Saturday, December 30, 2017

Guns: Langdon Tactical - Tactical Pistols Skills class review and report

A couple months ago, I took a "Tactical Pistol Skills" course with Ernest Langdon of Langdon Tactical at the Homestead Training Center. Ernest has the bona fides: he served for 12 years in the U.S. Marines, including as an instructor for the High Risk Personnel Course (read: self-defense for troops deployed in not-so-friendly places), and he's been a competitive shooter and firearms instructor for decades. In a nutshell, I really enjoyed the class, and if you ever get the opportunity to train with him, here's what to expect...

Disclaimer: Just so there's no confusion, shooting is my hobby. I have been in exactly zero gunfights. I am licensed to practice law, not to enforce it. The following review and report is not meant to teach any "tactical" skills, that's for sure.

Day One

Like a lot of classes, the first morning was a lecture covering all sorts of topics, some familiar (the Cooper color code) and some esoteric (a behind-the-scenes look at gun manufacturing, and why the current craze of striker-fired guns has more to do with economics than effectiveness). The shooting techniques discussed weren't anything unorthodox: modified isosceles stance, a high thumbs-forward grip with the support hand angled forward, and a constant-motion trigger stroke for double-action shots. One thing Ernest emphasized was not to "shoot to the reset"; pinning the trigger to the rear and feeling for the reset after each shot is something dreamed up by GLOCK's marketing department.

Things got a bit more interesting once we hit the range, when we started warming up with some basic double-action and single-action shots at 5 yards. Ernest is really good at diagnosing shooter errors; for instance, in a one-on-one session, he instructed a shooter to fire shots at the instant Ernest yelled, "Now!". The shots were all on target, indicating that the shooter's problems in slow fire were likely being caused by an anticipatory microflinch.

Here's Ernest teaching the press-out and giving tips on concealed carry garments:

Day Two

We spent the entire second day on the range, with a good bit of instruction on the DA/SA trigger press. It turns out most people will actually hit the first double-action shot, but then flub a few of the single-action shots, as they are using too much force and steering the gun out of alignment. That was my experience, anyway:

A portion of the morning was devoted to the famous F.A.S.T. from the late great Todd Green. Ernest was able to demonstrate a sub-5 second run, which was impressively fast in person. Here are some runs, from slowest (me) to fastest (him):

The last part of the day was spent training techniques I rarely get to practice at my home ranges - shooting on the move...

...and barricades:

All in all, it was quite a lot of shooting, but I never felt like we were just chucking rounds downrange. All the drills were clearly explained and helpful, our targets were constantly checked and re-taped, and Ernest was able to give a little bit of personal instruction to everyone in the class. If you ever get the opportunity to do some handgun training with Langdon Tactical, I think it'd be well worth your time.


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