So yesterday my brother the mathman (our cousin, the bartender of mystery, had to bail due to food poisoning) and I attended the Defensive Pistol class put on by Defensive Concepts of North Carolina. You may recall these guys as the ones that put on the excellent shotgun class I wrote about in April.
Again I was impressed with how the material was presented in that each element was incorporated into what we’d previously done in the class. Nothing was presented then tossed away, the lessons all snapped together like legos. I was also impressed with the sheer amount of info presented in a single day. Most places only cover this stuff in 2 days, and it used to take Gunsite 5 days, back in the early Cretaceous. You may be correct in thinking that this didn’t leave a lot of time for the students to get it right by the end of the day. The entire class is intended to present the student the tools to practice and get it right and make it his own, not to hold his hand while he learns to walk then run. This is not a criticism, it is the nature of the course, and it’s what I prefer.
Movement was evolved in very early, even sooner than in the shotgun class. Having a bunch of guys with hot weapons drawing then sidestepping in random directions at the same time sounds like a recipe for disaster, but it was well managed by the instructors and everybody left with the same number of holes they arrived with. It also helped that our ‘get off the X’ movement was limited to lateral sidestepping. I never felt unsafe at any time during the day.
Apropos of a recent thread at Oleg’s, I should point out that DCNC are generally Iso shooters, but aren’t religious about it. mathman and I shot all day in Weaver and nobody said boo. They did present the pros/cons of the stances (if being a tad light on the Weaver pros (easier and more flexible movement, more flexible around obstacles, a more secure retention platform)) and made the ultimately correct statement that in a real gunfight, if you find yourself in an identifiable stance, then you’re not moving fast enough or using cover properly.
Us students varied widely in skill/experience levels but the instructors quickly got everybody up to speed, and nobody (that I saw) was left behind or ignored. We were each fucked up in our own unique ways and these guys excel at pointing it out in a way that motivates you to fix it. Let me reiterate, we had 3 instructors for 8 students. That’s a LOT of personal instruction time, compared to some other classes.
The weather got pretty taxing during the peak of the afternoon, my hands were so slippery with sweat and sunscreen that working the slide on my USP got pretty difficult. Fortunately everybody kept guzzling water in between loading mags and shooting, so nobody passed out or upchucked. About when I felt like I was gonna wimp out, a thunderstorm rolled past (though we were not rained on) and cooled everything off. Thanks, weather gods! Unfortunately, when the sun retreated behind the clouds, the bugs came out. And I had forgotten to bring bug spray.
Weapons represented included the usual assortment of Glocks, two CZ-75 pattern guns, a Kimber 1911, a Ruger 22/45, and me with my USP-45F. Run whatcha brung! The Ruger guy got the award for best improvised gear as his nylon belt holster was constantly modded throughout the day. I think it had a new piece of rope, tape, or a zip tie on it after every mag-loading break. As far as I noticed, all the pistols in attendance ran without any serious problems. The round count was between 400 to 500.
Other gear notes: I carried the USP in my Comp-Tac C-TAC without problems. Well, apart from occasionally getting part of my gut pinched between the slide and holster when reholstering. I quickly learned to push the holster out a touch just before sliding the gun home. Having broke both of my inexpensive kydex magazine pouches, I used a new Gould & Goodrich leather double pouch. It’s not bad for the price, but since any mag pouches are hard to find for the USP, I’ll take what I can get. It’s got two tension adjuster screws, but I couldn’t get the tension equal between the front and back slot.
My brother ran his brand-new Glock 19 in an Uncle Mike’s kydex belt holster. We were both impressed. I don’t think you can beat this thing for the price. It’s only a couple dollars pricier than a crappy Fobus or no-name “universal” nylon holster but it’s light years beyond either in terms of quality of build and design.
Other lessons learned:
- DA/SA transitions suck under stress. I’m usually pretty good at managing it at the range or in an IDPA match, but it’s real easy to put that first one about 6″ lower than you wanted, even up close. I’m giving H&K’s LEM modification a hard think.
- The guy running the 1911 carried it in a Blackhawk SERPA retention holster, which l was skeptical of, since I’m enough of an uncoordinated retard drawing from a normal holster, but he never missed a draw that I saw. Retention devices can save your butt, but you need to train with them constantly.
- Bring lots of mags! I brought 8 and I still felt like I could have used a couple more.
- Speedloaders rule. My bro and I used HKS lever ones, but the Glock one looks decent and simple.
- Until you get the springs worked in somewhat, seating a fully loaded Glock mag can be as challenging as seating a fully loaded USGI AR 30 round mag. My bro started downloading his new mags by one after he sent a partially-seated magazine flying towards the target after a draw.
Like I said, this is my 3rd class and 2nd shooting class with these guys. In terms of material presented per dollar, I’m unaware of a better deal. We covered the same amount of stuff that’s traditionally presented in a 2 day class in a single day. And those 2 day classes are all a day’s travel away, and cost $4-700. DCNC charges $125 a day and would be a bargain at twice the price.