AAR Shivworks (Craig Douglas / Southnarc) AMIS - Armed Movement In Structures 9-10 May 2015

AAR Shivworks (Craig Douglas / Southnarc) AMIS - Armed Movement In Structures

Full Disclosure:
Craig gave me a free slot in this course after my knee got messed up at ECQC in September. While this doesn't influence my experience at the course in what follows, I want to be completely transparent.

Class Name: AMIS - Armed Movement In Structures
Instructor: Craig Douglas (Shawn Lupka = AI)
Class Location: Pittsburgh, PA, at an abandoned country club.
Class Ratio: 2 : 19 (Final Evolutions were 2 : 1)

Course Description as per Shivworks.com  -

Armed Movement in Structures:

The ShivWorks Armed Movement in Structures (AMIS) course is a twenty hour block of instruction focusing on negotiating movement problems within structures with limited or no resources. Realizing that moving through a structure that contains armed hostiles, perhaps by one’s self, is probably the most dangerous task one can undertake, the best options for winning a confrontation are presented with the qualification that there is no safe way to do this.

Day One (12 hours):
– Viewing the environment in terms of the unseen
– Vertical, Horizontal, and Diagonal planes of visual obscurement
– Distance variables and the visual apex
– Threshold evaluation
– Dynamic and Deliberate movement
– Room Entry factors (known versus unknown)
– Minimizing multiple exposure
– Modifying the fighting platform to conform to cover and concealment
– Re-setting/Disrupting the adversary’s OODA loop
– Chalk board exercises
– Dry-runs
– FoF evolutions
– Low-light module

Day Two (8 hours)
– Practical Exercises for egress, search, and third-party rescue

Trainup:

I went to the range more focusing on handgun work. I should have taken a two-day handgun course preceding this as well.

I also watched three Panteao videos during the weeks prior (Paul Howe's Intro To Home Defense and Civilian Response To Active Shooter, Pat Roger's Intro To Shoot House).

Materiel: One of the advantages is seeing different types of kit used in these classes, and how it works (or doesn't). What I used:

Handheld Light: EAG Fury P2X 500 Lumen.

This has the PrecisionWorks grooves cut out with o-rings to enhance grip as well as a lanyard. The lanyard concept came from Paul Howe. It hangs at about belly button level and allows me to let it hang to use my hand for other things while still having enough length to use the techniques shown in class that require it to be away from the body. I prefer this option over stowing a handheld light in a pocket as it works across various platforms and is easier to access and employ.

Before I had only used the Fury in a constant on setting via clicky switch. It also allows a momentary on with slight pressure applied. A strobe-like feature could be used with this technique, though it is not as effective as a dedicated strobe. I will be purchasing a dedicated strobe light due to this class. They allow you to disorient an opponent and maximize your movement - some serious ninja shit.

Weapons-Mounted Light/Laser: LDI/Steiner DBAL-PL. This is a 400 lumen white light and Green VIS Laser combination. They cannot be used independently of each other (meaning one cannot use white light only or green VIS laser only.) It also features an IR Laser/Illuminator combination but I didn't bring NODS with me (mistake). It worked exceedingly well when I had time or the presence of mind to actuate it and allowed for consistent shot placement, which works especially well in compressed shooting positions and asymmetric shooting positions. Raining down shot after shot on a crouched bad guys head in low light while limiting my own exposure was fantastic, as was shooting from compressed positions that would otherwise not have sighted fire able to be used. Lasers are an alternate sighting solution and should be embraced as such.

Airsoft Weapon: I ordered two RAP4 combat pistols but they failed to arrive in time. A fellow student saved the day and lent me a spare airsoft gun patterned after a Glock which was perfect and I am indebted to him (thanks Jeremy!)

PPE: Ops-Core Ballistic FAST Helmet and Smith Optics goggles. The gunsight mandible likewise didn't arrive in time so my beard provided protection and nothing pierced it.

I didn't use pads or gloves as I believe mistakes should hurt and they reinforce learning points. I took a few strikes to fingers / hands and stomach areas, and a few well-placed headshots to include a superbly placed goggles shot.

Medical: IFAK & Anti-Biotic Ointment. This helped when airsoft pellets broke skin, usually on the fingers / hand at close range.

