AAR: Advanced Gunfighting with Randy Harris

pack-indy

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Location: Clark County Sheriff training facility in Charleston, IN
Date: July 11th and 12th
Time: Saturday 9:30am(ish)-6:15 pm, Sunday 8:30am-4:30pm
Students: 5 including myself
Instructor: Randy Harris
Facility Operations/instructor/student: J turn Jeff
My training background: Suarez vehicle gunfighting, Suarez HRO CQB, Farnam shotgun
My equipment: Stock Gen3 Glock 19, Henry OWB holster and double mag carrier (daily carry gear)


Day one: Finding the location of this class turned out to be an adventure for most attendees as the training facility is located on an old military base which is undergoing some construction and had no street signs once on the grounds. The range and facility was more than adequate for the class. The facility was equipped with an air conditioned classroom and restrooms and the range had a good amount of room to not be on top of each other. The day started off in the classroom where Randy discussed the basics of gun safety and expectations while on the range. Randy then went on to talk about the OODA loop and some general gun practices and theory regarding self defense. Everything was well controlled and started slow and simple to get everyone on the same page. The class consisted of various LEOs from local to federal, a firearms instructor and myself...a medical social worker :nuts:.

On the range we worked the draw stroke and various shooting positions, again taking the time to discuss why certain things are done in certain ways while keeping in mind adaptability. Initial shots were focused on accuracy to make sure the shooting fundamentals of each student were acceptable before moving onto more advanced techniques. Randy did a great job in progressing the class safely without being redundant (no easy task). We worked some dot drills and the fundamentals of movement and learned different advantageous positions when shooting. By the afternoon, everyone was pretty well settled into the pace of the class which made building on the basics easier.

Day two: Mother nature decided to unleash the dams of the heavens on us in the morning which caused some serious standing water both on the range and in the facility. Group moral was down pretty bad early on, but a couple of hours went by and the water began to recede. Day two built on everything we learned on day one and ramped it up a bit. We worked on how to not shoot yourself when up close with an attacker, shooting on the move in different directions, shooting weak handed, point shooting (and appropriate applications for it), when to use the sights, alternative sight indexes etc. The day wrapped up with learning to shoot from non-ideal positions and from cover and well as shooting from about 45yards. Other students were kind enough to let others shoot their guns with various configurations (RMRs, DA/SA, different triggers etc).

Take aways:

I really enjoyed the class with much credit to Randy's teaching style. He went above and beyond in answering questions not only in a way that could easily be understood, but while also demonstrating his answer with statistics, drawings or general theory. He was open to new ideas and playing out different scenarios when appropriate which showed his willingness to be open to alternative ways to problem solve a scenario. I would highly suggest training with Randy in any of his classes. Not only is he a treasure chest of knowledge and insight, but he keeps his students safe and on topic while creating a light hearted atmosphere. This class has definitely boosted my gun handling skills and has taught me some new techniques that I know I can add to my skill set. Also, I want to give a shout out to J turn Jeff for arranging the facilities and for his input during the class time specifically. I'll be looking for more classes like this in the future without a doubt.
 
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MCgrease08

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Nice writeup. It sounds like at lot of ground was covered.

Can you elaborate more about the scenarios when you were shooting from cover or in odd positions? Were these to mimic defensive situations or was it more of an offensive exercise?

You didn't mention reload drills or drawing from the holster. Did you learn anything about your carry set up? Did it run like you expected it to?
 

pack-indy

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Nice writeup. It sounds like at lot of ground was covered.

Can you elaborate more about the scenarios when you were shooting from cover or in odd positions? Were these to mimic defensive situations or was it more of an offensive exercise?

You didn't mention reload drills or drawing from the holster. Did you learn anything about your carry set up? Did it run like you expected it to?

Good questions. We were able to make use of cover roughly the size of a door to work on shooting from the right and left sides, from behind cover while kneeling/side/prone/back. There were also some shot out cars that happened to be nearby that we were able to work around as well which was interesting. Definitely more of a defensive setup. There wasn't a whole lot of focus on reloading drills (at least I was expecting to do more of). I'm sure there is a reason, it just wasn't really brought up or mentioned by either Randy or those in the class, Randy spoke about different kinds of reloads and their applications, but for this class I felt that the mindset was more along the lines of getting your gun up and running however I deemed necessary given the drill scenario. If we were just shooting a dot drill and my slide locked back, I just did a tactical reload. If we were working a scenario, I would drop the mag and do an emergency reload. I think this portion was left ambiguous intentionally. For me, less thinking and more doing was key. In many circumstances, my accuracy and speed would suffer because I was trying to get a perfect sight picture or worry about which target to shoot first (when multiples were present). We worked on the draw stroke from the get go and shooting from different points was stressed and practiced. As for my holster and carrier, I couldn't be any happier. I may do a complete review on them at some point, but this class was the first time using them. Andrew was kind enough to get them rushed to me for the class and they showed up a few days prior. The retention is excellent on the holster...so much so I emailed him to see if there was a way to loosen it any. This was before I really threw it on and gave it a solid workout. During the class I found the retention to be just right. It is made from very thick kydex and has a very tactile click when holstered. The mag carrier also performed very well. Tension on the mags are firm but they release smoothly. Highly recommend.
 
