by etweedt99 | Nov 13, 2018 | Uncategorized
Red dot sights on pistols is nothing new. They’ve been on competition guns for a long time. Now that the mounting options and optics are more reliable and smaller, they are making strong inroads to law enforcement and self-defense. There are numerous reasons to switch to a red dot on a handgun, from both an individual and instructor’s stance. They are also quickly being adopted for duty use.
I wasn’t sure if it was for me. The cost alone of a quality set up for everyday use is enough to scare someone off. The gun, the optic, the aftermarket gunsmithing (it seldom stops with the optic cut). There are now many manufacturers producing optic ready guns, but they are not nearly as robust as a custom cut, but they will get you started. The Sig Sauer Rx line of handguns was where I chose to start out since they were the most cost-effective option.
My choice was a Sig p320Rx full size, $800ish out the door in the Chicagoland area. Plus, I had been wanting to try the 320 since it came out. After grabbing one and playing with it for a bit I started reading up on how to effectively use it. My primary sources were Sage Dynamics (Aaron Cowan) and Modern Samurai Project (Scott Jedlilnski). The internet was full of suggestions but these 2 made the most sense to me, and they’re highly regarded in the red dot game.
I took it out and played with it but never really put in any serious effort to learn it. I could make hits and quickly saw why people liked them. But that was it. I finally decided to give it my full attention when I hosted Chuck Pressburg of Press Check Consulting. I mean I couldn’t take a class from the creator of the Roland special on a gun with iron sights. I had missed a class with Scott Jedlinski earlier that year, and it bugged me. Chucks No Fail Pistol class sold me on red dots, and next thing I know I was a Jedi class next.
I struggled through Chucks class but made significant improvements. Jedi’s class was less of an effort and that’s when it really started to make sense (after 1 day). I had to miss the second day due to a family illness but, I can’t wait to get into the next one. After 3 days of instruction using a red dot, I decided to switch my carry set up to include a pistol equipped with a red dot sight. Next thing I know I was sending off my carry gun (CZ P07) off for some work. Now I am sitting with my 320, CZ, FN 509 all RDS equipped and another 2 in the making.
Red dot sights on guns are not for everyone, but they are here to stay and should be seriously considered. Its hard to deny the advantages that they give a shooter. There is also a significant advantage for new shooters and those with worsening vision.
by etweedt99 | Sep 20, 2018 | Uncategorized
No Fail Pistol- Chuck Pressburg
Sept 15th & 16th, 2018
Written by Erik Tweedt- Owner, Archetype of the Gun
Handgun- Sig Sauer P320 (factory upgraded trigger), full size, Romeo 1 RDS
Weapon light- Surefire x300A
Handheld light- Surefire Tactician
Holster- Bawidamann Gotham w/ RCS wedge and claw
Mag carrier- RCS Copia double, neo mag holder left front pocket
Belt- Ares Gear Aegis
Magazines- Factory, 3x17rd, 1x21rd
Med Gear- Soft-T wide, Dark Angel Pocket kit, Mini- Trauma shears, Hyfin entry/exit chest seals, 2 pairs nitrile gloves, carried in Ryker Ankle rig
Ammo- Fiocchi 115gr, shot approx. 900rds
The entire course was shot from concealment.
Prior Experience: 37yo, medically retired Chicago Fire Department, IL paramedic/lead instructor (18yrs), owner of Archetype of the Gun. Past training with Clint Smith, Tom Givens, Massad Ayoob, Andy Kemp, Bob Houzenga, Dave Spaulding, Varg Freeborn, Robert Militello, TEMS, TECC recognized educational partner, Critical Care Paramedic, UTM Instructor/professional training organization, NRA Instructor, Rangemaster Instructor. Rifle, shotgun, handgun and executive protections classes from the above. My normal carry is a Sig Sauer p229, 9mm with the holster as above,1 spare mag in a neo mag holder left front pocket. Ryker med kit on right ankle
Range: Article II range in Lombard, IL. We secured private range use and privileges. 8 lanes wide, 25yds from inside the stalls. The staff let us stay longer than reserved on the last day, because it was slow and my prior relationship. Lots of looky loos at the windows of the range…Chuck gathers a crowd.
