Vehicle Gunfighting Class Teaser

I was a test student for a few of the drills for an upcoming vehicle gunfighting class offered by QSI Training here in Minnesota. We practiced getting out of cars, what to do when you need to shoot from inside of the vehicle, what to do when you have other passengers inside of the vehicle and you need to shoot, etc.

We did a bunch of the drills with practice guns. I went through the same cycle I do every class:

  • Nervous about performing the drill. Am I going to be safe? Am I going to screw up a procedure? Am I going to be accurate?
  • Do the drill dry / with practice guns. Remember that I’ve done almost all of this before a hojillion times and this is just adding stuff onto the pile.
  • Do some more practice runs. Adjust a few things that work with my setup (I’m one of the only students that runs appendix carry, for example) and think about drawing a pistol from one side or the other, etc.
  • Do the drill “live.” Completely give in to the moment of doing the drill.
  • Watch footage and see all the stuff I did wrong, could do better, and surprise myself every now and then by doing something right.

This was the exact cycle of events and emotions captured by this gunfighting class teaser. Warning: I say the F word. Didn’t realize I did that at the time, either.

So, this is the kind of thing my fellow students should expect this Saturday: a mish-mash of doing some things well, and some things not so well. The car DOES make a huge difference. I’ve done just under 30 hours of partner tactics training and so having other people around wasn’t a huge deal, but it’s another thing to think about.

Here are some things I’m proud of:

  • I put the car in park and no one got smooshed. Apparently most of this weekend’s class will have static vehicles, but still.
  • Subconscious decision to transition from right to left hands depending on where the threats were.
  • Proactive transition from right side pistol to left side pistol
  • Fast engagement at closer targets, slowing down subconsciously for targets farther out
  • I didn’t realize I called out “moving” when we got back into the car. I do remember both guys saying “move” to signal we were okay to drive off.

Here are some things I’m not proud of and need to work on:

  • I engaged the first target from behind the car, but by the time I was on the third target I walked beyond the car and gave up my concealment. This is something I am going to ask about during class. I’ve been taught for years and years (thanks Suarez International, QSI, and DTI) that standing still IDPA style is a great way to get killed. Get off the X. Get off the X. Well, I sort of let my training get the best of me and I got off the X right past the car. I need more practice!
  • I didn’t reload either of my handguns. I’ll need to ask about the best time to do this if it isn’t covered in class.
  • I should have gotten flat / prone and used the wheel for cover. This was covered in the earlier drills, but it was raining and I didn’t practice actually doing it. There is some disagreement about how much or little a car’s body (e.g., doors) will absorb rounds, but I don’t plan on any part of the vehicle protecting me that much (see the Buick of Truth experiment, for example).

Here are some weird / funny things I did:

  • I put my seat belt on before driving away. Old habits die hard — I don’t know if this is good or bad, but I remember doing it and seeing it again on camera makes me giggle every time. Shootout complete? Safety first!
  • My instructor and I said, “let’s get out of here” at about the same time.

Be ready

I don’t know what the full material for the class will be. However, from my experience running some of the drills, you should definitely have your mind right before this class starts. Yes, everything I did was easy to do when done at slow speed and isolation from the other techniques (see my “How to open your car door” post, for example). However, when everything was added up and we were using real firearms around real students things became exponentially more intense.

I look forward to seeing some of you this weekend, and I hope the rest of you have a vehicle gunfighting class scheduled sometime this year 🙂

vehicle gunfighting class teaser


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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