ALICE Active Shooter Instructor course
Training Course Reports / May 25th, 2018 11:19 am

This week I completed the ALICE Training Institute’s Active Shooter Response Instructor certification course.
 
Why ALICE instead of the other programs out there? Here’s why: The ALICE format is recognized in many states as the benchmark training course for preparing staff and building occupants for the best response plan possible during a VCI or Violent Critical Incident.
 
Here’s what it stands for: Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate. This approach is much better than the traditional but ineffective ‘Lockdown, Staydown’ methodology that is currently being used in a lot of school systems. The problem is that the Lockdown method has been proven to result in more deaths than any other option available.
 
I won’t go too deep into the program but the good thing is that this will augment the other active shooter programs I already offer. One is from Homeland  Security, the other is from the USCCA. This adds the actual scenario based concept that the others do not have.

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Glock Operator April course
Training Course Reports / May 2nd, 2018 10:03 am
GLOCK Operator Course- The April 2018 Version
 
I just wrapped up another 2 days of hosting GLOCK Training for the second Operator’s Course, or OC as they call it. The last time was in October of last year with Scotty Banks. This time, it was with Lynn Freshly. Lynn has over 27 years as a law enforcement officer in Ohio, retiring as a lieutenant with his department. He also works with a group called Tactical Defense Institute when he is not running all over the country training for GLOCK. His experience in training goes back to 1998 when he joined TDI. I was honored to be able to be an extra pair of eyes and assist him on the line as needed. Luckily, the class was pretty ‘spun up’ so I got to shoot quite a bit as well!
 
The course was held at one of our host ranges, The Ontario Rod and Gun Club. This club is perfect for our type of training and often hosts USPSA and 3 Gun Nation events. Membership is inexpensive and the progressive mindset of the club is refreshing. If you wish to check them out, go to www.ontariorodandgun.com and see what they have to offer. We are pleased to have partnered with them to provide and host high end professional training at the facility.
 
Now, you’d think: April? Yeah, that’s a pretty good time of the year to host a course, right? Well, since Western NY weather decided to be fairly uncooperative, it wasn’t great. It could have been worse, but I am still not going to complain about 35-40 degree weather and a little bit of flurries compared to a lot of rain. All in all, it really was not that bad, just chilly.

We had 11 people (including me – again!) in the class this time. There were supposed to be a few more but due to family emergencies and work related changes, three of the attendees had to reschedule to the October date.

Out of the 10 other attendees, the class was made up of the following: 1 active law enforcement officer, 2 retired officers, one from Puerto Rico now living here, a director of a security guard training school, and 7 GSSF Members. 4 of them are current, long time students of Rochester Personal Defense, LLC. Travel distances ranged from Syracuse, Oswego, Jamestown, Newark, Strykersville, and the rest were local to Rochester.
 
You’re probably wondering what type guns were there as well. Here goes: we had 1 Glock 26, 1 in 45 GAP (NYSP dude), 1 model 23, 5 model 19’s, 3 17’s (I ran both my Gen 5 19 and my Gen 5 17), and a model 34.
 
Skill abilities in this course were fairly close this time. Most everyone has been training or has been shooting GLOCK pistols for a while, and all were looking to gain a better understanding on the handgun and learn more about their own skillset. Besides myself, one other had attended the course last October. He liked it so much, and felt challenged enough, that he wanted to do it again.
 
Bear in mind, this is not an advanced course, nor is it a basic level, introductory course. Those wishing to attend should have some experience shooting, and it is highly suggested that they attend a basics fundamentals course, as well as a defensive firearms course, prior to attending the GLOCK Operator Course.
 
Day 1: Let’s set the basics
We started off in the classroom, with us looking out the window at the 32 degrees and flurries, hoping for a sudden surprise heat wave. Lynn greeted everyone and started on the paperwork. Afterwards, we got the introductions out of the way, and got to work. Since Lynn determined that the class was not going to be a basic level, he covered most of the basic information about the gun parts, ammunition, and loading and unloading as a refresher. The rest of the classroom portion was spent going over the shooting fundamentals such as stance, body position, grip, sight alignment, follow through, trigger management, and the overall operational details of ‘running the GLOCK’ to make your skills produce the results you wish on the target.
 