Class Demographics: 11 shooters, 2 relays comprised of armed citizens, Leo/Mil (active and retired), Leo/ Civilian instructors. All attendees had a decent amount of professional training; ranging from 1-2 classes when they can, all the way up to I train for a living. There were also a few students from some big-name industry retailers.
Preparation: 200-300rds through gun for function check and rough zero, cleaned and lubed gun. Mags were loaded 3mags of 10 and the last to capacity. There was significantly more work as class host, not because Chuck was needy…I just wanted to make sure everything went smoothly.
To start off, I showed up as a bad student. I had a newish gun…function checked and played with for basic familiarity and a rough 10yd zero. I did not put any real time into learning how to use a pistol mounted red dot. I did not zero my ammo. Function check and rough zero was done with 124gr…I brought 115gr. I did not inform Chuck of this and basically taught myself how to use it on the fly, trying to remember what I had read prior to purchasing the gun. I purchased with the intent to experiment with RDS pistols prior to spending a significant amount of money having one built. I could blame this on any number of real-world reasons, but I should know better. This was a significant failure on my part as a student, and I preach to others that this should not be done. Students need to show up to class with working and known equipment as to spend their time focusing on new lessons and not a new toy. I refused to let this slow the class down, there where better uses of his time and this wasn’t a “Intro to rds” course . It was evident on day one that I was not shooting to my ability. Chuck saw this and would whisper gently into my ear…YOU FUCKED THAT UP!!! Seriously though, he reminded me of things I knew, but was not doing. By day two this had resolved…It was obvious to other students and Chuck.
Course overview: Chuck’s No Fail Pistol course is designed around making a high risk/ high reward, low percentage shot….all the marbles, you miss and innocent people die, loved ones. Think hostage rescue or shit head with a bomb. This class, while not super physical/run and gun, is very taxing; both mentally and physically. This class pushes you to your limits and beyond. This class is for intermediate and advanced shooters, you should show up knowing how to shoot and have you range/class etiquette locked down.
I will not talk much about specific drills or testing. You will have to take his course for that.
TD 1: Class started on time with student and instructor introductions, followed by a safety briefing/medical plan and a short, concise lecture from Chuck. Expectations were well thought out and explained. The rest of the time was spent shooting with teaching points brought up when/where required. The entire class was shot on IPSC and NRA B8 target centers. We started with warm ups at 25yd on B8’s and used them through the rest of the day. Chuck follows the crawl, walk, run philosophy, assessing our abilities and adding new skills/ problems as we progressed. A tried and true teaching method of chuncking learning/ stacking tolerances. Today was focused solely on accuracy and the high standard expected from us was clear. By the end of the day fatigue was setting in and was evident in our groups. We broke for the day and Chuck gave us some parting thoughts.
TD 2: One handed drills, multiple targets, shooting on the move, threat assessment and shot placement/calling while shooting. Today built on the same skills as yesterday, now with more speed and no fail/hostage targets. We were encouraged to drive it until the wheels fell off and gain control again. Finding our limits and then performance on demand. Chuck reiterates that he can only teach us to what to practice and doesn’t expect large improvements from us. Though, he is pleased when we push through and achieve new levels. Today the range was kinds enough to let us stay late because it was slow, Chuck took advantage of that without missing a beat. He filled in with extra course work and made sure we weren’t to gassed to perform our final test. We can’t ensure learning occurred without metrics…that means testing. Testing was done on B8 target centers, individually and timed. I feel there was significant improvement class wide. At the end there wasn’t a disappointed face in the group. We were tired and sore, but everyone was grinning from ear to ear.
Final thoughts: This was Chucks inaugural, open enrollment No Fail Pistol. This did not deter from the content or his performance. Chuck has a way of motivating his students and making them perform at levels they didn’t know they could. If they did know that they could perform, he made you better, faster and more consistent. While nothing we did was “new”, the skills and drills used and taught by Chuck held us accountable for everything we put out. By the end of class even the casual students where shot calling with accuracy and self-diagnosing their hits and misses. While there was levity, and everyone had a good time; the importance of the lessons learned were not lost on anyone. I personally received confirmation of my teaching methods and abilities. When some of my students glanced at me after Chuck hit a teaching point they had previously heard from me it gave a feeling of ease that I was providing them with the best information and skills that I could. I gained new insights and have already incorporated what I learned into my lesson plans.
