“Ready… Ready… FIGHT!”
I spent this weekend at FPF Training’s Concealed Carry for Self-Defense course. This was my third (formal) training course with John Murphy, having previously done the old Handgun 101 and the Minuteman Rifle. As per SOP, it was outstanding.
Class size: 10, about half civ from the intel community, a few military, a pair of NRA lobbyists (!) and one truly deadly and capable shot, “Nate the Forester,” who takes this course once every few months to stay current.
Gear: My SA 1911A1 .45ACP, which has taken a turn for the worst, in a Comp-Tac holster and using Chip McCormick Power Mags.
Round count: about 600, all Remington and Federal FMJ.
Ranges: 3 yds to 15 yds, with both lateral and fore/aft movement, and some moving targetry.
The first half of Day One was all classroom, going over the mechanics of violent encounters; avoidance, deterrence, disengagement, and decisive action; the low-down on handguns and handgun ammo, and other self-defense gear; and finally, the all-important but often overlooked aftermath of a shooting– how to deal with the agents of the law.
On the second half of Day Two we moved to the range and began some basic drills. This is where I noticed two things– 1) my skill level had taken a step or two back, and 2) my gun was not extracting and cycling properly. The first was expected, the second was a surprise. However, I persevered and did my best to work through the problems. The day’s experience did leave my with lingering doubts about my gear, which I have to say got inside my loop. (The gun has been 100% up to now.)
Day Two began with more drills and progressed rapidly through shooting from the draw stroke, shooting multiple shots from the draw stroke, then shooting from concealment, then shooting and moving, then verbal commands to a would-be adversary followed by shooting and movement, followed by post-shooting interaction with the law. Things went very fast, and the pace became increasingly dynamic. In every drill we were expected to execute reloads and immediate actions with no hesitation. We were being to taught to find the intersection of speed and accuracy that worked best for us. (Yes, we also dealt with the evil “Negative Targetry,” or shooting through holes in the target and trying not to leave new ones. MUCH HARDER THAN IT LOOKS, and a good trigger control exercise.)
Day Two ended with a moving shooter/moving target drill using John’s ingenious target carriage. Believe me, there is no better illustration of how quickly an adversary can close the distance to you than this. It was also a test of verbal commands, with the target reacting according to how well or poorly we deterred and disengaged.
The two newest things for me were shooting from concealment (harder than it looks, and a real skill), and engaging the moving target. Both were entirely realistic and challenging. I think those were the real strengths of the course. I also had to deal with an unreliable gun, which is entirely new. I borrowed one of John’s 1911s, and so was able to carry on with minimal interruption.
Overall I rate this course OUTSTANDING. John Murphy managed to kick me the hell out of my box and force me to face some facts about my abilities. (That’s a good thing, by the way.) This course made me a better shooter and a MUCH more effective and confident concealed handgun carrier.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again– FPF Training is Gunsite-quality instruction at cut-rate prices. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.