LMS Defense; Pistol 1 (Day 2) Sept 2007

A review of the LMS Defense Pistol I course, Day Two. More fun in the sun. Classes like this one are great for CCW holders. And if you are going to learn something this important, you might as well learn from professionals. LMS Defense offers professional training at many locations throughout the country (and even some international training too). An LMS class is solid and to the point. You’ll learn what works in real life. Proven techniques that come from years of experience.

According to their website (LMSdefense.com) this course teaches weapon manipulation, marksmanship fundamentals, combat stress management, movement, use of cover, fighting from unusual positions, ground gun fighting, concealed weapon tactics and on going self-training tools. This fast paced, challenging course will better enable you to use the handgun as an effective part of your defense system.

It certainly delivered on all these points and offered even more. There’s no way to know what the class will be like before you go, but each time I attend an LMS class I find a light hearted friendly atmosphere. You train with friends.

We started early Sunday to help beat the heat. Lecture could be held in the shade of the low trees for a few hours in the morning. Frequent, but not excessive breaks let the class re-hydrate, rest and reload before heading back out into the sun. By the second day we were doing better in he heat for the most part

We started Sunday with a quick review of safety, emergency procedures and answered any questions from day one. It was early to beat the heat, but two students did drop out because of the heat on day one. It’s a shame, but it does happen occasionally. After the morning welcome and lecture we forgot ready and shot a quick “cold drill” form what i could see the class did well

Day two, more of the same. Shoot, cover another element of effective gunfighting, then shoot more, reload then repeat. Josh is a pro. He wasn’t just reading commands from a notebook waiting for his flight home.

He kept track of out targets, our form, our performance in general. If we needed something he’d lets us know. some points were touched on publicly, others were done on a one on depending ont he nature of the instruction needed. I asked around and everyone was more than satisfied with their progress in the two days

After a break and lecture block on metal awareness, the color code and some Q&A were did drills for the rest of the class until the qualifications at the end

The Cav Arms girls held their own all through the class, they started with limited instruction before the class and actually out shot many of the guys on the final qualifications. They even loaded their own mags. They were smart about it too and had their ammo loose to make magazine loading easier. Note the ASP dummy gun used by instructors when demonstrating so that no live guns are pointed at anyone

Some of the drills were intended to teach fighting skills if you have been wounded or caught in a condition other than normal. For example drawing with the weak hand and placing accurate sots on target with a time limit. These drills make you think and act while at the same time they force you to realize how much we all really have to learn

Girls like Green Guns

Cover vs concealment, effective use of cover are easy to say but it’s another thing all together to have it demonstrated by someone who knows what he’s doing. Notice the difference between effective use of cover vs. ‘hugging’ cover (like we all see in the movies). Demos like this let students understand these concepts so they can incorporate them into their training at home

The difference is the position you take in relation to the cover. to effectively use cover stay away from it (note the feet and shadows) Ineffective use of cover is when you are so close you need to put yourself off balance to see around it while exposing more of yourself to risk

Another critical part of use of cover and something to add to your home practice is transition from one shooting position to another (prone to kneeling, standing to kneeling, etc) Drills taught in the LMS Pistol 1 course will be useful in my practice in the future

Using the simple, effective target stands made creating cover easy as moving the stands out from the line to create structures we shot around

We set up three stages for these drills which allowed us to watch each other, learn from each other and reload between our turns.

Typically we’d set up a new stage, talk about the points being developed or new elements being added, then we’d split up and run through them twice or three times while Josh watched our technique and coached us. The guys from Cav Arms helped out as range officers answering questions and keeping an eye out for safety issues

Shooting from a knee is another valuable skill taught in the LMS Pistol 1 class. One knee, the other or both are all covered in well planned drills that show the students where they need more practice and what skills they are performing well in.

We covered the prone and supine positions a bit more than we covered some of the other positions. Most people don’t get the opportunity to practice these and some had not shot from the ground before.

The Supported Prone position, Useful for extended periods of time, odd angles and for around corners (doorways)

Shooting from odd angles is something that might not be available at your local range, so training like this is very useful and the only real practice some people get in these positions. If this is the case using airsoft can allow for practice at home

Shooting from these angles should really be practiced often. Much of the time you first realize you are in a fight after you suddenly find yourself on the ground with a headache. Practice placing accurate hits from the ground is not all there is to it either. Knowing how to draw, reload and deal with malfunctions while keeping the muzzle in a safe direction are important skills for the CCW holder to possess. These are not things that can be learned safely on your own away from professional instruction

These drills were to instruct proper form and procedure as well as marksmanship. A class like this is not a instant download like the matrix. It’s a set of prepared instruction designed to educate the new shooters while evaluating more experienced shooters.

