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Reposted from PistolForums with permission from the students;

So life happened and it’s taken me a hot minute to get caught up, including writing this AAR.

1- I was the host/sponsor/fixer for this class.
2- Due to an unplanned doctor’s appointment, I had to miss the first half of TD1.

Who: Chuck Haggard at the helm, people who carry professionally/privately willing to learn on the line
What: 2 Day Close Quarters Handgun Employment class
Where: Mill Creek Rifle Club, DeSoto, KS
When: 21-22NOV 2015

Gear used:

Pistol- Glock 34, Gen4 with Vickers slide stop and mag catch, AmeriGlo older gen Pro i-Dots w/ green tritium front with orange outline, and single dot dim yellow rear.
Holster- Custom Carry Concepts Shaggy, Rich modified my Gen3 holster to fit my Gen4 34s. Currently the new production models will all fit Gen4 34s, but he would be the POC to verify that.
Mag carriers- Blue Force Gear, belt mounted single pistol pouches, x2. First time I ran these. They redid the velcro attachment from their initial offering at SHOT and this iteration is much more stable.
Mags- Glock 17 rounders with orange baseplates, which is how I indicate my training mags
Ammo: American Eagle 147gr, AE9FP
Flashlight: SureFire E1B

Survey of Students:

A full class of 12 were signed up. Two couples were not able to make it, leaving 8 shooters on the line. There were no novices amongst the shooters. Age range was late 20s to 68. Two active LEOs, one a Sergeant at a local major university, the other out in Chuck’s old PD on the Gang squad. A few former Mil, the remainder were switched on citizens who carry. One is currently finishing his PhD in Engineering. So a very solid range of shooters who make the decision to carry and the effort to hone their pistol craft. The LEOs used their duty rigs, which were Safarilands on Bat belts, a few general behind-the-hip kydex options, and roughly half were carrying appendix. As far as I can recall, there was no leather asides from Chuck’s set up.

Training Day 1-

As stated above, after setting the class up on TD1 I had to jet to a visit to the doc and did not return until after lunch. The weather/temperature was the coldest it had been this year. Although BOB( the sun) did break through, he wasn’t juiced enough to make that much of a difference in the temperature. Generally, it stayed around the high 20s in the sun, with the wind cutting that down to the low 20s. I have never done any training on the civvie side in those conditions. Shooting from concealment, with all the clothing layers to defeat prior to a successful draw and presentation was something I had not done for that length of time before. I played the Smart Ranger and used my 215 Gear Handwarmer with a hand warmer dropped in it in-between shooting iterations. Clearly, I’m not going to be walking around the real world with a Multicam kangaroo pouch, but for the sake of the class that was my choice. Other shooters used gloves of varying thickness and warmth to combat the chill. Again, for purposes of the class I also left my shell jacket open, but kept my insulating jacket zipped up over my regular clothes. Those are the only shortcuts I took. One of the tangential discussions that came out of this, was Chuck mentioning the excellent utility of jacket pocket carrying a J-Frame or similar sized pistol during the cold season. The idea is by no means revolutionary, as I’m sure he and many others already carry a piece in such a manner during winter, but it got me thinking about the steps needed to take to make it a reality. The conversation direction was that the J-Frame would be in addition to, not instead of your main carry option.

I showed up after lunch and my tardiness guaranteed me the furthest left spot on the line, which in that case meant the least amount of sun, IE the berms were already blocking it out by the time I showed up. Forum member DEG had the extreme right position which enabled him the most amount of sun. The targets Chuck had set up on the line were the standard VTAC skeleton/vital areas. We were shooting for precision/accuracy on the chest box, keeping it to two round strings. Each string was from the draw. Chuck had the line at about 5-7 yards depending on the strength of the Coriolis effect. The speed of engagement was up to each student, with Chuck emphasizing that the hits on target would indicate if you could speed up, or should slow down. Chuck was very active in walking the line and getting a solid snap shot of each shooter, specifically tailoring his observational tidbits to them.

