I’m not going to do a play by play (read through my previous AAR here for that -https://www.lightfighter.net/topic/aar-chuck-haggard-oc-flashlight-course-8-may-2015 ) - I’m going to focus on highlights, my personal sustains / improves, takeaways, and trends I noticed.
Full Disclosure: Chuck let me audit these courses for free provided I give him my unfiltered feedback. So here it is.
1-Day Pepper Spray Instructor Course - racestreetrange.com/classes/2018/11/10/pepper-spray-instructor-chuck-haggard
1-Day Pepper Spray & OC Spray Course - http://racestreetrange.com/cla...HhG5qYs6EAlpmLdDn2Lc
Chuck Haggard has been around the block as a LEO and has 300+ live pepper spray deployment on bad guys, 1,000+ live exposure shots on trainees, multiple gun disarms, and I wouldn’t be surprised to hear if he once gave a perp a Piledriver. He’s a solid dude who has been very proactive over the course of his .mil and LE career, and he is still going strong after “retiring”. I can’t say enough good things about the dude.
Being able to see Chuck’s progression as an Instructor since last time (2015) was awesome - he’s always been an SME but he was noticeably more confident, comfortable, and adaptable this go around. Chuck likes to joke that he’s ADHD, but the tangents are always pertinent to the course and we always learned valuable insights when going down those rabbit holes. Plus Chuck is one of those folks who doesn’t sugar coat shit, he will flat out give you both barrels and be done with it which is refreshing in this day and age - rare breed. “That shit is retarded” made me grin multiple times over the weekend because those things he spoke of were, in fact, retarded (using less lumens so as to not “blind” yourself in structures, et al.)
Me and Chuck were the only former .mil types. The class was a mix of competitive shooters, training junkies, holster makers and as Uncle Pat was fond of saying - regular earth people. There was a woman in class who spoke about the trials and tribulations she faced that many of us don’t have to deal with which was insightful. Chuck was assisted at times by Jeffrey Bloovman, good dude and local firearms trainer who’s done a lot of coursework with Craig Douglas aka Southnarc.
I’m glad more people are starting to understand the importance of less lethal options and having that capability to problem solve. (I first went to Chuck’s course years ago directly because of a deficiency in my equipment selection and getting bit by a pit bull because of that failure). I foresee more people attending these types of courses in the future and for cause.
Venue: Race Street Range - http://racestreetrange.com/
Venue Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/racestreetrange/
Philadelphia has been in dire need of a solid Firearms / Training facility for quite awhile now and this venue is poised to deliver that.
Race Street Range has a unique mission and I was very, very impressed by the owners and their mindset. Standards, quality over quantity, emphasis that training is a never-ending process and that everyone has a piece of the puzzle, bringing in serious talent to develop skillsets. They’re trying to build something - not just a range, but a Tribe. This is what I’ve been looking for.
Race Street Range also has one of the most capable classrooms I’ve seen on the east coast - multiple tables, large TV that serves as a monitor for PowerPoints & Videos, a water fountain, bathrooms. It’s also an ideal basic level CQB area as you have multiple rooms to work (corner fed and center fed) and a long hallway. Excellent stuff, and I look forward to returning and the range going live.
Personal Sustains / Improves:
For the MK3/MK4 size cans my aim was on point during the drills. This was a result of my sustainment training with them (they’re what I carry and I have inert training models to drill with a training regimen in place).
When I tried the smaller units I was consistently hitting high and needed to bring it back down. Lesson Learned - I should have worked presentation with them prior to the drills instead of just standing around. “Be proactive.”
While my MK3/4 first round hits were on target, I need to do a better job at micro-corrections. Example given: I was hitting center of face with the first shot, but needed to perform micro corrections in order to strike both eyes / mouth better. This could be as simple as having an immediate action drill for that - small dedicated wrist movements or even a circular elbow movement to accomplish this task and something I need to further drill and find the sweet spot for. Will update with my results...
For the MUC portion, I saw more people arcing than usual and attribute that to the more serious training crowd in attendance that have done Craig Douglas’ coursework. A couple folks had a tendency to walk back but that corrected itself over the subsequent iterations.
The importance of pre-developed responses really shined here. Having a list of responses aimed at shutting down a conversation rather than prolonging one was a good thing for folks.
We were advised not to spray someone for a prolonged period of time (if you have more solution on someone, it can have a self-irrigating effect on target). I noticed some of the students were having issues being light on the spray duration which resulted in either misses or shorter & less effective hits on target. Folks were starting the timer on initial spray and it took them longer to correct the shot which resulted in shorter time on target or airballs. This was something I had issues with in the first class I took as well, and opted to “start the timer when you have effective shots on target.” They got the hang of it pretty quickly.