We started off with a lecture on TD1 after introductions. The PowerPoint brief was interesting for two reasons. One - Craig taught, he wasn't a slave to it. Two - it was very short yet still clearly defined the principles and ensured maximum repetitions for students.

Following that we conducted a white board floor plan where various students came up and chose a route and explained why. This was a learning opportunity as it showcased various problems and priorities of work. Time between movements was essential, as was minimizing your exposure angles and maximizing coverage.

Following that, we walked the various routes (4) in the training venue. It should be noted that this training venue was expansive and had several unique subsections (kitchen, lockers, offices, open sections) that pattern real world scenarios where you may need to respond to a home invader, active shooter, or terrorist incident. This was a truly awesome facility and Shawn really outdid himself sourcing the training venue.

Following that, we broke up into 4 different groups and began to work FOF evolutions in a crawl/walk/run manner.

Issues I had with daylight runs:

1) Properly clearing angles: I wasn't doing this right. Having done EWO and ECQC helped in this regard to seeing angles and positioning myself properly, but I was doing this for immediate areas only and not looking at the big picture initially. While it is true that you eat an elephant one bite at a time, you also need to be cognizant of all there is and have a plan to work it. That plan may not survive first contact, but it is a plan. You are behind the learning and power curves if you ad hoc things.

2) Conforming my body to the environment: I didn't properly read the environment and conform my body to present the lowest target signature while simultaneously angling myself to gain the best field of view. Sometimes this meant adopting asymmetric shooting positions, sometimes it meant route selection, sometimes it meant using the 3D environment.

Reading offsets: I ROUTINELY failed to correctly read the environment and notice / account for offsets which was hugely detrimental.

During low light, use of my light gave me a false sense that I could clear those angles from a further distance when in reality there was still significant red space that I did not have eyes on. Craig highlighted this to me during one specific run which really drove the point home.

Low Light:

"Lights draw fire, and lights draw vision."

I was always of the belief that I can never have too much light. However, there were times in this course I had to stop for a few seconds and let my eyes adjust back. This typically occurred when I blipped mirrors and very close walls/objects. While this was temporarily disorienting to me and halted or negatively affected progress / compromised vision, it made me wonder the effect it had on others. While this didn't make me think to myself "I have too much light", it made me more cognizant of the effects my light can have on me.

I learned that low light / no light allows you to get away with more. You won't get prosecuted as harshly for not conforming to the environment, using proper body position on angles, or penetrating too deeply provided you are using effective light strategy and movement techniques. In contrast, you would get absolutely hammered during daylight for not doing things perfectly on demand, consistently. I know this, because I got my shit pushed in on the regular during FOF scenarios.

Issues I had with low light are as follows:

1) Using multiple flashes to construct a snapshot and staying static. I was using a single flash to try and detect & identify. This was ineffective at best and very dangerous as I didn't have enough information to process my surroundings and route.

Recommendation: Use a series of flashes to better construct a snapshot. Move after illuminating - that is your window of opportunity.

2) Properly seeing and discriminating what I am looking at. I had issues detecting and identifying threats that were in prone, crouched, or elevated positions.

Recommendation: Flash low, medium, and high to construct a complete snapshot. All three dimensions need to be accounted for. See, don't look.

3) Not moving after illuminating with my light. After illuminating I would remain in a static position or not move enough.

Recommendation: Be aggressive in movement post-illumination. That is the time to quickly gain ground, or to change position to better prosecute angles.

TD 2:

We started off with a cold run for re-introduction and to reinforce the material. Following that, we worked on contextualizing - giving verbal directives to bad guys, having them adopt a posture that placed them in poor positioning, disarming bad guys, walking them, and how to handle multiple bad guys, and an in extremis way of walking with and controlling a bad guy. Finally, we did a module on moving exigently and running with a handgun.

The block on detainee restraint without using restraints was particularly valuable as oftentimes we found ourselves out of zip ties on large hits (due to the large footprint of the Monadnock double restraints at the time). While newer materiel solutions that are lower footprint have since been fielded, this is still invaluable.

