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A few of my friends here have already gotten this report last week. But I wanted to share it here, others might find it interesting if you've been thinking about taking a class like this....


The class was given by Northern Virginia Tactical: http://www.nvtactical.com/index.html

And my instructor was Chip Hammond:
http://www.nvtactical.com/Instructors.html

The class took place really near my house on private property. We started with some classroom time. But not just your standard safety lecture. This was not a shooting class, but a self defense class, and the classroom portion emphasized that. Loads of practical and tactical info, with real world examples of what can and has happened in shit-hits-the-fan scenarios. Physiological and psychological factors, legal and ethical issues, mechanical and biological malfunctions all play a part in being prepared. But in the end, a big part of the preparation is knowing that you can't possibly prepare for everything. In short, almost all of this classroom portion was new and fresh, and Chip's delivery kept things exciting. Very worthwhile, but I was anxious to get shooting!

You guys know, I have been fairly dedicated to improving my shooting skills on the range. But beyond aiming at the center of a sheet of paper, I've done very little practical shooting - holstering, drawing, loading, etc.

There were four of us in the class (a fifth showed up for just the shooting portion). We started with things like drawing and shooting and the basic steps involved in that, then reversing those steps back to reholstering. Definitely something I now am familiar enough with to practice at the range.

Then we worked on this drill that I can't wait to do again, this was fun. Start with one in the chamber and an empty mag in the gun, and another magazine with two rounds loaded in the mag holder. From the holster, we drew, fired once, ejected the magazine, loaded the mag from the holder, racked the slide, fired again and reholstered. Then we picked up the ejected mag, loaded it with two rounds and repeated the drill. This is something I could spend some range time on and definitely see progress on speed. I noticed rapid improvement just in the time we did this drill yesterday, and it was fun to try to do it fast AND really put the shots on target.

We spent some time doing this other really interesting and fun drill, again with roots in the real world. Simulatng malfunctions, we loaded a magazine with five or six dummy rounds randomly interspersed with live rounds. Then we'd draw and shoot two at a time. If we encountered a click instead of a bang, we tapped the bottom of the magazine in case an improperly seated mag was the cause, then racked the slide, clearing the offending round, reaquiring the sight picture and firing again. This was entirely new to me. Racking the slide had been a rare occurance for me before yesterday, used only at the range to chamber the first round in the first magazine of the day. So I felt like probably others in the class had a big headstart on me here. But again, I enjoyed the drill and I think these sorts of things will make range time more fun and interesting.

Add to that some one handed shooting (both strong and weak sides), shooting from behind cover, shooting while moving (left, right, forward, backward), shooting while moving from one cover to another, multiple targets in tactical order, and probably more that I can't remember, made for over 300 rounds of fun and productive learning. And I do feel like my range time, mundane as it was, served me well. My shooting was generally pretty solid. At one point I was told with groups as tight as I was getting, I definitely should be shooting faster!

A couple other miscellaneous notes:

Fitness. This being a self defense venture for me, I realize yet again that I am embarassingly out of shape. I want to re-commit to losing some weight. If nothing else, it will make possible an IWB holster option down the road.

A note about my Ruger SR9. This gun performed flawlessly. I'm probably close to 2,000 rounds in and it has never failed to fire, failed to eject or jammed. It was fun and comfortable to use with all this shooting, and was fairly easy to handle with one hand (another thing I'll have fun practicing). Chip the instructor, as well as the Sheriff's Deputy who assisted with the class, both fired it after class was over and seemed to like it a lot. I know my experience is limited, but I can't say enough good things about this SR9. And a day like yesterday really makes you bond with the gun you're using! And watching guys shoot .45s nine or ten at a time really made me glad to have 17+1 rounds at my disposal!

So, that's my report! Thanks for reading this far if you did. I have a lot of practicing to do but definitely want to take the next class in the Defensive Handgun series. And I've got nothing but praise for Chip Hammond and Northern Virginia Tactical. This was a day well spent.

Ed.
 

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Very cool. Are you still working one on one with an instructor? What does something like that cost? What did that class cost? I looked into a few different ones and thay are $200 a piece. I haven't priced the one on one yet.
 

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You know, I took one of the one on one classes with an instructor I liked a lot, and it only cost $40 (and he went over the hour agreed upon). I got a lot out of it. But I decided to take this class because it was so intensive, so much stuff in one day it would probably take many, many individual classes to make the progress I was able to make in one day. AND, the range situation on this class was so unique, being able to move and shoot, I would not have been able to do ANY of that working with the other guy.

This defensive handgun class (DH1) was $200 and really well worth it. I think I will practice on my own and do the DH2 course as soon as I can.

With 4 or 5 people in about a 9 hour class, it's almost like having an individual instructor anyway, you get plenty of attention and personalized instruction.
 

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Thanks for the info, Eddie. Eventually I'll have to do it. For my own piece of mind. If I ever have to use my gun in SD, the classes would be a huge plus in, defending myself, and the court battles that would soon follow. Criminal and civil.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Bountyhunter said:
Thanks for the info, Eddie. Eventually I'll have to do it. For my own piece of mind. If I ever have to use my gun in SD, the classes would be a huge plus in, defending myself, and the court battles that would soon follow. Criminal and civil.
That's a very good and important point...
 

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LFI is holding it's LFI-1 class about 40 miles from me on Nov. 20-23, and the LFI-2 class on Dec. 8-12 I think I might sign up. I so want to attend their classes.....now, I just need to come up with $1700.....
 

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Discussion Starter #7
a little off topic, but I have a friend who works for Blackwater and a few other such places, doing firearms and driving training. And he just sent me a Blackwater t-shirt! Pretty cool, but I didn't dare wear it to my handgun class! Methinks they would expect a tad too much of me...
 

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They may have thought you to be "gung ho". :lol:

That's cool you got the shirt though. :)
 
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