On 26 February 2012, Defensive Concepts North Carolina taught its Defensive Handgun: Handgun Retention course in Albemarle, NC at Efrid’s Rifle Range. In attendance were eight students of varying skill level. The course started with the usual administrative tasks followed by introductions, and a description of what would be covered during the day. Once this was done, students were checked to insure no live weapons were being brought into the marked training area and the learning started.
During the morning students learn how to deliver strikes such as: palm heel, horizontal and vertical elbow, and knee. Each of these strikes was demonstrated, discussed, and then students were able to practice while striking pads. The students also broke into pairs and practiced while the instructors walked around and made corrections as needed.
After a basic understanding of the strikes had been established, the class began to work on ground movement skills. The first technique taught was the hip escape, aka “shrimping”. The purpose of the technique was covered along with practical demonstrations being conducted. With the demos complete the students began working their way up and down the range in order to ingrain the movement.
With the hip escape portion complete, we then moved on to standing in base, aka “the tactical getup”. Again, explanation and demonstration was followed by the students practicing the material. Two versions of this technique were covered and students went through each version multiple times in order to find which one worked best for them.
With this block complete, we broke for an hour long lunch and recovery break.
When students returned to the range, they came into the training area with only a holster and a plastic replica handgun. As before, each time students entered the training area they were checked for the presence of any live weapons.
With lunch behind us, we began working specifically on handgun retention material. The first thing on the menu was establishing a solid retention position. The how’s and why’s were demonstrated and the students then broke into pairs in order to start drilling the material.
It was at this point, approximately 15 minutes after lunch, that we started to see holsters break. The first holster to break was a Serpa. As shown in the picture, it was the belt loop that failed.
The next one was a Blade-Tech IWB followed immediately by a T&E holster sent to Chris the previous week. The single “arm” of the Blade-Tech became loose allowing the holster to rotate when grabbed. The T&E holster had a retention screw break which prevented the gun from being retained in the holster.
The final holster to break was an OWB from Peter’s Custom. As with the Serpa; one of the belt loops failed.
After the final holster failure, we began to work on retaining the gun when it is grabbed from multiple directions. Each of the techniques was simple and easily understood by the students.
Students also drilled how to retain the handgun once it was out of the holster.
From there we pushed on to ground-based retention material. Here we talked about ways to control an attacker using the defender’s feet, how to retain the gun when grabbed from multiple directions/positions, and even talked about firing from these positions. Once this was complete we moved on to the final portion of the class; live fire.
The live fire component of the class was very small, approximately 20 rounds. With these 20 rounds, students were exposed to shooting while holding on to a target (while standing) and firing from a supine position. Everyone was extremely safe during this block and happily no one shot themselves in the legs or feet.
With the live fire portion complete, the range was cleaned up, certificates were handed out, a debrief was conducted and everyone left the range injury-free and with better understanding of what it takes to maintain control of their handguns during a physical struggle.