After each new module, we broke into groups to conduct repetitions and reinforce learning points. This is also a place where fellow students can observe and mentor your module to provide feedback - you can learn just as much from fellow students as you can from the instructor. This also gives you a chance to evaluate fellow students and see why they are here - some want to learn, some want to improve, some want to be challenged, others are here more for the thrill.

Chuck Haggard also gave an excellent brief on a burglary ring that worked in his AO a few years back. It's good to hear TTP's in use by bad guys, what they're doing, how they're target selecting, how many there are, et al. This insanities example of benefitting from wisdom and experience of fellow students.

Sustain: Being quiet and sneaky. I'm a big dude (tall and currently packing too much weight on my frame) and credit the half Injun in me, hunting, and serving in a sniper section and an HVT team for this. Sound is an indicator to your presence and location. Do your best to eliminate or mitigate it. Controlling breathing, moving slowly, and walking heel to toe in a slightly crouched position helps immeasurably.

Improve: Adapting to vertical planes. Again, I'm a tall dude and a head bobbing and breaking that vertical plane is a target indicator. Wearing a helmet makes it worse. I need to crouch down or otherwise make myself small to reduce or even mask my target signature.

I was struck by how old school Infantry tactics can apply within this context - things like SLLS and the 3-5 second rush (I'm up, he sees me, I'm down) certainly work. Violence of action also plays a part - "You gotta get them back on their heels and keep them there".

Rehearsals: Rehearsals are the lifeblood of a mission. My mission (evolution) would have went better if I practiced and rehearsed during downtime at the course. The areas I specifically needed to work on were:

1) Movement Technique (hips forward movement, plant & shift)
2) Up-pace
3) Full presentation crossing a threshold in an exigent circumstance.
4) Communicating and issuing directives to suspects.
5) Surgical precision shots with a handgun. Handgun is a deficiency area of mine and this needs to be corrected.

These were new techniques (or old ones that were adapted to this specific context) that needed to be rehearsed and combined. It takes me longer these days to understand and apply TTP's. I need to proactively work on and rehearse them during downtime and my own time to refine them. I failed to do this, and it negatively affected my evolution.


Final Evolution:

I slowly worked the angles, using the techniques Craig and Shawn taught. Of particular value was arcing, and then bending my body over in lieu of taking another step. I'm a big dude (6'2") with long legs that can telegraph movement. That got me lit up a lot previously. The asymmetric positions of conforming your body to the angles and environment also helped in clearing. I cleared a few small rooms as well as one main room before making it down further in the hallway.

Chappy's shapes methodology from CQB Operations really worked well here and paid off huge dividends. Once I integrated that with the AMIS coursework things really came together for me. Everyone has a piece of the puzzle. 


What I should have done was cross the threshold in a dedicated shooting platform, properly moved, planted and turned, properly target discriminated / illuminated quickly, and engaged the bad guy with a surgical precision shot(s) to the head while stepping off the line of attack. I didn't and got shot first.

Overall, I was pleased with how my evolution went even though I fucked the middle up and even worse at the end. I was better at properly clearing angles, conforming my body to the environment, and reading offsets which were HUGE issues I had throughout the course. It went better than I expected as I was getting wrecked regularly during FOF iterations. As stated, I should have done things differently and rehearsed more.  I know what issues I have to work on and will strive to correct them.

Video: I should have used video (helmet camera) during the course. However, it would not have properly shown the various angles properly as it isn't true first person view. (I couldn't find mine prior to the course, and now need to conduct inventory of everything.) An extra camera and mount for true first person view that didn't obstruct vision would be value added.

I also should have enlisted the aid of classmates during downtime on the Final Evolution runs to video proper executions of the various verbal orders and detainee positions so I have that to reference in lieu of just my written notes.

Final Thoughts:

This course has changed the way I perceive angles, spaces, illumination skillsets and strategies, movement, and shooting platforms. I wish I had trained this coursework prior to deployments - it would have helped immeasurably from clearing towns and particularly confined spaces / dwellings in Iraq and especially Afghanistan where door cutouts were so tight only one person would fit through and clear initially.