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pack-indy

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Can you name something you learned or something that you will change or seek to improve based on this class?

Absolutely. Personally, I need to work on precision shooting at distance and from alternative positions from greater than 7yrds. I still feel bunched up when shooting while moving to the 3 o'clock position and found that my rounds were consistently hitting to the left. I would say that I am a fairly accurate shooter, but I felt that I could have been a bit better. I think the most impactful thing that I walked away from is to not complicate simple situations ie if someone needs shot, shoot them, if you can avoid a gunfight, avoid it etc. I also realized how little I need my sights at certain distances; realizing that I can crank off 6rds without much thought and still make good hits was a confidence booster. I am lucky enough to be able to shoot on my property so I plan to keep working some drills at home and maybe add a timer or metronome to set goals and break them.
 

BehindBlueI's

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Sounds like it was on INAAP. That's not a good place to get lost. Some of the buildings are so saturated with powder they are explosive themselves. My ex-wife got a job there when we first moved to Indiana after the military, working for the re-use authority who's mission was to decontaminate and reopen sections of the base for commercial and industrial use. It was challenging. How do you demolish a building that's impregnated with powder, which is next to another building that's impregnated with powder which is....

Anyway, that's a fantastic student to instructor ratio. Sounds like you found it worth while.
 

pack-indy

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Sounds like it was on INAAP. That's not a good place to get lost. Some of the buildings are so saturated with powder they are explosive themselves. My ex-wife got a job there when we first moved to Indiana after the military, working for the re-use authority who's mission was to decontaminate and reopen sections of the base for commercial and industrial use. It was challenging. How do you demolish a building that's impregnated with powder, which is next to another building that's impregnated with powder which is....

Anyway, that's a fantastic student to instructor ratio. Sounds like you found it worth while.

Has to be the same place...it was interesting to say the least. One student had to park their car halfway to the facility because the water/mud was too deep for their sedan. It had an aura about it for sure.
 

Tactically Fat

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Randy Harris

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Thanks for the review and the kind words pack-indy. Between the lack of clearly defined detour and the near biblical level flooding neither day exactly started smoothly, but we adapted and overcame and got a lot of work done. I credit much of it to the level of students in class. No one needed remedial marksmanship help and no one had any dangerous gunhandling habits.

As to reloads...they are either proactive or reactive. If you CHOOSE to load before you are empty (proactive)...then pull the mag, retain it and put a new one in the gun. If you wait until the gun stops working mid-fight because it is empty (reactive), then eject it , reload it and get back to work. Pretty simple, and it was up to the student to run the gun and reload without being told to. Big boy rules. Keep your gun in a state of readiness. If your gun does not work because you didn't properly manage your ammo that could get you killed when it is a two way range.....

Rumor is we might be offering a rifle class in the fall in Indiana.....
 

Coach

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Sounds like a good class.

I have a Henry holster that I carry my weak hand gun in. It has zero cant to it and I love it. Rides close to the body and yet is easy to draw from. I had to special request the zero cant, but I am glad I did. I should probably get another for the strong side but I am cheap and the other holster is just fine as well.
 

BearFodder

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I really wanted to take this class with Randy. Unfortunately, I was out of town on vacation and could not attend. I now plan on taking the class in Ohio in August. When I realized how bad I was at shooting longer distances I got with coach to work on that some before the class and it looks like that will pay off.

Hope to get with Randy for CRG-5 next year and maybe CRG-2 again. CRG-2 was a great class.
 

JBishop

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I was really happy to see the class turn out pretty well despite some things working against us. Great classmates and material/instructor makes for a great weekend. Even when you go from soaked to sunburned in a matter of hours.

As far as high repetition drills that are very standard in many other classes (draws/malfunction clearances/reloads/etc). Remember that this is a class that is geared toward intermediate/advanced shooters. Usually skilled shooters can "tend their chores" fairly well by the time they take this class, and to the class's credit, no one struggled with weapons manipulation.

Weapons manipulation is important, but this class had a different focus. Think of this as the "macro" instead of "micro" in terms of the gunfight. Training both sides of the coin makes for a formidable individual. Movement and confidence building in less-than-optimal scenarios steered the students in different directions, and hopefully gives some new tools to work with if the day ever comes where you need it. Some people tend to avoid these types of training because it usually involves failing in order to learn/improve. Many of us "Type A" personalities don't enjoy the ego bruising that comes with failing at new skills while learning. The mature student seeks to improve their weaknesses, not only reinforcing their strengths.

If CRG-5 ever comes to Indiana, it's a great opportunity to see how these skills work against real opponents in a safe environment. Greatest eye-opener class I've had in a long, long time. The rifle side of Randy's training is pretty awesome too, and dovetails well with this class material.
 
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