Then, it was off to the range. Now, I won’t give away all of the stages and skill training because it will take away from the fun, but we started off with a couple warm up drills so that Lynn and I could see what everyone was doing and who needed attention. We worked some slow precision drills and then got into the holster work. After identifying some shooter that needed refinement on their draw, we got into multiple shots, differing target areas, and defensive accuracy skills.
 
Essentially, the course is built around a series of fundamentals. SOME of them are: a draw to first shot, reloading, malfunction clearing, and multiple shot on targets. Trust, me, that isn’t all there is but I wanted to give you an idea of what is included.
 
The goal of the course is to make the shooter more efficient, more accurate, and more effective. When you combine all of those factors, you get a safer, more responsible, and a more trained individual. Removing all extraneous movement is the key and you cannot do that all by yourself.
 
One of the great drills I like to do is the cadence drill. This was done at 5, 7, and 10 yards. You pick your target zone, and fire 5 rounds at a 1 second per round pace. The goal is to have as tight a group as possible. Then, you do the same at a 2 round per second rate, then the same at a 3-4 round per second rate. That is repeated at 7 and then 10 yards. This shows how important your grip and trigger manipulation are when firing multiple shots.
 
Day 1 ended with about everyone shooting about 400 rounds on average and some confident looks after working on quite a few drills. Most everyone needed to get home to take care of work, or family, but a few of us managed to hit the Monte Alban location in Webster for a quick bite before we all went our own ways.
 
Day 2: Refine, and push harder.
 
Day two started off in the classroom with a quick review of what we covered on Day 1, then we were of to the range.
 
We all did a quick warmup and review of the previous day’s skills and then got into some skill diagnostics and malfunction drills. The idea is to fix any kind of stoppage intuitively and get back on target. Using some tried and proven tools such as inert rounds, and a technique called ‘ball and dummy’, we were able to see where we were anticipating a shot, even when it wasn’t a live round. Once that was identified, we were able to minimize, then start fixing any flinching. The goal of accurate fire is to press the trigger to the rear without causing any additional movement of the sights. Sure, you say “No problem” but until you’ve actually tried this drill, you don’t know how much you anticipate!
 
We then started getting into movement. Working on drills walking forward, rearward, left and then right, and discovering how to minimize the bobbing and extra movement caused by walking.  One thing is always amazing: we know how to walk, and we know how to shoot. When you combine the two, it is unbelievable how we try to make both of those tasks harder! I have news for you, it’s not like in the movies.
 
After that, we got into one handed operation, which no one ever does enough of. We worked some drills with our gun or dominant hands, and then with our support or ‘other’ hands. This set of drills gives the shooter new appreciation for managing their handgun and what is involved in getting an accurate steady shot on target.
 
Lunch time. Perfect time to wind down and relax. We discusses the crazy laws we have to deal with, and some of the first time students to this course were wondering about the rest of the day.
 
After lunch, it was time to run what GLOCK Training calls the GLOCK Standards. There’s nothing new or difficult here, just a set of skills that are tested to see what you possess and what you need to work on. No. I cannot tell you what the GLOCK Standards or the time cutoffs are as that would make it a less effective testing method. If you wish to see what they are, attend a GLOCK Operator course and see for yourself.
 
What I WILL tell you is that there are a number of skill tests and they are all timed. GLOCK Training has a template with a body zone and a head zone in which you are supposed to obtain your hits. A miss costs you, so make sure you get the hits where you need them. once you finish each of the skill tests, the times are added up, plus any misses, and you have your total score.

