Review of Defensive Pistol 1 with On Target Training

jibbr71

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Yesterday, I had the opportunity to participate in Defensive Pistol level 1 with Seth from On Target Training, and thought I’d take a few minutes to pen a quick review of the course.
Never having been through any kind of formal training, I really didn’t have any expectations, but to hopefully be a better shooter in some way. Before Saturday, I was a good pistol shot, at least while standing at the range line plinking steel or paper at 5, 7, 10 yards and beyond, but never had any path to move those skills into what a defensive situation may look like.

We started the day with a safety briefing and introductions, and since there were only 3 students, this went fairly quick. Seth’s approach was to begin by a quick assessment of each shooter right off the bat with some simple exercises, and as we were all fairly competent at handling our pistols safely and putting rounds on target, we immediately moved into some more intense shooting.

While we moved faster and faster through more challenging drills, Seth did a fantastic job keeping the flow going with our different skill levels. While none of the 3 of us was hugely separated from the other 2, we each had our strengths and weaknesses, and Seth was great and working on those weaknesses, while showcasing and building on our strengths.

While I learned some great skills to make me a better overall shooter, the emphasis was absolutely on getting your gun into the fight and keeping it running. All of the drills we did with regards to shooting were not run until perfection, but with a mind to working on them on our own to gain real proficiency. What was pounded into us was presentation from holster and then keeping your gun in the fight at all costs. Reload techniques, both tactical and administrative, were drilled incessantly. Seth is a taskmaster, and he was not about to let someone’s gun be empty for any longer than necessary, and was right there when you’re slide locked back to drive you to “GET THAT GUN RUNNING!” and “FEED THAT GUN!”

We did some malfunction drills, but didn’t spend a lot of time practicing them, again with the idea that we would work on them at home. I will say that I had some extra practice, as I had some ammo issues with my reloaded rounds, and Seth was awesome about that. It was pretty embarrassing to have ammo related malfunctions on my own rounds, but Seth wouldn’t let me get down about it, and provided some ammo that he had(that I will pay for) to keep me running.

The other key idea that I took away from the course was to break the “range mindset”. Everybody at the range does it: Shoot a magazine, remove it when you lock the slide, put the pistol and mag on the table in front of you, retrieve the target, load the mag, rinse and repeat. The thought process here is to break that routine, which has lead to muscle memory, and put some urgency to your training. I had always seen things like Steel Challenge and IDPA as fun games, but now can see some real value in them to keep the “range mindset” at bay, if nothing else. There was some minor work on shooting from cover and from awkward positions.

By the end of the day, I was running my gun at a proficiency and tempo that I wouldn’t have thought possible for me without a lot more training. While I still made mistakes, and can run faster, I have a solid base of knowledge to build on, and will do so. All told, I figure I pounded out close to 700 rounds from my XDm 9mm, and the gun performed flawlessly(short of some ammo induced hiccups), and I couldn’t be happier with it.

If you’ve never taken part in any training with regard to shooting a pistol defensively, I would highly recommend On Target Training and Defensive Pistol 1. They offer several other courses as well, ranging from Defensive Pistol, to Defensive Carbine and AK47 specific classes. I look forward to working with Seth again, and will be keeping an eye out for Defensive Pistol II at some point late this winter or next summer.
 

jeffwatch

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Saturday 08/23/2014, Keene, NH

Guns and Gear & On Target Training, LLC
www.on-target-training.net

Date: Saturday 08/23/2014
Instructor: Seth Wish (owner)
Location: Cheshire County Fish & Game Club 19 Ferry Brook Rd, Keene, NH
Time: 0830-1400 (scheduled to 1630, but due to small class size)
Weather: partly cloudy, high 70’s
Number of students: (including myself) 3 Number of Instructors: 1
Rounds shot: 800
Cost: $150

As we had so many similar drills and so many concepts to absorb, I may have some of the details mixed up or out of order.

Equipment used:
• M&P 9 full length barrel with a shortened grip to accept 9c mags. Apex carry trigger. XS big dots sights.
• (5ea) 10 round mag (9c mags)
• Ammo: Fiocchi 9mm 115g FMJ
• Comp-tact infidel IWB 1st half, Comp-tact OWB paddle 2nd half
• (2ea) Comp-tact single mag carrier (clip)
• Beltman leather gun belt
• Woolrich shorts, champion wicking shirt, Salomon low trail boots
• RX Wiley-X sunglasses, Peltor President muffs & Combat Arms Earplugs

Started off with a conversation about gun safety rules, followed by signing a liability release. Wanted to know why we were there and what we know. Talked about de-escalating and running away before presenting your gun. Run, hide and then if no other choice fight. Due to extremely small class we would get much more shooting in and things would go very fast. Did a medical briefing and assigned someone to call 911 with instructions to tell them a training accident, NOT A SHOOTING. (A million swat will show up)

On The Range
Showed us a presentation, not straight up out of the holster on count one, but in a straight line from your holster to arms extended ready to fire if necessary. More like dragging the front site until it clears the holster. Scan area for situational awareness and to break tunnel vision. Look for more threats.

