That’s What She Said: Snap Back To Reality

| January 20, 2016 | 3 Comments

Force on Force classes simulate real conditions under which you may need to apply your self defense training. Their point is test your training while you are your everyday YOU.

This is my 4th season of Force on Force classes with QSI Training. As far as I know, I am the only female student to test different modes of carry for women in any class QSI has offered. I didn’t have a new carry option to try for this class. I brought new tool instead. There are millions of people who carry pepper spray every day. I wanted to know how it would fare in comparison to my other tools.

What I Did Differently This Class

As I laid out my range pants, protective jacket, gun belt, AIWB holster, both belt mounted mag carriers, training shoes and brimmed cap I felt like I was cheating. I’ve tested drawing from multiple handbag and backpack styles, tank top holsters, a flash bang, and my compression shorts but I’ve always had the range gear to fall back on in case the alternates failed. I wanted to push myself this class.

So I changed my plan and dressed as if I were heading out for a typical day in my life. The school drop-off, yoga class, Costco, Target, Co-op, after school pick-up, doctor appointment kind of day.

I wore yoga pants, tank top, pull-over, fluffy boots, TDI knife at body mid-line, ASP Key Defender Pepper Spray Baton loaded with an OC Tester Insert on my key ring, and my G19 with 1 spare mag in my Vertx sling bag. I should note that the bag also carries: trauma kit, flashlight, back-up flashlight, back up knife, baton, and basic over the counter medications.

I am better armed than most suburban housewives, but my “range-self” is the woman who takes classes and shoots stuff. My “everyday-self” picks up groceries and holds tree pose. If I didn’t use the talismans of my range persona, would I be able to access the mindset I needed for self defense?

I worked through three scenarios. Here is my AAR of the first

Grocery bag mugging

I was given a grocery bag full of heavy items and directed to walk to the end of a dimly lit hallway, then turn around and come back to where I started.

As I began my walk I noticed students entering the hallway behind me. Some were very quiet, one was having an aggressive talk on his phone. I deactivated the safety on my spray just like I would in any dark parking lot and continued. As I walked I tried to look behind me as often as I could, but I also needed to keep my eyes moving from side to side as I passed doorways, some open and some closed. I made it to the end of the hall.

As I turned around, a mugger stepped out and demanded my groceries. SURPRISE!!!!

I tossed the bag at the mugger as he was reaching at me and hit him with an OC shot from my Key Defender Baton at the same time. The cone of mist did not hit him directly in the face, but there was a large cloud that drifted towards him. Afterwards, he said that he smelled the spray — which to me indicates that at least some of the spray reached him. Regardless, this is something I need to keep practicing.

The mugger ran away. Then I had to deal with the agitated bystanders and call 911. You’d think that would be easy. It wasn’t.

I backed into a doorway. This allowed me to see both ends of the hallway, and the crowd. They were loud and closing in on me.  I calmly directed the most aggressive bystander to call 911. I was hoping that giving him a task would redirect and calm him.

I also simulated a call to 911. From my previous experience at Landing the Plane, I knew that I needed to deliver clear, concise communication with emergency staff. I felt fumbly and awkward, but I think I improved a little bit.

I avoided answering leading questions from the operator. I gave my general location and description of the mugger. But those descriptions weren’t especially authentic. I knew the mugger was my instructor: Hawaiian Punch. I described him perfectly, but not what he was wearing as I should have been able to do. I also never gave detailed information of my location.

Going forward I will work on knowing the details of my regular stops – street addresses, general coordinates of my parking space or location in the building (northwest side of the south entrance etc etc), and to give better descriptions of assailants (clothing, height weight, distinguishing physical details). I will also remember to give a description of me, especially if shots have been fired so that police arriving on scene know that I am the victim and that I am legally armed.

Final Thoughts

I am very impressed by the pepper spray. It was the most appropriate level of force for the confrontation. It was faster to get to than any other tool I had with me and easily (and innocuously) deployed at a reasonable distance.

If it wasn’t effective I believe it would have bought me enough time to get to another tool.

Big thanks to Melody Lauer for her diligent research on OC sprays for self defense. Without her suggestion I would not have tried this force option.

I hope this post convinces people to not only take Force on Force classes, but to take them as themselves. If you honestly open carry in a drop-leg holster with 6 back up mags dressed in 5.11 every day, show up to class in that.

If you don’t carry often, or if you do and you use a handbag or a belly band or just your keys in between your knuckles…own it. Show up that way and find out what works and what doesn’t on your own terms with instructors who can help you make the most of your choices.

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.

3 Comments on "That’s What She Said: Snap Back To Reality"

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  1. Joe Prepper says:

    Great review, She Shepard.

    I am curious about the ASP Key Defender. Is ti a one-shot item?

    Thanks for the review!

  2. The She-Shepherd The She-Shepherd says:

    Hello Joe!

    CR Williams is correct. The ASP Key Defender is a multi-shot system. Replacement and tester cartridges are sold separately.

    I’d like to write a review, but I am going to run it through more scenarios first.

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