After the above drills, we began to prep for the low light and night shoot portion of the class. Chuck’s understanding of crawl-walk-run as not just some fancy range adage, but an actual process to be followed is noteworthy. As most students had either never shot a night fire portion, or had not shot one in quite some time, he took the time to start the process while we still had plenty of daylight. What I mean by this is that Chuck had the class start running familiarization drills and dry runs for the drills and iterations we would be shooting during the night. So out came the flash lights, and single-hand gun employment drills. The students running a WML were using their hand held lights as primaries. The class collectively voted to skip a hard break for dinner and go right into the night portion of the class. Given the early darkness and dropping temps, this was a very sensible decision. This also allowed for an earlier ENDEX time.

This was my second class with Chuck, and one of the things which struck me from the first one, is his vast knowledge and on-demand recall ability of real world stories about all things shootouts. This naturally applied to low light/no light as well. The first takeaway from those stories I can relate to from my Mil time, which is that the “never happen in a million years” scenarios do happen, and they happen a lot more frequently than a million years. The second I can also relate to very easily due to my past Force-on-Force training, is that you will get shot in/near the light, if you have it mounted on your gun. Chuck went over the pros and cons of carrying various lights, and demonstrated the merits or demerits of various employment methods. His bottom line as I understood it to be is that a WML has very limited benefits for a concealed carry application, but those are outweighed by the negatives. However, when put in the context of a dedicated night stand/home defense pistol/carbine, a WML truly comes into its own for the average armed citizen. Obviously, if you and all your buddies are jocked up taking down targets all night, then freedom on with your candela collection. My concealed set up does not have a WML, but I do have them on all my long guns.

The actual night time shooting was very illuminating for me, all pun intended. My previous night time training was not concealed carry/private citizen based, so this was most certainly a new angle for me. At 7 yards and in, what worked best for me was the very fast and still very accurate method of having the gun fully extended and shifting to a partially bladed forward stance, while bringing my flashlight to my cheek in order to PID the targets. Chuck had switched to these…ersion-2-a.asp
targets for the night portion, in order to aid in the process of PID with our lights, followed by engagement or non-enagement of them.

After every shooter got plenty of reps in, Chuck very much left it to each of us as to how fast we wanted to push it. Which is another solid aspect of someone like Chuck. He can convey very clearly to the average listener, that the best and probably only times to push it until the wheels fall off, are in controlled training environments such as a class. Training evolutions SHOULD be purpose designed to continually expand a shooters comfort zone. The only way to do that is go beyond your previous limits/edges, whatever they may have been. Coming from a military background, this is very refreshing to see get freely passed on in an open enrollment setting. Although a concealed carry class, that training mindset is appropriate for any skill based setting.

We moved out to 10 and 15 yards after the close in stuff. Chuck had each student shoot the same drill with the same light employment technique as from the 7yd, in order for each shooter to see just what the effects were at distance. Personally, I slowed down noticeably and my shots still went outside the box, but not off the silhouette. The beam from my SF was plenty good and strong, so PID was not an issue. Some shooters were using small nuclear reactors disguised as flashlights, so that may have resulted in overall spillage across the line, but I do not have any issues with my E1B’s power or cone. After the light-to-cheek method was shot a few times at this distance, we switched to the Harries technique. This was a far more stable platform to shoot from, as you are now back to utilizing your support hand, well to support your strong hand. What I noticed was that I was slower to get it set up, and I needed to force myself to stay at extension of my gun arm. The reason I mention this is because Harries can become fairly fatiguing, fairly quickly, hence the human tendency to pull in the gun from full extension to half or even quarter extension. This is bad umkay, as you have now broken your overall grip and recoil management ability. So, personally I had to focus more so on staying at full extension than anything else during the set up. Once this was achieved, the actual shooting was very similar to a two handed feel, as well as very stable. Something I noticed myself doing was naturally going into an angled forward blade again. This was a natural bio-mechanic process for me, which I did not become fully aware of until a few iterations into the drills. It absolutely aided in keeping the gun at full extension, certainly helped in mitigating or at least staving off fatigue, and was also fast to set up. The benefits of the Harries stance were very apparent at this distance. You were trading speed for accuracy. By no means is it inherently slow, it is just slower than the cheek index. But that gap can be closed with good repetitions in training. Harries is inherently more accurate than the cheek index. My rounds were now back within the box and the ones that weren’t were at least no more than a finger or two off. In sum, each shooter was able to see what worked for them at the varying distance. I think we all agreed that the cheek index was faster and more useful the closer the engagement distance was, while Harries was the go to technique the further out we went. No shooter chose to stick with the cheek index at the 15 yard line. Some shooters chose to stick with Harries even as we migrated back to the 7 yard. Shooters preference alive and well. Chuck just made sure that we all knew the pros and cons, and how the theory worked out in practice for each shooter, at varying distances. And for those wondering, the moon was a Waxing Gibbous, and coupled with the range being decently far away from any major light pollution, it was fairly bright, but not nearly enough to actually be able to properly ID and engage the targets.