Glock Training came up with a ranking system. You are ranked from 1 to 4 with 4 being the fastest. The results of yesterday’s course were as follows:
 
Level 1: 2 people
Level 2: 0
Level 3: 7 people
Level 4: 2 people
 
I saw a lot of improvement on quite a few people. A couple of the shooters started out with a serious flinch, but by the end of day 1, it had all but disappeared. A few others were using the old and ineffective method of ‘pinning the trigger to the rear’ when they were shooting, but once we explained how to better manage the trigger, their targets improved greatly.
 
Overall the class was good. We were able to run one line of shooters so the pace was fairly constant. I did see some fatigue creep in and small mistakes started popping up but no major safety issues showed up. All in all, we had a good, professional group of students.
 
Lynn’s course ran a bit different than the one Scotty ran. There was nothing bad about the differences though. Mostly, it was in the style of the instructor. Scotty has a louder, more driven style, where Lynn had a more laid back no frills, ‘This is what you need to know, do, and learn’ style. His was very straightforward, yet easy to follow. There was no confusion on what he asked of the course and he had a good, firm yet supportive teaching style that gave the students a feeling of confidence as they pushed harder to get faster and more efficient.

Lynn also kept the overall pace up for the duration of the course. We finished a little early on Day 1, but no one complained. He and I both agreed that their ‘tanks were full’ and that all we would be doing is burning ammo, rather than learning, if we kept going. Sometimes, it is not about the time, it’s about the progression of learning.
 
If you are thinking about jumping into a 2 day format for defensive firearms skills training, the GLOCK Operator course is a good choice. Too many people are either unwilling or incapable of committing to a 2 day course for some reason. When planned in advance, it can happen. The learning that happens over 2 days compared to only a single day is amazing.

Even a moderately trained shooter can benefit from the GLOCK Operator Course because of the format and the standards they use.

In the end, I recommend the course highly to those wishing to get a good jump start on their education and for those that need to identify the particular skills that they are lacking.
 
A couple things to remember: ‘You’re only as good as what you can do ‘cold’ and not after a warmup” and “Stop doing what you are good at, you’ll never get better. Work on what you suck at. That will make you great”

Come join the gang once again on October 25 and 26, 2018 for another GLOCK Operator Course!
So you want to be an instructor?
Random Thoughts / March 30th, 2018 3:45 pm

An informative and, hopefully, eye opening semi rant follows: Recent messages coming in asking me the following:
"I saw your recent post about a course you did and was wondering: does it really only take 2 days to become an instructor?"
The answer is: NO

The instructor process.....if done correctly, is not as easy as some of the shortcut takers (and providers) will lead you to believe. People always wonder why I don't accept everyone into an instructor course. The simple answer is: they're not fully qualified. They either do not have what it takes, or they do not YET possess what they will need to successfully complete the process.

Becoming an NRA Instructor is not normally something that a newer shooter should be thinking about. A good instructor has YEARS of experience, and many thousands of rounds downrange as a student prior to feeling that they are ready to teach someone how to safely handle and shoot a firearm.

The first step is to always attend as a student. Personally...

Are you a Professional CCW-er?
Random Thoughts / December 26th, 2017 1:11 pm

You’re a gun owner. That’s great. Why? It’s because for one of a myriad of reasons, you’ve decided that being a gun owner is important. But with that ownership, there are responsibilities. Serious ones. A mistake with a gun can have grave consequences.
 
Yep. This is about education and training. Why? Because it is important. Too many people feel that all they need to do is get their permit, buy a handgun, get a holster that the guy at the store has on the shelf, and start carrying that handgun around. In public. Without training.
 
WRONG.
 
This is not just about your Second Amendment Rights. It’s not about anything other than being responsible. This is about being responsible for yourself, your family, your home, your community, and the other gun owners out there that, if you make a mistake, you will embarrass and then make the rest of us look bad.
 
This is about knowing how to effectively carry concealed. It’s about knowing your legal limits and allowances. It’s...

NRA Practical Pistol Coach Training Workshop
Training Course Reports / December 12th, 2017 11:52 am

Practical Pistol Coach Course review –my thought, observations, suggestions, and random ideas.
 
