Honestly, it is seldom that I get a class full of “new AND inexperienced” shooters. Yet, that is what I had this week. Three couples with little or no experience with handguns at all. The class just kind of sprung up within a couple days. Our current civil unrest played no small part in this with the 24/7 news cycle showing burning towns, armed folks taking over swaths of cities, police under attack . . . more than enough to cause fear, discomfort and a certain amount of wonder about . . . “what would I do if the police could not respond quickly enough should I need them?” And that was the crux of the concern for the three couples sitting before me in the classroom . . . how do I defend myself if the police are unable to.
The foundational course I teach for new defensive shooters – regardless of the level of their experience – is the NAPSI Foundations of Defensive Pistol. It runs 9+ hours and with 6 students we ran two squad of shooters on the range essentially doubling the range time. Total course time this run-through? Right at 10.5 hours. It was spread over 2 days making it just a bit easier on the new folks.
What makes the NAPSI FDP coursework different from others that I teach is that it is “defense-centric” . . . it’s purpose is to give you foundational information that will help you become a better defensive shooter, and for new shooters – give you a fairly broad introduction to the topic.
We start with the different types of handguns and do a through review of the nomenclature – SA Revolvers, DA Revolvers, SA Semiautomatic Pistols, SA/DA Semiautomatic Pistols and finally striker fired semiautomatic pistols. We cover the different sizes and their uses.
Holsters, belts, clothing – life changes are also covered. Carrying a defensive handgun will change the way your day works – and new shooters need to understand that and to understand ways to cope with it.
We cover some very basic legal aspects of defensive carry explicitly touching on AOJP – Ability, Opportunity, Jeopardy and Preclusion. We bring in disparity of force as well.
We work on the idea of purposefully observing your surroundings as your go through your day and making sound defensive decisions based on what you observe.
Next we move into the beginnings of defensive shooting. We work through a persons natural response to a threatening situation and then see how that can be adapted to the beginnings of an armed response.
We talk about different methods of aiming a defensive handgun from true sighted fire to alternatives that are quicker when the time for sighted fire is just not there.
Safe gun handling is simply a must to that is a major part of the entire day beginning on the in-classroom SIRT range. I can cover up to 5 shooters on a make-shift SIRT range. This gives us a tremendous opportunity to work on stance, grip, sight alignment, sight picture, trigger press and follow through without the added concern of live fire. We can introduce range commands, loading methods, various drills they will experience in the safety and comfort of a SIRT range.
Finally, we get to range work moving students from drills that are actually “movement by command” drills up through single and multiple round engagements and ending with an introduction to the use of cover and concealment. All in all their range time is typically about 3 hours and 200 rounds of ammunition. It ends with a 30-round qualification shoot where we evaluate safe gun handling, proper shooting stance and accuracy.
The course ends with a short test to evaluate overall understanding of the classroom material, an After Action Review to listen to their thoughts on the day, what they liked and didn’t like and then the distribution of course certificates.
This was a great bunch of new shooters. They knew why they were there, were focused, interested and worked hard! It was a fun and productive 2 days.
So, if you are looking for coursework, make sure it fits your needs. Defensive shooting involves much more that just getting a carry permit – make sure the coursework you take move you in the right direction!