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Thread: AAR: FPF Training Concealed Carry SEST, 20-21 February 2021, Okeechobee FL

  1. #1
    Site Supporter Casey's Avatar
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    May 2012
    South Florida

    AAR: FPF Training Concealed Carry SEST, 20-21 February 2021, Okeechobee FL

    FPF Training
    Concealed Carry: Street Encounter Skills & Tactics

    20-21 February 2021
    Okeechobee Shooting Sports, Okeechobee, Florida
    Instructor: John Murphy
    Class Size: 12
    Instructor to Student Ratio: 1:12
    Ammunition Requirement: 250 rounds
    Actual Rounds Fired: 169
    Tuition: $425

    Introduction & Training Background

    This was my second course with John, having previously taken his Advanced Skills & Tactics variant of this class in 2020. I started training seriously in 2012 and have taken a little over 20 classes since then, training under instructors like Randy Cain, Jeff Gonzales, Scott Jedlinski, and others, with a heavy focus on handgun. I’m typically at the range two or three times per month, shooting on average 10,000 rounds annually. I work in security management and I ride a desk, so my reason for taking this class was purely to further my proficiency for self-defense, as I do not carry a gun on the job.


    The class was hosted at Okeechobee Shooting Sports. This is a nice range with decent pro shop, classroom, indoor bathrooms, and a bevy of range bays. The range is located about 15 minutes away from “downtown” Okeechobee. The downside to the range location is that there are only two decent hotels in town (the Hampton and the Holiday Inn), and rates are steep, even in COVID times. One could choose to stay in the Port St. Lucie area and find cheaper rates there, but that means a 35+ minute drive. I opted to stay in Okeechobee out of convenience.


    Concealed carry was the order of the day for this class, so I shot my EDC rig: Phlster Floodlight and JM Custom Kydex AIWB High-Ride Spare Magazine Pouch on a Graith Specialist belt. I shot one of my VP9s, upgraded with Grayguns Striker-Fired Action Package, Parker Mountain Machine Comp. Tracker and HK threaded barrel, SweatyMuddyBloody grip work (they’re no longer around), milled for an RMR by Primary Machine, and equipped with an X300U (itself upgraded with Phlster ARC switches). Purchased new in May 2015 and dedicated as my range beater, at the start of class, this gun had 34,865 rounds on it. Magazines were all HK OEM 15-rounders, upgraded with Taylor Freelance +5 extensions and coated in NP3+ by Robar.

    Apparel consisted of TAD/Kuhl pants and ExOfficio Air Strip shirts.

    PPE consisted of TCI DEHP muffs upgraded with NoiseFighters gel seals over EAR Inc. custom-molded plugs and Rudy Project Tralyx Slim glasses with ImpactX-2 photochromic lenses.

    I had no gear-related issues.

    Course Description

    From the FPF Training website: “This course is designed to provide students with a holistic and layered approach to effective self-defense, beginning with an understanding of criminal violence and then building skills and tactics to meet those challenges. Two full days of onsite instruction begin with a Q&A on the online video series, followed by a presentation of baseline 'stop the bleed' skills and practical application. Classroom work ends with a discussion and application on methods to incorporate pepper spray into self-defense preparations. During the remainder of the weekend, concepts and skills will be demonstrated, and then interwoven into highly effective tactics derived from studying the patterns associated social and predatory violence.

    · Street Encounter Skills
    · Tactical Anatomy and “Shooting in 3-D”
    · Time and timing
    · Your first, best, shot
    · Decisive movement
    · Interacting with law enforcement
    · Much more that you will not see in other classes

    Using a combination of live and dry-fire exercises these concepts and newly acquired hard and soft skills are then validated with shooting drills and highly controlled, non-contact force-on-force scenarios. End state: Students will be equipped with an understanding of the threats they face and provided a comprehensive suite of skills and tactics that enable them to respond to these circumstances, ensuring prompt and decisive action within legal and moral constraints”

    About the instructor: “John did ten years in the Marine Corps and currently works for the Department of Defense, but he makes no claim to being a combat veteran. He considers himself very fortunate to have trained under some of the most respected firearms instructors in the country, and he’s learned much more about shooting and self-defense outside the military than he ever did during his service. As an instructor, John has incorporated the best and most practical methods and techniques into his courses, and he continues to train and refine his skills every year, both as a defensive shooter and as a trainer. John has presented classroom and range instruction at the multiple Rangemaster Conferences, and currently holds a “Master Instructor” rating from Rangemaster, and is a graduate of Massad Ayoob’s “Lethal Force Instructor” program.”