Just recently, I participated in the NRA’s Practical Pistol Coach training course. It was held at the NRA’s national headquarters (NRA HQ) in Fairfax, VA on December 4-6th. I found out about this through colleagues on the NRA Training Counselor Facebook page I co-administer, and on my NRA Instructor’s admin portal. After reading the short description about the course, I was curious and reached out to Dan Subia, who was the instructor. Dan told me that the course was geared toward helping Certified NRA Pistol Instructors become better at working with students in a 1 to 1 setting and also to assist the instructor with better evaluation skills and skill development ideas for their students – in a defensive handgun genre as opposed to sports. Hmm. OK. Now I am a bit more interested.
 
After talking to Dan, I looked up the current NRA Pistol Coach program and read though it. I imagined taking what was in the current program and I applied the defensive firearms instructor thought process to the material and started to see more about what the possibilities were.
 
So I registered. I actually think I was one of the first five people to commit to the new program.
 
Afterwards, I kept my ear to the ground and kept looking for references to the new program to see what, if any chatter, was going on regarding this new idea. I found that only one other workshop had been done back in October of 2015. Only one? Why? Why the 2 year gap? Recognizing that this could be a new advantage for instructors, why was there such a long timeframe between courses? Turn out that the first one was a test run/invitation/shake the bugs out format. It took some time to collect what they learned in the first one, more convincing to the NRA higher ups of the merits, and waiting until they got the go ahead to run another one.
 
Let me try to work though the story and timeline and have it make sense.
 
The lead up and prep time:
Prior to the workshop, I found out that the minimum criteria to attend were that I had to have taught 5 successful Basics of Pistol Shooting (BOPS) courses or a total of 25 students. Check that one off. I’m good. Then, as information rolled out, it was apparent that we would have to shoot the NRA Pistol Instructor Qualification –at a minimum – to prove that we had the basic skillset and fundamentals. OK, I can do that too. If you’re wondering what that is, you have to shoot an 8” diameter target on an 8.5x11 piece of paper at 15yds. 16 out of 20 hits must be inside the 8” diameter ring and your group size must not exceed more than 6” total. Essentially, you have to be able to produce a 6” group at 15yds. We were also told that there were going to be two other qualifications that we would have to pass in order to complete the course.
 
OK, so there was a basic expectation of competency. That made me feel better. There’s nothing like going to a class, expecting to work for results, only to find out that someone got a seat because they were able to string together a few words on an application or find a way to hit the backstop a few times in a row. In general, if I’m going to a class that is advertised as an intermediate or advanced level course, I expect that everyone sitting in the room had to step up and pass a test to get the privilege to be in their chair.
 
So, off to the range I went. I wanted to be absolutely sure I was dialed in, my equipment was working and I was working as expected. I made my practice a bit harder. Some days, I’d shoot an 8” target at 25yds, some days I would use a 6” plate at 15. A few sessions were just finite trigger control and 3 to 5yd shooting where I would work to achieve a one-hole group. I mixed all of that in with my regular range practice. A good estimate is that I spent anywhere from 4 to 12 hrs a week on the range with a lot of dry work in the office. That included drawing from my new Safariland Level 3 holster (for another project) and my normal IWB carry gear. If you had called me any time leading up to the course, there would have been a good chance of hearing a lot of clicking and clanking in the background!
 
As the course got closer, we got more information. Our loadout, or required equipment list arrived! We were to bring 250rds of ammo (Yay for shooting!) 3 magazines, our EDC (every day carry) gun and holster, a magazine holder, eye and ear protection, and note taking materials. Of course I brought 500 rounds. Why not? Can’t a guy be excited about shooting? What the list told me was that this was definitely oriented towards defensive skill training and that we would be doing quite a bit of shooting. I was excited! Let’s learn some good stuff AND shoot!!!!
 
Travel time!
I thought about flying but that was going to be too much of a hassle with the range gear, ammo, and my regular stuff, so I chose to drive. 6 hrs is not a bad drive and it was a straight shot out of NY State, right across Pennsylvania, Maryland (be careful), and then into Virginia. After loading up, I headed out. It was a pretty uneventful drive.
 
