This course sought to adapt your existing knowledge base to an interdisciplinary field of fighting in crowded and confined spaces. It delivered - no one else teaches this. Southnarc has a huge data point to draw from as far as what works and what doesn't over the past decade plus teaching in addition to his LE and martial arts backgrounds.
I took this course due to a deficiency in skillsets. I live in an AO where going up against multiple attackers is a reality. I realized I was not trained for this and sought to correct it.
I missed the 4 Hour MUC portion on Friday Night. While I have attended this before for Edged Weapon Overview (EWO), it still would have been Value Added to have that training again. While my verbal MUC skills are better than previously, they could still be improved as well as other aspects such as arcing and the fence.
LOGISTICS: Plan training events like a mission. OPORDER's, not CONOPS. This allows you to get experience for planning considerations as well as ensuring you cover all your bases. I use the Team Leader brief from SGM Lamb which can be found in his excellent book "Leadership In The Shadows" and the VTAC Rite In The Rain notebook.
Gun: DZHitsHard's G17 w/ RMR07
BUG: Stock G19 in a satchel (Indiana Jones carries a satchel).
I don't have as much handgun training as I would like to, so don't have a lot of experience to comment on this. Having been trained in red dots since Basic, it is a lot easier to utilize for me than irons. My main issue is first acquiring the red dot and putting it where I want. It's a more accurate platform for me, but at the expense of speed - I will work this more. I had thought the 6.5 MOA would be too large for me, this was not the case.
I'm going to see if the Aimpoint T1 works any different for me, commonality between handguns and rifles would be an additional benefit.
I had two failures to feed - I didn't lube the gun and need to mark magazines for identification as well as designate between training magazines and combat magazines. This is something I do for my rifle and should have done with my handgun. I will also be transitioning to Dawson extensions for the vast majority of my magazines.
Boots: Inwore my Oakley ninja boots (water version). We were on gravel for up to 11 hours. While there was sufficient cushion that it wasn't painful, in the future I shall also bring heavier boots.
I was using a G17L holster w/light that I typically carry. The problem is that it is not a purpose built holster for the gun and it won't seat fully. The other issue is that I carry it at 5:00 - 5:30 and reholstering is not as safe and precise as other methods. I used an alternate holster after Craig explained to me that I was breaking my wrist when reholstering as I didn't want to be a safety issue on the line.
For EDC I am placing concealability over ease of draw / reholster and deployment time. There will always be compromises.
TD1: We started with Live Fire during the morning after a thorough medical brief that I was very impressed with. I carried my IFAK in my satchel. The Primary Aid Giver had their IFAK on the table right by the range. I would like to see more students with IFAK's and / or aid items on their person during tactical training. We worked from 4 yards in.
Southnarc teaches a "Hard Register" on the handgun. I keep my trigger finger indexed and about a 45 degree angle for weapon systems, so this was new to me. Due to my big hands and large fingers, I have to hook it inwards in order to have it on the ejection port. It's not comfortable, but he made the point that you don't want it to be.
Problem: I shanked two shots hard left during the headshot portion. This was directly due to slapping the trigger and grip issues and failing to properly apply the fundamentals.
Recommendation: Build consistency. Apply the fundamentals. It's all about brilliance in the basics - practice makes permanent. Perfect practice makes perfect. Do things right the first time.
I should start working on speed over accuracy. Speed and position is commensurate with distance to the threat.
Materiel Solutions: A light / laser is needed for me. Hopefully the DBAL-PL is released soon or I may have to go to the Surefire X400U-GN.
TD2 Live Fire:
Problem - Pectoral Index: I had issues understanding the flagged thumb and how to properly apply this. On TD2 I had a malfunction directly due to the slide impacting my body due to an improperly flagged thumb. Jeff (one of the coaches) pointed this out to me and squared me away on the nuance. I think I just had to physically see how this occurred to know how to prevent it in the future.