This was the end of TD1. Any errors or omissions are strictly mine and are not malicious in design.

I will tackle TD2 tomorrow and hopefully be able to tie it all into one post. Perhaps I will need the power of the great computer wizard Tom_Jones to accomplish this feat.



Chuck Haggard Class Summary
I took a class from Chuck Haggard ( last weekend, Nov 20-21. Two days and one night. It was an excellent class, and attended by a couple of other PF members as well. I thought it was an effective blend of shooting, instruction, and practical, data-driven drills. It was pretty cold on Saturday with lows around 25. So also a good opportunity to practice drawing and shooting from concealment in winter clothes and test some gear.

If you get a chance to train with Chuck, I highly recommend it.

I have a few high level notes posted below, but there was a lot more to the class than I have summarized. If anyone from the class happens to stumble across the summary, please feel free to add content, clarify, and improve.

Day 1

We started in the clubhouse for introductions and some background on the class. Each student provided an honest assessment of their training and background, which was helpful. Big focus on safety.

Chuck was clear to state that he was not locked into any particular doctrine, but rather a focus on data and drills proven to be effective in his experience.

On the range, we started with demonstrator guns and movement around obstacles, and appropriate use of the Sol position. An overview of the mechanics of the draw from strong side and appendix with concealment. (Four students, including me, were carrying appendix. That was nearly half of the class.) Trigger discipline, looking the gun into the holster after clearing concealed garments was also a focus.

Initial shooting was around five yards and focused on accuracy. Slide slingshot reloads were encouraged since they mirror a malfunction drill. Data indicates that you are as likely to clear a malfunction as you are to reload, so it was recommended that it be the same technique to keep it simple.

Preparation for night shooting in the late afternoon including strong hand drills with a flashlight. Modified FBI search technique and mag changes with flashlight. Night shooting included target discrimination (color and number, and no shoot). Also an opportunity to test the flash of various carry ammo without flashlight.

Day 1 stuff to remember: Great folks attending the class. The person next to me in line was a more experienced and better shooter, so that was also a big plus. He worked with Chuck for years and was able to further explain a few of the drills to me and offer some tips. Strong hand with flashlight techniques – my P30 felt big and heavy shooting one handed for an extended duration. Made me re-think choosing a larger gun for home defense vs carry, if searching a house one handed is a likely scenario. Moving out to 10 yards one handed with flashlight, cold, and a bit fatigued I was all over the target cranking the trigger low left. I’m going to work on this in future range sessions.

Day 2

We started with discussion and then shooting drills around 5 yards. Speed up and slow down drills, two to chest cavity, two to head, then two to chest again. Then we switched starting with slower precision shots, followed by faster chest shots. Goal was to know when to shoot a bit slower for precision, and when you could speed up (and how fast) to still make your hits.

We practiced several malfunction drills with dummy rounds, including FTF, double feeds, clearance strong hand only and support hand only. This was particularly good practice for me, since racking the slide off of the belt is not something I have worked on in the past.

We performed the 21 drill several times at 7 yards and 5 yards, then incorporated color and number drill distinction. Close quarters shooting from high 2 position with support arm protecting head.

Scenario discussion and practice with partners, including clearing friendlies out of the way of a shooting event while drawing one handed, stopping gun grabs strong side, support side, one handed and two handed, and striking at close distance with the top of slide. This deserved a good portion of time and practice.

We finished the day with ballistic gelatin tests with 357 mag HP through clothing compared to 9mm 124 +P Gold Dot, .40 Gold Dot, and 22 caliber. The 9mm GD penetrated the length of the gelatin, mushroomed perfectly and made it to the other end where it was stopped by the cover garment. The 357 mag stopped about 1/2 to 2/3 the way through, and the 22 tumbled at about half way. (There were a few really cool pictures we took and I’ll see if we can get them posted later.)

