Qualification and Training Weekend 4-6DEC09

Friday 4DEC09

As I mentioned in a previous update I planned on devoting the 1st weekend of December to training, which I haven’t done enough of lately.

The various permits the Democratic Peoples Republic of California generously allows me to hold require me to qualify with my pistols four times a year.  One such qualification was soon due so I arranged to meet the authorities at the a law enforcement range.

The qualification was simple and in two calibers .357 magnum and .45ACP (three calibers if you count .38special which my Model 60 will obviously shoot as well)

Two targets, alternating back and forth.

Only shot low a two or three times, this when flinching with the recoil from the .357 through a 2 and1/8th  barrel.  I qualified easily and the rangemaster, who used to shoot wheel guns competitively and was delighted to see someone actually qualify with a revolver, gave me some pointers for quicker and more accurate follow up shots and allowed me to stay on the range well after my time was up to shoot a few boxes of .38 through the S&W to practice the techniques he taught me.

Then I headed home to try to sleep off a persistent chest cold I have been battling in preparation for much more grueling and intensive training, which was scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.

 As a lot of my cohorts know, doing what we do on the border there are often long hours of boredom instantly punctuated by intense activity.  No amount of training is enough, and while I have top of the line gear, good gear is no substitute for good training.  Having been shot at once on the border, from a distance I felt ill prepared should such an incident occur at short range.   Back in July ‘09  I noticed Suarez International had a “Zero to Five Feet Gunfighting” class listed to take place in California in December of ’09.  On July 1st  I paid for this class.  On July 23, 2009 Border Patrol Agent Robert Rosas was brutally murdered in what I can only imagine was a close range battle similar to what we eventually trained for.  I wish that all the Agents on the line would take this class with Gabe Suarez and will be passing along the info to them.

Saturday 5DEC09

I left the C1 compound at 0500 and arrived at the Burro Canyon Shooting Club at 0730 after checking in at a local motel.

I was first at the range but very soon after other participants began to arrive.  We started at 0900 at the North 1 range.

This class was everything I thought it would be and more.

Batya, and member on the Warrior Talk forums described it to a tee:

"The instruction was outstanding including extensive debriefs after each training session, which was most helpful. This gave the class a chance to see techniques up close, ask questions, and add comments.

 This class covered everything. Airsoft drills from a distance, extensive drills on getting off the X using the Pekiti Take-Off, and working “in the hole” situations – up close and very personal. We worked on fighting off attacker from the ground using our feet. Fighting off a knife attack – bare handed, against knife and against gun from all distances. During our live fire drills we fired from the ground, fired while getting up, fired from all angles such as 3:00, 9:00, upside down, in a hallway / up against a wall situation. I think one of everyone's favorites was the Murphy's T-shirt drill. Who doesn't like to shoot through clothing? During our 2-days we also discussed many different scenario’s in day to day life and how to make a sound judgment call on what to act on / walk away from and how determine what is a valuable threat. Having experienced folks in the class helped in hearing their own personal experiences in this area.”

ReserveSgt, a senior member on the Warrior Talk forums summed it up like this:

“For anyone who thinks that just because they have been to alot of training schools and/or classes; They have seen and done it all…take this class.


First, this is not so much a "learn-to" class where you drill and drill a single idea until you get it perfect. It is much more an overview of ideas, tactics and techniques that must be reviewed, practiced and perfected on your own practice.


You definitely walk away with a lot to think about.


For example…


**No one technique will solve every problem…but some solve most of them.


**You don't get to pick the when/where/how's of your gunfight…so be ready to respond to what you get


**If you know when/where/how a gunfight will happen…don't go.


**While they are always a compromise…you always have options.


**Shooting your enemy is important…not getting shot is more important.


**Can you fight with your weapon in any position…including in the support hand, upside-down?


**Can you fight in any position…standing, running, on your back, spinning like a top, etc.


**You may be carrying a gun…but you may not be able to use it, yet.


**If you do everything absolutely right…you may still get cut/shot/stabbed.


**If you cannot avoid the fight…at least improve your odds.


Needless to say, This class will make you think more than any other class you have/will take.”

Sunday 6DEC09

Man, I was sore already and day two was about to begin. 

Richard Coplin, one of our instructors summed up day two like this:


“Once on the range, Gabe started where he had left off the previous day and as he says, "turned up the volume".


Distances were decreased. Situations became even more dire. And the possible solutions were presented.


Everyone worked hard. To a person, they exhibited tremendous respect for the safety of their fellow trainees. At the end of the weekend, tired, dirty, with face-bustin' grins and bodies accented with airsoft "spots", the group parted as friends and knowing they were exponentially more capable and dangerous than they had arrived on Saturday morning.


The female participants in the class demonstrated that women can fight too. Having seen their skills and ferocity, I wouldn't want to tangle with any of them.


This is a class, which can only be described as transformative. The paradigm you bring to the class will be shifted significantly by the time you leave. You can no longer look at the fight as merely a "gun fight" but will have a wealth of knowledge to explore the reality of fighting and prevailing in "the hole".”


I came away a little bloody, with multiple aches, pains, bumps, bruises, Airsoft welts and a wealth of knowledge and many new skills to practice.  I am grateful to Gabe Suarez, Richard Coplin, Uli Gebhard and all the other skilled and talented instructors of Suarez International, as well as all the participants from whom I also learned so much.  Gabe Suarez joked that the name of the class should changed from “Zero to Five Feet Gunfighting” to the “Oh Shit, I’m screwed” class.  I agree and the training was invaluable, especially in light of the jobs we do when we “do work” on the border.  Any of the scenarios we practiced could easily happen to any of us out on there on the line and , unfortunately, did happen to Agent Robert Rosas.  I wholeheartedly recommend this class and urge the men and women I work with on the border to consider taking it and/or any other class offered by Suarez International.  I am considering taking the “High Risk” Operators course in the future and hope it will be offered in California someday soon. I have already completed his “Shotgunfighting” class in the past and it is described briefly in a previous post.

The pictures I have posted do not do the “Zero to Five feet” gunfighting class justice.  It was the most awesome training I have taken thus far. ( Though the Infidel facilitated rifle course and buddy pair rush training runs a close second) Thankfully the Suarez training was nothing like the class in the video below, though the video below does illustrate one thing well: You do not know how you will be attacked and must prepare for ALL scenarios.


Not sure when I will return to the border in the Campo/Tecate area but am entertaining the idea of taking a trip back east.  Hot Shot and I might go “do work” on the border in Arizona and Texas over the holidays.  I think I need to brush up on my accent……..


God Bless Y’all and God Bless the United States of America

Semper Vigilans,


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One response

  1. J J

    Hey C-1, Two thumbs up for your patrolling, tracking, innovating, and training, but a big thumbs down for getting caught out there with no pistola, senor! I guess we all pull a boner once in awhile, though. We're having a bad winter here in Co. this year. Lots of snow early, below zero temps, etc. I'm going to have my grandson with me this summer, and I'm going to try and "be gone" fishing, camping, and maybe patrolling on the Border somewhere. I might make it down to Az. to visit my cousin in Cochise County, if things work out. Drop me an E before you go, and we just might meet up down there, for a patrol or two.J J

    December 17, 2009 at 12:10

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