I consider Craig a mentor, and his abilities to distill everything down to it's essence as well as being able to effectively communicate and specifically cater to varied individuals of divergent backgrounds is incredible to watch. His voice, posture, speech rate will vary and adapt accordingly. I learn just as much about being an effective instructor from him as I do about the actual coursework and this is Value Added. He keeps to a small lane and courseworks, but he is literally light years beyond anyone else in this niche but needed field and very much unique in terms of training, experience, and instructing. I look forward to further training opportunities with him.

Shawn was likewise an awesome AI. He's been to several AMIS courses and extrapolated the coursework into live fire courses of fire and drills. Everyone has their own unique frame of reference and ability to communicate and break principles down. Shawn broke a movement issue I was having down into simple, basic patterns - look how professional football players move - hips forward, plant, immediately transition. "Speed is the elimination of all unnecessary movement" - Steve Tarani. That is a constant. Shawn also has different ways of explaining concepts that I found easy to understand and comprehend - "Keep exposures within your cone of vision." It's a very visual way of thinking about it which aids me. They were long training days and unlike students who had breaks between runs, instructors were constantly looking, assessing, mentoring, and providing feedback for every individual.

The great thing about these courseworks are that they highlight deficiencies. Which leg of your tripod is weak? Shawn made a great point that EWO makes you want to take up boxing, ECQC makes you want to take up jiu-jitsu, and AMIS should make you want to take up competition shooting. The latter is definitely something I need to get back into. Watching an Army veteran and active competitor work FOF iterations was amazing. His movement, presentation, acuity, accuracy, and problem-solving was phenomenal.

I am very lucky that my structure is AMIS rated - UTM/Sims on the first floor, and airsoft for the second floor. I can work problems static with static and/or reactive IDTS targets, and I can use this structure for sustainment AMIS for the Philly training group. While nowhere near as capable as the expansive facility we used and it will become stale at a much faster rate, it is still an effective small-scale venue for what it is and I'll be taking more advantage of it.

"I came here for one reason: to attack and keep coming.- Ultimate Warrior

 

"Americans don't deserve America." - Timmy

Original Post
Craig's an advocate of running with your arm fully outstretched downwards, parallel to your leg. He slumps / locks the shoulder out a bit to further accomplish that. I use my thumb to flare it out a bit similar to a pectoral index on a compressed ready shooting position.

This ensures minimal muzzle shift during movement, to include running. It also allows you to draw and engage faster one-handed compared to other techniques.

While one can run in a compressed ready position such as pectoral index, Craig noted that when really moving the arms pump more which causes the muzzle to move more and potentially cover things you would not want it to.

These principles likewise dovetail into running with a carbine.

Prior to this I ran with the handgun held similar to a holster position in both hands, but was not able to move as fast or efficiently compared to this technique.

Hope this helps! Let me know of it's unclear and I'll see about taking some photos to demonstrate.

"I came here for one reason: to attack and keep coming.- Ultimate Warrior

 

"Americans don't deserve America." - Timmy

Injury Rate: No serious injuries.

AMIS is primarily a FOF class with airsoft weapons and not high contact like EWO and ECQC.

A few students had broken skin from airsoft pellets fired at close range but that was it.

"I came here for one reason: to attack and keep coming.- Ultimate Warrior

 

"Americans don't deserve America." - Timmy

Originally Posted by MickFury:
Craig's an advocate of running with your arm fully outstretched downwards, parallel to your leg. He slumps / locks the shoulder out a bit to further accomplish that. I use my thumb to flare it out a bit similar to a pectoral index on a compressed ready shooting position.

This ensures minimal muzzle shift during movement, to include running. It also allows you to draw and engage faster one-handed compared to other techniques.

While one can run in a compressed ready position such as pectoral index, Craig noted that when really moving the arms pump more which causes the muzzle to move more and potentially cover things you would not want it to.

These principles likewise dovetail into running with a carbine.

Prior to this I ran with the handgun held similar to a holster position in both hands, but was not able to move as fast or efficiently compared to this technique.

Hope this helps! Let me know of it's unclear and I'll see about taking some photos to demonstrate.

That's actually very helpful.

We uneducated gun types get very few chances to get good intel on simple things like that. Everybody knows how worthless a range is for learning to fight, and you would think we all know how to run with a gun. 

