Quantcast
  1. Sign up now and join over 35,000 northwest gun owners. It's quick, easy, and 100% free!

DH1 @ TCGC: Report

Discussion in 'Education & Training' started by chemist, Jul 18, 2010.

  1. chemist

    chemist Beaverton OR Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,620
    Likes Received:
    644
    So the wife and I went to the Defensive Handgun 1 course given by Oregon Firearms Academy at Tri-County Gun Club on Saturday (7/17), and here's how it went.

    Neither one of us has been to such a course before, and as expected, we were vastly outclassed by all the young guns there. It's hard on the ego, but good for the learning - I'd rather be the worst-qualified student in the class than the best. We surely got the lion's share of the teachers' time, and I'll wager we improved more than anybody else there.

    There were fourteen students and eight instructors, one of whom was constantly yakking into the PA system while the other seven took care of two students each. The training was very, very hands-on: We handled the guns a lot, and the instructors were constantly putting their hands on us to get that index finger position just right, or to physically yank us into the proper position.

    Well, there was all the obligatory blather first, "safety...blahblahblah...liability...blahblah...situational awareness...."
    I had a serious flat spot on my behind by the time we got to work. Yeah, sure, it's all necessary, it's all good - just like that multi-page release form that I had to sign in umpteen places. :rollingeyes:

    But the weather was perfect, the OFA guys all displayed the patience of Job, and 11 out of 14 eventually qualified at the highest Gold level. My bride and the one other female in the class (an M.D.) qualified to Silver level, along with one other guy. But not me - I shot Gold! And I grant eighty percent of the credit to my instructors who really earned it, and showed genuine pleasure and satisfaction with my success. :thumbup:

    But defensive shooting is a perishable skill, so they say, ergo my only recourse is to sign up for another course! In the meantime, maybe I can find another NWFA reader to accompany me to Salmonberry Rd., where we can pull moving targets for each other. :cool:
     
  2. jmh119

    jmh119 Hillsboro, Oregon Member

    Messages:
    538
    Likes Received:
    16
    Chemist,
    I too attended that course and will admit that Dan and Co. improved my own skills tremendously!
    Dan, thanks to you and your fellow instructors again for the class. It was great and I highly recommend it to anyone thinking about attending!
    James
     
  3. chemist

    chemist Beaverton OR Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,620
    Likes Received:
    644
    Nobody asked for class details?
    Well here they are anyway:

    The most dangerous thing we do is drawing and re-holstering, therefore much effort was taken to get the sequence right, to the point of exaggerating the motions to the extreme. Think about pulling your weapon straight up into your armpit before rotating it forward, and keeping you index finger as high up on the frame as you can bend it.

    Your eyes are more important than your weapon, so keep your head on a swivel both before and after shooting. Keep the BG's hands in sight after the shoot.

    Your voice is a critical element to both warn the BG and establish your justification if you do need to shoot. Be as loud and commanding as possible; get the witnesses on your side ("He tried to kill us!" - not "me").

    We covered trigger reset, tactical reloads, one-handed, all the usual suspects. No surprises there.

    We didn't move much in any of the exercises; one step back for a "close encounter," and down on a knee to duck behind cover. The targets were all static. There was no emphasis on speed, only on accurate shooting.

    I thought that there was too much time spent on malfunction drills, although I understand the need to create some muscle memory for the clearing procedures. But going over Phase II malfunctions, again and again? I've never had one in my life, and only encountered a FTF once, on a very old gun with a loose mag release button.

    The qualification test at the end of class was the same as the 25-shot DPSST test for Oregon State Police, but ours wasn't timed. All 25 shots had to hit the center area of the target to score Gold, which is a passing grade at DPSST. For me, shooting my dinky .45 one-handed with my support hand was no fun, although it worked out in the end.

    But the hardest part was having to shoot kneeling around both sides of cover without moving my knees. I don't get it, frankly: I'm sure I'd be shifting around in a real-world situation, and it would have to be faster than the awkward shooting I was doing as I leaned way over to my right and left. But what the heck - their game, their rules.

    The value was good, the teachers outstanding, and my sole remaining question is, why was one and only one of the teachers wearing a ballistic vest?
     
  4. OFADAN

    OFADAN Brownsville, OR Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,099
    Likes Received:
    286
    Chemist and James, thanks for the review and your generous words of support! It is an honor to have you in class. Chemist if you have questions please feel free to give me a call. I'm only a phone call away and would be tickled to clear up any of the "whys". 541-451-5532.

    Thanks guys!

    Dan
     
  5. Ocanada

    Ocanada Way North Member

    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    1
    Although I wasn't at this course, I have made the trip to Brownville and O.F.A. a number of times. There are the regular instructors that are there all the time, and the other instructors that assist on the courses. All great people and willing to help. No matter how much time you take up or how many mistakes you make. And we all make them.

    The safety briefing is critical to having a safe training day and getting everyone on the same page about it. Since they don't know how you have trained, or been trained at your local range or CHL instructor, they must be so careful to lay out the groundwork to all. I honestly don't mind it being repeated at every class. We all get forgetful, and it's better to be safe than sorry.

    The reason for all the static type shooting, is to build skills and solidify the basics, so you can move on to more movement and advanced drills or tactics. The need to do malfunction drills quickly and smoothly will be apparent if you take the next level courses from O.F.A.. They will have you drawing and shooting at speed as you progress, and believe me, when you are in a hurry to draw and shoot, you sometimes forget to lock your wrist as you fire from a close in or combat tuck position. Semi autos need a locked and firm grip to function properly, and if you limp wrist it, or are firing support hand only, you will see what I mean. Likewise the kneeling portion of the qualifier. It is more stable to not switch knees or to stay down on both. Moving from knee to knee will also probably push you out from cover before you realize it. Incoming rounds have the right of way, and whatever is sticking out, may likely get shot directly, or from a round bouncing off a wall, barrier or floor to strike you in the leg, knee, groin etc.. Again, as the drills advance in later classes, DH2, DH3, CEOTWK, you will understand why they teach what they do. They are all sound tactics.

