Back in February the Tactical Response wagon came nearby my neck of the woods and with a little help from Original Special Operations Equipment owner John Willis I was able to sneak on in. I had met James Yeager, (Head Boss-man of Tactical Response) a couple times at SHOT show and was looking forward to ‘’getting my training on ‘‘with him.
So my battle buddy Tear and I got our asses down to Galt CA early in the morning not knowing much to expect since we weren't told to bring much more gear besides full coverage clothes. Once there we were greeted by James Yeager and Kyle Lynch as the main instructors who assembled an impressive amount of role players as well. For this class the core class at Tactical Response “Fighting Pistol” is recommended and for good reason!
After some brief introductions and checking each other thoroughly for any weapons we went straight to business. There was no messing around with talking about how to use a pistol assuming all students had their shit together. The load-out on each scenario for students is 1 Glock (G17 I think) with a 5 round magazine and 5 round spare magazine using UTM ammunition. Why only 5 rounds you might ask? Well turns out when doing high stress training like this; however many you put in there is the amount that will likely be discharged. So 5 is a good number to save on ammunition and promote magazine handling practice. It keeps the class from becoming a paintball field free-for-all.
If I remember correctly Tear went first. The rest of the students and I hung back to not spoil the surprise factor of each scenario. We heard the sound of shots and thought that was pretty normal, however things did not bode well seeing ol' Tear come back with about 9 “gunshot wounds” left by the UTM marking rounds. No words were said, but everyone immediately knew this class wasn't messing around. Soon came my turn and despite all the reality breakers of protective masks and rough Airsoft battle ground surroundings, I had more than enough stress coursing through my veins.
After going, Tear and I then took advantage of being able to document others running the same scenarios. Advice is given during scenarios with quick follow ups and finally a full debrief at the end with the entire class. The advice is quite helpful as we all became a unique type of retarded due to the chaotic stress. Remembering the most basic things becomes very difficult hence the importance of training.
I could ramble on about specifics of each scenario, but this would cause more confusion than good as the class is not about right and wrong. Students learn situational lessons and more about themselves by simply performing the scenarios. The whole process encourages you to think about topics crucial to CCW.
- Who is worth saving to you? Are you ready to risk it all for a family member? For a random stranger as well?
-Is this fight yours? You may be near conflict, but must consider if this is really a fight in which you should be a part?
- Where do you draw the line in the sand? When adversity comes your way, you have to know when it is time to go out fighting.
-What is more important, punishing those who try to harm you, or keeping your health?
It is much better to have an idea of your answers before the shit hits, as the time needed to decide mid fight may cost the lives of others or yourself. That is what this class is about; finding impossible solutions to unthinkable questions. Depending on the scenario, James or Kyle would give students their recommendations on improvements, or what they might have done, while always emphasizing it was their opinion and not the only answer.
It may sound way dorky, but as a video game designer I took notice to the flow of the scenario layout and was quite impressed. Just as I thought I had everything under control the next scenario would bring up new issues that I had not considered. Each one has a general idea of a situational lesson to be taught, however each student will take away something different from their results. Everyone goes into the scenarios wanting to rock, yet the big lessons come from making mistakes. Unless you have taken the class before, everyone has their disaster runs, so don't worry too much about flawless victories. Many bad scenario situations are avoidable from the very start so when this occasion occurs students are told to proceed anyway to get the full scenario experience. Yeager says the purpose of the class is to make mistakes as they are far less costly in training than on the street.
If I had to find something to complain about I'd say there can be a good amount of non-blastn' downtime. Since each student performs scenarios alone, before and after a scenario you are waiting for the rest of the class to have their turn. The only way around this would be fairly unpractical requiring multiple scenario areas, role player teams, and instructors. That said, during this time students are supposed to be practicing writing police reports of the scenarios they just took. This is a great way to see how crappy one's memory is during high stress events and thus strive to improve. I also think more students should have come to observe others after they completed their own scenario run. While watching others I gained more than a few good ideas and reminders of what not to do.
In my opinion this class is a must attend for CCW holders, Law Enforcement, or anyone else who carries a gun in public. CCW regulation classes merely cover basic firing and safety with a dash of legal while the most difficult parts of being a CCW holder are knowing when to use your weapon, and deploying without hesitation when the time comes. THE FIGHT covers these crucial topics, in which for me, was a life changing event. I had blasted a whole lot of paper bad guys, yet had never thoroughly thought about so many realistic situations of when daily life goes bad. Although the support staff will depend on day and location I want to make sure and note my particular class had the best role play acting I have encountered to date.
Learn More at: www.tacticalresponse.com