But we don't. And thanks for the the reasoning.

Brent.

**********

I Don't Fuck Around, But When I Do, I Don't Fuck Around.

Originally Posted by MickFury:
Craig's an advocate of running with your arm fully outstretched downwards, parallel to your leg. He slumps / locks the shoulder out a bit to further accomplish that. I use my thumb to flare it out a bit similar to a pectoral index on a compressed ready shooting position.

This ensures minimal muzzle shift during movement, to include running. It also allows you to draw and engage faster one-handed compared to other techniques.

While one can run in a compressed ready position such as pectoral index, Craig noted that when really moving the arms pump more which causes the muzzle to move more and potentially cover things you would not want it to.

These principles likewise dovetail into running with a carbine.

Prior to this I ran with the handgun held similar to a holster position in both hands, but was not able to move as fast or efficiently compared to this technique.

Hope this helps! Let me know of it's unclear and I'll see about taking some photos to demonstrate.

 

 

Very interesting. I would like to see some photos. I'm trying to compare this to movement to stuff I have seen and used in competition style events like USPSA/IDPA and how Frank Proctor advises moving with the gun. One handed, level'ish up near the eyes for fast running, target re-acquisition and muzzle awareness. Proctor's rationale is since the weapon is up in your vision as you are moving you can see and be aware of the muzzle orientation.

 

edited to add: great AAR. As always, you are very clear, logical and succinct in your posts.

 

Thanks for the good words Mick I appreciate them and it's always good getting your feedback.

 

I think we're going to run AMIS at this venue as long as we can get it.  Even with a class this big we didn't use all of it and it's quite frankly the best structure I've ever used to teach this coursework. 

Thanks for putting up this review!  Sounds like a great class (no surprise since it comes from Craig); hope to see it in my area.

 

Mick, I'd also like to say that I like the way you format your reviews.

"Absorb what is useful.  Discard what is useless.  Add what is specifically your own." -Bruce Lee

I'm working on several things at the moment, so more later when I have that done, but my short input is that this is some of the very best course work I have ever been exposed to, and I can not recommend it highly enough for folks who carry pistols, be they cops, .mil or "just" CCW/home defense people.

 

 

Mick, thanks for taking the time, as always, to be so incredibly diligent in your thoughts and writing.

______________________________________________________________________

"...because without beer, things do not seem to go as well."

Diary of Brother Epp, Capuchin monastery Munjor, Kansas 1902 ___________________________

если не я тогда, кто?

___________________________

"Suppressive fire is best achieved by ploughing bullets into the dirtbag's skull. That is really suppressive." 'Headhunter' quote from TPI forum.

 

I am the owner of Agile Training and Consulting

I'll snap some photos tonight or tomorrow.

Some clarification from the AI for this course, Shawn, who has also trained with Proctor:

"For the gentleman talking about moving with the gun the way Frank Proctor suggested - That's the way I prefer to move with a gun. Craig's not against it. his issue is that for normal gun guys who aren't sport shooting or taking classes that when they tend to move like that at end wave a muzzle all over. He had one student in an AMIS class with airsoft fall and place his finger in the trigger guard and literally shoot himself up through the bottom of the chin with the airsoft gun. I'd say moving with the gun high in your eye line is a higher level technique, which is totally acceptable if you have the skill set to do it."

"I came here for one reason: to attack and keep coming.- Ultimate Warrior

 

"Americans don't deserve America." - Timmy

I have taught holstering (easy to do with cop duty rigs...) or going to a high 2 and pinning the thumb index to the rib cage while running.  I think Craig's TTP is dead solid, as one would expect, and when I get my knee fully rehabbed I intend to try it at full speed.

______________________________________________________________________

"...because without beer, things do not seem to go as well."

Diary of Brother Epp, Capuchin monastery Munjor, Kansas 1902 ___________________________

если не я тогда, кто?

___________________________

"Suppressive fire is best achieved by ploughing bullets into the dirtbag's skull. That is really suppressive." 'Headhunter' quote from TPI forum.

 

I am the owner of Agile Training and Consulting

I'd actually be really interested in high speed video of various carry techniques while running and different rates of speed, perhaps measuring the muzzle arc via Coaches Eye or similar.