Chuck incorporated a live exposure / Counter-Assault Course module to this course that was not done in the previous iteration I attended a couple years back. Next time I’ll undergo this but I was solo - next time I’ll coordinate appropriate transportation.
The live counter assault evolutions were very good to observe as you could see first hand what issues are at play and how long you have to solve the problem. This was a volunteer event, it was not required of the course. I’m glad it is being incorporated and shows the merit in an open enrollment live exposure & fight through it type of course - think ECQC meets pepper spray. I’d sign up.
It further cemented my decision not to carry gel-based pepper spray due to the delayed onset. Jeff got hit by what we originally thought was a stream but later believed to be gel - he was perfectly capable of verbal directives, solving problems, seeing, and shooting for 60+ seconds. (It was only until he started the decon by spraying water on his face that he began to be affected).
If you’re deploying pepper spray, you need near-immediate or immediate results. For me, the stream is precise enough to limit enough cross contamination in trains / buses as long as my aim is on point. For scenarios that include multiple aggressors and / or egressing, I’ll still prefer the cone shaped mist due to its more prolific area of effect. In the Fall / Winter I can carry both easily, but I need to field some of the smaller devices and see how they work for my purposes. Problem: Not keeping up with market advances and trends. Solution: get up to speed and test shit out.
Things I would like to see in future iterations of the course:
Moving Target Drills
Chuck demonstrated how criminals covered up when they knew they were about to get hit by pepper spray - it would have been Value Added to train on more difficult targets to hone our aim and develop techniques to bypass those defenses.
That being said, we were more than given enough material to be able to draft these up ourselves to drill on for subsequent sustainment training sessions.
Load Carriage Discussion
Chuck went in depth on his preference for deployment (which hand, grip method, etc.) but I would have liked to see a small section dedicated to EDC Load Carriage - storage, access, et al. That could even be accomplished during a break. However, I understand that as an instructor this can be difficult to do as you have a tendency to focus on what materiel solutions work the best (read: BFG Pouches for me) which can lead to some believing you have a relationship with certain manufacturers. Not to mention buying a bunch of different pouches and T&E’ing them has both a fiscal and time cost, which can be a pain when you determine a pouch of piece of gear is not optimal for the task at hand.
Chuck demo’d various light techniques and several methods of employing the light. He distilled down what tended to work the best over his career and why. “But don’t take my word for it” - Chuck broke us into groups to try for ourselves in the empty CQB style rooms to work angles and see how both prosecuting angles as well as limiting your own target profile was incredibly important.
Low Light Evolutions:
After drilling techniques, we went downstairs for further demo’s under no light. Following that we broke up into two groups and worked a low light evolution where one person hid in a space while the other person was tasked with clearing it. This space was much more conducive to this than the previous course with some interesting angles to work.
My evolution was likely very boring to watch as I take my sweet, sweet time (I made sure I was last to go). I would sit in the darkness for several seconds between white light interrogations which also let me process my light picture. I would step forward & backward to better mask my location and negatively affect their depth perception. It’s boring and takes longer, but it’s very effective - I visually had their elbow before they could even pinpoint my position and they remarked they had no idea where I was even with me using a 1,000 lumen white light. It’s like sniping - I’ll sit on my belly looking through an optic for an hour if it means I can press that trigger and get a kill. Patience can be a virtue, provided you have the time for it.
We’re doing two things when interrogating spaces -processing shapes and prosecuting angles. That room was essentially a square with a center fed door. I had to move laterally to be able to work those angles and visually clear the space I did not have eyes on from my previous positions. Shapes and angles. If my math teacher told me I could use geometry to kill people, I would have paid a lot more attention in high school...
Chuck fielded questions and provided both answers and context. When asked about stairs he did a short demo as a singleton in the venue staircase which was a real rough setup with overhangs and partitions that heavily favored the high ground, explaining not only what he was doing but why with an OPFOR with a SIRT Pistol working against him.
Personal Cognitive Issues: My energy level was draining near the end of TD2 - I needed to bring a more fulfilling lunch with me. I was making writing errors (switching letters in words around, misspelling). Both my speech and my recall were starting to have issues nearing the end of TD2. I got different dudes named Ron confused for one another, my words were getting mixed up, I was using the wrong verbiage at times - all in all a very, very frustrating thing to experience in a training course where communication is key but glad it was at this type of course rather than a Firearms or Tactics-centric course. It shows me how I need to better plan and manage my time in between training days (more writing down notes, hydrating, and sleeping) as well as work on reconnecting those neural pathways throughout my daily life.
This was an excellent course and a vital topic of instruction that many need. Chuck's performance as an Instructor has grown exponentially since the last time I was able to take a course of his. I came away better prepared and knowledgeable, and can continue sustainment training as well as better materiel selection and acquisition assessment.