Beyond the drills: Pictures from my fight focused training class

| May 2, 2014 | 0 Comments

Fight Focused Training.

To some it sounds intimidating, violent, and a little like overkill. Who wants to get into a fight, much less a gun fight, in the first place?

Nobody does. That’s why this kind of training is important for every gun owner whether you choose to carry or not.

In an effort to demystify this style of class, I took some photos of things you can’t glean from an online class description. This is going to be a very basic overview of what conditions you might train in, the terrain on the range, required and recommended gear, and how the class looks while in progress.

It seems like no matter how lovely the previous week’s weather has been, it never holds out for class day. Like we always say: If it ain’t raining…it ain’t training.

So of course, the day started off like this


Which led to this. As you can see, movement during the drills makes the field muddy.

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There are several shelter options. These serve us well through rain and heat.

Plan to dress for the elements. A shemaugh is helpful in both heat and cold, plus it keeps hot brass from landing on your neck. Mechanics gloves will keep your hands protected from the cold as well as keep them from getting cut. Make sure you have some rain protection and conversely, sunscreen.

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We store our range bags, ammo, and other gear here. There are tables available as well as stadium seating for the lecture portion of the class and for breaks. At our classes, we have a mid-day meal on site. Everyone brings a lunch. There is no running water for washing up or drinking, so bring bottled water as well as hand wipes. Cleansing your hands before you eat is important because lead, copper jacketing and dirt will be all over your hands. You definitely don’t want any of that stuff on your food or in your mouth.

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Students at our classes form lines in front of either steel or paper targets. There can be as many as 7 people in your line. The ground will be uneven, muddy and littered with brass and spent shot gun shells.

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I like to wear flat, waterproof shoes to avoid twisted ankles, or boots if the mud is really bad or if it is very cold. Everyone wears the style of shoes they find most comfortable.

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You will be expected to wear eye and ear protection. I prefer a combination of both inner ear plugs and electronic over the ear protection. Safety glasses are also required.


The subject of appropriate clothing for women to train in is a whole other post. But ideally you should wear something you would normally wear while carrying.

Pants should have deep pockets for mag retention. Wear  fitted clothing  that is comfortable and moves with you. Remove  toggles or dangles from jackets. Those things are dangerous. They like to find their way into the trigger guard when you re-holster.

Finally, don’t wear anything you plan on wearing again to travel on an airplane. The gunpowder may leave a residue that can be detected at security.


Here is a shot of students being closely monitored by the staff at QSI. Students are watched primarily for safety, but the staff are quick to offer help with equipment or technique and lots of encouragement. There will be one main instructor and several range officers (depending on class size).

Despite the serious name and the serious subject, fight focused training is not intimidating. Several other students (some grown men who have been around guns their whole lives) have told us they were on the fence about taking the class. They were concerned about being judged, or that they would look stupid, etc.

Hopefully this post will give you a little more information on what it’s like to be in a gunfighting class, and give you one more piece of the puzzle.

My advice: don’t wait. Jump in and start learning.





About the Author:

The She-Shepherd The She-Shepherd is a defensive firearms student, mother and advocate for pushing the boundaries of how we train. She believes that defensive training must balance context, mindset, and skill to be most effective. Her specialty has become testing alternative modes of firearms carry and best practices of less than lethal force options through rigorous force-on-force scenario based training.

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