Chuck brought us into his world, both professionally and personally. His lessons challenged us physically, mentally and emotionally. This course, like all great teachers, was eye opening.
by etweedt99 | Sep 5, 2018 | Uncategorized
One of my students was kind enough to do a complete review of his last course. I always enjoy hearing from my students and try to maintain contact with them. They all know that I’m just a phone call away.
AAR: Archetype of the Gun – So You’ve Been Shot
Instructor – Erik Tweedt
Gear – Glock 17 w/ RM09 and frame stippling, Eidolon Holster, Blackhawk Mag Pouch
Location – Article II Range, Lombard IL
Personal Background: No previous formal medical education, taken various pistol courses
AotG caters to individuals and small groups, offering training that accommodates their schedules and that can be personalized to their needs.
“So You’ve Been Shot” focuses on the aftermath of getting shot. Students learn how to handle mental, medical and ballistic issues. Specifically, types of injuries and their treatments as well as how to fight while injured, with a heavy emphasis on the lone responder and concealed carry holder/off-duty officer.
Started in the classroom, 1 other student and myself. Erik introduced himself, gave some of his background and training resume, and went over his plan for the 2 day course.
Beginning with a power point presentation covering the medical side, Erik went through the common treatable injuries including how to assess and treat them with the appropriate tools. The presentation was broken up with either personal anecdotes or tactile exercises (finding a pulse, lifting the jaw, etc).
Students had a chance to practice packing a wound and applying a tourniquet. Experiencing the full 3 minutes of pressure needed to allow a clot to form really drove that home more than simply hearing it. Gear selection and gear to avoid was covered as well as “improvised” options if the ideal gear wasn’t available or had already been used.
After ensuring we had a solid understanding of the material and sufficient practice reps on the gear, Erik covered the course of fire for the next day. We then ran a couple dry fire drills meant to get the students comfortable with using their non-dominant hand only as well moving into and out of different positions. This also gave Erik a chance to assess our handling/safety skills and make some improvements/adjustments before we got into the live fire portion.
Started on the Range. 2 other students and myself. Erik gave a safety brief and reviewed the planned course of fire/expectations.
We began with all 3 on the line, roughly 3-5 yards working from the holster. Once Erik got a sense of our accuracy and draw fundamentals, we began working with the non-dominant hand only. After a couple strings of fire, we began shooting non-dominant hand from various positions (standing, kneeling, prone, laying on back).
We then moved on to shooting individually with simulated injuries (tennis balls and duct tape). Erik used a spray bottle with stage blood to simulate bleeding, which really drove home the important of staying focused despite distractions as well as having aggressive grip texture on your firearm. For me personally it also validated that the RMR will function in adverse conditions as Erik did not hesitate to give my dot several direct “arterial” sprays.
Erik also began using a wooden stick to instigate malfunctions in our firearms so that we were able to practice getting them back into the fight while injured.
Finally, using Triumph Systems pivoting targets, we individually ran a threat engagement drill where we stopped a threat and then treated an injury behind cover under the timer. This was great to combine all the components we had practiced while also reinforcing the important of maintaining awareness because threats may reappear and are always the first priority.
Overall I thought Erik did an excellent job teaching us valuable, life-saving knowledge and skills in a fun/engaging manner. We also got to see how our various gear choices held up under hard use and in compromising circumstances. I left with medical knowledge I didn’t have as well as some identified weaknesses like support hand only shooting, but also confidence in my abilities and gear choices.
by etweedt99 | Mar 13, 2018 | Uncategorized
What did your concealed carry class teach you? Whatever a bureaucrat, that probably doesn’t even own a gun, felt was necessary. Concealed carry courses generally cater to the new shooter and are meant, only, to fulfil a legal requirement. It is a licensing class, not a gun fighting class. In Illinois all that is required to teach concealed carry is that you have a CCW permit and NRA basic pistol. Neither of which teach you how to fight with your gun. Concealed carry class teaches you the legal requirements. The NRA basic pistol focuses on basic marksmanship and safety. Safety rules that don’t pertain to self-defense…. why are there 2 sets of firearms safety rules???