The transitions and positions were not strictly enforced. as long as you safely change position, you can do it in a way that is comfortable for you. The concept of changing positions while maintaining a shooting platform is what is stressed, and the ability to do so safely of course. practice holstering, changing mags and clearing malfunctions is also very valuable if your local range won’t allow shooting from the supine position (on your back)

These drills work up a sweat. Camelback + heat = sweat + dust = you get a new pattern on your shirt. We took plenty of breaks to get more water in to replace the stuff sweating out

These targets are weird looking but can really take a beating. We changed targets quite a bit which was a good thing in my opinion. Looking at the same target for an entire class is boring and can lead to poor marksmanship in real life. The are professional targets printed on cardboard and they last a long time compared to paper. We taped the shots that landed outside the ‘zone’ a line drown lightly ont he targets to outline the vital areas on the drawings.

More targets, OK these are mostly for us to point to when we are talking about the class later at the gun shop, pay no attention if these don’t interest you..

After the drills and skills lectures were complete we took a break and started to put our new skills together

Just as we started the combined skills tests the clouds came out and we were given a little shade and relief from the sun again.

One of the tests was to navigate four pieces of cover (targets were weren’t shooting at) There were multiple targets down range and while we navigated the cover we were randomly given the ‘shoot’ command to indicate a threat, and we shot at a predetermined area of a target.

These tests encourage the student to combine all their skills in one drill. It’s a great way to see where you still need help and the safe conditions of the LMS course let you think about the task at hand knowing you are in capable hands

These two pictures help explain the test as you navigate around the four pieces of cover you’ll need to keep your feet working together to maintain a solid platform for you arms so that you can make a shot at any time. All the while you need to use your peripheral vision to be aware of cover locations in case you have a malfunction or need to reload. This student needed to reload so he followed the white ‘detour’ to cover to deal with it, then got ‘back in the fight’

From another angle it’s more obvious how as the student moved around the cover she would be given all kinds of opportunity to shoot, but the instructor calling out the command added a layer of difficulty

This test also required forward, backward and lateral movement while maintaining a shooting platform. Again something most public ranges are not going to allow

A similar drill is the ‘figure eight’ which also incorporates movement and multiple targets. We did other drills which I won’t post, you want something to look forward to right?

The clouds over head were a great relief, and we had a bit more breeze on day two I think

The final shooting part of the course was the qualification test. We went two at a time through a 50 round evaluation. The test incorporates everything we went over for two days.

All the stages were timed (the longest portion was 12 seconds) and final score recorded to determine if you graduated

Both single and multiple targets were in the final test along with walking and changing position

This is not an easy test. To pass it and get the certificate, LMS wants to know you can shoot. They are not handing out graduation certificates as a going home present. In fact just a few misses and you fail the test. Even though your shooting one handed, weak side, and at long range.

Various types of magazine changes are also part of the final test. This is a real benefit for the students shooting 1911’s. They end reloading twice as much as the people with plastic guns, but you end up getting mag changes down quick and lightning fast

FYI – the Cav Arms girls both easily passed with scores higher than a few other students. It was a pleasure to train with them. They seemed hooked on training and shooting now so stay tuned for a lot more from them in the future

That was the class, we ended our tests. a few people went twice to see if they could improve their score. Then we all gathered back in the shade for a final Q&A, go over any final class related stuff. Then we said our goodbyes and headed home. It was a great class and a great bunch of classmates. I knew a few before the class and made some new friends. LMS classes are well worth the time, effort and experience. You’ll come away a better shooter, a more informed CCW holder and a better person for it. Check out their calendar and start preparing for their next class in your area.

