I’ve had a number of new instructors ask me while training them what the smallest sized course was that I was willing to teach. My answer . . . . 1 student. Yep, I’ll do a full course for a single student, no problem. Why just one? There’s a simple answer really. If they have asked for training they are at a point where they have a true desire to learn. They’re interested. They’re ready! And – that is a real plus! And, for instructors, there is always great value in presenting their material and working with a shooter to teach them the skills they want them to learn. Everyone wins.
“Well, with just one student – it probably goes much quicker!”
MMMmmmmmm . . . . not so much. The specifics I teach – are the specifics I teach. They typically take the same amount of time whether I’m teaching 10 shooters, or just one. What does move things along is if the individual student is already an experienced shooter. And that was my case yesterday as I met Doug at the range for my Defensive Pistol course. He is an excellent shooter, a re-loader and has shot handguns and long guns his entire life. It enabled me to skip over many of the “this is a cartridge, this is a magazine, this is a DA/SA pistol” kind of things. What he hasn’t ever done is carried a handgun as a defensive weapon, drawn and engaged single and multiple threats, reloaded on the fly . . . . and all of the other issues that arise when you move to daily carry. And that was the purpose of the day.
There are basics I start every course with. There is a full range and safety brief, regardless of how experienced the student is. Every range has little quirks, things that are specific to that particular range – our range is no different in that respect. And, continual emphasis on the “4 Rules” always has value.
I do a module of First aid – both the “Boo-Boo” kit and what I stock it with as well as the “Blowout” kit. I demonstrate the use of the tourniquet and the use of an Israeli compress. In our location – if you can control the bleeding for 5 minutes or so we will have a response team on site by then. But, these are good skills to know and good items to have in your range bag.
Next was a discussion of concealment and different types of holsters. Doug is a wheel gun kind of guy and had a couple of handmade leather holsters for his Ruger SP101. He is unique in that he is a fully ambidextrous person. Honestly, I’ve never met anyone that flexible. He settled on 4 o’clock carry on his left side but could have easily gone to his right side. He’d also had a holster made to try middle of the back carry and firmly decided against it. While he liked the level of concealment he found what most folks find – it’s a bear to fully clear the holster for the draw, even with both hands involved.
On to dry fire . . . .
Since Doug had little not no experience drawing from a holster, that’s where we started. A firm grip, a clean draw, and efficient rotation-joining-extension, a defensive sight picture and a straight trigger press takes practice to develop. A hundred or so during dry fire practice of the days drills is a good way to get that done. And, I do that regardless of the number of shooter – one or ten (ten is my top limit for the DP course). He got plenty of draws as we rolled through the drills.
One thing every new defensive shooter seems to have to work through is the “after the shot” response. Most invariably are focused in getting the weapon back in the holster. So I work on keeping their weapon on the threat, scanning around them to make sure the attacker had no friends nearby and that they can reholster an remain safe. I use the same words over and over . . . . “You have all the time in the world to reholster” . . . to insure the weapon is safely returned to the holster.
Once past these intro mechanics I dry fire what we will be working on. The day’s agenda looks something like this
- Quick review of marksmanship – aimed fire
- Definition and demo of defensive fire
- Single round engagements with a draw, scan and reholster
- Multiple round engagements with a draw, scan and reholster
- Introduce cognition drills to mix in aimed fire and defensive fire
- Introduce multiple targets
- Movement to low barricades with mix of aimed fire and defensive fire
- Movement to hi barricades with mix of aimed fire and defensive fire
- Engaging from a seated position
- Engaging a threat while turning to the left, the right and 180.
- Engaging multiple threats while “getting off the X”
It’s a busy range day. The final element of shooting is 10 draws from concealment , each with a single round engagement on my Qualification Target.
And he’s done! We shot nearly 200 rounds, put holes in nearly a dozen targets and got some real work done.
Good job Doug! And, if you ever have a chance to work one-on-one with a student – Do It! You’ll learn a lot!