For most people this will be the only formal firearms education they receive. This is unacceptable in my mind, but as my wife is quick to point out “They aren’t you.” Maybe this is a failing on the instructor for not stressing enough that the concealed carry class is only the beginning and you need to seek out specialized education designed around fighting with your gun. Maybe this is the student suffering from the Dunning-Kruger effect. It doesn’t matter, this is why I stress the essential skills required for a gun fight in my entry level course, and all of my other courses are designed around those essential skills. There is no such thing as advanced skills. There is only the mastery of the essential skills performed at a more demanding level.
What do I feel should be taught in an entry level course that may very well be the only course some students ever take? It is my responsibility, as an educator, to give you best possible chances of winning a gunfight/ deadly force encounter that I can. I have to give you the essential skills that you need to win. Winning is the only option. These skills are different from basic gun handling. Now, anytime your gun comes out there is always a chance of death, the bad guys or yours. So, I need to enable you to place accurate and effective hits on target. That cannot occur when you only shoot the qualification. That is the major problem with concealed carry classes. These essential skills must be performed on demand.
I had a student recently for a private session that kept asking questions that should have been covered during the concealed carry course. Is it possible this student zoned out or forgot? Maybe, but this student was a sponge soaking up every word I said and was eager to learn; so, I doubt it. Clearly the instructor had failed this student. This, again, is unacceptable yet it happens on a constant basis. Though I can’t complain, a large deal of my business is correcting other instructors’ failings. When I was working as a gun bunny, I had a customer approach me and present their brand new CCW permit very proudly. After a short discussion I showed him the gun of his choice, which he promptly picked up, pointed at my head and yanked that trigger like he was pulling a kid out of shark infested water. After some harsh words on firearm safety and completely ignoring his lack of appropriate gun handling, he and his family became regular clients for private classes.
Most classes, unfortunately, just have you shoot the state required qualification. This does nothing to prepare you to defend your life. If the only shooting you do is a warm up and your qualification you probably shouldn’t give that person your money, they are stealing from you. You should be spending a significant amount of time on the range, how to work the trigger, how and when to use your sights, working from concealment (eventually), working malfunctions, reloading on a proactive and emergent basis (yes, I know that reloads are statistically unlikely, the skill is still necessary), …. LEARNING HOW TO FIGHT WITH YOUR GUN!!! A quick way to tell is to look at the round count. If the qualification is only 30rds and they tell you to bring 50rds…. that’s a clue. Look for classes that have you shooting a minimum of 300rds. Yes, I can show you what to do with 50rds, but the chances of you actually retaining it are slim. You have barely begun the process of learning that new skill.
Vet your instructor. I see so many instructors teaching shit they have no business teaching or taking shortcuts. There is no online portion to IL concealed carry. Neither concealed carry nor NRA basic pistol teach tactics, so why do some these “instructors” teach low light, barricade shooting and movement skills? This doesn’t pertain to Law enforcement or Military instructors. But the rest of them that have never taken anything beyond those 2 classes are just mimicking, poorly, what they have seen on social media. Yes, unfortunately, the social media school of gun fighting exist. No, you should not attend.
My intent is not to bash other instructors. But, when was your instructors last class as a student? Instructors that stagnate are the equivalent of students that take their concealed carry course and never touch their gun again. If you instructor isn’t challenging themselves (through course work, competition, or their peers) to grow and better themselves, how can they do that for you. If they aren’t committed to the learning process how can they grow and remain relevant. If your instructor only has the bare minimum requirements, how will they be able to provide quality education of the essential skills required to win a fight for your life.
Should you take a class taught by a Law enforcement or military instructor? Sure, you should take as many classes as possible. Those guys are a wealth of knowledge, but you need to know how to filter that information prior to attending class. Does what they are teaching pertain to you, your life style and your mission? Leo and Mil have a different mission than an armed citizen. Rarely do either of them function without back up a radio call away. Neither of them must conceal their firearm. Both can carry long guns openly. Both are hunters, have legal teams worth millions, and have different rules of engagement then the armed citizen. Both can teach you a great deal but, can you differentiate the roles? Why does an armed citizen need to be taught military or law enforcement tactics during, possibly, the only formal class they will ever attend? What if you took a class from someone that functions daily the same way you do? What if your teacher had to follow the same rules they are teaching? What if your teacher lived their daily life in a way that paralleled yours? Someone that has to conceal, has no back up, will be placed in handcuffs and possibly taken to jail immediately after using their firearm. Someone that has dedicated themselves to same methods they are preaching. Someone that must not only conceal their firearm but, their abilities, their intentions, and project an image that doesn’t differ from those around them in their daily lives. The same this goes for competition shooters. I bet I could learn a lot from a Grandmaster ranked competitor on being a better shooter, but what can he teach me about concealed carry. What I need to teach you isn’t cool or flashy; my job is to educate you enough to understand and make use of the essential skills required to win. I said educate, not train, why? You educate people, you train animals.
