There has been a long lull in our articles and reviews, much due to a busy start of the year we both have been having. But there is a lot of new gear and adventures to write about, so I am sure as the winter here gets turned properly into spring we have lots of new things for you to read up here. Despite our recent slow publishing rate the reading rates are high, so thank you all who have read our articles and maybe nudged a friend to get acquainted with our humble blog!
Some events and adventures from last year have gone unwritten too, but we will try to get the most important ones written ASAP. Starting with this one! We had the utmost pleasure of continuing the PD1A course with IMTT Finland at the end of last year. Some of the pictures and videos have already been published in our IG account, but here I will take you through all the new things we learned.
You can read all about IMTT, the PD1A course and IMTT Finland here in our last article on the first lesson. You should also check out IMTT Finlands website here. If you are living in Finland, or in the neighbouring countries, and are interested in developing yourself as a shooter, there is a couple of IMTT USA courses coming up now in the end of April (2018) in Helsinki! You can find more info on that course in IMTT Finlands Facebook page here.
Heading out to the range
The morning broke with a dreary rain. Gray, overcast skies promised us that the rain was not going anywhere. So we packed accordingly, of course, with the phrase “if it ain’t raining, we ain’t training” looping in our minds. Some new gear had arrived just in time for the range day too, so our excitement was not curbed too much by the rain.
A few hours later we were back at the same range as before. Huge puddles dotted the sandy ground. Thank God I had the sense to buy my AKU Pilgrim’s with a goretex lining. After some hand shaking and exchange of news we geared up. While putting on our belts and filling some mags, we went through the basics of range safety procedures again, as is wise to do every time you are handling firearms.
We went orally through the points we learned last time and Jukka quizzed us with some terms to test our knowledge. When he was satisfied that we were up to speed again, we continued to the new stuff.
The New Stuff
There are two kinds of reloads that you need to know for the basics of using sidearm of personal defence: the “speed reload” and “tactical reload”. It is very important to practice both of these techniques and learn by heart when you need to use which reload.
You see people doing speed reloads all the time, because it is sexy, it is fast and it is cool. And it can save your life in a tight spot. But it is always called for? When you have the time to assess the situation, should you not reload your gun deliberately and dump the used mag into a pouch for later refill and use? Most of us do not carry a ton of extra mags all the time.
Both reloads need to be practiced until they are in muscle memory, but as much as the technique is important, so is the proper application and place. So go through the principles and familiarise yourself with them to be more efficient in what you do. Personally I have dry practiced both of these reloads since every time I do my drills and kept in mind the proper application too.
Speed reload is a technique you use when there is an immediate threat to you. It is a reaction to a situation where every second counts. When you gun runs dry you need to fill it up to preserve your life or defend your team, family or fellow man.
The proper way to do it, is to first drop your support hand to your speed reload mag holder on your belt (or rig). After you have grabbed the fresh mag, you release the old mag from the pistol. Simultaneously, with your support hand, bring up the fresh mag and slam it in the pistol.
Keep in mind the basics of reloading: 1) Index finger on the front of the mag pointing to the mag well. 2) That you first lay the flat back of the mag onto the back side of the mag well and slide the mag in. DO NOT try to just poke it in straight, you will just end up missing and lose precious seconds.
If the slide is locked to the rear, release it and engage the threat if need be.
Tactical reload is slower, more thought through the way to refill your sidearm. It is meant to be used when there is a pause in the gunfight, when you can take a little breath and regroup in cover. This should be done before the gun goes dry. If you gun goes dry, a speed reload should be considered.
The way the Tac reload is done is that you first take a fresh mag from your belt form mag pouch. Note: it needs to be from another pouch than the speed reload pouch you have specially reserved for the above mentioned purpose! You take the mag so in your hand that it is between your index finger and middle finger, with the base plate flat on your palm. Then you bring your support hand up to the pistol (still in the high ready pose to asses any sudden threats) and place your hand so that when you release the old mag it drops to your palm in between the ring finger and little finger. Then you rotate your hand and immediately insert the new mag into the pistol. After the gun is proper working order you proceed to dump the used mag into your dump pouch.
Turns to Threat
We also learned the proper ways to turn to the threat, if you are engaged from otherwhere than from the front. These movements made us chuckle and thing of dance floor feats, but you need to have clear sense of how to move when you are armed. Without drills and moves like these you would just add to the already chaotic environment of a gunfight, not to forget to compromise the safety of the gun range when practicing with live ammo.
The basic procedure to all the turns is that first you are standing feet on the same line, shoulder length apart. Then you turn your head to the target, then you grab the pistol on the belt (BUT DO NOT DRAW YET!) and bring your support hand to your chest ready for the draw. Then you move your legs for the turn and only when you are fully facing the target, you proceed to the presentation of the weapon.