I think, like everything else, METT-TC dictates and each carry positions has it's positives and negatives. Straight down has a concealment factor which may be applicable to certain situations, while the high ready allows you to engage from a two-handed platform faster.

"I came here for one reason: to attack and keep coming.- Ultimate Warrior

 

"Americans don't deserve America." - Timmy

Originally Posted by MickFury:
I'd actually be really interested in high speed video of various carry techniques while running and different rates of speed, perhaps measuring the muzzle arc via Coaches Eye or similar.

I think, like everything else, METT-TC dictates and each carry positions has it's positives and negatives. Straight down has a concealment factor which may be applicable to certain situations, while the high ready allows you to engage from a two-handed platform faster.

 

 

for a lack of better terminology. Competition High Carry is definitely the overall fastest I've encountered and thus why its so popular in competition. But it does have pretty obvious down sides. It is *not* concealed in any fashion. It also would seem pretty bad if you collided with someone in the dark while moving like this. Not to mention the "speed" advantage in the dark really doesn't come into play since running balls out in the dark is probably not a good idea gun or not.

 

G.O.A.T made some very very compelling arguments for the SEAL High Ready Position for very "fast" movement through a building with the possibility of physically running into someone. I also got exposed the SEAL High Ready in a Jeff Gonzales class and it made a lot of sense when properly explained, trained and with context.

 

The concept of out running your head lights also got me factoring how "fast" a movement is and whether I'm out running my headlights. 

 

With so many variables a Mick Fury Style list of the various Carry While Moving with the pros/cons, rates of speed and the best use situations would be a very useful document.

Excellent write up Mick, as per usual with you. I'm a big guy too so I apreciate your observations on movement and other considerations when you're 6'2"

 

I took ECQC from Craig a couple years ago and thought it was some of the best training I've been through. AMIS and EWO are on my short list of classes I want to get to. Your AAR reenforce my desire to get to this class. 

 

 

 

Joined: 10/16/10  Location: WA

As a fellow "Large Mammal" I really appreciate the insight as well. This is one of the best AAR's that I've read in a while!

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The trouble ain't that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right. - M. Twain

Here's an AAR from AI Shawn's sister who attended and kicked ass:

http://shetrainslikeagirl.blog...urse-review.html?m=1

Saturday, May 16, 2015
Christa's AMIS Course Review
Last weekend my lovely rock star sister in law Christa attended Shivworks Armed Movement in Structures (AMIS) designed and taught by Craig Douglass. The class was brought to Pittsburgh by Antifragile Training. Christa was nice enough to write the course review shared below.


Just finished taking the Shivworks Armed Movement In Structures (AMIS) course designed and taught by Craig Douglas and co-taught and hosted by Shawn Lupka. This was a 20+ hour block of instruction covering a solo approach to navigating a structure with a firearm. In other words - how to check your house with a gun and a flashlight when something goes bump in the night. Students included military, law enforcement, professional security, one former pro MMA fighter, and myself. Full disclosure: I’m Shawn’s sister.


The site that Shawn secured was an abandoned country club just outside of the city of Pittsburgh that still contained most of its original furnishings. We met there at 8am and were able to set up a “class room” area in “the mixed grill” - a former restaurant with enough comfortable seating and tables for all 20 participants and their piles of gear. We had 4 unique courses to navigate including a locker room with bathroom stalls, an office area with a long hallway and opposing doorways, a ballroom, and an industrial kitchen.


The course started off with a short but succinct power point presentation beginning with the simple fact that there’s no safe way for a single individual to engage an armed intruder in a structure. This course was designed to teach us how to suck less at this task if we ABSOLUTELY HAD to do it. I really appreciated taking the time to explicitly recognize the difficulty and danger of the situation. All too often people are led to believe there is a magic cure for potentially deadly situations, which can only endanger them further.


