Two intensive days of training with Adrian from Magnum United Shooting Range didn’t only teach me how vital defensive training is, but also taught me a lot about myself and what I'm capable of. It reinforced the importance of taking the time to focus and that I can adapt quickly if something unexpected happens.
Everyone arrived at the range at 8:30 sharp. We settled in, and after a short introduction, we shared our expectations of the course, and what areas we wanted to improve on.
Soon we delved into some basic principles. Getting these right is crucial to ensure that your reaction or action will be more efficient and effective. I will leave the details of these to Adrian when next you attend his course, but the following list should give you an idea of the scope of the discussion:
The OODA loop is an important discussion point for every close-quarter combat course. We discussed how to break your attacker's OODA Loop and how to keep your own OODA Loop in play to gain the upper hand in your defensive reaction.
So what is this OODA loop? Observe – Orient – Decide – Act is a four-step approach to decision-making. It focuses on filtering available information, putting it in context and quickly making the most appropriate decision. Making quick changes when new data becomes available is an essential part of managing your OODA loop.
Before we headed for our allocated shooting bay for some live-fire training, Adrian reviewed some of the concepts and skills covered in his Handgun Fundamentals course. (Also a training course available and hosted by Adrian): Grip, stance, presentation, sight alignment & picture, trigger management, breathing and follow through. And off we went.
Since we focused on fast and dirty, close-quarter shooting, this segment of the training was very intense. You had to be fully focused and very aware of your surroundings. Oh, and very aware of your firearm muzzle direction at all times.
Movement is life. The more efficiently you can execute a drill, while moving, the better your chance of staying ahead of your opponent. The first step is to move off the X. The next step is to be able to engage your enemy while moving, and proper technique helps to adapt on the move. Soon we learned that no drill or action will ever be a textbook execution. Difficulties are a given, but your ability to adapt will be the deciding factor in finishing ahead.
We don’t always have the luxury of time and distance. If an attacker surprises you up close you need to make time to get your weapon into play. And since we always carry concealed, we need to practice getting it into play from concealment fast. Target strikes were combined with drawing, shooting from retention and moving.
Different target areas of the human anatomy were therefore discussed next. Since handguns do little more than punching small holes through your attacker, knowing where to put those holes becomes very important. Following through with your sights are equally important to ensure that the holes end up where you want them to be.
Once you have actioned the drill, scan your surroundings to make sure there are no other possible threats. Safely reholster after every action is extremely important - This is where most people could lose focus and allow for an accident to happen.
One-handed loading, unloading and malfunction clearances were a prelude to the wounded officer drill. Participants’ weak hands were tied down, while we had to fight for our lives, under gentle encouragement from Adrian. Magazines were loaded with a combination of live and dummy ammunition, adding to the training experience.
The figure 8 drill was the most fun part of the drill segment for me, although also the segment where I very likely struggled the most. This drill have you walking in a figure-of-eight, before drawing and engaging targets on Adrian's direction. It helps you to practice shooting in a 360-degree environment while keeping track of your surroundings. Believe me, it sounds a lot easier than it is, and it taught me a lot about myself and areas my improvement areas.
Once it was dark enough, the low light/night shooting commenced. It is always advised to have self-illuminating sights on your defensive firearm, and as I have sports sights on my CZ, this made for a very interesting learning curve for me. I ended up, however, with the confidence that I can adapt to get the job done. All it takes is training and making use of alternative inputs.
On the second day, we moved beyond firearms, and I discovered the importance of open hand skills, blades, sticks and alternate weapons.
We discussed the following material in more detail in the classroom:
This is, of course, a very long discussion to summarise in a short write-up, but the crux of it is that any person carrying a defensive weapon should have a backup plan in case you are unable to access your primary weapon, whether that be a firearm or a knife.
Overall the training was fantastic and I highly recommend attending some, if not all, of Adrian’s courses. We were under constant professional guidance, received a lot of finer details on how to execute drills effectively, and gained valuable skills and techniques that could very much save your life.
Feel free to contact Adrian on the following details and follow his Facebook page where he regularly posts upcoming training details and events:
Tactical Defense Institute
079 883 1458