Thursday, June 27, 2013

Adventures In Gun Training

"Survival isn't about stuff. It is about skills. If you have time and just a bit of money, then you can get some very well-rounded training in skills that are quite applicable to [survival] living." So says James Wesley, Rawles in his national bestseller How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times. Of course it doesn't have to be the end of the world for some firearms training to come in handy. Studying National Crime Victimization Survey data, criminologist Gary Kleck found that “robbery and assault victims who used a gun to resist were less likely to be attacked or to suffer an injury than those who used any other methods of self-protection or those who did not resist at all.”

I knew that my pistol skills have never been finely polished, so I decided to take Mr. Rawles advice and get some training. I've always enjoyed shooting rifles and trained on them in the Guard, but handguns have always kind of been an afterthought, even after I got my Iowa permit to carry weapons back in 2009.

I discovered Tactical Insights in Monticello when I took one of my sons to the Eddie Eagle Children’s Gun Safety Course that they put on in our town in January. Later I interviewed the owner, Corey D. Roberts, for my blog. [You can read Roberts' thoughts on various Second Amendment issues here: Interview Part 1 and Part 2.] When I read about their class Tactical Shooting for the Private Citizen Level 1 it sounded like just what I needed.

"[T]his course begins the transition of the shooter from a 2 dimensional world of putting holes in paper, to truly using a tactical mindset making the firearm a weapon and a tool," states the course description. All my previous pistol practice had been comprised of static target shooting. My permit to carry class dealt mostly with the legalities of carrying and Iowa self-defense law. I signed up and couldn't wait to learn some realistic defensive shooting tactics.

Roberts started the Tactical Shooting class with the basics. After a safety briefing he went through the fundamentals of gripping the pistol and stance. As it turned out, the "redneck shooting at cans" stance and grip that I had previously taught myself was less than optimal. I now had to unlearn those bad habits.

Roberts demonstrates a shooting drill.
After teaching a boatload of other pointers we were soon out on the range. Although we started out slow, the shooting was no mere standing and shooting at bulls eyes. For tactical shooting you have to move to keep the threat from getting a bead on you. Even simple shooting drills got the heart going. Before long we were shooting on the move.

Not only was I able to put myself through the paces, but my equipment as well. My old 1911 .45 pistol was found lacking. Roberts had said that he'd never had a 1911 shooter make it through one of his classes without having malfunctions. I did not change that streak. I also spent a lot of time fumbling with my safety, etc... Finally, once when I slapped a new mag into my .45 the floor plate busted right off the mag, sending ammunition and the mag spring launching onto the ground.

Corey took pity and let me borrow his .40 Glock 22 for the remainder of the class. I loved it! It performed flawlessly and was very simple to use. Although my gun budget is nearly nonexistent, I think my next purchase will have to be a Glock. (I think I'd prefer the smaller Glock 27 for concealed carry, if anyone is looking for a birthday present for me.)

Tactical Shooting for the Private Citizen Level 1 was supposed to be just pistol shooting. But since we were a very small class and since Roberts and his instructors didn't have to spend an exorbitant amount of time on, what they called, the "stop pointing that at me" portion of the class, we got to do a few things that weren't on the syllabus. We got to run a few three-gun drills with pistol, shotgun and carbine as well as shoot a few other weapons that the instructors brought in.

The author gets familiarized with the
Israeli Tavor rifle.

All in all I found the class very instructive as well as great fun. I absolutely learned more in eight hours than I ever did in a year's worth of Guard drills (and fired about three times as much live ammo). I left with many new techniques to practice at home and at the range as well as with a nicely illustrated study guide to take home and review when needed. Although I still consider myself a rifleman at heart, this class increased my confidence and competence with handguns immensely. It was well worth every penny.

If you're one of Iowa's growing legion of permit-to-carry holders or you just have an interest in defensive shooting and you want to move from "a 2 dimensional world of putting holes in paper, to truly using a tactical mindset making the firearm a weapon and a tool," then I recommend you find a Tactical Insights training course that fits your needs and take it.  Check them out here:
Photos courtesy of Tactical Insights L.L.C.


  1. Excellent. You are now prepared for the zombie invasion!

  2. Thanks Ben, glad you had a good class. There are many modern pistols that would meet your needs for self defense. Spend some time watching for just the right fit. If I can help in any way, let me know.

  3. Thank you Corey.

    And thank you Anonymous. Hopefully I'll be prepared for any less drastic, but more likely, eventualities in addition to the zombie apocalypse. Perhaps Corey should offer a crossbow class so we all can shoot zombies like Daryl Dixon on The Walking Dead.

  4. I am hoping to talk my wife into doing this class with me!-ART

  5. I think you'd like it, Art, and will definitely learn a few things.


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