Any time an instructor builds a course, or a course sequence, there should be a purpose to the flow. If you are a student glancing at this post you should be able to ask the instructor to explain the “whys” of the course – it’s content, flow, how he/she wants it executed. If they can’t . . . if they seem to be confused as to the why they are teaching a specific thing . . . if they play the “big dog” card . . . “why I’ve been teaching for decades, been there, done that, it’s the way I do it!” . . . and they are unable to clearly articulate why they “do it that way” . . . perhaps you might want to look elsewhere.
As instructors, we need to be able to answer those questions, provide a clear, concise flow to the coursework . . . with a very clear and definable end at the end of the day.
A couple weeks ago I threw up a post regarding running my first Defensive Handgun 1 course given my updated material. This past weekend was my chance to do the same thing, but with the follow-on course with the spiffy title of “Defensive Handgun 2”. It was a good day!
My purpose, my goal for the end of the course was for the student to be able to recognize a defined threat, draw from concealment and engage that threat with either “combat effective hits” or a precision shot. It is meant for folks that are new to concealed carry with the understanding they are at the equivalent level of a shooter who has finished my DHG1 course.
I had the wife of one of the students call the day before the course and chat about her coming. It’s not uncommon – be the student male or female – for a new shooter going to their first real shooting course (i.e. one that involves real and extended range work, not just 50 rounds down range at a qual target) to be a bit nervous. She and I chatted, cleared up her concerns she headed to the local range for a new holster and belt! 8AM she walked into the classroom with her husband.
While it shouldn’t be (“you ain’t trainin’ if it ain’t rainin’) bad weather and new shooters doesn’t lend itself to teaching fundamentals to a new-ish shooter. Naturally, spring in Iowa dictated a 100% chance of range with around an inch in the forecast. Yippy, Skippy! And, also being Iowa in the spring weather predictions are “questionable” at best. Our 100% chance of rain turned into a partly cloudy, cool and windy day – not a drop of rain! NICE!!
I always take a few hours on fundamentals regardless of the course. We covered safety, emergency medical responses (one of the guys was a certified EMT, good to have in the course), filled in holes for some of the folks on everything from holsters to running their particular gun, covered things like deadly force, disparity of force, AOJP, de-escalation and in general used that time for “leveling the field” between the students.
Next is an extended SIRT pistol range session. I put up LETargets SEB targets in the back of the room, had them holster my SIRT pistols and began going through the coming range drills. Honestly, I love SIRT pistols as an intro to the live fire range work. I can use the classroom, watch each shooter closely, be a bit more “hands on” in working on stance, grip, extensions, placement of hands for the grip while still providing a very good approximation of how things will feel on the range. I usually set aside about an hour for this type of work which usually leads up to a lunch break.
After lunch I fine-tuned the range, posted targets, set out barrels as loading areas for the lanes, had the shooters gear up and began with a simple set of drills – dry fire first – of just a “Drive, Touch, Press” with a single round. To this I added more and more blocks until, by the very last drill, they would hear a target called out, determine whether a precise shot or rapid engagement was called for then move, draw from concealment, engage, scan, and the slowly and safely holster their defensive weapon. The very last drill employed three targets for a single shooter with colored/numbered shapes as well as the “bottle”. Plenty to evaluate when the “up” command was given.
As a final suggestions to instructors . . . shoot this final qualification target with your students. It’ll keep you on your toes! So I had the fellow whose wife called me run me through the drill. Her suggestion for my final engagement of the drill? She had her hubby call out “BLUE!!” Of course there were 3 targets, 2 blue shapes per target . . . so I shot each one, running dry after 5 rounds. But, it was a good day and I hit each shape . . . I’ll take it!
It was a good day. Everyone improved markedly throughout the day. And by the day’s final drill things were running smooth, the hits were good and smiles were seen by all!
Congrats to Jo, Tim and Braxton! Great job folks!!