OPS Southwest Dynamic Tactics Course
This is a one-day course. It emphasizes realistic scenarios, stress,
and correct responses. Attendees should already be familiar with basic
defensive shooting -- drawing, sight picture, tactical reloads, etc.
While half of the class is devoted to shooting from/around vehicles,
this is not really a "learn how to shoot" course. It is more of a
"learn how to react" course.
Class started at 8:30 am. There was some initial paperwork and waivers,
then introductions of the OPS Southwest staff and class attendees.
The instructors presented an outline of what would be covered in the course.
Our class had 8-9 students and 6 instructors. We broke into two squads.
Squad One went to the range for vehicle tactics while the Squad Two (mine)
did "red gun" and Simunition scenario training.
Before anything else, we made sure the training building and the area
immediately around it was an absolute "no weapons" zone. Anything that
could potentially shoot, stab, or otherwise cause injury in the heat
of battle was removed from the area. All pistols, knives, OC canisters,
etc. were taken out of the area. Each student then turned his pockets
out and was patted down to confirm no live weapons were in the area.
Any student who left the area was searched again upon return.
The first scenarios we enacted involved plastic dummy weapons --
red guns and red knives. Each student could be a good guy, bad guy,
or a bystander. Instructors also played various roles. Students did
not always know what roles people were playing.
Obviously, the element of surprise is an important part of this kind
of training. Without giving away any of the details, I will say I
was genuinely impressed with the plausibility of the scenarios and the
potential for more than one good outcome... or bad outcome. The scenarios
were typically geared toward civilian good guys. Skill at arms was
much less important than awareness and good judgment.
The scenarios were fairly short. Each scenario was followed by a quick
debriefing. The debriefings were excellent -- short, to the
point, and informative.
After several scenarios had been played out and each student had played
several roles, we took a short break and prepared for Simunition
This class was my second experience with Simunition training. In both
cases, I've found the realism of the training brings out things other
forms of training simply miss. The familiarization with tunnel vision,
loss of fine motor skills, etc., is very valuable. Unfortunately, the
high stress combined with the presence of live-ammo-capable weapons
raises the element of risk and demands the absolute maximum attention
to safety precautions.
My opinion is OPS Southwest took every reasonable safety precaution.
The safety checks were careful and deliberate. In addition to all of the
previous safety steps, only revolvers were used for Sims. Every Sim-loaded
revolver was open-cylinder verified by both the student and instructor,
and everyone understood they had a responsibility to call a halt if
anything seemed unsafe.
The Sims scenarios were basically the same as the red gun scenarios,
though the instructors thoughtfully threw in a few surprises. I really
liked this approach. It gave people a chance to make their mistakes in
the red gun stage before facing the added pressure of welt-raising
paintballs. As before, all scenarios were followed by a short debriefing.
After the Simunitions training, we broke for an hour lunch. Upon return,
the squads switched places. Squad One started situational training, and
those of us in Squad Two started pulling our cars onto the shooting range.
That's right -- we parked our personal vehicles on a live range.
If you absolutely cannot stand the thought of a bullet hole in your
ride, I recommend renting, borrowing a friend's car, or being very careful.
The rest of the afternoon was spent on tactics for shooting out of or
around vehicles. We covered one- and two-man tactics, how to exit
from either side safely, and how to best use a car as cover. This was
an intensive focus on a particular area of defensive handgun
tactics and I definitely learned a lot.
When it was all said and done, nobody's car took any hits. However,
my old pickup was used quite a bit for demonstrations and close-range
out-the-window shooting. I was forced to drive home on my best behavior
as I really didn't want to explain to an officer why I had a cab full
of just-fired brass.
My overall conclusion is this course is an excellent choice for people
wanting to train on something broader than the mechanics of good shooting.
Not only does it put valuable new tools in the toolbox, it sharpens the
mental attributes of awareness, avoidance, assertiveness, and judgment.
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