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Thread: Strategos International Tactical Applications of the Pistol for Church Protectors

  1. #1

    Strategos International Tactical Applications of the Pistol for Church Protectors

    I attended the 2 day course in Elkmont, AL which was hosted by Marshman Training & Consulting.

    Price: 350 plus Evenbrite fees.....366.00 if I remember correctly.

    Round count: 600

    About me: Sworn LEO since 1996, been to several schools related to work, and have attended other schools away from work. I was concerned that the class was going to be too basic but my church funded the trip and provided the ammunition since I am one of the trainers on our Church team.

    Gear: Duty Glock 17.4 stock with Glock OEM night sights, back up personal Glock 17.4 with Ameriglo Agents, Streamlight TLR-1 HL, Bravo Concealment OWB rig, Glock OEM mag carriers (2), sturdy/wide nylon belt, Dickies Perry suspenders since I am wearing them with my duty belt and off duty rig. This was the first class I ran the suspenders to shake them out and see if they would work. Knee pads from Lowes were a must, baseball cap, eye/ear pro. I took six OEM Glock 17 round magazines all with orange OEM floor plates to differentiate my magazines from the others as well as to be easier to see should I leave one behind on the deck. Lifetime cooler full of hydration, wet wipes, cheese on cheese crackers, Advil, Tums, and my Engel 20 ice pack large size.

    Ammunition: Blazer Brass 124 grain approximately 600 rounds FMJ.

    Other guns on the line: Beretta 92FS, S&W M&P 2.0 Compact, a Glock 30, and some sort of FN 9mm.

    Instructors: Roger and Guy.....both had impressive resumes, both "been there/done that" sort of dudes. Both either current or former LE, Guy also had military/contracting experience. Better resumes than what I was expecting for a civilian, faith based class. They were both calm, witty, and we were told that all of us were going to leave our egos behind. Both instructors said if we saw them do something unsafe to call them on it immediately. G-rated language throughout the course as it was faith based. Opening prayer and Pledge of Allegiance both days.

    Weather: Miserable humidity levels, heat, sunlight.......it's Alabama in August....bugs were surprisingly absent for the class........flying or crawling.....probably too hot for them. I prepped for this heat by taking the entire week off (class was Fri/Sat) and my wife put me to work pressure washing, mowing, cleaning out sheds.....so I drank fluids pretty much constantly the days leading up to the class. I ate light most of the week and skipped my French Press coffee both days opting for fluids and bananas instead.

    Facility: Pretty nice facility....all outdoors....and while we only stayed on one "bay" there were other bays....some set up for rifle fire out to 200 yards. It was off the beaten path, one of the nicest "outhouses" I've ever seen, and a canopy for eating, listening to instruction, etc. I'm jealous of the 80 plus acre facility. It's my fantasy piece of land that I would love to own. It was 2 miles from a cellphone tower and I65 so coverage was good.

    Day One started off with greetings and hand shakes all around. There were only five students including myself and the two aforementioned instructors. The facility owner is a retired FBI firearms instructor and he stuck around for most of the class helping out and offering great hospitality. The instructors then went over a written statement of what was expected of us safety wise and gear wise, a written medical plan including coordinates and the nearest Level 1 TC, and that they had blowout kits on site. The facility also had a full med kit and I had brought my ankle GSW kit as well as my patrol car blowout kit. We were asked if anyone was an EMT (negative) and then we dived into a four position draw stroke with dry, checked, and blue taped pistols.

    After a break we then went over reloads....tactical/retention reloads as well as emergency reloads, standing positions, kneeling positions, working in teams with communications (verbal) to each other, switching hands, etc. I could tell that all of this was new to the other four shooters so I just went with it as I expected some boredom at the onset. I dig gun handling anyway so I was playing along and going through the motions. After lunch we started live fire on index sized targets at somewhere around the 5 yard line. We were then told that we would be shooting both right and left handed, sometimes supported and sometimes just the one hand only, and they ran us through 2-6 shot drills on these index cards. I train people on index cards as well so I was pleased to see this as well as the utilization of both hands.

    Scanning left and right was added with verbalization to the others on the line and team tactics were added for tac reloads. They used different "words" than the other classes I have been to but they were KISS in nature. Due to the size of the class, we wrapped up day one early around 1500 hours and we shot about 150 rounds per shooter.

