Force on Force Scenario: Grocery Bag Mugging

| January 22, 2016 | 3 Comments

Last Saturday we attended force on force scenario based training offered by QSI Training. It was the first FoF class of 2016, and I learned a lot and had a great time.

Class Overview

This is an extremely brief description of the course.

  • 12 students, 10 male, 2 female
  • Students had varying levels of experience with firearms, other tools, and fight focused training.
  • Students used Airsoft replicas of their carry weapons. I also had the safety trainer version of my Clinch Pick.
  • Conducted at the SCALE training facility, which was a former health sanitarium turned tactical training facility by the state of Minnesota. The facility has a mock apartment complex, jail, convenience store, courthouse, and bar.
  • Students who participated as “actors” in each scenario were given varying specific direction by the instructors. Sometimes we were told we had no weapons and how to react, other times we were given weapons and little guidelines.
  • The focused of each scenario was given limited direction, such as “go down this hall with a bag of groceries,” or “use this cash to buy this list of things at this store.”
  • Elements were changed if students repeated the same scenario. No one did the same scenario in the same location with the same situation with the same number of other actors. Something was always different.
  • Most scenarios had multiple paths to resolution. Many students could resolve situations without getting involved, or without firing a shot. One students didn’t fire a round all day – except when role playing an aggressor.
  • There was an after action review after every scenario. The QSI instructors explained the scenario, what was done well, what needed improvement, what could be done differently, and any historical context behind the scenario.

The Scenario

I was given a single paper bag full of groceries and told to walk down the hallway and back.


“It happened so fast” and “he came out of nowhere” sound cliche, but it’s true. I turned around, took a few steps and there he was.

This scenario allowed me to practice several things I’ve learned over the years:

  • Keep moving after a situation starts to unfold
  • Verbally engage the unknown contact(s) in order to determine their intent. This time I combined techniques from Erik Pakieser of QSI, John Farnam of DTI, Craig Douglas of Shivworks, and Mike Anderson’s Landing the Plane class.
  • One handed draw from concealment while under duress
  • Verbal challenge from QSI
  • Managing the relationship and orientation of my weapon and my body, taught in the Shivworks ECQC class and various QSI classes
  • Post shooting procedure from QSI and the LTP class
  • Safe pistol transition from one hand to another

I think I did pretty well here. I kept looking around and did not over react to the other participants. The instructor had a knife and planned on using it. I quickly reacted to his presence. I had to react to him, then there was a moment where no one was in control, and then I took control, and he had to react to me. No one got hurt. This transition of events may be the best outcome in an ambush situation.

The Q-Series LLC Stealth holster performs very well under stress. It’s a great holster.

However, there are several things I need to work on:

  • I do not like how my left hand was so close to the firing line of my pistol. I failed to do the “high pectoral” register that Craig taught me. I need to practice this more.
  • Why did I put the phone down? I know it was because I wanted both hands on my pistol but there has to be a better option than grounding it.
  • We very rarely practice our calls to 911. I made up the address, did not give a description of the assailant, and changed the color of my pants when describing myself. I need to work on this.
  • I went straight back for a few steps. This is somewhat excusable given the narrow hallway, but we should avoid going straight back when possible. Students fell several times during the day, mostly due to going straight backwards.
  • I bladed my body, which makes me more susceptible to a take down. The Shivworks ECQC class brought this to light, but I have 24 years of habit to counteract.

It is worth stressing again that you must start recording your performances in classes, especially ones like this. Things happen so quickly, and the participants and instructors WILL miss things that happen. Being able to review what I said, how I moved, the orientation of my muzzle, etc are invaluable. All the classes I’ve taken allowed me to film my own performance. I would not take a class from an instructor / organization again if they denied it.

This was a great class, and I believe every student serious about fight focused training should spend a significant amount of their time doing force on force scenarios.

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.

3 Comments on "Force on Force Scenario: Grocery Bag Mugging"

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  1. Chris says:

    As usual thanks for the post and for putting this information out there in such a great format. I have a question. Can you explain why blading your body makes you easier to be taken down? Thanks again for this blog. It is one of the few places for a good look at the issues an armed citizen may face.

    • Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd says:

      Hi there! Very good question.

      I learned (and practiced this, a lot) in the Shivworks ECQC class. If the hips are squared, it allows for equal distribution of weight and opposing force. It also prevents the lead leg from being grabbed as easily, something that happened to me frequently when I practiced with a lifelong wrestler :\

      Additionally, blading the body / hips allows someone to pass that side more easily, and then push you the opposite direction your hips are facing. It’s hard for me to explain with words.

      If your left foot is forward, and right foot back, then an opponent who moves to the same angle of your hips has “stacked” your feet and can VERY easily drive you backwards this way. The way we counteracted this in my previous experience (and fistfights) was to lower my center of gravity and push back off of my rear leg. An attacker can change direction and very easily take me off balance.

      I don’t know if this helped — the best way to explain it is to experience it. Thank you for asking a great question.

  2. CR Williams says:

    Do this test:

    Ask someone to just walk forward normally, nothing more, to and through you while you try to stop them from doing that. Blade yourself as you will and try and stop that forward movement, then go square-on and repeat the test.

    You will find as I did that you pretty much can’t make it work when bladed.

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