A good instructor gives credit where credit is due. There is nothing new in this game, 99.9% of it has been done before, forgotten, and relearned. Sure, each instructor has their own take on skills and how to perform them, but we all teach basically the same thing. No, I don’t mean only take from 1 instructor or there is only 1 way of doing things. What I mean is, if an instructor is advertising something that no one else in the industry is doing or is so “innovative” that nobody is mimicking or stealing it…. it’s almost always garbage. They are just trying to make themselves look good, all flash and no substance. So, do a little research and ask some questions before you give your money and time to someone that is supposed to be teaching your how to save your own life. I don’t remember where I heard it or the exact words, but the gist is…” there are two things you shouldn’t cheap out on, surgeons and things designed to save your life.”
This is why you don’t see me offering a concealed carry class. Instead, my Handgun Essentials 1 course teaches you the skills you will need in gun fight. Additionally, it qualifies as an Illinois Concealed Carry course. Don’t worry, if you ever need these skills, you will have the rest of your life to figure it out.
by etweedt99 | Mar 7, 2018 | Uncategorized
Dave Spaulding of Handgun Combatives- Reduced Light Pistol- March 3&4, 2018,
Alpha Range, McHenry IL
Written by: Erik Tweedt
Handgun- Wilson Combat EDC X9, standard safety, green fiber optic front sight
Weapon light- Surefire x300A
Handheld light- Surefire EDCL2-T
Holster- Bawidamann Gotham w/ RCS wedge and claw
Mag carrier- RCS Copia double
Belt- Ares Gear Aegis
Med Gear- Soft-T wide, Dark Angel Pocket kit, Mini- Trauma shears, Hyfin entry/exit chest seals, 2 pairs nitrile gloves, carried in Ryker Ankle rig
Ammo- Aguila 124gr
Everything listed above performed as you would expect. The gun received 4 drops of lube total, 1 per rail after day 1. I had a single user induced double feed during a press check with the EDC X9. Everyone that asked was surprised at the lack of carbon build up on the fiber optic front sight. While some sights had a slight advantage over the fiber optic, I was in no way hindered by it. In particular, Dave’s own Ameri-glo photo-luminescing/ tritium combo front sight impressed me greatly; but he quickly points out that the luminescent sight only serves as a reference point. They aren’t always used for true aimed fire. With the taught techniques I was able to put all of my shots from 3-15 yds in the thoracic cavity target in almost complete darkness (a handful of expired chem- lights for safely marking the firing line). The green fiber optic was lost in smoke with some techniques, but quickly reappeared with a shift of the handheld light. The gas pedal switch on the EDCL2-T was problematic with about half of the mated techniques. The switch on the Tactician was significantly better in that regard. The gun mounted light really does have some significant advantages, but it is not without its own problems. I also played with a 6p, with and without the Thyrm switchback and various combat rings.
Prior Experience: 36yo, medically retired CFD medic (18yrs), owner of Archetype of the Gun. Past training with Clint Smith, Tom Givens, Massad Ayoob, Andy Kemp, Bob Houzenga, Robert Militello, TEMS, TECC, Critical Care Paramedic, UTM Instructor, NRA Instructor, Rangemaster Instructor. Rifle, shotgun, handgun and executive protections classes from the above. My normal carry is a Sig Sauer p229, 9mm with the same set up as above with 1 spare mag, occasionally a Ruger LCR on my weak side ankle.
Preparation: Less than 100rds through gun for function check and zero, coupled with pampering the wife for a couple days prior.
Range: Alpha Range in McHenry IL is a private range consisting of 2 bays with ability to shoot 180 degrees. Class was hosted by Mickey Schuch owner of Carry Trainer.