Day 2 stuff to remember: Protecting the gun needs practice or I’ll forget the drills. Malfunction drills should be incorporated into my range sessions, along with strong/support hand shooting and movement during the draw and reloads. A lot to practice and remember!

Again, there was much more content in the class than I have summarized. I finished the weekend worn out and happy; and a better shooter than when I started. Looking forward to getting him back for another class in the spring.

Original Post

So here is TD2:

The temps and the sun were much improved as we started day 2. Always a huge morale boost. We started shooting from the 5ish yard line again and this time used some targets from Ballistic Radio. They had an outlined chest box around the heart area, as well as a modified box around the eyes, but not the traditional "T" set up. I can't seem to find pics of them to link to. The drill involved was a "shifting gears" sort. Two rounds fast to the chest box, raise to eye box and engage with two more, then back down to finish two final rounds to the chest box once more. The purpose behind it is to allow shooters to gain an understanding of what it take for them to gain the hits needed, in a time they can afford. The emphasis should be on the transition to the eye box. Smaller target area, lower percentage of hits, therefore down shift and slow the cadence of the two shots down to meet the standard. When I use any terms of 'speed', please keep in mind it is all relative. Personally, my cadence and splits at that distance on the higher percentage chest box will typically run in at around a .14/.17 split, whereas my eye box splits will be noticeably slower in the .25/.30 range and beyond. There were some shooters on the line who were able to maintain a pretty steady shot cadence throughout the entire drill and not finish any slower than some of the faster shooters. As long as you remember to compete with yourself, these sort of drills are moneymakers. Also, the hits on the paper are a pretty solid diagnostic tool as well. If your groups were fairly tight, for instance some shooters had eyeball shots touching, then you could clearly afford to speed it up. If you were going so fast that your rounds were not staying within the respective boxes, then it was time to downshift and rein them in. The end state is that all shooters were able to find their sweet spot in that regard and figure out where to focus their training on from it.

After those drills we moved on to stoppages and malfunctions, and how to clear them in order to get the gun back up and running. Full disclosure: I love clearing stoppages. I'm a total geek for it. Chuck brought out the good stuff for this, a 100 round box of nickel cased, orange tipped dummy ammo. Each shooter was given a handful, 6 if I recall correctly for this portion of the day. Chuck rightfully focuses on talking through the process and problems beforehand, so as to maximize the actual practical time on the line. I have seen more instructors than I care to count demonstrate a drill once, then send the shooters off to the line and have them run it x amount of times, without any thought of "did the shooters actually understand the drill and its purpose". Chuck is not one of those instructors. He talked through several types and causes of stoppages and how to best remedy them. For a malfunction (I try to steer clear of terms here, since the variation is wide, so I will stick to descriptions) of the gun not going bang, via a stovepipe or a fired round having failed to extract, or a dead primer, the standard response is usually some form of "tap, rack" bang". Chuck emphasizes to add the "roll" in there after the "tap". Geometry of the ejection port and gravity are your friends, don't let them go to waste in such a situation. By rolling the pistol outboard, the bad round will most certainly find its way out with much less resistance via the Tap, Roll, Rack process. The caveat here is a broken extractor or busted ejector. Either of those would be considered catastrophic failures and deadline the gun. Time for a New York reload. We ran the Tap, Roll, Rack process a few dozen times on the line with the dummy rounds, and then reconvened in the middle to have Chuck go over the next section.

If memory serves, this was the archetypical stovepipe. A spent piece of brass not ejected fully, or ejecting but then falling back into the chamber area prior to the slide returning to battery. Chuck is not an advocate of clearing that malfunction with a single hand swipe rearward with your support hand. Brass can be sharp and cut your hands pretty gnarly. Defoor is also anti-hand swipe. McPhee is an advocate of the handswipe method as for him it remains the fastest and most efficient way of clearing that stoppage. Personally I'm also not a fan of the hand swipe as I have seen dudes cut their hands pretty well, but more importantly, I have seen a 50/50 split of it not fully clearing the stovepipe, which then required a reassessment and reengagement of the procedure or altering the clearance drill. The remedy for the stovepipe a la Chuck is a simple roll and rack of the slide. (Please correct me if I am wrong, TBI is flaring up). Again, we returned to the line, set up the stovepipes with spent brass, and practiced away.