Gear Used

The gear I brought with for the class. Water is the priority, then ammo, then magazines, First Aid, Sun Screen, Food, etc all need to be addressed. I have a water bladder which I drank empty three times on Saturday.This is at least two liters each time, so I drank a lot of water. I also drank a few quarts of Gookinaid and a Mt Dew (that ice cold Mt Dew really hit the spot after a day in the sun and helped for the ride home too).. but I’m also still awake at midnight… maybe it wasn’t such a good idea. I brought a small range bag to leave in the truck, Tools, extra ammo and a second set of electronic ears, hand sanitizer, alternate holsters and mag carriers. Things break be prepared you plan (and pay) a lot for these classes. Don’t screw yourself by not being prepared for emergencies or equipment failures

My main range bag is a big Eagle brand, high quality and big enough for a full day of shooting class. On one end are fifteen Glock 22 and 23 mags, a GPS / Radio, and a place to put my CCW ammo (hollow point) mags while on the range (the mag holders with flaps). On the other side are another 250 .40 cal rounds to reload magazines, some 550 cord, alternate (spare) holster, knee pads, gloves, first aid equipment, spare batteries, pens paper and an alternate Glock (again don’t assume your equipment can’t break)

This is a bag I tried out this class. It’s a Russian ‘claymore’ (landmine) pouch. It’s made to hold two land mines and some tools and the things to set them off. But as a range bag it’s really handy too

It has two compartments, I used one for full and one for empty magazines. I also had my pad of paper (always take notes in a class like this) and in the sewn in pockets I had: extra pens, batteries, a swiss knife (I used it twice) a roll of gauze, rubber gloves and a tourniquet. it was always in arms reach to keep empty mags handy so I could reload while on brake (I kept a hand full of loose .40 in my front pocket all the time). I reloaded from my belt mag pouch, but I was able to keep it ‘topped off’ with a full mag easily with a few full ones in the bag. I used a camel pack because of the amount of water we needed in the heat, but this bag could easily carry water too in less hot months. It cost less than $10

This is Arizona, so the sun is a factor when doing anything outdoors. Here’s the gear I used to do battle with the sun this weekend. A water bladder (big one) drank a few of these empty each day, Sun Block (SPF 50 for me), Sunglasses, Wide Brim (boony) Hat, a Shemagh (Scarf) and earphones (yes earphones they cover your ears unlike ear buds)

The round count for the LMS Pistol 1 class is 700 rounds. This is what 700 rounds looks like. It’s not cheap and I think it might keep some people away from a class like this. Don’t let it, this is part of the investment in yourself. You are not shooting these rounds in vein. This is NOT an organized dirt shoot or shooting match. This is training a skill that can save (or risk) your life at any time if you carry CCW. Think of these rounds as insurance. you are insuring you will know how to practice so you can act when you need to.

The 700 rounds was a good estimate, but no one counts your rounds for you. About half way through the class students are told that they are no longer to stop at 2 rounds if the command was “two to the head” or “two to the red triangle” instead shoot until you make two hits. This is designed to teach you to follow through to complete the task, to stop the attacker. So 700 might be more or less than you need. I kept jumping off the line to take pictures so I didn’t run out of ammo, while some guys ran out midday Sunday. i used my 13 training mags which I rotate though. I carry both Glock 22 and 23 mags so I like a random mag in my gun and on my belt so I can deal with either quickly. Each mag is labeled and marked so I can ID them from other students’ magazines on the ground. I also number my magazines so if one gives me trouble I can ID it and fix it or replace it when needed.

Thirteen magazines holds about 150 rounds.. so there’s going to be a lot of loading magazines during class unless you invest in a lot of magazines. I find a handful of loose rounds in my front pocket lets me load mags all the time and I never run out or hold up the rest of class

To save effort I only bring half the round count with me the first day to a class. This way I’m covered but not lugging around twice the weight on the first day. i also take all my ammo out of boxes. It’s less bulky, and easier to load into mags when it’s loose

Interesting Stuff

One of the weirdest things I’ve seen in a while. As we were shooting drills an ejected round came out of a friends glock 23 and went up over one of the Cav Arms guys and landed directly into his bottle of water. He said it went directly in, didn’t hit the rim at all, just heard a splash and there was a case in his water bottle

This is about the only type of wildlife you’ll see during the heat of day in the desert.

This guy was fairly large for the lizards I see in the deserts of Southern AZ

According to their website (LMSdefense.com) this course teaches weapon manipulation, marksmanship fundamentals, combat stress management, movement, use of cover, fighting from unusual positions, ground gun fighting, concealed weapon tactics and on going self-training tools. This fast paced, challenging course will better enable you to use the handgun as an effective part of your defense system.