2016 Year in Review: Training

| December 30, 2016 | 2 Comments

Due to some financial concerns, I did less training this year compared to the last few years.

In 2016, I attended 196.5 hours of professional training.

This does not include practice time at home, or live fire “practice” at a shooting range. It does not include the jiu-jitsu training I’m getting three times a week.

Here’s a rough breakdown by high-level topic, as well as what I’ll be doing in 2017.

Category Hours
Force on Force 20.5
Trauma Care 32.5
Combatives 54
Live Fire 57.5
Lecture 32

Please note that for the purposes of this chart, I put Craig Douglas’s ECQC class as “Combatives,” even though there is a live fire component, and what some may define as force on force.

Force on Force

I spent almost all of my FoF time with QSI this year. I chose not to include opposed training in this category, instead putting it in the “Combatives” section. Things like ECQC from Shivworks or Landing the Plane from Michael Anderson may have very light scenarios, but it’s not the same as the offerings from QSI.

New for me this year was playing the role of a bad guy, something that was just as educational as being the “good guy.” My favorite thing I learned this year in FoF was that very high lumen lights at close range compromised my ability to understand what was being said to me.

2017: I’m already signed up for every FoF class QSI has on the books for 2017. I’m also working with them to develop two custom classes for our readers.

Trauma Care

I took trauma care this year from four different instructors. I attended classes from QSI, Rob Schoening of LHGK, Caleb Causey of Lone Star Medics, and Eli Miller.

It was great to see common themes / techniques, and also to learn the different preferences and priorities from each instructor.

New for me this year was the increased amount of material around transport and scene security. When you live and train with a variety of body types, weights, and strengths, it’s very important to learn how to move an injured person from point A to point B.

2017: QSI’s introductory and basic trauma care courses are very good, and I consider them “must attend,” no matter how much training I’ve had in the past. I also look forward to some more advanced training with LHGK and Lone Star Medics.

I believe that every human being should take a trauma care class as well as a pre-encounter class. My mission in 2017 is to introduce a wider audience to these topics.


In 2015 I promised Craig Douglas that I’d attend his ECQC class in Minnesota. So I did. Afterwards told him I would see him again in 2016. So I did. I took my second ECQC this June in Wisconsin. I consider it an annual audit, and I’ll be in ECQC again somewhere in 2017.

I was very proud to host Cecil Burch from Immediate Action Combatives for his two-day Immediate Action Combatives course. Day 1 was grappling, day 2 was striking, and I learned an incredible amount of material in a short amount of time.

I was very, very honored to bring Ed from Ed’s Manifesto to the Twin Cities area. Out of all the events we hosted this year, this course saw the widest assortment of attendees from the largest geographical span. It’s humbling to meet people from all over the country at an event we put together. The She Shepherd and I found this class to be extremely valuable, and we learned a lot.

2017: I’m doing my best to bring Cecil and Ed back to Minnesota in 2017. We’ve had an incredible amount of interest already, and we are looking forward to hosting them both.

Live Fire

I cross trained with a few different instructors this year. QSI continues to evolve their very solid basic carbine and handgun programs, and as usual I enjoyed their speciality classes like their Vehicle Defense, and Partner Tactics.

I attended the Dynamic Focus Shooting class taught by Mike Anderson this year. It’s a condensed version of the ICE (Rob Pincus) class Combat Focus Shooting. I wrote this in my review, but if I were to recommend any SINGLE class for someone who wanted to defend themselves with a handgun, the 1-day DFS class would be it. Mike’s a great coach and motivator. I had fun, and learned quite a bit. I followed this class up by reading Rob Pincus’s book about CFS, as well as several medical and psychological articles about how the human body and mind react to being startled.

My training with AIM Precision was bittersweet this year. They are moving on, and primary instructor / owner Adam Link is moving away from Minnesota altogether. I am sad to see them go. Out of all of the live fire training I did this year, Adam’s team tactics advanced carbine class was by far my favorite. In addition to learning how to work in 3-, 4-, and 5-person teams, we also learned low-/no-light tactics. It was my first step at filling a gaping hole in my fight-focused resume: how three or more people can fight together.

