On July 20th, 2019, I attended GoRuck’s Active Shooter Intervention training course, as well as a night fire. The event took place at the Richwood Gun & Game Club in Richwood, Ohio. The weather was a brutal 105 degree heat index.
Note from Matt
If you didn’t catch the byline, this isn’t my report. This is the first post for community member BDover, and I want to take a moment to think him for putting this together.
Be sure to let him know what you think down in the comments!
This was my first formal course, I shoot matches fairly regularly and carry regularly, but this was my first formal pistol class.
I chose this as my first formal training mostly due to proximity. This range was only about 30 minutes from where I live just north of Columbus OH.
When its that’s close its hard to say no.
I’ve got two little boys and a wife which sort of precludes being able to attend anything longer than a day away.
The other reason was that this is billed as an all-experience-level event, so I didn’t think I’d feel left out. Of interest to me was also the night shooting portion.
GoRuck’s website describes Active Shooter Intervention course for shooters of all skill levels. It’s unique in that it approaches the events through scenario-based training.
The cadre, a military term for instructors, reinforce the fundamentals of safely operating a semi-automatic pistol, stance, grip, sight picture, sight alignment, and trigger squeeze. For each lesson of the course, the instructors physically demonstrate each drill prior to having the students repeat it.
All of the firing drills are based on real world scenarios and cover various distances, positions, and single shot or rapid-fire engagement.
Students learn basic counter-terror strategies that will better equip them to react to active shooter situations.
The night fire portion was very similar content, but performed in the dark.
For this event, GoRuck sent two instructors.
Garret “The Machine” is former Israeli Special Operations.
“Mocha” Mike is former US Army Special Forces.
To be honest, I over-packed for this one.
For pistols, I brought two 4th-Gen Glock 17s and two 4th-Gen Glock 19s. For each pair, one had fiber optic sights one that had tritium night sights.
My holsters were either Raven Concealment or Safariland, two of the well-established companies in the business.
A Blade-Tech double mag pouch carried my spare mags during the event.
Active Shooter Intervention Course Breakdown
We arrived on Saturday morning to start roll call. In all, there were 22 people in attendance. Among the class was your usual mishmash of careers and backgrounds, but we had five medical professionals, including two nurses, one physician’s assistant, an EMT, one state trooper, and six lawyers.
After roll call we covered administrative issues like safety procedures for the hot part of the range, location for an ambulance, designated individuals to help anyone who needs it, etc.
I thought these were pretty good basics to get out of the way.
Once all this was done, everyone dispersed to grab their gear from their cars. Most of the class used striker-fired pistols such s Glocks, M&Ps, and Sigs. There were two red dot pistols, no revolvers, and one dude brought along a Makarov.
I’ll get to that.
Safety Checks & Procedures
Once everyone had pistols, less mags and ammo, the cadre passed out barrel plugs and assigned battle buddies. Buddies confirmed that those to their left and right all had plugs in place before everyone was allowed to reassemble their pistols.
At this point everyone moved to the firing line in a bay about 50 yards wide. The cadre thoroughly reviewed procedures to ensure the pistol is clear and re-holsters.
Prior to this, I thought I was novice level, at best, among the group. To my surprise, though, many students seemed wholly unfamiliar with the process of ensuring that you are clear & safely re-holstering.
Once everyone had that down pat, we worked on draw and aiming. I thought this was pretty basic with nothing special to see. The cadre verified that everyone knew to get a good grip prior to drawing, and that you shouldn’t be trying to re-grip after the draw.
Personally, I found this helpful. I realized that I wan’t gripping it very well prior to the draw.
The fundamentals portion of the course spanned from from 8:30 AM to about 10:30 AM. This allowed most of the class to develop a good handle on the basics before firing any live rounds.
Live Fire & Baseline Testing
After a short water and snack break, the cadre directed everyone to load mags and proceed to the firing line. It was time for baseline testing.
The test used three magazines of ten rounds each. We used one magazine each for 25, 15, & 5 yds onto an x-ring style target.
We were allotted 5-10 seconds at each distance to fire rounds. After each string of fire, we counted hits within the inner target rings. Only hits within these rings counted for score.
I scored less than stellar, but most of the class also underperformed their expectations.
We began with a series of slow fire drills from multiple distances.
I, along with most of the class, realized that when you actually focus on what you’re doing you can do it pretty well. Scores and accuracy seemed to go up, and this was a nice confidence builder.
After slow fire we did the same drills, but faster. We were again put on the clock.
The group split roughly in half, with battle buddies sharing responsibility of shooting and timing.
This worked pretty well as the stop command was a firm tap on the shoulder, that way you knew when it was you stopping and not other parts of the line.
By this time in the day, my partner was the guy running the Makarov.
It choked. It choked hard.
This was probably the seventh jam of the day. The thing jammed so hard that one of the instructors had to pull it off the line and borrow some tools from club members on other parts of the range. My partner had to borrow a pistol from one of the instructors who had spares.
After this was a lunch break and most of us stayed on the range and ate our pre-packed lunches.
We were probably 2/3 of the way through the recommended round count by this time.
Once the instructors were confident that everyone had the basics for draw, aim/shoot, and follow up shots, we loaded mags to 10 rounds and backed the line up. We then proceeded to shoot for a while at the 20 yd line.
I never really realized how far 20 yards is until this event. It really forces you to focus on the basics.
When we finished, it was about time to wrap up.
Day Portion Key Takeaways
So far, I felt it was a good class. It covered the basics well, and you get to practice shooting at distance with lots of drawing from a holster. Drawing and shooting which isn’t always doable at your local range.
If I have one complaint about the class, it was that this class really should require students to be familiar with their pistol of choice. IE the Makarov guy.
If he was experienced with his pistol and knew the ins and outs, it is unlikely it would have died mid-class.
Also, the instructors did a good job monitoring everyone on the line and getting anyone off if it looked like they were suffering.
Active Shooter Intervention Night Fire
- Don’t load on the line
- You’re responsible for loading your own mags (no designated mag reload points), etc.
This was a much faster way to run a class. The next drill focused on transitions. We shot a plate and then transitioned to another plate without muzzling the target that was a non-threat.
After doing this a number of times you started to get a feel for making sure you don’t muzzle anyone that isn’t a target. It really made me think about how low you would need to drop your pistol to not point it at someone.
One of our final drills was a partner drill. We set up with our guns up, loaded, and ready to fire with fingers off the triggers. Once ready, we indicated to our partners and they would allow us to shoot until we hit the plate.
Once we hit the plate we were forced to rely on our ability to keep the pistol on target, we fired until we missed the plate. My personal best was 5 hits in a row before I’d miss.
Most of the class was about this point, but one of the guys could do 8-9 before he’d miss.
There were several things I took away from this class that will shift how I approach my training and gear in the future.
Tritium Vs. Fiber Optic Sights
Handheld Vs. WML
Extended slide stops are the jam
These were way easier to utilize one handed. Most of the class would either sling shot the slide to chamber rounds after going to slide lock. I could release it with my dominant hand as soon as the mag was locked it.
This seemed to be a much faster options compared to the other.