In my last post, I mentioned that I was going to take a general defensive handgun class. Now some of you might be wondering why a Retired Marine would need to take a defensive handgun class. Well, let me tell you, not all Marines spend all day shooting guns. In fact, almost none of them actually do that. And even those that do shoot all the time, I would say that most of them probably do not have a good idea on how to safely use them in a civilian environment. And then of course, there are the things that are taught in the Marine Corps, that aren’t needed at all in the civilian world. I know as a CCW holder, I feel more comfortable about my abilities and what can and can’t be done now that I have taken the class.
So the class I took was the General Defensive Handgun class taught by InSights Training Center at the West Coast Armory in Bellevue, Washington over the course of two days. It was taught by Greg Hamilton, founder and chief instructor at InSights. Greg, who looked like Steve Zahn to me, was a fantastic instructor that not only told you what you needed to know, but would tell you why you needed to know this, and how this would affect you in a situation. Not only was he able to teach you what he needed, he would then be able to tie this in to real world scenarios that he or a close friend had experienced. He isn’t some internet warrior who is just trying to act like a big tough guy with all the information off the net, but is somebody who has been in situations that he is teaching from.
In fact, one of the first things he does it tell you that the equipment you have sucks for every day carry (EDC). And then he goes on to explain why it sucks. What you should be looking for in equipment, and the priority of things you should be looking for. Throughout the course, he constantly disproves common firearm myths by using simple science to show why it doesn’t mean what everybody thinks it means.
But the classroom portion was only a portion of what we learned. We also spent a lot of time during those two days on the range, firing rounds, and learning things broken down in to steps. Instead of just teaching how to draw your weapon, it was broken down in to simple steps that can be practiced in each point. We would practice taking the handgun from the ready to on target, from the holster to the ready, reloads, tactical reloads, and malfunctions to name just a few.
Over 800 rounds later, with numb fingers, and sore hands, I feel that I have learned a lot, and still have some way to go. Thankfully, they included a bunch of dry fire excises they recommend people do in order to get more proficient in what was taught in the class.
While a little on the expensive side, for those that have the opportunity to take these classes, I highly recommend them. The staff is top-notch, and the West Coast Armory is a first-rate facility. And the training will make you more comfortable in handling your firearm in defensive situations, and better prepare you to avoid these situations all together. I’m sure after some practice, I will return for another class or two.