nosafeway.jpg


Next we went over the geometry of structures and the way vision works within those geometries. We were given physical demonstrations using the angles, recesses, and entryways into the Mixed Grill. The most important takeaways were to always seek depth from a visual impediment and to view an environment in terms of what you can NOT see. The body should conform to the plane of visual impediment (line yourself up with doorways.) Determine which threats are closest and make odds based decisions on what to sweep first with your gun/eyes. Hips should always face direction of travel even when eyes need to be averted to scan for threats. We were to use these tools in order to narrow the field of threat (how much of the 360° circle around us could hide a bad guy) to less than 90°


Now that the short powerpoint was over we were given a basic group exercise. Craig drew a map on a whiteboard and had several students approach to describe the path they would take to clear the mapped structure and how they would do it in terms of choosing a path, “pieing” doorways, and modulating pace. If I’m explaining this coherently please do not get the mistaken impression that I understood what we were talking about at the time! I was, at this point, terribly confused and nervous that I might be called up to the white board. Luckily I was relieved to see that some of the people who did complete part of the exercise seemed just as confused and hesitant as myself and that Craig patiently guided them through the decision making process.


That was the total classroom instruction - it was brief, succinctly covered most of the material we would implement over the weekend, and left me with the sinking feeling that I was in over my head with a complex problem that probably required a variety of prerequisites nearly everyone else seemed to have.


Following that we separated into 4 groups each sent to one of four possible courses Craig & Shawn had mapped out. Each group cycled through each course gradually adding layers of difficulty to the task. This began with walking the route one at a time practicing our ability to navigate the space, taking the most depth from visual impediments, noting the number of exposures, narrowing the field of threat, and using appropriate pacing. Craig or Shawn were often following behind to give manageable bits of instruction to incrementally improve performance (take smaller steps here, increase pace there, tuck your elbow in) It progressed through having teammates hide throughout the courses, to having those hidden teammates shoot back with SIRT guns (they shoot a laser pointer), to having them shoot back with airsoft guns, to mixing in “non-shoot” innocent bystanders.


“Lights draw vision, lights draw fire” - Southnarc


As darkness fell the lights were extinguished and it was time to practice flashlight skills. We were warned against pairing the flashlight with the pistol, which would effectively draw a center mass target on ourselves. Instead Craig showed us how to hold the flashlight away from our body and alternate placement & direction of the light in a series of short bursts by which we could take “snapshots” of vision. He demonstrated how this technique makes it difficult to determine the source of the light and how you can buy yourself time, blind those hiding in the dark, and obfuscate the direction you’re coming from.


All of this coalesced into a final scenario where there was one stationary shooter, one free-moving attacker, and two moving “no-shoots.” My task was to eliminate both of the baddies without harming the innocent bystanders, in the dark. Surprisingly this task seemed easier than many of the earlier missions. The dark is more forgiving of a misstep around highly accurate shooters and the flashlight stuff is INCREDIBLY effective. The day ended at 11pm… a 15 hour day full of getting shot. It was clear to me at this point that Craig’s first slide was on point.


Day two toned down the video game violence as we began to focus us on no-shoot scenarios. We started to contextualize the training - someone in your house could be there to murder you… But; they could also be a drunk who thought he was in his own house, a 16 yr old boy who got the address wrong of the girl he was sneaking in to see, or a drug-addled thief who deserves no sympathy but doesn’t really need to be shot… yet. We started with a loud commanding “STOP” and an instruction to put your hands up.


The very first thing to do with a compliant hands-up criminal is make them face away from you. If they do decide to get frisky it will take an extra step to orient themselves towards you. Next we checked their waistline for weapons. We did this by instructing them to pull their shirt up over their heads until we could see their waistband. This also served the purpose of keeping their hands occupied, away from their waist, and covering their eyes.


Craig instructed us that the safest thing for an individual to do with a home invader or a criminal at gunpoint is to “pin them” and wait for the police. This involved simple verbal commands to assume a posture that would be difficult to suddenly attack from (on knees, ankles crossed, sitting on feet, shirt pulled over their face, leaning forward.) This also involved instructions to be aware when officers approach and make sure your firearm is away before they enter the scene. The best case is to have the bad guy between yourself and the cops when they arrive so that they see him first. 