    Day 1
    Wx: Low 52°, high 72°, partly cloudy with 6-17 MPH winds
    0 rounds fired

    Class started with student and instructor intros. Students were mostly average earth people: a horse trainer, nurses, homeland security consultant, bowling alley mechanic, schoolteacher, firearms instructors (notably, Lynn Givens was one of the students), and a pair of retired NYPD cops. A welcome change of pace from the male-dominated classes I’m used to seeing, there were seven women in class and five men. Because the range classroom didn’t open until 0900, we started outdoors, working on “Managing Emotional Contacts,” John’s twist on Craig Douglas’ Managing Unknown Contacts. We discussed pre-assault indicators, use of verbal commands, different types of hand positions, arcing movement to scan and assess surroundings without turning your back on the known, and tactics for positioning yourself to beat multiple assailants.

    Moving inside the classroom, the following topics were covered:
    • We watched several videos of violent encounters to provide real-world examples reinforcing the topics discussed so far.
    • Stop the Bleed. Basics of tourniquet selection and employment, as well as pressure dressing application. Ankle medical kits were issued to each student with dedicated training TQs and Izzy dressings, and at various times throughout the rest of the course, John would shout a command to self-apply one or both to various appendages.
    • Law enforcement interaction. How to communicate with 911 dispatchers and how to communicate with law enforcement in different settings (car stops, post-armed-encounter scenarios, etc.).
    • OC spray. Recommended brands and styles of canister, deployment considerations, and limitations.

    Classroom work done, we headed out to the range. There was no live fire on day one, but we did set up targets for use dry firing. Guns were unloaded, verified clear, and rendered inoperable with flexible plastic rods run through the barrel and out the magazine well to provide a visual indicator of a safe gun.
    • OC spray deployment. Inert trainers were issued to each student and we all got the opportunity to blast John in the face (phrasing) and move off line of attack.
    • Drawing from concealment.
    • Drawing to a ready position and incorporating a verbal command. Interestingly, the majority of the students drew first, then yelled “STOP!” When I realized I was doing this, I made a conscious effort to start delivering the verbal command simultaneously with drawing.
    • Entangled shots. The dangers of a through-and-through shot were demonstrated with one student in the mount position simulating an attack on the instructor. The focus here was on a third party needing to take a shot on the bad guy, which might require the third party to level-change to a kneeling position to take the shot with a clear backstop.
    • Drawing to retention utilizing the thumb-pectoral index, then drawing to retention with an aggressive rearward step to build reactionary gap.
    • Three-dimensional targeting. We typically train on 2D targets, but people are 3D. Taking a shot from an angle requires shifting POA so that the shot hits the important bits and doesn’t glance off the chest or skull without doing significant damage.
    • “Full mission profile” exercise, where John approached each student with a different scenario, which ranged from only a verbal exchange all the way up to requiring deadly force and post-event communication with 911 dispatch.

    After class wrapped up, there was a quick debrief and then several of us went to dinner.

    Day 2
    Wx: Low 55°, high 72°, partly cloudy with 0-16 MPH winds
    169 rounds fired

    Day two started with a safety brief, then moved into live fire.
    • 5-yard slow fire.
    • 4&1 from 3, 5, and 7 yards. From each starting position (rest, arms crossed, “the thinker,” and “shields up” fending position).
    • Controlled pairs with stoppage reduction.
    • First, best round from 3, 5, and 7 rounds at various starting positions.
    • Multiple rounds from 3 and 5 yards from the holster.
    • Single rounds from 3 and 5 yards from low ready.

