Think you know how to use that pistol you carry? Think again, owning a hammer doesn’t make you a carpenter and owning a gun doesn’t make you a gun fighter. But this Tactical Response Force on Force course will give you some new ideas and some skills toward living through a gunfight if you ever become involved in one
We sat in with the Tactical Response Force on Force class held in Tucson, Arizona on Sept 2 and 3, 2006
The Force on Force class of Sept 2006
Think you know how to use that pistol you carry? Think again, owning a hammer doesn’t make you a carpenter, owning a car doesn’t make you a racer and owning a gun doesn’t make you a gun fighter. But taking this Tactical Response Force on Force course will give you some new ideas and some skills toward winning a gunfight if you ever become involved in one
We were happy to be invited to watch / review this course given by Tactical Response in Tucson, AZ. Having seen their Fighting Pistol course we knew we were in for some interesting, informative and life saving training
Our instructors were Shay, Yancey and Larry for this Force on Force course
The course is two full days long, and it has been described as more intensive than many of the military and law enforcement scenario training courses
Like most courses we stared off with introductions and a chat about what and why we were about to learn the skills we signed up for.
In order to be as safe as possible we all were patted down twice before entering the training area. Under stress, reflexes kick in and if you had a knife in your pocket and you are getting shot by multiple attackers it’s better to not have the knife than to need to apologize for the wounds it might inflict.
We also were very safe about loading and using the training guns. Double checks were made during loading and before each scenario
The course is made up of many realistic scenarios that anyone might encounter any day of the week. Walking to your car, visiting a friend buying gas any of these situations could easily result in a confrontation and this training prepares the students for how to deal with unexpected escalating force
We were given some time to look at the training tools we’d be using (and getting shot with) during the training. Students were given a Glock 17 modified to use UTM training ammunition.
Instructors also used revolvers loaded with Code Eagle training ammo which uses a blue colored marking dye
The UTM ammo is not a toy and sure isn’t paintball. It shoots a small wax tipped metal projectile that can break skin easily. Most of the pictures here show us in full safety gear needed to protect our eyes, etc from stray shots
For the first drill the students paired off and attempted to shoot an opponent just few yards away. Even at this close distance, years of conditioning to ‘not point a loaded gun at another person’ was difficult to overcome and there were many complete misses.
Let me take a moment and explain the students in this class were not poor marksman, in fact many have had many hours of training and countless time at the shooting range practicing with their sideams. However the long term conditioning to NOT shoot at other people is not an easy thing to overcome. In fact this is the idea behind this seemingly easy drill
After a few days of training and chest (and back) shots the role players shirts were orange from the wax
After the easy ‘one on one’ shots it was time to add movement and more challenges. After the series of preliminary drills each student knew what the class was going to be like. Everyone had been shot and shot at other people. They knew what being hit would feel like and knew they didn’t want to get hit again. The class moved on quickly and the first scenario was set up
The rest of day one the students ran through scenarios one at a time and learned key lessons about when to engage, more importantly when NOT to engage and what to do once engaged in a gunfight.
I won’t get into any details for the scenarios beyond a basic overview. Students were led into a situation, usually something simple like “You are leaving a movie theater and walking back to your car” or “You are meeting a friend” With that simple instruction the student would walk into a room set up with basic props and role players. The role players had instructions as well. Without going into detail the role players instructions would give them a basic set of rules for engagement “If the student does this shoot them, If he does that let them go”
Ideally no one would fire a shot in a real life situation, however in these training scenarios that wasn’t always possible. Armed with a weapon, extra mag and a cell phone, it was up to each student to react to the circumstances and take a course of action. The scenarios were all designed to teach a key lesson. After each event the student had a few minutes to review their performance. The instructors and role players would offer feedback from their perspective and the students had time to review senarios among themselves after each round.
I started to keep track of how many students were shot, wounded and how many bad guys they were able to shoot in the process. But I realized the first day that marksmanship and number of shots had little to do with this kind of training. More importantly by far was the students reaction to the circumstances we all find ourselves in every day
In this kind of training environment prior marksmanship training has little to do with success. Instead muscle memory and solid core tactics are key. Students who knew how to train and spent the time training themselves in the basics like Movement, Clearing Malfunctions, Scanning the Area after a fight and Being Calm and collected all were developed under the stress the scenarios created.
Day one ended and most of the class and instructors went out to eat and revisit the lessons learned. I wonder what the rest of the restaurant thought of our conversations, lol
Day two started with a Q and A session. The students had time to come up with some good questions. After they were all answered we did our safety procedures and stared to set up the next scenario
The scenarios on day two were more of the same but as you can assume they became a bit more complicated. The students had come to learn and the instructors really knew the subjects well. It’s difficult to describe the intricacies of the scenarios without spoiling them but they were mental puzzles, physical challenges and exercises to remove old habits all in one.
There were no right answers, but wrong answers resulted in gunshots so it was sometimes painfully obvious when a student made a poor decision. No one had hard feelings, as no one was taking score. The students were there to learn how they would react under pressure, and how well their training had prepared them. They all seemed to all enjoy learning how they behaved under stress. And all of them improved over the two days and multiple scenarios
At the end of day two all their skills were put to the test in the large final scenario which I will not discuss. Afterwards we all reviewed the performances and certificates were handed out. Comments from the students re-assured me that they all learned a lot and valued the training over other types of training courses.
As an observer I was able to glean a lot from the students and instructors, but it’s obvious you could watch scenarios for a long time and still not get the real experience of holding a gun, being shot at and needing to shoot back. Decisions under pressure can only be practiced under pressure. At times of stress much of what we know goes out the window and only the basic and most ingrained habits remain. Like any training it is up to the individual to keep up on the drills to learn good habits, and actions that will keep you alive.
There are many options in training out there and this shouldn’t be your only class, but if you are new to fighting with a pistol or are looking for continuing education this is a worthwhile class. The cost is about $25 an hour and is worth every penny. This is a course you’ll walk away from with valuable new tools in your personal ‘toolbox’
You will learn how to improve yourself with practice and when the time comes for your next step Tactical Response offers additional courses that increase the level of training
To contact Tactical Response visit their website or call 731-676-2041