The next malfunctions were the nastier ones, requiring more time and effort to alleviate. Double feeds for everyone! Presuming both hands fully available for this clearance, the first step was to strip the mag and secure it. Chuck favored returning it to a mag pouch or pocket, and I would never disagree with that decision. However, with my large paws and built in habits, I will always stow the stripped mag in my gun hand pinky, while continuing on with lifting the stoppage. The downsides to this are that I'm assuming the mag is going to be fit to re-insert and was not the root cause of the double feed in the first place, and I'm using my smallest finger available to pull some really important duty of holding on to a magazine in a semi-loaded/partially-loaded state, IE ammo is heavy and could potentially fall free from my pinky grasp. The size of my hands and length of my pinky allows me to run this process as described with something as large as an HK45. Zero issues in a controlled environment. Enough about my misshapen hands and fingers. Once the mag has been stripped and stowed, one of the two misbehaving rounds will most likely have fallen down and out of the pistol, leaving the other round in the pipe. In order to clear that, you proceed right into Tap, Roll, Rack. Chuck addressed the accepted wisdom of running the slide a few times in this process. His views mirror mine. If running the slide the first time did not alleviate the issue, then what makes you think it would the second or third or fourth time around? And if the round did in fact come out with the first slide cycle, then the stoppage is lifted so why run the slide even once let alone multiple times after that? The point Chuck was making was that clearing a stoppage is not just going through the motions of a particular drill, but it also requires the shooter to think it through as well as visually observe the process and its effects. The gun will tell you what's wrong it, you just have to pay attention. A very novel concept I'm sure. At this juncture, the gun has no mag, both rounds of the double feed duo are free and clear, so now all that remains to do is reinsert the mag you have stowed, or reload a fresh one and run the slide (since it's in battery), thereby chambering a fresh round. The pistol is now back up and running as intended. We spread out on the line, set up the drills and away we went.

Chuck upped the ante with this drill by introducing the strong hand only, as well as weak hand only handicaps. As I have mentioned before, the only way to expand your comfort zone, is by going beyond it. As creatures of comfort enveloped in our "mental woobies", we tend to stay away from things we are not good at. I'll be the first to admit that not every session I spend on the range involves simple and complex stoppage drills. They should, but I just don't run them every, single time I'm out shooting. So these SHO/WHO double feed drills forced us to ditch our woobies and get after it. This is precisely why taking a class/session with a competent instructor is necessary if you carry a gun, in any capacity. It will usually expose your areas of needed improvement, and put the onus on you to now train up that weakness. The drills were a real wake up call for me, as it had been some time of clearing the gun one handed. Below is a clip of one of the shooters running it strong hand only. The benefits of appendix are magnified in it. Video credit belongs to forum member brentk7, who was obviously in attendance at the class as well.

That was the end of the stoppages and malfunction portion of the class. Chuck swapped out targets again, returning to the casino drill set up, so that we could run the Tom Givens Casino Drill: 7 yards (21 feet). 3x mags of 7 rounds each, 21 rounds total. One mag in the gun ready to go. From the holster, on the signal. Time standard as far as I know it is 21 seconds. I'm a fan of the drill and I think the rest of the shooters out there were as well. It's the proverbial "whole enchilada". Drawing from a holster, reloading under artificial stress, hits always count, and you still have to continue to think your way through the drill, as the shapes, colors and numbers must be processed all rather quickly. My takeaway from that day was I needed to slow down. All my runs were in the 17-18 second frame, but I ALWAYS had a one flyer. One run I had two. So in the end, I would not have met the Givens standard. Lesson learned. Chuck had us switch up the round count in the mags after a few runs, as now the line was growing accustom to when to reload and where to trim the fat during the run. This was a very simple way to maintain the purpose of the drill, yet change it up enough to where the shooters had to use their brains again. Chuck also switched it up to where he would give the signal and we would engage a color or number called out by him. Target discrimination forces you to mentally work through the problem, and is highly beneficial.

