QSI Everyday Vehicle Gunfighting Class Review

| July 13, 2015 | 0 Comments

“Shoot the glass!”

The villain Hans from Die Hard urges his comrade to shoot the glass to aggravate the barefoot hero, John McClane.

Last weekend I learned first hand that shooting through windshield glass can be pretty aggravating.

The She Shepherd and I were lucky enough to attend QSI Training‘s every day carry (EDC) vehicle gun fighting class. This was the second year they’ve held it (we attended last year) and the format was changed to optimize for time and for safety.

This year’s class was also very different because QSI had a car available. We used my Jeep Wrangler last year, and that meant everyone was, thankfully, on their best behavior. This year we got to shoot through the windshield, and that is where I learned the most from the class.

shooting inside a vehicle with passengers-0

Class Overview

Like last year we learned the following:

  • How to draw while seated and seat belted
  • Using prior experience in shooting one-handed to properly engage targets when a two-handed grip was impractical
  • How to unbuckle your seat belt while holding a handgun
  • How to exit a vehicle
  • Using a vehicle as concealment
  • Understanding that a vehicle is poor cover
  • Controlling / shooting around passengers in the car

New things / differences this year (besides shooting through the windshield):

  • Firing at targets at seven positions: 12, 2, 3, 4, 11, 9, and 7 o’clock
  • More live fire before entering the vehicle. I think this was partially done to vet some of the newer students, but it was a good warm up for one-handed shooting.
  • More blue gun practice with aiming and weapons manipulation. We used the cars of four students. I chose a sedan because both of our cars are SUVs and I wanted something that was more difficult to move around in.
  • Less wait time between shooting once we entered the vehicle, but less shooting from the vehicle in general.

This class was quite unusual for QSI, as that they usually have a slow ramp-up and then a very, very fast escalation. The vehicle class was the opposite. We fired most of our rounds outside of the vehicle and the pace slowed dramatically once we got inside of the car.

Deflection and Destruction

I already knew that shooting from inside a car would cause rounds to deflect upwards. I also knew that shooting into a car would cause rounds to deflect downwards.

This year I also learned:

  • The first shot deflected the most, follow up shots suffered minimal deflection if at all.
  • Laminated windshield glass melts slightly due to muzzle flash.
  • The glass will stay relatively intact after a four round burst. You would definitely be able to see through the glass well enough to drive if you just fired four rounds at the same target.
  • You will get sprayed with small bits of laminated glass as you shoot. I was wearing shorts and a short sleeved tshirt to class, and I had multiple lacerations on my knees, shins, and forearms due to the glass.
  • Side glass, which is made of safety glass and not laminated glass, will shatter on the first round. A ton of glass will enter the vehicle, possibly injuring an occupant and certainly dividing their attention.
  • The windshield may cause separation between the copper jacket and lead core of your bullet.
  • Sometimes that copper jacket will re-enter the car, and sometimes that may strike the shooter or occupants.

We’re not entirely sure how it happened, but I fired four rounds into a target through the windshield. There were six holes in my paper target, two of which were very off target. At first I thought I was just yanking the trigger, but after shooting the rest of the drill I looked down and saw that my left hand was bleeding steadily. It didn’t hurt, and it wasn’t gushing, but the bleeding was very persistent.

IMG_0574

This photo was taken well after I had stopped the bleeding. I used some Celox in our range “boo boo” kit, and applied pressure with a napkin. I need to remember to add gauze pads before next class.

The best we can figure, the jacket separated from the bullet, and ricocheted / deflected back into the car and hit my hand. A few other students had similar experiences with four rounds producing six holes.

I didn’t see it myself, but one of the QSI range officers stated that the dashboard had taken significant damage from fragmentation.

Conclusion

For safety and logistical reasons the car class has to be taken slowly. In order to get a wider degree of fire this year (which was good) there had to either be two cars or students had to go one at a time. Since there was only one car present, the class moved one student at a time.

This led to longer wait times between shooting, and this is unavoidable. I know that QSI is already talking about ways to keep the action moving a bit more next time.

I feel like we did a lot more bailout practice last year, and I think that is very important. I’d like to see more done, even if it with practice guns before live fire starts — or ideally, while some of the students are doing live fire. There were three instructors for 14 students, and during the car live fire process only one instructor was involved at a time. That would leave two instructors to assist the class with something else.

I would also like to either see a demonstration or experience first hand what happens when different parts of a vehicle are shot with handguns and rifles. I have read a few layman-run experiments online (e.g., the Buick of Truth has been very helpful to me)

I recommend this class to anyone who has not fired a firearm in or around a vehicle. I was grateful to get the experience of shooting through the windshield this year. I regret not being able to shoot my .300 Blackout ammunition loaded with Barnes bullets, but perhaps I’ll get another chance to shoot through a windshield in the future.

There will be upcoming posts with training footage.

 

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.
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