Guns: Rangemaster Combative Pistol - class review and report
We do get in some practice from longer ranges, including 10 and 15 yards. These types of shots are rare, but they do happen, typically when you need to protect someone else from a deadly threat.
We practice one-hand shooting, "changing gears" (speeding up and slowing down for closer/larger and further/smaller targets), and finish off with a baseline test to measure CCW proficiency - draw from concealment and deliver 3 shots, at 3 yards, in 3 seconds. Everyone passes, eventually, and the range day ends.
The Violent Criminal and the 1986 FBI Shootout
We start off again in the classroom. Tom breaks down the number and types of violent criminals in the U.S., along with an analysis of their lifestyle and mindset. There are rare, hardcore attackers - either sociopaths, or experienced criminals who have engaged in so many gunfights that they are not thrown off by getting shot.
Tom then delivers the most detailed breakdown I have ever seen of the 1986 FBI shooting in Miami. There were too many good points to even write down, but here's a few:
(1) Pistols require surgical hits on the right anatomy [a .38+P failed to penetrate the cheekbones of one of the bad guys];
(2) Even one good hit may not be enough [a 9mm JHP hit the bad guy in a vital area, but did not quite penetrate enough to stop him];
(3) Wear your gear [several FBI agents had shotguns that never got used];
(4) Practice single-handed shooting [5 of the people in the fight were hit in the hand or arm].
We break again for lunch, which was graciously provided by Todd Hunter of United Tactical Federation.
Then it was off to the range. Day 2 was a scorcher - big thanks to Girls Got Guns for providing helpful care packages of sunscreen:
Gunhandling at Speed
Tom gives us some formal instruction on reloading. He advises us to forget about the "tactical reload" (a/k/a reload with retention), which has no relevance in a non-military world - we should only reload when the gun is empty, or proactively by dumping the partial mag and getting a full one in as quickly as possible. Speedloads should be done either right after getting to a point of safety, or right before the gun goes into a holster. As for empty loads, Tom recommends the slingshot technique, since slide releases are inconsistent from gun to gun, and may not overcome the inertia of the top round in a full mag.
We shoot a quasi-qualification drill to measure our progress. I fumble two reloads pretty badly, but otherwise do okay.
We have a bit of fun at the dueling tree, pitting evenly matched shooters (as sorted by qualification score) against each other. I get absolutely smoked by the other guy, who is so fast he hits his three targets before I can hit one.
We finish off with discretionary command drills, the casino drill (21 rounds, including 2 reloads, at 6 separate targets at 21 feet, in 21 seconds or less), and malfunction clearances.
Tom demonstrates how easy it is to make a GLOCK malfunction, and the usual tap-rack-bang methods for clearing such malfunctions. One refinement on the standard advice - when you rack the slide, spin the gun so that the ejection port is pointing down.
It's not very often you get to train your fundamental pistol skills with an instructor as good as Tom. I could look up and down the line and see how the students improved, in two days, under his tutelage, and I could see my own scores on the casino drill get better and better (I did manage to shoot one clean run, at the very end of the class - hooray!). If you are thinking of carrying a handgun for self-defense, you would be well-served to take Combative Pistol.