Recommendation: Work this with a SIRT pistol. Build it into my sustainment program.
Problem: Compressed Ready Shooting Position
I was having a problem achieving a proper compressed ready shooting position. I was elevating the muzzle so I was achieving throat shots - the problem is at the distance I would be utilizing this shooting position the rounds would be over the target - bad news bears on multiple levels.
Solution: I need to work this position dry with a VIS Laser and with a SIRT pistol in order to see where my rounds would impact. I will then be able to apply the appropriate adjustments in posture to build a consistent compressed ready position.
Thoughts on SIRT Pistol:
It works exceptionally well for presentations and demo'ing - I will also be using it to work compressed ready positions in order to better diagnose and correct my issues there.
Suggested Product Improvements:
1) Usable Sights
If you're paying $500 for a training pistol, it should include usable sights - you should not have to use a paint pen. UNSAT.
2) Glock Trigger
The SIRT pistol should have a Glock trigger - or the ability to accept a drop-in trigger.
3) Reciprocating Slide
The SIRT pistol should have a reciprocating slide in order to be able to be able to train combat reloads and other manipulations.
I'm going to invest in an airsoft weapon system(s) as well in order to be able to practice manipulations and presentations as well as being able to fire.
My TD1 Evolution went very well - textbook, even. It drove home the fact that this is a principles-based approach = adhere to the principles, and good results tend to happen. Ignore the principles, and bad things tend to happen. I went from the half guard to a full leg extension *relatively* (for a Not Trained cat) quickly while attempting to figure out a way to control my opponents arms. Luckily, one of the Pittsburgh coaches taught us a cross wrist hold that allowed me to do so and I could draw to the pectoral index and deliver approximately five rounds to the face. It thoroughly validated the fact that the pectoral index is a safe and consistent position capable of the accuracy required with the proper index. Seeing is truly believing.
A note on watching Southnarc roll with people - it always looks like a very serene process. He is calm, collected, controls his breathing, and cognizant. Strive to emulate this.
TD2 2 On 1 Evolution Problems & Recommendations:
During this Evolution I stopped arcing which allowed Bad Guy #2 to blindside me and tackle me to the ground. This resulted in a 2 on 1 entanglement and me getting shot by my own weapon.
Problem 1) I stopped arcing. I planted, faced the potential threat, and waited for it to initiate - all the while treating it like a one on one encounter.
Recommendation: Movement is life. It comprises angles, increased situational awareness, superior positioning. Keep moving, keep arcing, keep staying alive. Always be on the lookout for more enemies. "Angles more than 45 degrees are untenable". - Southnarc. "See the shapes." - Chappy Shapes are present here as well...
Problem 2) I got stuck in a verbal loop. I progressed through each stage, but instead of doing the smart thing when my opponent said he wasn't looking for a fight and respond "neither am I" I did the dumb thing and said "then keep walking". I need to clearly define the Purpose and Endstate. Do I want to fight with everything that entails? Or do I want to deescalate the situation and better manipulate my battle space so that the fight doesn't occur?
Shawn made several excellent points about how MUC can be considered the true way to solve problems. Any time you can verbally deescalate the situation is a win.
3) I failed to maintain 360 security.
This was a byproduct of not arcing. I got caught into a hard focus of threat number one - this resulted in tunnel vision and my angles narrowing resulting in a significant loss of situational awareness and being blindsided by Threat #2. I need to better prosecute the angles, expand my situational awareness, and constantly be on the lookout for additional threats - I no longer have a Fireteam looking out for me.
4) I failed to keep a proper fence.
I would have my hands high, then drop them. I would reach out to extension, and then caught myself doing it. I need to keep my hands consistently high, and talk with my hands more. I can practice this on a daily basis to become more proficient.
5) Equipment Failure - Holster
I was using a holster with a light cutout but not using the light. This resulted in the pistol tipping in the holster and popping out resulting in a weapon retention issue where a bad guy got my gun and shot me. I am very strongly considering a concealment holster that has a retention device now due to this.