After arriving in Fairfax, I got my room at the Courtyard Fairfax Fair Oaks location. The NRA had arranged a group rate that was better than I could have found, so I went with it. Besides, the hotel was less than a half mile from NRA HQ. At the hotel I met up with a couple of the attendees, Gordon and Dan. We hung out in the lounge for a while and just as we were thinking about grabbing dinner, Grant showed up. We all headed off to a local eatery and had food, traded stories, bragged about feats of strength and courage, and decided what songs needed to be sung by future generations about our glorious endeavors. Actually, we just ate and got to know one another. It just sounded better the other way. Afterwards, I hit my room, got caught up on business while doing more dry fire and draw practice, and relaxed.
NRA HQ!!!!
 
Day one:
A few of us met in the lobby for a quick breakfast and headed out to NRAHQ to get settled in. Upon arrival to what some people call HQ and others call “The Mothership” we checked in at security and got to the classroom. We were placed in one of the many board/meeting rooms in Tower B. There were a few others there already and we all got to shaking hands with new people, bro-hugging those we knew and have not seen in a while, and just got to chatting. One of my colleagues, Klint Macro was there to assist Dan in the course. No, he did not tell me he was coming, but it was good to see him there. He brought what I think is the largest collection of SIRT (Shot Indicating Resetting Trigger) pistols outside of Next Level training as well. I think I have as many Glock pistols as he has SIRT pistols!
 
Just before things kicked off, we had a couple visitors pop in: Mark Richardson and Andy Lander. These two guys pretty much keep the wheel churning for the Education and Training end of the NRA, along with John Howard and a few others. Although I have spoken with these guys fairly regularly by email or phone, it was nice to see them in person. The last time I saw them was in my Training Counselor workshop in late 2008.
 

In attendance were 13 other people. We had a mix of Training Counselors and instructors present. People traveled from California, Connecticut, Georgia, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Virginia and West Virginia. Out of the 14, we had one woman present. She came all the way from California too! One notable attendee was Larry Quandahl. He was responsible for creating and writing the NRA’s Personal Protection Inside the Home and Outside the Home courses. Not a bad feather to have in your cap! Our backgrounds ranged from civilian and military, to law enforcement. We had a lot of experience in the room.


Larry Quandahl and I. Great guy!
 
First, we started off with the standard NRA icebreaker: Introduce a speaker. We are all assigned someone next to us, and I got Gordon. He and I moderate the NRA TC (Vetted) FB group and have trained together, so this was easy. Once that was out of the way, Dan and Klint got into the course. We started off with discussing the differences between coaching and instructing. One is where you provide information, or knowledge, and the other is where you refine that knowledge for more efficient use.
 
Then, we took the first of our tests: The NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting exam. My initial thought was: “Why not the PPOTH or PPITH?” but I figured that this was just to start aligning our thoughts with the program so I just went with it and buzzed though it. I actually re-read some of them to make sure that Dan wasn’t tricking up by changing some of the questions. Turns out, we all did fine. Actually, he said that we all SHOULD be able to nail this exam at 100%. I never saw anyone’s results but my own so I have no idea how the others did.
 
We talked about being a good shooter and having to break down skills to a new shooter and also knowing how to decipher skills at the microscopic level to better refine performance and efficiency. We did a directional exercise that showed just how much detail goes into teaching a skill and how difficult it may be.
 
Moving into more of the Coach theory, we discussed working in a one to one capacity with someone. Essentially, this focused on the mindset and theory of how to transfer the larger format class or range experience to one solitary individual. Other topics delved into subjects like: The Taxonomy of Firearms Use. Dan came up with this list of 10 different ways firearms are used. I felt that this was a good way to break the ice with a client in order to help them understand their place in the gun culture as they developed. One idea was brought forth that does indeed ring true: You cannot be a defender of the Second Amendment if you only believe in one specific use. I...
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