As I wrote in my review, “team tactics” isn’t about the end of the world. If you’re reading this, you have an interest in stopping active shooters or terrorists. Many of these events happen in public places that we frequent with our friends and family.

Over the last two years, the majority of my friends not only carry guns, but attend (or teach) the same classes I go to. If six of us are eating in downtown Minneapolis and something happens, we now have a “team,” armed with at least one PDW/SBR, multiple trauma kits, and a pawn shop’s worth of handguns and knives.

We need to learn how to work together.

2017: Team training is something that’s very important to me. I also intend to pursue active shooter / terrorist interdiction classes, as well as fighting inside of structures.


Please help me repeat this phrase in 2017: “not enough time is being spent on pre- and post-fight skills in the self defense training industry.” I was extremely lucky to get professional instruction on managing unknown contacts from Mike Anderson’s “Landing the Plane” class. Craig Douglas’s ECQC class has a small unit on “MUC,” but an entire course devoted to this topic is important. I’ve taken Landing the Plane twice, and recommend it to everyone, regardless of age, ability, or intent.

I learned a lot about Violent Criminal Actors (VCA) from William Aprill this year. I enjoyed his material so much at the Hebrew Hogger conference that we had him up here in December. William travels a LOT, and I encourage you to take his Unthinkable class. Bring a friend.

Dana McLendon gave his “Self-Defense Law: Beyond the Basics” lecture at the Hebrew Hogger conference. You may know McLendon from his “Hot Crazy Matrix” YouTube video with James Yeager, but McLendon is a seasoned criminal defense lawyer and a budding stand up comedian. I learned a lot about how the criminal defense process works, and how important it is for us to be careful about the information we broadcast about ourselves, especially on social media.

I attended the lecture on a lark, but Greg Ellifritz’s Escaping Common Restraints was very interesting, especially from Greg’s combined perspectives of a law enforcement officer and an international traveler.

Lastly, several trainers included post-encounter training this year, which is an increasing and encouraging trend. Post-encounter training covers handling crowds/bystanders, interacting with responding law enforcement officers / EMS, contacting 911, evaluating scene safety, and more.

2017: the more training I take, the more I believe we need to put more investment on pre- and post-encounter training. We need to spend more time learning how violent criminals select their prey — and how to deselect ourselves. We need to spend more time learning about the mindset of active shooters and terrorists. More time practicing 911 calls. More time preparing for a criminal trial if we defend ourselves. More time learning how to interact with law enforcement so that all parties are safer.

I look forward to taking more pre- and post-encounter instruction, especially lectures like Landing the Plane.

Total Cost

The total amount of money I spent on tuition was $3,003.64. This does not include ammunition, travel expenses, lodging, food, house-/pet-/kidsitters, etc. I traveled for more classes / conferences this year than last year (Rangemaster, Hebrew Hogger, ECQC). Ammo and travel was often 2 to 4 times the cost of the class.

The cost doesn’t include the She Shepherd’s side of things. She served as a range safety officer in exchange for some portions of her tuition, but bullets and travel still cost money.

I won’t know for sure until my taxes are done, but I’m guessing we spent over $8000+ on training, travel, and consumables this year.

While my overall training hours were down, I feel like my variety of training increased. That’s a good thing. One of the reasons we started hosting instructors is that it saves a lot on travel costs. Hopefully I can up my training next year, as well as learn some new things.

About the Author:

Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd is a regular guy and works to make Web sites and mobile apps easier for people to use. He spends his free time attending fight-focused firearm, knife, and combatives training, motorcycling, writing, and playing games. His daily carry is a Glock 19 pistol and an AR15 .300 Blackout pistol in a backpack.

2 Comments on "2016 Year in Review: Training"

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  1. Greg says:

    196 hours is a very respectable total! When I was training officer for the department, the most training I ever did in a year was a little more than 400 hours. But that was all paid for by the department and they paid me to attend! You did half of that on your own time with your own money. That shows a lot of dedication.

  2. Sopater says:

    I’m in the Twin Cities area and looking for a good training class. I’m not exactly a novice, but have never taken any formal training. I’m looking at Aim Precision’s Reactive Carbine class, or perhaps something from QSI regarding FoF or perhaps their Defensive Rifle class. Can you offer any recommendations?

    Thanks, and keep up the good work!

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