6) Failing To Fight To A Superior Position
I was one of the few in this evolution that did not deploy a handgun. I did deploy one of my NOK knives. While it may have been a bad timing / position issue, my thought process was that it will significantly escalate the scale of injury on my opponents as opposed to not deploying it. My EDC blades are karambits with increased retention, but my NOK knives don't have the ring for retention. This led to switching hands when I had my wrist tied up and continuing to work the bad guy with it.
What I should have done was get to a better fighting position.
It's not about delivering efficient strikes - it's about building to the best position to control and deliver the most optimal strikes. That's how you increase your lethality. I should have listened to Craig as he called out commands for me to get to my feet in lieu of being focused on cutting people with karambits. See the Big Picture. Flailing around prone cutting femoral arteries as the bad guy had a gun is not as effective as standing up, clinching, and getting that gun tied up and oriented away from me. I need to be more cognizant of enemy's ability to inflict scale of injury on me as opposed to just my ability to inflict injury - fights are a two way street and control is paramount.
"We can't linger in an entanglement." -Southnarc
An interesting note was that I utilized both Craig's & Clint Sporman's edged weapon techniques (multiple, deep stabs to high scale of injury areas on the body) as well as Steve Tarani's techniques (biomechanical cutting of major arteries) depending on which was best suited for the situation. This was good to see and validated that both systems have merit, and it is Value Added to have multiple ways of problem solving with edged weapons as you never know what you may encounter.
Own the material. Be smart and adapt - improvise tactics = hallmark of being a great tactician.
The final evolution of TD2 resulted in me dislocating my left patella a couple inches to the left. Womp, womp...
An interesting note was during the 2nd Final Evo I noticed my opponents SIMS gun malfunctioned and had a round stuck in the barrel. My first instinct was to strip my gun out of his hand and light him up, but I didn't as that would have been gaming it and I would have had a lesser experience had I done so. I might have "won", but I wouldn't have learned as much - which was why I was there.
This also stressed the importance of having a well thought out medical plan that everyone knew and was actionable. Assessment was conducted, CASEVAC to the truck and a drive to the hospital (what sucks is my injury forced the CASEVAC Driver to miss out on his final evolutions) and the guys went so far as to coordinate transportation home for me - I am deeply indebted to them all. Thank you.
Injuries happen. They have a higher rate of occurring in combatives-centric classes. There was nothing unsafe in the course that led to the injury. Craig actually called it ENDEX just prior to the injury (Break! Break! Break! POP! - Why yes, I do believe something did break...) I shifted my position, my opponent did the same, and the weight came down all on my left knee. It wasn't intentional and no one's fault, just an unfortunate chain of events.
It sucks, but it's a reality I knew of and elected to attend anyway. I'll be doing the physical rehabilitation to get it back to fighting shape and focus on the written TACSOP side of things short term since I've been neglecting that. I'll be back for future Shivworks courses, for sure. (An interesting note when laid up in the back of the vehicle was what would I do if I were attacked in it - VCAST would have been pretty handy then.) Not only is Craig a multi-disciplinary subject matter expert with a wealth of experience and knowledge, but he's also a gifted instructor who's put a great deal of time and effort into precision crafting the POI (Program Of Instruction) of his courses. He's a humble, good dude to boot.
Lastly: this was a good group of people attending - probably the best open enrollment course I've been to actually. I was very impressed by not only the folks and their performance, but also their reasons for attending this course and their mindset shift during. I wish I could have witnessed the Final Evo's of everyone else. The coach cadre were top notch and their different frames of reference allowed them to fill in gaps, as well as different techniques and ways of going about solving problems.
A very special thanks to the host Shawn and Craig who worked with me financially and saved me a slot as I blocked multiple courses out this past month and didn't have the funds to pay in advance.