Jacqueline Carrizosa recaps the Tactical Firearms Instructor Certificate & Combative Pistol Instructor Certification Course with Progressive Force Concepts (P.F.C.)
Recently, I was fortunate enough to attend a five day course including a competency instruction and testing for Tactical Firearms Instructor Certification and Combative Pistol Instructor Certification with Progressive Force Concepts of Las Vegas, Nevada. Of these five days, only one was inside the classroom. The other four days were out on the Clark County Range, mixing a functional and purposeful classroom environment with real applicable training and a plethora of real life “when it could happen” and “when it has happened” examples. This is no gentleman’s course. I also evaluated some firing demonstrations while wearing a heart rate monitor to show you how intensive training like this can produce high adrenaline affects on the body, which impact your performance at aiming, shot placement, and more.
"Roughly 85% of all people shot by handguns survive their injuries. Therefore, accurate shot placement becomes even more crucial."
There were a total of four students including myself. The other three were all from Texas. Two are from El Paso, Texas where they are active duty Air Force Joint Terminal Air Controllers (JTAC) and paid for the course with their own hard-earned dollars. The other student is Stephen Pineau, a firearms instructor and owner of M3 Strategies Training in Dallas, Texas.
Meet The Instructors
Began his career as a platoon Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps where he worked in reconnaissance, intelligence and diplomatic security. For actions under fire, the President of the United States has personally decorated Brian. He then transferred to Law Enforcement, and even has certificates in Crossfit training, and gymnastics.
Former Navy Seal, new to Progressive Force Concepts. Brian Hartman’s right hand man for training assistance.
Retired from ten years in the Federal Air Marshall service. Prior to joining the Federal Air Marshal Service, Mr. Barnhart served 14 with the National Nuclear Security Administration; a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear security. He served 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and had two tours in Vietnam.
Not only does this course cover firearms and tactics of the modern day gunfighter, I was surprised to talk about what I knew on the Roman Coliseum, too. Some of our actual lecturing blocks were on non-tactical related items. Now, what’s a block? A block is two, three, or five minutes of an informative or instructional presentation to help instructors articulate and enhance their lectures. This helps keep the instructor on point, on schedule, and prevents what we call “vomit instruction,” which occurs when instructors find themselves ranting way too much on a certain subject. The course also addressed some important topics such as client’s questions, situational teaching and adjusting learning materials to keep them fresh and relevant. They stress safety, bilateral consistency, comprehending your actions, and how great tactics “should” and will perform when things go BAD.
Days two and three involved long range days. Instruction covered positioning, malfunctions, reloading, and movement. there was one full-day for carbine and another full-day for pistol. One of their best moves for an advanced class, is freedom to choose your ready positions and choice of defensive shot placement, unless otherwise directed.
As class progressed, tactics were performed and questions were debated. “Was that actually the best movement for that particular situation or scenario?” Of notable interest was a drill for a triple feed on the carbine. Stephen Pineau brought up a great point. The original tactic cited that an individual should do the following:
- Attempt to Fire (it should fail, if the drill is set up appropriately)
- Pull out the magazine and place it in a pouch for easy grabbing or in your waistband to re grab for reloading after clearing the triple feed.
- Pull the charging handle to the rear, hold it and tilt muzzle up/down self preference, situation allowing (Attempt to let gravity help you).
- Use a tool/bullet/shell casing what’s available to retract the bolt carrier and bolt to clear the bullet/shell casing that is overriding the bolt carrier and bolt. (lodged in between the charging handle area and bolt carrier)
- Shake the carbine, and see if cartridges fall out. If not proceed to shove fingers up the magazine well to get them to fall out. All this is with the fast pace as required in a gun fight.
- After carbine is clear, reload magazine. Hit the bolt release.
- Re-engage threat if needed. Situation should always be reassessed to determine if behavior has changed of original aggressor/criminal. (“enemy”)
Stephen recommended a simple step change to #4. The change was to simply use your finger, without a tool. He demonstrated it and the instructors loved it. Always improving is an important part of battle.
There were lots of practice drills with dummy ammunition, followed by live fire demonstrations. Then a follow-up of the students (instructors) running and shooting the drills. The instructors were well versed in their lessons plans and collaborated openly to make them better. The lessons were easy to understand and packed with real-life how and why scenarios.
If you think that range scenarios could never prepare you for real life… Think again. Some of their drills actually rocketed my heart up to 160 beats per minute. As my personal maximum “training” heart rate is 176 beats per minute and my personal resting heart rate is 65 beats per minute, I would say these drills can certainly get your heart going. Come game time in the “real world” of modern day gunfighting, I can only assume my heart rate will skyrocket, possibly above 200 beats per minute. I’ll need to train harder to be able to decrease my heart rate in these intense situations of life and death. The more your heart beats, the faster the adrenaline dumps, and the less you breathe fresh oxygen only increases the chances of making stupid mistakes in battle. Mistakes being improper movements, figure-eight dancing sights, an overactive bouncing red dot from an EOTech sight, or something else. We’ve got to slow down, assess the situation and breathe. “Exhale the stupid” as P.F.C. says.
As for their competency tests on the carbine and pistol, they are not for the weekend warrior once-in-a-while shooter. The drills are well thought out and manufactured to test your levels of performance and capability with your firearm. And, then there are the Speed versus Accuracy tests. If you fail any of the drills you’ll need to make a comeback in the final round with a +5 score, which means you must do better than the minimum qualifying score, PLUS five extra points. Therefore making it harder to just “come back and wing it.” If you miss the silhouette at any given time, it is an automatic “DNF” score, Did Not Finish.
Students are also required to pass a written and multiple choice exam as well, so being a great shooter isn’t the only thing you need to worry about! These certificates are earned and respected by all their instructors and nobody is willing to make it any easier to devalue their honorable hard work. To be awarded the title, “PFC Instructor Certified”, candidates have to display superlative tactical and technical proficiency, superior communication skills, flexibility, ingenuity, openness to criticism, teamwork, and an unquenchable thirst for new and better techniques. Certified status may be revoked by P.F.C. at any time for any activity, to include but not limited to unsafe training, unethical practices, or questionable associations.
Two drills you might also love and want to look up; the Gunfighter Initiator Drill and the Goldilocks Drill. They are great for warming up!
Progressive Force Concepts provides instruction to Military and Law Enforcement personnel, but are certainly not limited to such. Progressive’s Handgun and Progressive Carbine courses are only available to responsible citizens.
Re-mediate yourself, drill every time you train and work on continuing development!