National Shooters New Years resolution: train more with my everyday carry firearm and learn more about the law of self defense. Having the right equipment helps, but shooters build confidence and improve our skills through quality instruction that tests our performance under pressure (safely). With this in mind National Shooters Instructor Sean attended the two day Conceal Carry for Self Defense Class hosted by FPF Training with Instructor John Murphy leading the program. FPF Training uses their outdoor shooting range located outside of Culpepper Virginia, an hour and some drive from Arlington in Northern Virginia.
The Executive Summary
An overall excellent experience, amazing instruction, and well executed by John Murphy with a touch of colorful humor to break the seriousness. We would recommend shooters arrive on site comfortable with the basics of carrying a firearm for self defense. Instructor John Murphy mixes a meaningfully classroom lecture full of real world life threatening examples and industry research with appropriately stressed range sessions. The curriculum teaches an overview of the common criminal threat and effective mitigation strategies using our firearms to secure our safety in the event of armed conflict on the streets.
Shooters would however find our beginners armed self defense conceal carry class beneficial as a preparation for this class and many like it. The class’s two day commitment would deter entry level shooters. Two days training over 1.5 hours from home means we needed a hotel (but we camped on site). Our one day program would better prepare shooters for move involved shooting classes without the hotel charge. Think of it as a stepping stone to move involved training (got to start somewhere).
Instructor John’s experience in the Marine Corps certainly shows as colorful language and witty sarcastic one liners only seen in military movies had most of the class bent over in laughter in between stress induced shooting scenarios. His quasi drill Sargent demeanor drives important messages home and provides for some unexpected quality entertainment.
Instructor John does a phenomenal job outlining not just threat development techniques and tradecraft but the legal environment one might find themselves in if they use deadly force in self defense. He goes so far as to question student’s decisions in a post shooting scenario that would mimic the questions posed by responding Law Enforcement.
What Class Taught Us
Threats develop with and without warning
In class John taught us that threats develop either with warning or without. To best prepare, we learned to identify the verbal and non-verbal queues of our potential aggressors. On the range John would speak as the aggressor and we would practice our mitigation strategies. Moving closer and further on the aggression scale until the threat dissipated or attacked, in which we would act accordingly. Instructor John tested us mentally and physically using both verbal and non-verbal threat indicators. This dynamic threat analysis demanded a keen level of focus not applicable or achievable on a static range.
Conquer the Day, Rain or Shine
We learned in class that crime occurs at anytime in any place. Using a surveillance video we watched a group of gang bangers attack a pedestrian in what looked like the middle of a hurricane! Therefore, unless safety hazards exist, Instructor Johns says the show must go on in any weather. Shooters should have rain gear and plenty of layers of clothing for colder weather. We suggest wearing athletically comfortable clothing similar to what you would wear walking around town, rain pants, a rain jacket, other warm base layers, a good pair of sunglasses, a baseball style hat, and whatever other personal gear you might need on stand by.
Have Basic and Advanced Gun Handling Skills.
FPF Training approves CCSD for both novice and seasoned shooters but those without formal a shooting foundation found themselves struggling to keep pace with the curriculum earlier than experienced shooters. To maximize one’s training dollar National Shooters recommends having a firm foundation in pistol shooting fundamentals, marksmanship, basic pistol manipulation, and firm respect for firearms safety. See the National Shooters Handgun 101 program as an excellent source for gaining the entry level firearms skills. Prospective shooters should even have general armed self defensive mechanics like the advanced shooting class that National Shooters offers, to gain further confidence and comfort for drawing from the holster and reloading their firearms quickly while shooting.
Use Reputable and Safe Shooting Equipment
A few shooters with brand new firearms used cheap nylon holsters that collapsed after drawing from the holster. They suffered for it and just about gave the rest of the class a panic attack reholstering by nearly muzzle covering themselves! Cheap gear will fail you in this program. Be sure that you have gear that stands up to hard use. A must have would be a solid holster that does not collapse and electronic ear protection (we used the Howard Leight electronic ears). National Shooters used the FIST Holster 1A in Kydex holster (we will do a review on that at a later time). Be sure you have at least 4 extra magazines and enough magazine holsters that you’ve tested for functionality.
Bring Plenty of Food, Snacks, and Water
Instructor John recommends one gallon of water per person per day and you will be glad that you stick to that recommendation. Even during the cold January day we consumed a great deal of water and Gatorade from the all the moving and shooting. Our range sessions consisted of moving, yelling, shooting, reloading, moving, more yelling, and greater mental focus which consumed a ton of our physical and mental energy. Think cliff bars, jugs of water, full lunches, etc. so you don’t dehydrate yourself or exhaust easily.
Gear, Accommodations & Logistics
FPF recommends evening accommodations at local hotels but for the adventurous type Instructor John allows on site camping. Using our light weight backpacking tents, sleeping bags, and JetBoil stoves we camped on site without any issues.
Now get out and train!