    Day Two I showed up an hour early and picked up all the brass from the first day. The site owner was there setting up and we talked a bit and I found him to be very in line with me on various topics. Both he and the two instructors were "my kind of guys" so the fellowship was top notch. I got all the brass up as the others arrived and we started class. The medical as well as the participant expectations safety briefing were gone over again fully and the first drill of the day was our "final exam". This was a timed, one shot drill on an index card from the five yard line with a generous 3 seconds. Only 2 of us hit the card and the instructors went over how gunfights were quick, close, and violent and that if you missed your index card you could take it home with you as a reminder to practice more.

    We then went over the following techniques with drills following instruction:
    Position SUL
    Covered SUL
    Movement shooting drills incorporating SUL
    Tactical geometry/Pieing
    Barricades and shooting steel utilizing barricades
    Contact front 2 man drills
    Multiple target engagement/transitions

    We had five steel targets to engage at the 15 yard line and some of these weren't all that large. I found that I had to focus to get hits left handed and I learned pretty quick that I don't practice trigger press enough with the left hand. The others had some difficulty with the smaller round targets but the IDPA target was easier to hit for them. Shooting those targets while pieing the barricades was something I teach as well so I loved that aspect of the class. I am secure enough to admit that I shot my barricade a time or two when the heat and fatigue got to me and convinced me to rush that trigger to get the shot sent.

    We then finished up with timed drills on IDPA paper targets at the 5 yard line. While they were not scored, I shot 100 percent within time limits but I should have shot tighter and faster. I've been spending too much time on slow fire bullseye.

    We closed with some comments from the instructors as well as the students. I was asked why I chose to come to the class since I had clearly seen most of this before and I replied that I'm still in "learning mode" and that I like to take classes as a student from time to time to stay current and shamelessly steal ideas. The instructors used me as an example to the others that everyone can sharpen their skills no matter what level they are at.

    Things I did well:
    Hydration and diet prior to class. I was the only one not sitting down during most breaks and I was ready to get back on the line. Wearing the suspenders along with a good belt is a SUPERIOR way for me to tote gear. After 23 years of letting that weight ride my hips the suspenders take off that weight and put it on my shoulders. It's taken years off me wear and tear wise. I was acclimated to the heat and fared a whole lot better than I thought I would. Keeping those wet wipes next to that 20 degree cooler pack was a win as I would peel one or two out and wipe down with it.

    Took vetted gear. Both Glock 17 have probably 3 thousand rounds on them respectively and neither have ever had a malfunction. I took my ammo in a .50 cal ammo can and all my mags were clearly marked and easy to find with the orange base plates. While this wasn't a high round count sort of class at 600 or less, I was the only one that didn't have issues. The FN guy had never shot WWB with his pistol and he was suffering light strikes, double feeds, etc and was a rank novice. I asked the instructors if I could run his ammo and he run mine and his issues went away. I let him load out of my can as I had brought 1800 rounds with me. The M&P guy had some handling issues that weren't the gun's fault, the G 30 guy had limp wrist issues on the left hand shoots, and the Beretta guy had a lot of trouble with de-cocking. Beretta guy about passed out on day one due to lack of hydration and he also had no Eppi pen with him even though he is highly allergic to bee stings. We got a lot of bees in Alabama so that was a head scratcher.

    Showed up early: Like an hour early....both days. Less traffic, less stressful, and I like to stretch well before a class.

    Took plenty of gear: Several holsters and mag carriers just in case something broke. Nothing did.

    Things I did poorly:

    Left hand trigger press. Really gotta take time in the future to work on that at relative speed. Slow fire I have no issues but running at a moderate pace I toss the shots to the right. It's rushing the press...and looking back....I don't dry fire lefty near enough.


    Overall I give the class high marks. Very professional instructors with professional backgrounds. Purchase was through Evenbrite and was painless. I had asked in advance about cancellation as being active LEO, sometimes I can be forced to go to court and such at the last minute. I was reassured that they would credit me for a future course or I could have some other church member come in my spot. Very easy to work with.

    About the only critical thing I can think of is on day one they had a guy come and talk about CCW insurance. He was "that guy" and even the host told me later that he had concerns about his war stories. His spiel only lasted about 10 minutes and he did bring pizza....which I abstained from.....as I eat light at shooting schools. Also, there was little to no legal/biblical aspects but that wasn't listed as part of the description for the 2 day. That may be covered in their 4 day class.

    Good class....highly recommended for a basic class for the guy or gal that needs training as part of a church security team or for just personal protection. Well worth the 360 and change that it cost.

    Regards.

