After-Action Report (AAR): Advanced Skills and Tactics
Hosted by FPF Training
Mead Hall Range
McLoud, OK
June 6-7, 2020

My Background: I have been embedded in the firearms industry since 2013, and have since worked at two local indoor ranges while simultaneously managing a small holster company. I started my training journey in early 2015 with classes at a local school and have sought out further instruction ever since. I have attended Tac-Con three times and trained with Oklahoma Shoot Skills, John Farnam, Kyle Defoor, Spencer Keepers, William Aprill, Ernest Langdon (three times), Mike Pannone, Gabe White (three times), Kita Busse, Caleb Causey, Steve Moses, and now John Murphy, among others (who I know I am forgetting). Although I am not an expert, neither am I a novice.

Location: I cannot do this AAR justice without talking about the range. I have spent many hours on outdoor ranges and countless more on indoor ranges, but as a training destination, I cannot say enough about what Bill has done with Mead Hall. I have personally seen how far it has come since the beginning, and I am truly impressed with what it has developed into – and I look forward to seeing it continue to evolve in the coming years. The classroom is a large structure, comfortably air-conditioned, that features both men’s and women’s bathrooms, along with a full kitchen. Thought has been put into every detail of the classroom, from comfortable seating to floor-mounted electrical outlets that allow students to easily plug in equipment – this is very much a facility built by a longtime student. Then there is the 300-yard range itself, which includes a mobile awning (to shade the firing line from direct sun), another set of air-conditioned men’s and women’s bathrooms, and a comfortably insulated, fan-cooled rest pavilion at the 50-yard line, all of which significantly help mitigate the heat.

Before Training, Day 1: Before the class began, FPF Training emailed us links to a series of videos (viewable on FPF’s YouTube channel) that briefly outlined the class and provided an idea of what would be covered. Topics included many of the basic concepts concealed shooters don’t realize they need to be aware of, such as criminal assault pre-incident indicators, managing conflicts while armed, third-party intervention and pepper-spray deployment.

Training, Day 1: The first day began in the classroom at 0800. Each student was provided two POM Industries inert trainers, a training pressure dressing, a training CAT tourniquet (commonly abbreviated as TQ), and an ankle rig for the training medical supplies. After a brief introduction, we began diving into the topics presented in the pre-training videos. Next, we moved on to basic first aid, where we went over the basics – namely, how to properly apply a TQ, pressure bandage and chest seal. We followed this with several minutes of applying the TQs and dressings to ourselves, after which we were instructed to keep the training kits with us until the class concluded.
After first aid, we moved on to the use and practical applications of pepper spray. After being instructed on how to draw and deploy pepper spray from concealment, each person practiced several rounds of mock deployment using the provided inert trainers. I can personally say this was eye-opening – I had never received any form of training with pepper spray, and it was interesting to see in which situations it can be applied to de-escalate a problem (and in which situations it cannot).

Following a lunch, we moved to the firing line for several warm-ups, then focused on accuracy – complicated by time limits and variable starting positions. Throughout the day, students also had to unexpectedly apply either a TQ or a dressing to an appendage as part of their training, which I believe ended at 1700.

Training Day 2: We spent most of the second day on the range, starting with a warm-up before quickly moving into increasingly complex drills – first came the usual range drills from various starting positions, which then were complicated by the addition of movement to both right and left. Once we were comfortable with these movements, we paired up and practiced person vs. person shooting into targets from assorted starting positions. One shooter at a time would decide on the starting position, then make the decision to draw – forcing the other shooter to react and shoot their target.

We then moved on to seeing not only how fast we could engage a target, but also how fast we could assess what was going on and stop shooting using visual cues (using an ingenious system John put together). Once we had combined all of these elements, we added de-escalation procedures to the mix and assessed individual threats, which ranged from everyday encounters (such as giving directions to someone who was lost) to more complex situations (such as encountering a panhandler or a mugger). We had to process what was going on the entire time, with the situation evolving as we responded – a training approach that attempts to “cognitively load” students to deal with what might not be a lethal-force encounter. After policing the brass, we headed back to the classroom, where we ran through final thoughts and were provided live-agent POM Industries pepper spray canisters to take home.

Conclusion: This class was a solid, easily digestible introduction to a wide range of issues every shooter should be exposed to. I would not hesitate to take this class again, and would recommend it to anyone, especially a new concealed-carrier who might not take any further instruction. As John put, it this class is like Neapolitan ice cream – it’s not a deep dive into any of the flavors, but offers a good cross-section of several. This should be on every shooter’s list of classes to attend.

As a side note: I believe John mentioned he was planning on changing the name of the class – in the future, it may be listed as “Street Encounter Skills” or something similar. Be sure to keep an eye out for it.