AAR: Tactical Response Alumni Weekend 2012

Well another year another Alumni weekend. For those of you that have never attended a Tactical Response Alumni weekend, it is a social gathering for alumni where they provide short classes, or introduction to topics that wouldn’t normally be covered during a tactical training class. This time the theme was topics that the late Gomez would enjoy, heavy on medical information, and close combatives, combined with a dash of disaster preparedness. Unfortunately due to travel plans, I couldn’t attend the bon fire at the range Friday.

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AAR: Tactical Response The Fight

“Jesus Christ, how many fucking guns do you have?”

The Fight – Force on Force Scenarios
Camden, TN – Nov 13-14th 2010
Exercise Controller: Mike
Roleplayers: Jeff, Brian, and Calvin

Writing an AAR for a class like the Fight is so hard, not that there isn’t a lot to talk about, in fact it is the opposite there is a ton to talk about. Instead the trouble comes from that sharing the details of the scenarios would be a disservice to future students. So I will limit this to lessons learned, but first I will describe the class.

The Fight is two days of ego bruising fun, through the two days you will go through a number of scenarios against real live human beings that will respond appropriately to your actions. Many times your actions will decide how the scenario progresses. The scenarios build on top of one another so you aren’t thrown out into the deep end, and they meet the three Rs being that they are recent, relevant to the average person, and realistic. Due to being a late addition to the schedule it was a small class, in fact it was the smallest class you can have, as I was the only student. Being the only student had it’s advantages in that the class was laid back, with more time to try different variations of scenarios, including some brand new scenarios. Though being the only student has its disadvantages too you don’t get to discuss the scenarios with others to hear their opinions and how they responded to the role players. Not meant to be a critique in any way simply an observation of one on one training vs group classes.

Now on to the lessons learned, I will start with the mindset oriented lessons. One big lesson I learned was patience, as a gun gamer I tended to go into “human plate rack” mode after I reached the point that I intended to use the gun, sometimes not waiting long enough for the tactical situation to improve. Next being that this wasn’t my first class with force on force I noticed that I was much less stressed at the end of the scenarios and that I had a much clearer memory of why I did what I did. I experienced the same thing during the medical scenarios during my second time through IAM. Also I noticed that after I flipped the “angry switch” during one scenario that it was easier to get into that high level command mode in the following scenarios. Finally I noticed that staying “up to date” by reading about use of force encounters helped speed up my decision making process, as the scenarios are based on real world bad guy tactics, you have some idea of how the encounter might go.

Next we move onto gear and skill issues. Gear wise I suppose I would mention how rarely I work on shooting in cold weather gear. In general I, like many others, tend to train when the weather is good. That is further exacerbated by the fact that I live in areas where there are mild winters so my practice sessions are rarely when it is cold too. So I rarely have to shoot with gloves and extra layers on. That presented some issues with draws, reloads, and my trigger pull. The scenarios also demonstrated the short comings of using small limited capacity “back up guns.” They are called back up guns for a reason you may not have enough firepower to deal with even one determined bad guy. For skills the point that came across the biggest is to MOVE, even a small amount of movement can propel you into a better tactical position, or at the very least make it harder to attack you. Also as Paul Gomez taught during the Tactical Response Alumni weekend this year, when you shoot in a stressful encounter you tend to do it at an almost cyclic rate. The first shot breaks and you are already resetting the trigger and trying to track the dot back onto the target. IMO practicing that on regular basis made it easier to make the hits I need to survive the encounters. Finally I need to work on shooting moving targets at longer ranges more often, at shorter ranges it makes no difference, but at longer distances you need more of a lead.

In closing I would like to say that I really enjoyed the class and learned a lot to help me refine how I might approach a real world encounter. And that I am surprised that so few people take this class, after taking this class I can say that I agree with James Yeager that this is one of the three Tactical Response classes that every one should take, with the other two being Fighting Pistol and Immediate Action Medical. If you carry a gun, make the time and take this class.

AAR: Tactical Response Alumni Weekend 2010

Recently I was in Camden for Tactical Response’s free Alumni Training Weekend. Tactical Response gives their students two days of free training, often on topics not well covered in the normal Tactical Response curriculum.