Threat From Left
First you look left to the target. Then you move your hands readying yourself for the draw. Then you step with your right foot one step in front, leaving your heel up. Then you lift your left foots heel too and rotate your body pivoting with your soles pressed to the ground. Then you press your heels back into the ground. Your left foot should be a little in front of your right. When pressing your feet onto the ground you can proceed with the presentation of the pistol and engage the threat.
Threat From Right
First you look to your right to the threat and like before you move your hands for the draw. Then you move your left foot and step it in front of you but a little across your right foot, and leave the heel raised. Then raising your right heel you again pivot to your right using your soles and plant your heels together. You should end up with your left foot a little in front of your right, just like above. Feet planted you are ready to draw and engage the target.
Threat From Behind
Now this is a little more trickier. You glance over your shoulder to the target. It does not matter which shoulder, but I prefer left. Then you move your hands for the draw and move your right foot across your body, over your left foot and leave the heel raised. Then you again pivot using your soles, this time doing a whole 180 degrees turn. When you are facing the target, left foot again slightly in front, you can plant your heels and draw to engage.
A Few Further Points of Learning
Speed and Accuracy
We also practiced speed and accuracy together. The trick is to gradually build speed repetitions of the right movement, first slow and then faster. One main principle Jukka taught us is that “draw fast, shoot slow”. This way the speed comes from the swiftness of your arms, not your trigger finger. Fast trigger finger only makes you more inaccurate, because you tend to pull the trigger to one side or the other. Personally I was proud to hear the words “your draw is Jedi-like” form the sensei, but later my poor trigger handling and nervousness got the best of me.
Also the one phrase you hear at shooting ranges is “aim small, miss small” came to life for us. Jukka made us to shoot the head box of the target, which at first seemed really small and unreachable for us. But in the end we both were able to get a head shot in under 1,5 seconds. Not everyone can do that, and we were really hyped to see proper progress in our training.
We also learned a new drill called Failure drill, or sometimes known as the Mozambique drill. This is a drill where you shoot two times in one sight picture to the torso and one time to the head box.
This is a technique that is used to fully stop a threat, if a single shot or the hammer to the torso fails to do the trick. Wikipedia will tell you the story behind the drill, it is worth the read!
As with all basic handling and manoveours of pistol defence practicing dry is the key to success. But as with all practise you should start slow and with focus on doing exactly correct repetitions. This way you can forgo any “training scars”, or bad habits that will interfere with you learning the right way. Then when you are familiar with the movements you can start to increase speed and eventually you will have programmed the right way to your mind so that it is a second nature to you.
Hard lessons learned
In the end of the day we had shot a 250 shots both to the targets and spend a good few moments doing dry practices with the mag changes and turns. The rain had soaked us through and we were hungry, but extremely grateful for all the knowledge and training we had got.
Only thing shadowing our mood was the last 15 minutes of the training. Jukka pulled up two DOTS sheets and nailed them in front of us. The DOTS is a drill target sheet that has all of these drills and techniques in them. You are supposed to follow the instructions, do the drills and hit the small dots on the sheet. We used these DOTS targets from Kaaos Gear, a Finnish manufacturer. Follow the link to see the target for yourself.
Maybe it was the hunger, or the rain or both (not our inexperience of course!) but both of us failed this a bit miserably, missing most of the dots. I more so than Blue.
Jukka then put up one last target for each of us and pitted us against each other with the last bullets in our mags. After the timer, the one first to hit the head box was the winner. We both missed several times. So many times actually that he sacrificed a few rounds of his own for us to settle the score.
In the end Blue won. We all had a good laugh and in the end we both had to pick up the spent casings from the mud in the pouring rain. Some good, hard lessons learned there, haha!
Oh and Jukka had his GoPro with him that day, so here is a video compilation of the whole day!
Some of the gear you see in the photos us using has been reviewed in our blog already. Follow the links below to read further on them!
TAD Gear Stealth Hoodie, Rhino hide
Flimmuur Laser cut micro PALS belt – First Impressions
CDH-Tac Finland CUTE Dump pouch
Triple Aught Design Recon RS Pant
AKU Pilgrim boots – First Impressions
HSGI Sure-Grip padded Belt
Magpul Core Technical Gloves
Also I had a Belgian army jigsaw-camo BDU cap, that I got from our friend Fire Mission Blog, and we had patches from such awesome companies, like Marauder Thread Works, Allied Risk Equipment and, of course, IMTT Finland.
This post originally appeared on the blog Noble & Blue and is reposted here with permission by the original author.