Let me tell you about the last week till now. It's been a whirlwind since, with exhaustion set in yesterday in the later afternoon.
Last Thursday and Friday, both Brent Hickmon and Lora Thorson arrived in town for our Fighting Handgun Concepts (FHC) class, Brent from Colorado and Lora from Montana. These are two of my dearest and closest friends and it was a sheer joy to have them in our home for the next three to five days. I love hanging out with them, on or off the range, and it's humbling to get to work with both and just be around such wonderful people.
Over Saturday and Sunday, I ran the FHC at Rio Salado Sportsman's Club in Mesa, AZ. The FHC is an intense class, going far beyond the “stand and deliver” firearms class, to where guns are used in a wide variety of unconventional positions and in movement, while protecting, shielding, and controlling others, and on and on. It can be quite emotional for those who've been through high-intensity and violent events before, yet is so needed by gun carriers.
People came from all over Arizona, and from Maryland, Montana, and Colorado, with the students ranging from YouTube's largest defensive educator, a professional pilot, an armed church security team, the heads of the Mohave County (AZ) “A Girl & A Gun Shooting League”, a professional holster maker, multiple certified firearms instructors, an IT professional, a high-end guitar maker and artist, a retired schoolteacher, a mom on night shift work, a Realtor, a ER/ED nurse, an EMT, and more.
Active Self Protection was there to both attend the class and to film it for their fantastic Unlimited app for world-wide dissemination. John Correia himself registered as a student for the FHC, bringing with him a high-end camera and a heroic, professional cameraman to record the entire class.
For those who don't know, the ASP Unlimited app has full length classes with some of the best firearms instructors in the world on there and it is an absolute honor to have one of my own included in such an august body of experts and that can be seen and learned from by anyone who subscribes to their app. I can't recommend the ASP Unlimited app enough.
That app can be found at this link: ASP Unlimited app
Brent assisted in instructing the FHC – since he runs our handgun and fighting rifle classes in Colorado while I teach in AZ or other states, we rarely get to work the same range together anymore. It was so good to be around this brother of mine who is such a solid, gentle, and kind firearms instructor who just happens to also be a world-class holster maker (Haven Defense Co.).
Lora attended the FHC as a student. As always, she was just fantastic, as was everyone who attended. We had eleven students on Saturday and twelve on Sunday.
Of the the Defenders USA skills assessments during the class, John C. of ASP scored the best on the Ace Card – 1.51 sec. DTFS from concealment at 10 yards and 264/300 on the Static B8 Drill – which are indicative of high skill levels.
If you're not sure what those tests are, here are the links to each of those found on our YouTube channel.
On Monday, Brent and I co-taught some law enforcement officers on the range, and watched as their shooting grew, then we moved on to filming for our YouTube channel. We ran the ASP 10 Round Skill Check so others could see it and try it out as well; after three long days on the range, we were both worn out and did not shoot as well as we usually do but oh well. One of the LEO's, a Police Sgt., also ran that ASP drill and might show up on camera with us as well, depending on editing decisions. We'll try to get that video up on our YouTube channel soon so watch for it.
Tuesday, newer Defenders USA instructor and Phoenix area Realtor Juan Rivas and I co-taught our acclaimed “Real Estate Agent's Strategies To Avoid Violence” for a good group of Real Estate professionals in Peoria, AZ, hosted by Jonah & Dana Adame of WFG National Title Company.
Real Estate professionals, as you know, you work in a profession with unique dangers, and it has been so good to train so many of you over the years. If we can ever be of a service to you and your profession, we'd be honored to be of help.
Wednesday, I was able to train two Arizona SWAT Teams as they did a joint training day. As a former SWAT guy who gets to train differing units such as these, it was so good to be surrounded by pipehitters once again. Most I'd never met before, yet all were open to new ideas, listening intently both on the range and during our classroom time. They were challenged with different concepts and shooting mechanics, much of which was completely new to them, and I saw fast growth as they carefully thought it all through and applied what was being learned.
It's always striking to me how much thoughtfulness and intellect must be present in those who become solid operators on such highly dangerous and specialized units such as these teams, and I saw intelligence and careful work applied as they began mastering the nuances and conceptual aspects of highly skilled shooting.
I watched the excitement that warriors often exhibit when they are learning and growing, their playful engaging in the usual yet very serious competitions against each other in speed and extreme accuracy, and their questions came often and fast as we worked on masterful shooting.
At the end, I was humbled to be given several unit patches they'd taken right off their sleeves as a token of their kindness, and their leadership seriously threatened to make me come back with more training. The love I have for heroes such as this is real; I know what they face on a daily basis and what they willing run towards in the time of others' need, and the kinship I feel with these men and women is deep.
Later that evening, I joined Lora Thorson on her excellent Defenders LIVE podcast, helping behind the scenes, managing the comments and questions coming in, running the banners on the screen while she did the real work, and I occasionally jumped in as she interviewed a nationally recognized expert in the area of mitigating active shooter events.
If you've not listened to Lora's many interviews with world-class experts from a wide variety of topics, I encourage you to make her live show a regular part of your week, or listen to it later when you can.
You will be a better person for it.
Then, Thursday, I was able to meet up with a SWAT guy from an AZ police department who is one of the best operators I've ever met and whom I've grown to respect immensely. That agency's SWAT Team is considering moving away from the Block (Oops, I must have mis-typed when I clearly meant “Glock”) and they see the need for superior handguns.
So, I trotted out my beloved Heckler & Koch VP9's for him to formally try out, and I had the opportunity to point out the many merits of such a quality handgun as opposed to others and why I felt it would be an excellent pick for their law enforcement officers and operators.
I know of multiple agencies that are considering different handguns and I always jump at the chance to spread the message of the H&K VP9 to these heroes.
Excellence deserves excellence, and our LEO's and H&K VP9's are just that.
After the extreme busy-ness of the last seven days, exhaustion settled in Thursday evening, and I fell asleep on the couch shortly after my wife and I put our rambunctious little boys in bed.
Next, I'll be teaching a Handgun Fundamentals in Arizona on the 11th, and co-teaching another one intended for Real Estate professionals on the 14th, while Brent teaches a Handgun Fundamentals on the 10th and a Handgun Speed & Accuracy on the 11th in Colorado. If you come to either of those classes in AZ or CO on the 11th, we'll even have you home by the Super Bowl.
It was a busy, busy week, and a true honor to be able to help so many wonderful people as they work thoughtfully, carefully, and hard to improve their own mental and physical defensive and shooting abilities. What a joy to see so much growth in so many people and to do what God has called us to do in helping others.