Class Demographics: Mix of 16 armed citizens, LEO/MIL/GOV, and Instructors. All male class, age range from 20’s- 70’s. I believe 1 gentleman in his 50’s- 60’s is taking 40+ classes this year, I am slightly envious. Retirees and true gun-fighters were in attendance; 1 local in particular that everyone in the professional community has read about but keeps very low key. I was shooting next to him all weekend and didn’t find out until after lunch on TD2 who he was and who we both knew, it really is a small world.
Training Day 1: Class began with the usual safety and legal brief, followed by approximately 1hr of power point. The remainder of the 16hr class was spent on the range. Class was broken into 2 relays of 8 shooters. All skills were practiced in the light until we were able to perform them safely. Dave began with his usual 3 round walk out drill. 3 shots on a 3×5 card beginning at 3yds and ending at 15yds (max distance available for this size group). Dave than evaluated each individual target and made the necessary corrections. Dave pointed out that I started out with what he refers to as “SHIT” grip, which lead me to throw a couple rounds low and outside the 3×5 target. This was quickly remedied, and my accuracy was within reason for my usual standards the remainder of class (100% FBI instructor, 96.7% Rangemaster instructor). Dave’s manor of instruction is very matter of fact, some would refer to him as an asshole or a dick, they are wrong and need to thicken their hide. He had some particularly feisty moments and hugs were given out freely.
This wasn’t just a class on using a flash light. Dave takes aspects from his other courses and combines them with his low light curriculum. We reviewed Dave’s “Arc of Ready” and its continuity with use of a handheld light. We ran multiple “Arc of Ready” drills until everyone was performing them well with 2 hands and 1 hand. Next, we added the handheld light to each of the positions. We worked through standard techniques, Harries, FBI, Surefire/Syringe. We also worked the Graham method, the Chapman method, the Ayoob method, center index, and neck index until we could make our own educated decision on each. Dave made sure we had adequate time to work through each. There was also plenty of swapping of lights to experience the pros and cons of each light and each technique.
We than moved onto malfunction and reload drills with the handheld lights. We worked the ditch and bury methods with the light; and inboard vs. outboard with slide manipulation. Dave’s preferred inboard manipulation definitely had its advantages with a handheld light. We finished TD 1 with a primer for TD 2 and 1 handed techniques to increase accuracy. Which you will have to take a class to learn more about.
Training Day 2: I apologize because there is a lot of stuff today that I can’t write in detail about; you have to take a class if you want what makes Dave special. Dave is fond 3 shot strings during practice. His reasoning is 1x = luck, 2x = happenstance, 3x = skill/ recoil control. During TD2 we were encouraged to incorporate weapon mounted lights into every drill we ran, as to determine when each light was most useful. We started with some confidence building with our gear and ourselves. No light shots on Dave’s thoracic cavity target from 3yds-15yds. I won’t give away his insights here, but he is very effective. We continued on to lateral movements, prone and barricade techniques with single and multiple targets; as well as stationary and moving targets. We discussed in depth “why” we did things frequently. Dave is big on “why” and it was well received. We also worked some of Dave’s signature drills on timer.
We finished off with a competition for one of Dave’s Ares Gear belt buckles. Dave’s 2x2x2 drill was the game. In order to successfully complete this drill everything must be perfect. Stance, grips, driving the gun out onto target, sights, trigger work, recoil control all play a critical factor in completion. Very few can accomplish this on demand, even with dry fire warm up. Even fewer have accomplished this more than once, I believe there have been 3. I was happy with my performance, a time of 2.59 seconds from concealment. I had a 1-inch group with 1 shot in the target and 1 shot just over the line, a quarter inch above the first shot. No one from our class ran it clean, though some were a fraction of a second off. Over the next 2 days Dave ran a closed course for the McHenry county sheriffs. Belt buckle #14 was awarded with a time of 1.87 seconds. It was completed with temps in the 30’s, freezing rain and snow.
This class was well worth the investment. I have tried previously to attend his courses always to end up on the waiting list. Dave plans on retiring soon and is slowly removing courses and available dates. If you have ever had the inclination to take a course from him, do it while you can. Dave doesn’t run tactical band camps. His courses are pure practical information. There are no Hondo rolls or tacti-cool BS. If you want straight forward, proven information and skills, then Dave has what you’re looking for.