Early last month I posted (link) that two of my sons in law, my son and I were all about to kickoff a training program to improve our self-defense and operational skills and I wanted to provide an update.
First off, we lost two of our number. For various reasons my son and one of my sons in law changed their minds and have decided they are not able to participate. One was not a surprise (actually, expected) but I was very disappointed my son backed out. The remaining member of our little band is the one I would count on the most in a dangerous situation so that is a good thing.
Before my son dropped out we met and agreed on the training plan and approach. We also discussed the gear selection and basic load outs we want to work towards:
Gear Selection/Load Out:
- Glock 17 or 19 with three magazines. We will use Glock 17 magazines for interoperability. and we will both carry them outside the waistband on the strong side.
- AR-15 in 5.56/.223 with three magazines.
- Slings, optics, mag carriers and other basics will be up to the individual.
We decided on all this when we were still a band of three.
Training Session 1:
Our first training session went slightly differently than expected.
The batteries were dead in the rangefinder and I did not bring a tape measure as a backup so we were estimating on distances. I planned on using the shot time app on my phone but found that it did not work very well (hardware issue with the microphone on the device). I verified that the holster I was planning to use with the Glock 19 would work with the red dot. I did not verify that it would work with the suppressor height sights I installed to co-witness with the red dot so I worked the drills with the SIG P365 instead of the Glock 19. I also forgot to pack targets for sighting in our rifles. That didn’t turn out to be that big a deal as we spent a lot more time working with pistols instead of the rifles.
I worked with my son in law (Moose) on his grip. He has never taken any pistol training so this was all new to him. Once we had the grip down and ran through some drills to reinforce this skill we move on to the draw stroke. Again this was all new to him and we spent a lot of time practicing this as well. In fact this is what we spent most of our time on.
We did go over reloads and failure drills, but only briefly as it was getting late in the day and the heat was starting to get the better of us.
We did not have any time for any serious work with the rifles. We did review the manual of arms (basic operation) of both the AR and the AK. We will be training with and using the AR platform but I thought it would be useful to review both. You never know when you might need to use something that is not your primary platform. We also spent enough time working with the rifles that Moose realized some of the choices he mad with his rifle may have been sub-optimal. For example, a long, heavy barrel sounds good until you are lugging it around all day. He may well either reconfigure his existing upper or buy/build a shorter, lighter upper for this role. He purchased some ammo from a “friend” and discovered that his rifle did not run it well. There was some sort of corrosion on the (nickel-plated steel) cases that could have been the issue. It seemed to run fine with both the brass and steel cased ammo I brought along.
This is a perfect example of not betting your life on untested equipment and ammo. This would have been a very bad thing to find out in a life or death situation.
All in all I am pleased with the progress we have made so far. We both learned a few things, sharpened our skill sets and had a lot of fun. Now that he knows some of the proper techniques Moose will, hopefully, continue to practice at home (with an empty firearm) and his times and accuracy will improve.
I am a little disappointed that my son did not make this a priority because I think he would have learned a lot and improved on some critical skills.
Next time out we will practice these skills some more and measure ourselves against the standards we decided on. Hopefully, we will be able to add in some additional skills such as shooting while moving and start working seriously with the rifles.
Take care and God bless