    After lunch, we returned to the range and transitioned from “SAD” (stand and deliver) to “MAD” (move and deliver).
    • Cognitive loading (reciting poetry while awaiting an audible cue from a shot timer or a visual cue from a laser pointer splashed on target and firing a single shot).
    • Lateral movement while drawing and shooting.
    • Failure to stop utilizing John’s hydra target with three heads, with a partner using a laser to designate which head to engage. This simulates a head that might not be holding perfectly still after you shoot someone twice in the chest.
    • Lateral movement based on a visual stimulus (green laser) as a stimulus to start shooting, or a red laser as an indicator to stop, sometimes delivered while drawing to force the shooter to divert to a ready position without shooting.
    • Rabbit and coyote drill. Shooters were paired up and alternated one person initiating movement, drawing, and firing, with the partner reacting and attempting to beat the rabbit on the draw. This was done static, then incorporating movement. Partners rotated a couple times so that folks got to shot against different students.
    • 3D target engagement. Using a rubber dummy, students shot head-on, then from 70-80° angles to establish preferred aiming points to get good hits on vital organs.
    • Charging target. A replication of the Tueller drill incorporating live fire, the rubber dummy was mounted on a wheeled platform and one student used a rope and series of pullies to drag the dummy toward the shooter, who had to move off-line, draw, and fire.
    • Another full mission profile exercise with John providing verbal cues to prompt a response anywhere from verbal commands to OC spray, to live fire.
    • “Jack in the box” drill. From 1.5 to 2 yards away, shooters would move aggressively toward and slightly left of the target while drawing and firing a single shot at point blank range. The goal here was to have moved 2-3 yards from the starting position and have fired a shot in around one second, which is the opposite reaction of what most aggressors would expect.
    • Modified version of Justin Dyal’s 5-Yard Roundup.

    To close out the class, we did a quick roundtable, handed out certificates, and John issued live POM OC spray to everyone.

    Summary and General Observations

    I’ve had the luxury of taking ECQC and a couple different medical classes, plus quite a few live fire courses. The overwhelming majority of gun owners are not going to take that much training. I think of the tiny percentage that do seek out training, most probably take a class from local NRA-type instructors, and a smaller percentage might seek out a two- or three-day course. That’s the group that should take this class. At worst, they get just enough on threat avoidance, less lethal use, basic medical, and live fire to be equipped at a basic level to handle a violent encounter. Best case, they realize they’re only getting a taste of several disciplines, and this class prompts them to seek out in-depth training on those topics. I don’t know of anyone teaching this combination of topics on a national level, so the course fills what I seems to have been a void in the training community until now.

    This is not a shooting class, though there is live-fire. It was not a shooting class in 2020, and John has revamped the curriculum for 2021 to reduce the round count even further, in part because of the ammunition shortage, and in part because he wants to give people what they can’t get anywhere else: the aforementioned selection of topics in one condensed package. Do not go to this class expecting to learn shooting mechanics. We covered the draw—briefly—but that’s about it. I would recommend that this not be someone’s first class. You need to be able to work safely from the holster. The farthest we shot was maybe seven yards. While accuracy is encouraged, you won’t be shooting speed bulls at 25 yards, so you can get by in this class without much experience. But it would be beneficial to have taken a basic handgun course and have a working understanding of the fundamentals to get the most out of the course. In terms of the students, you had the full range of experience, from a complete novice with only a few hours of one-on-one instruction prior to class, to me with 20+ classes under my belt, and every experience level in between.

    The use of a visual stimulus was novel and one of the things I liked most from 2020, so I was happy to see that make a return. The reduction in round count from 2020 allowed more time to get in reps at MUC/MEC and OC spray deployment, which is value-added, considering the average person is a lot more likely to need those skills than to have to engage in the use of lethal force. John also has a series of view-ahead videos on YouTube which provide hours of material to introduce the course curriculum, which is a nice touch.

    Overall, great class. Really great class. John has tons of personality and he keeps things lively. He is clearly dedicated to sharing the gospel, having recently retired from his previous career and now touring the country in his RV teaching classes. If you’re looking for an excellent training opportunity that won’t break the bank with the current outrageous ammunition prices, this is the class. There was enough evolution between last year and this year that I walked away with a little different experience this time, and I expect John will continue to fine-tune the coursework, which means I look forward to attending again in 2022.

  2. #2
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    Sep 2017
    South Louisiana
    +1! @Casey took far better notes than I did when I attended John's class. I'll also second his recommendation of this class for folks who've already taken pure shooting classes, as it introduces you to skills that you'll need more than shooting.

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