    I hope those who went to the DH1 class continue training to improve the skills they have. You can only keep learning and becoming more accomplished. If you do decide to continue with O.F.A., you will get great training. They are worth the drive. I know. My "commute", is 9 hours.

    OCanada
     
  6. pokerace

    pokerace Newberg Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,293
    Likes Received:
    755
    Thanks guys very informative.
     
  7. chemist

    chemist Beaverton OR Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,620
    Likes Received:
    644
    OCanadaEh?
    Uhh, I must differ with you on a few points.

    Safety is critical. The message must get through loud and clear. But it doesn't have to occupy HOURS.

    The reason that we had to do only static shooting is because we were lined up shoulder to shoulder, with nowhere to move except forward and back, all together in lockstep.

    I can't get my gun to FTF or FTE by limp-wristing, even firing one-handed with my support hand. So again, it's not a matter of whether malfunction drills are important, it's about the prioritization of the allotted time. And Level II's? Come on.

    I already figured out that the point of cover was to hide behind it and not expose my knees. It's a question of how far you can lean to get around both sides, so it's completely dependent on the width of the cover. Wider cover will require me to scoot around behind it. So once again, it was all about the specifics of this drill, i.e. the width of the plastic barrels that were representing our cover.

    I liked the class, I liked the teachers, but I don't cleave unto this "you'll understand when you grow up" mentality that pervades so many workshops of all stripes. It's a big world and we were all born with big brains, the better to SYNTHESIZE with!
     
  8. Ocanada

    Ocanada Way North Member

    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    1
    There are building blocks and skill sets in everything we do. Firearms training is no different. Gauging the class and moving at a good pace is one of those. Moving on to drills faster than the slowest in the class leads to lessons not learned or perfected and frustration for some and a poor learning experience for others. You apparently are more skilled than others and maybe felt you were being held back. That is unfortunate. All I would suggest is that you learn from the others on what possible things to brush up on or show family members when you return home. I myself am not a new shooter or tactician, having been an instructor to police and security for over a decade, and I still take basic or next to basic classes as a refresher and tune up for myself.

    There is no "you'll know when you grow up" with O.F.A.. The classes I have been to built on skills shown in previous classes and became more difficult as they went.


    You are of course one person. You do not represent the entire class of all sizes shapes, skill levels, perfect functioning firearms, and ability to follow instructions. We all learn at different levels and you must as an instructor only go as fast as the slowest in the group. And I mean no disrespect to anyone there or who goes to any type of training.

    You would be surprised by what I have seen happen and know what happens when guns come out and people are nervous about it, or the group dynamic in training. Fingers in trigger guards while off target and holstering, hand in front of the muzzle while racking a heavy slide, hand covering ejection ports while clearing, safety not on or decocked when holstering. Am I talking about you guys? Nope, I an talking about skilled police and security personnel at range practice. Sounds bad? Certainly, but we all make mistakes or don't have our head in the game for some reason.

    As for failure drills, failures do happen. Maybe it will happen to you. But apparently you have the only gun that never had a malfunction, or ever will? Guns are mechanical devices. Mechanical devices fail. Safeties fail. People fail in thier handling of firearms. So I'm sure it went on for hours, well, actually it's only an eight hour class, so probably not that long. But all of the students went home without being shot or hurt in any way.

    But, there you go. You went, learned something I hope, and will continue training with other trainers or again at O.F.A.. At least to broaden your training background and those of your family. Bad things happen to good people unfortunately and we would all do well to train as much as we can. And I have learned that if I go to a course, and I only learn one thing, or to improve on a technique, it was worth the time and travel to get there.

    Peter
     
  9. chemist

    chemist Beaverton OR Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,620
    Likes Received:
    644
    Thanks, OCanadaEh?, for your insights.

    I appreciate your taking the time to put them all down in a form that I understand.
    You know, I was almost the slowest and least experienced student in the whole class, yet I still found parts of it excruciatingly slow. But I agree that it's better than going too fast, and I was sure challenged by some parts of the training! The more I think about it, the more I realize that OFA DH1 was a great bargain for me and an ideal introduction for my partner.

    And yet...
    Every teacher is different, every approach is different, and there's not a whole lot that you'd find in common across the various Defensive Handgun courses that you could choose from. Other than the safety requirements, of course. And that's the point: What somebody calls a "building block" somebody else calls a bad habit or a more advanced move or maybe skips entirely. So in the best tradition of the late Bruce Lee, I'm searching for my own "formless form" that is precise yet fluid, practiced but adaptive, and utterly instinctive. It sure looks different than what I was shown in class.

    BTW, I'm taking liberties with your screen name because I feel entitled, having married myself a Canuck.
     
  10. Ocanada

    Ocanada Way North Member

    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    1
    O.K. EH!!

    The whole idea is to find what works for you, and with that in mind you should experience as many different schools of thought as possible. I do this, and have found good and bad and everything between them. Other schools teach great info, but for local to Wash., Oregon, you have a few choices and are lucky in that respect.

    One of the good things about staff at O.F.A., they do the same, and attend training at different locations to keep current themselves. A bonus is you and I don't have to foot the bill and we gain training at a lower cost.

    Hopefully the training bug has gotten to lots of students in your class, and we all benefit from more highly trained individuals.

    Peter