shooters, I am finding value in the NRA Pistol Marksmanship Simulator Training Course. https://www.nrainstructors.org/CatalogInfo.aspx?cid=47

By adjusting the laser dot above the sights of a SIRT pistol, the simulator allows the operator to see the effect of their trigger manipulation and follow-through. The sights on my SIRT have been replaced with real metal sights.

SIRT

Any NRA Certified Pistol Instructor can conduct the NRA Pistol Marksmanship Simulator Training Course. The Course of Fire is not specified so I use the previous and current versions of the NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting qualification test.

Introduction to Snub Revolver

Finally, we did a quick dry practice introduction to the snub revolver. Since she is an experienced shooter, the introduction focused mostly on the differences between the revolver and an autoloader. The overview consisted of:

  • Proper grip for a revolver.
  • Trigger finger positioning and manipulation.
  • Accessing a downed partner’s weapon from both face up and face down positions.

A great deal can be accomplished in a couple of hours when live fire isn’t required and contextual Learning Objectives are established.

To avoid confusion, I won’t list my books in this post because they’re not free. If you would be interested in purchasing any of my shooting workbooks for handgun or rifle, they are available from the menu at the top of the page. As the American Insurgency escalates, you may find having a functional knowledge of the weapons you own to be useful.

RAR link update

https://responsiblyarmedradio.libsyn.com/responsibly-armed-radio-season-1-episode-1

Responsibly Armed Radio Podcast

We had a great inaugural episode of Responsibly Armed Radio. Lou Ann Hamblin and I were the guests. Tatiana Whitlock and Judi Wells were the hosts with Special Guest Appearance by Dave Stall.

Our topics were definitions of Use of Force, Critical Decision-Making, Reasonableness, and Next Steps for those new to our Art.

Here is the link to the show: https://responsiblyarmedradio.libsyn.com/responsibly-armed-radio-season-1-episode-1

I wasn’t nearly as serious as the picture looks. 🙂

Tactical Professor books (all PDF)