On Friday I flew in via Southwest Airlines. I fairly painless process, except for an hour delay. I stayed at a cabin in the Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park, nicknamed the Texas Team Room since it was with a group from the Central Texas Training Group.

The first day of training started early at 07:00 at the Gear Store, with a safety briefing, waiver signing, and splitting up of the groups. I was in the first group that did the classroom section first.

The classroom lectures started with a presentation on Back Up guns by Sherman House. This was a good overviews of the mindset of back up guns, the selection, and the features to look for. Next Sherman did a presentation on simple wound closure, using pigs feet as an example, he showed basic suturing. The classroom lectures ends with a presentation on Information Security by Jason Blackwell. All three are topics not normally covered by Tactical Response in their normal courses, and were a good overview on where to start into the topic.

We broke for lunch where most of the people went to Kody’s for his excellent food. After the extended lunch the we started the second half of the day on the range. The first section of the range was a Shotgun Primer with Tim Morris. This section was a basic intro into scatter guns, a subject which I am sorely lacking, I shot just over 25 rounds of bird shot. Next we moved “Enchacing the fighting grip” with Paul Gomez. This covered getting a better grip on the gun, so you can shot faster with increased accuracy. Finally we moved onto multiple target engagements at different distances, this covered the adjustment from firing at targets at different distances, speeding up on closer targets, while slowing down on farther targets. The target distances adjusted from 3-37 yards. That concluded the training on day one, that evening we went to the Kentucky Lake Friends of the NRA dinner. Followed by hanging out that evening Team Room.

The next day training started at 08:00, this time we started on the range, with a short section of chokes by Aaron, and Rikki Little of Performance Edge Training. Followed by a presentation on Blackjacks, and Saps by Paul Gomez. We then moved back to the Gear Store for the last two lectures of the day which was a presentation on moving between point and aimed fire with how XS Sights fits into the equation. Ending with a lecture on stress by Doc Norman. With the presentations done we broke for lunch, followed by the Swap Meet. Unfortunately I had I fly out that afternoon so I had go back to the cabin to pack.

Overall it was a fun and informative weekend. A bit more laid back then the previous Alumni Weekend which allowed for a bit for socializing with people that we haven’t seen for some time.

My round count for the weekend was just over 25 rounds with a borrowed Remington 870, and 124 rounds through my Sig P229R.

AAR: Immediate Action Medical

Immediate Action Medical May 2010 Austin, TX
Instructors: Sherman House, Paul Gomez, with Debo assisting.

This is the second time that I’ve taken IAM, I took this class as a refresher to help me keep up on skills that I can’t practice actively. Sherman says that this is largest IAM class that he was aware off, and what surprised me was the large variety of backgrounds. We had everything from an EMT-I to someone who was taking his first training class IIRC.

The purpose of this class, as I see it, is to allow the student to learn the skills needed to keep the victim alive until you are able to hand the person off to the EMS system, or to a hospital. I think that medical training is important for everyone, but even more so those of us that practice, and train with guns, as accidents do happen as much as we try to avoid them, it only takes a moment of inattention for someone to leave the range with more holes then what they stepped on it with. And many of the ranges are out in the sticks where EMS response time is measured at 10+ minutes, hell even in city it can take 5 minutes or more for EMS to respond, if someone had an artery severed, they would’ve bleed out long before EMS arrives.

Anyways day one consisted of first lecture, going over the 5 B’s, and how they are applied. One thing that I got from this class that I didn’t get at my last IAM, was constantly reassess. i.e. “Breathing is good, time to check that you are still safe from bad guys, and that the bleeding is still being controlled.” The second half of the day consisted of learning the equipment of the VOK, and some lower level practical exercises, including team relays to see which team can apply a tourniquet, pack the “wound” and apply a pressure dressing the fastest.

Day two was mostly practical exercises and equipment. Including gear selection beyond the VOK, bags/pouches and improvisation. During this Paul demonstrated so the many different tourniquets. I think we had an example of most major brands, including some that didn’t work. The last half of the day consisted of the round table exercises, where one or two people treated injuries while the rest of the class watched. I will say that doing this class the second time allowed me to concentrate more on doing, rather then trying to remember the firehose of information from day 1.

This was an excellent class, and even more so since it was my second time taking it. If you haven’t taken IAM, TAKE IT. If you’ve already taken it, and it’s been a year or more since you took IAM, take it again.