There was also instruction of the best way to disarm the intruder if there is something tucked into his waist, and both attached and unattached ways to move them (though all of those were advised against unless absolutely necessary.) We also covered when and how to bypass a known threat (someone screaming for help in another room/horizontal elbow shield and gun at the 2 position and charge), the safest way to run while holding a firearm (arm straight down and pulled tight to the body and of course a high register position) and pulling the firearm back to presentation as we enter the threat zone from a run. Each description was given context and examples from Craig’s professional experience which illustrated that his technique is reality-based and effective and also served to entertain. For each new module we broke up into our groups and drilled repetitions of the task.


After lunch we were given our final evolution - and I went first so that I could roleplay a character for the remaining students’ evolutions. 


My final evo:


I’ve been informed that the final Evolution for AMIS is always the same - so I’m not going to lay out specific details. I was taken to a set of rooms and given a scenario by Craig. The scenario as it was laid out made it entirely possible that absolutely nothing was wrong and that at any moment of clearing this part of the structure I would be faced with someone I would not want to shoot.


It started off well except that my heart was pounding in my chest. I began to work the environment the way we had done on the first day and just tried to keep in mind my brother’s advice about this evo


“Keep calm and make intelligent decisions.” - Shawn Lupka


Things I failed to do: clear a good chunk of one of the rooms, get a ‘Don’t Shoot… Yet.” to pull his t-shirt far enough over his face to actually see his waist, drop my gun to the safe running position, pull the firearm back to presentation before clearing a doorway from a run, cross the threshold of a doorway in order to narrow the field of threat, remember the sequence of events that had just happened after the evo was completed. (I seem to remember now. Adrenaline messes with memory)


Things I am surprised that I did: fired accurately without hesitation, remember and use the correct sequence of verbal commands for a ‘Don’t Shoot… Yet”, not panic.


Things I learned and used reasonably well: Moving quietly, pieing doorways, the 2 position and horizontal elbow shield, increasing pace when moving through a field of threat greater than 90°


When I finished at first I thought I had done a horrible job - though Craig assured me I had done pretty well, especially for my first try with no related experience. After getting to roleplay for the rest of the scenarios I realize I actually DID do pretty well. All things considered, with no prior related training I neutralized multiple threats, did not harm or keep my muzzle on a no-shoot, and  took 4-6 probably non-lethal hits to the shoulder, arm, and leg (not counting rounds I took from a roleplayer who didn’t realize he was supposed to “die” after several rounds to the sternum.)

Most of the other students made many of the same mistakes I had made, and many of them made mistakes that I had not made. Although most of them more or less succeeded - the difference was often how long it took and how messy it was. When AMIS tools were utilized effectively the scenario was ended quickly and tidily. In the end I can’t believe how much practical skill I actually gained in the course of one weekend and I think AMIS should be required material for any individual who owns a handgun for home protection.

"I came here for one reason: to attack and keep coming.- Ultimate Warrior

 

"Americans don't deserve America." - Timmy

Originally Posted by viking_overlord:

       
Originally Posted by MickFury:
Craig's an advocate of running with your arm fully outstretched downwards, parallel to your leg. He slumps / locks the shoulder out a bit to further accomplish that. I use my thumb to flare it out a bit similar to a pectoral index on a compressed ready shooting position.

This ensures minimal muzzle shift during movement, to include running. It also allows you to draw and engage faster one-handed compared to other techniques.

While one can run in a compressed ready position such as pectoral index, Craig noted that when really moving the arms pump more which causes the muzzle to move more and potentially cover things you would not want it to.

These principles likewise dovetail into running with a carbine.

Prior to this I ran with the handgun held similar to a holster position in both hands, but was not able to move as fast or efficiently compared to this technique.

Hope this helps! Let me know of it's unclear and I'll see about taking some photos to demonstrate.

 

 

Very interesting. I would like to see some photos. I'm trying to compare this to movement to stuff I have seen and used in competition style events like USPSA/IDPA and how Frank Proctor advises moving with the gun. One handed, level'ish up near the eyes for fast running, target re-acquisition and muzzle awareness. Proctor's rationale is since the weapon is up in your vision as you are moving you can see and be aware of the muzzle orientation.

 

edited to add: great AAR. As always, you are very clear, logical and succinct in your posts.

 


       
This sounds like a great course and a great review. I would also love to see a photo of this arm position when running.

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