We moved over to the center target to begin contact shooting. The safety and control aspect was maintained in that only one shooter would come the line to fire, with Chuck right there as a safety. Crawl-Walk-Run again, as Chuck would count of the draw strokes and simultaneous head protection wrap via support hand, prior to launching the rounds. Once each shooter was warm enough, they would take over and complete the entire process on the go signal. A lot of shooters had never been able to practice such shooting, so that was a great exposure for them. Contact shooting is fairly simple affair to set up at home with a blue gun, as the most important part of it, is the draw stroke and gun placement. Chuck is a big believer is utilizing the gun hand thumb as an offset/safety piece to ensure clothing and the like stays clear of the slide during the process. That would conclude the live fire portion of the class.

Next we pulled out the blue guns and Chuck went over pistol strikes followed by the incredibly excellent block on pistol retention and disarming. I don't think there was a shooter there who did not learn at least one thing during this piece. My mil background rarely focused on pistol retention, much less from a concealed aspect, so this was 99% new to me. The mechanics of the body as well as its leverage angles come heavily into play here. Those who grapple or BJJ will recognize some of what Chuck incorporates here. I deliberately left this section a bit bare compared to others in this AAR, as I feel it would not do justice to actually being there live and in person, going through the motions, helping ingrain the methods. Rest assured, Chuck will teach this in the future.

To close out the class Chuck busted out a block of ballistic gelatin. It was not FBI testing protocol spec. Chuck fired a .357 Mag, 9mm 124+P GD, .40 180gr GD and a .22 into the block. I had never seen ballistic gel being shot, so this was really neat for me. The .357 went a little more than half of the way through. Both Gold Dots went all through and mushroomed perfectly and were caught by the pants on the back end of the block. The .22 tumbled the entire way, and stopped virtually next to the .357. To tie into what has been discussed ad nauseam all over the web and this forum, the best carry round will be a purpose built hollow point, without any crazy gimmicks such as "teeth" or whatever the heck else is being pushed nowadays. The tumbling path of the .22 was of interest, as it explained why they cause so much damage inside soft tissue-like substances. This little add on to the class was received very well by all shooters, and no one minded that we went over the posted ENDEX because of it. DEG posted some of the pics I took in his Training Journal, and brentk7 has more available on his social media from another shooter at the class.

In sum, it was a great class. The other shooters were motived and showed up to train. I did not hear any actual bitching and/or Tiny Heart Syndrome come out. Most of the feedback was constructive and thought out. Every one of us came away a better shooter because of it, wether it was a mental or physical improvement. To paraphrase one shooter, they had the least amount of fun out of all previous classes attended, but learned by far the most. That same shooter added that the weapon retention alone was worth the price of admission. I would tend to agree. Since the class, Chuck and I have talked about setting up a very limited class of mainly blue gun/retention work/grappling with a gun here in the KC area. So far the interest has been high for such a class.

My biggest personal takeaway is that I should slow down when I re-holster my pistol. Although I am always visually inspecting prior to, and maintaining my gaze during the process, Chuck commented that taking it down another notch speed wise is nothing but beneficial. I have been working on that since. So basically, is it Gadget Soon (TM) yet?

Thanks for reading this AAR and feel free to comment/ask questions/whatever as you like.


Reposting, with permission, a FB comment from my friend Julie who was also in the class but not a PF member. Julie was a KCMO cop for several years, and is now the training SGT for her university department;

These are most accurate, professional and thorough AARs. I am not as articulate as those attendees, but I do have an opinion regarding this training. First, Chuck Haggard is a top-notch instructor who exhibits no ego (one to which he would be completely entitled, given his vast experience and knowledge) as he teaches others how to crawl, walk, and then push themselves to run. Second, this training class consisted of trainees who each also exhibited no ego, which is both a testimonial again to Chuck and also to the types of trainees that he attracts. Most of the guys in the class were very high-level shooters, yet one would never know it unless one took the time to glance over at their targets. As the sole female in that class, I felt completely accepted and "one of the guys" just by virtue of the fact that I was out there with them, trying to learn how to be better. I would strongly encourage anyone, no matter your level of experience and training, to take one of Chuck's courses.

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