  2. #2
    Member ST911's Avatar
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    I'll add another reference for this 2-day TAP class. No ego-encrusted instructors, family-friendly and no potty mouths, quality presentation, solid curriculum, practical skill work. A leader in two-day open enrollment curriculums and an excellent value. Recommended.
    الدهون القاع الفتيات لك جعل العالم هزاز جولة الذهاب

  3. #3
    Site Supporter jetfire's Avatar
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    It sounds like a good class, and thanks for posting the review.

    Your review sparked a side question: am I the only person who finds the idea of praying to God and then saying the Pledge of Allegiance sort of contradictory? This also might be because I think the Pledge is kind of weird to begin with.
    I shot the PX4 before it was cool.

  4. #4
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    A lot of us probably grew up hearing both before every sporting event or assembly at school...so, not weird.

    Wish they ran a class like that near me, thanks Lwt16
    Last edited by Redhat; 08-14-2019 at 05:49 PM.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by jetfire View Post
    It sounds like a good class, and thanks for posting the review.

    Your review sparked a side question: am I the only person who finds the idea of praying to God and then saying the Pledge of Allegiance sort of contradictory? This also might be because I think the Pledge is kind of weird to begin with.
    Not in the least;

    Then Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
    Last edited by 41magfan; 08-16-2019 at 06:03 AM.
    Critical thinking, done in the absence of context and relevance, can only produce something useful to someone with an overactive imagination.
    Knowing and understanding is not the same thing.
    Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.

  6. #6
    Site Supporter jetfire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 41magfan View Post
    Not in the least;

    Then Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
    The Bible says also to not have any graven images/don’t worship symbols. So there’s that. Plus in the context of the quote Jesus is talking specifically about paying taxes.

    Yeah, I mean because the entire idea of pledging allegiance to the flag is weird. The flag is just a flag. I swore an oath to the constitution, that makes sense. But pledging allegiance to the flag, and the entire pledge in general just feels weird.
    I shot the PX4 before it was cool.

  7. #7
    What was distinguished this course as being appropriate for "church protectors?"

  8. #8
    Can't say for sure, but as someone very interested in this class, I've checked the website and found that the course description specifies you must be part of a church protection team to be eligible to attend. So I'm guessing it's appropriate for church protectors because it's specifically oriented and marketed towards them, rather than because it's got super specialized church protector stuff going on in it. But probably I should get out of the way and let the OP reply.

  9. #9
    Member FAS1's Avatar
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    Good review! I saw recently where they were coming to San Antonio for Church Security training, but before that I wasn't familiar with them.

    I do have a good friend Jimmy Graham, that after Benghazi retired from being a Navy Seal and a GRS officer and started his own company (AbleShepherd.com) focusing on active shooters in the corporate and church environments for the most part. Sounds like they are similar companies. I think more businesses and churches these days are taking security a little more serious, at least I hope so.
    Last edited by FAS1; 08-30-2019 at 03:21 PM.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by vandal View Post
    What was distinguished this course as being appropriate for "church protectors?"
    Moylan was correct in his assessment. It is geared towards those that are part of a church security team and is sort of the second part of their church protectors course. I learned of this class after taking their one day church security class/conference that is sort of similar to ALERRT CRASE (civilian response to active shooter events) with a focus on churches, synagogues, etc. I was expecting to be bored with that one day class as well as I am a certified ALERRT instructor for CRASE but that class was great and had a dynamic, well spoken speaker. Rev. Barry Young was his name and it looks like he is a VP for them.

    Instead of death by PowerPoint, he was up and moving about the entire time. One of the best public speakers I've had the pleasure of listening to and not only did I learn some stuff to teach others in my classes, he was super entertaining and knowledgeable about his material. In that class, they offered a sign up sheet for the 2 day shooting class and I put my name down. I'm glad that I did.

    Now, as far as the requirement to be a "part of a church security team" I doubt there is much to that as there was no vetting nor any requirement to "prove" that. I was the only one in my class that was part of a large church and I think at least one of the others was the sole person on his small church's team. The curriculum stresses accuracy over speed with a strong focus on how dangerous triggering off rounds in a congregation full of people is. It also teaches how to move through a crowd of panicky, scared people to focus on stopping the threat. Even for me with 23 plus years of LE training/experience there were things I picked up to add to my skills and eye opening deficiencies in my training (left hand only shooting) that I have already worked on and improved at.

    After 23 years on the job.....and countless schools and classes that were not really all they could be......I remain impressed with this 2 day school. For the average guy that doesn't carry a gun for living, he or she would probably love this class and consider it a bargain at 366.00 for a two day venture. I can say without question that if they do develop a follow up to this class like they said they were working on, I'll keep a sharp eye out for it to come to my area.

    Hope this answers any questions. Feel free to PM me if needed.

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