Warmed us up at 3 yards with 4” dot targets from the holster on his command. Random amount of shots sometimes with a time limit 5yd and 7 yards. Finished by calling out numbers and letters corresponding circles on the target. (a,c,3,d) at various distances. My performance was embarrassing, I sucked.

Various drills after drill at 3, 5 and 7 yards. Concreting on speed, accuracy in the COM, face and groin. Moving drills, left, right back. Finishing up with instructor guiding/pushing you around the range as you continue to send COM hits. Always from holster.

Did some headshots at 15 yards. Did not hit the area or close any of the time.

Weak handed drills. Moving the gun from strong side to weak side, but going under the thumb and switching hands. Two handed grip. I had trouble and wound up shooting one handed weak side when put under pressure.

Malfunctions. Setup type 1, 2 and type 3 malfunctions and needed to clear and engage. Lots of tap and racking. Had someone else load my mags with 3 snap caps. Type one and two I had no issue with. Type three I had a hard time click, tap rack, slide to lock, mag out, new mag in slingshot the slide into action. I was getting hung up at locking the slide back while not standing still.

Kneeling & prone from 15 yards. Going down to one knee we created a stable shooting platform to shoot from. All the way down to prone position shooting to COM and being cognitive of the raising angle of the bullet as it results to friendly’s in the background

Cover and multiple targets. Shooting from right side and left side behind cover multiple drills each side. Finished off by adding a second piece of cover and three targets. Starting off behind closest cover to target we’d shoot right side, left side move back to second cover and down to ground hit steel right side and then left side while staying behind cover.

Point shooting and contact shooting. Indexing with your thumbs and trigger finger to know where the muzzle was. 3 yards several drills with various amounts of rounds each evolution pushing the gun forward and other times pushing backwards almost into a compressed ready or third eye position. Moved up to 12” away from target support hand up bent at elbow covering your head, gun tucked tight and canted to your body pointed downward shooting into the groin area shredding the targets.

Finished off the day by shooting all the ammo we had left to slide lock as fast as you are able to hit COM. I had three mags with 9 rounds each loaded. My gun was smoking going back into the holster for the last time of the day. Too much ****ing fun!
Cleaned up range, picked up brass (not all, just enough) trash removal

Thoughts:
  • Get off the x when reloading. Because I had Mass low capacity magazines, I was preforming reloads more often. Reloads muzzle up, keep your head straight on the threat. Follow through on target after the last shot for a second before going to compressed ready.
  • Found that IWB with so many presentations, the shirt was an issue getting in the way. Consider shirt stays next time.
  • The instructor suggested I consider shooting left handed due to massive cross-eye dominance. On offhand drills I did shoot much more accurately.
  • The instructor was a helping my trigger press, which I knew was my main issue. By the end of the class much had improved, but still must address the eye dominance issue.
  • The instructor was constantly yelling in a motivating way that we were not a static range, somebody is shooting at you and wants to kill you. MOVE!

I was very happy with the course, the instructor was patient and knowledgeable with each of us correcting us, showing us how it is done. We had a small class so we shot a ton. A real blast, time past really fast, before we knew it, we had shot almost 700 rounds and we all had improved and got into the groove. GOOD TIMES!

Seth was friendly, professional and easy to talk to. We had a student who had some ammo issues and Seth was able to give him 300+ 9mm out of his personal liberty stash so the student could continue the class. Seth let me use two of his standard capacity 17 round mags. Safety was always a priority and never once did I feel unsafe with the instructor or any of the other students on the range. I would recommend this class and looking forward to taking Defensive Pistol 2 soon.

Biggest takeaway: keep shooting until the threat is down, do not stop after one or two shots. 5,6,7 shots fast and must be accurate and on target. Follow the threat to the ground.

Biggest shocker: He carries in condition three, full mag empty chamber. Thinks the chance of a ND is far greater than needing it a SD action.
 
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jibbr71

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This was kind of surprising to me, but he didn't tell me that's what I had to or should do. He stated what he did, gave his reason, and said "do what you feel comfortable with". I am 110% ok with that.
 

Wishse

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Jeff, thanks for the review. Actually for clarification, I did NOT say I always carried in condition three. I said that there are advantages and disadvantages to both condition 1 and condition 3 carry. My specific concern for the average civilian is not a ND rather it's leaving their gun unattended and then a ND happens. Then an untrained or inexperienced person picks it up and BANG.... A big problem. This has happened again and again with tragic consequences namely kids being killed or wounded because the parent didn't secure the gun. Bottom line the gun owner is responsible for their gun and needs to own that. Thanks again for coming to the class. There is a level 2 class on 9/14 in Bradford RI.
 
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