I wanted to improve and update my handgun skills. I could have sat at a range or two and watched different people shoot, watch their stances, etc. but I needed to learn on my own from an experienced and organized staff. I did some searching on the Internet and stumbled upon Gabe Suarez's web site (HALO Group). The HALO Group does not do training here in the Dallas area but they did have a link to SDSI who's located in Dallas. I followed the link and browsed around for a bit then it hit me. The co-founder of the school (Allan) was a guy whom I have known for over 10 years although I hadn't run into him for some time. He and I used to SCUBA dive together and took a few diving classes together as well. I knew Allan to be a class guy who did not do things half-assed. I figured that if he was involved with the school as a co-owner and instructor - this must be a good thing for me to check out.
Class started promptly at 0800 Saturday morning. After a brief round of introductions, we got into the philosophies of tactics, handguns, handgun skills, capabilities and lack there-of. After an hour or so of "lecture" (I hate that word) we were off to the range. After going over some safety regulations, range rules, etc. it was time to load our magazines up. For those of you who love to load mags - this class is for YOU!
We started out with basic pistolcraft - stance, grip, sight picture, etc. This first part was done with our handguns unloaded and in 'dry-fire mode'. We worked on holstering, unholstering and so on. We worked from a "Dynamic Isosceles" stance for the most part. This is a very comfortable and workable stance. We also focused on trigger control, trigger reset, breathing techniques and positioning (low-ready, fire, etc.). Then it was time to put holes in the target.
After several drills, the skills increased with difficulty adding movement, drawing from a non-concealed holster position, concealed holster, etc. Then we did combination drills working on newly learned skills building into more complex movements and skills. Never did we go faster in the skill/drill department than the slowest person. No skills/drills were at anytime unsafe.
Then we started doing drills on malfunctions, misfeeds, stoppages and other devilish deeds. We learned to do tactical reloading, speed reloading, off hand reloading, one handed reloading, etc. Again - safety was paramount. Most of the newly learned skills were in dry-fire mode. Then we learned about confronting multiple targets in a static and dynamic position. This is where you really have to have good control and think fast!
We took a break in the early evening for a couple of hours only to resume at 2000 hours for some low light and night drills. This is where it got good! It's amazing to me but I think my shot placement was better at night as you were relying more on muscle memory and instinct and weren't being tricked/deceived by your eyes. Great drills. We all had lights (many SureFires and a few Mag-Lites) and did different drills with our lights holding them in different positions. We also had a segment that involved shooting using some very special lighting. I won't elaborate - you just have to take the class and see. :)
Class began at 0900 sharp for most - it began at 0915 for me. I was tardy. The lecture on day 2 was a great one. Lot's of good situation awareness information as well as tactical know-how. After about an hour or so it was off to the range for more magazine loading!
Day 2 builds on the skills learned on Day 1 with some variations, deviations and so on. We did many drills such as unholstering with your off-hand (tricky for us "+ Sized" guys), off handed kneeling, off handed prone, of handed from behind cover, etc. We did some very upclose and personal (with the target) drills using a variation of a martial arts move (protecting your head/neck from attack while using your elbow as a 'blade' while using your handgun to disable the attacker) which was one of my favorites.
We also did dry-fire (red gun) exercises on gun vs. knife attacks, using your dry or malfunctioned handgun as a probing weapon, room clearing drills (no CQB) and we did a final exercise using paintball guns. All I can say is DON'T BE THE LAST GUY TO PARTAKE IN THE PAINTBALL DRILL. Trust me on this one.
The class was fast paced with well deserved breaks. The information and learning was absolutely top notch and well worth the $300 spent. Just remember to bring LOT'S of water and (kicking myself) sunscreen! Also a good idea would to have knee pads and elbow pads.
I used both my HK USP 9C as well as my Glock 17 for the class. I used Kydex holsters for both guns by Springbok, Inc. I used the BeltShell units.
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