As Robin Williams once said, "It's days like this that men realize they have nipples!"

I have been waiting for my cold weather gear from Diamondback Tactical for over three weeks now. They promised delivery no later than next week. I should only hope. I plan on being back at the lease next weekend and, hopefully, the rut will be in full swing and the weather will be cold. Their Patagonia products really must be popular. I hope they are worth the wait.

Nothing new to report. Tac Tuesday is really pretty routine. We focus mainly on the fundamentals. With all the new shooters coming by, it turns out to be a safety fest and seminar more than a training class. I have taken the opportunity to branch out and try new things. I will be posting on Eclipse's trip to Farnham's most recent pistol course two weeks ago. Check back.

This past Wednesday found me working some Hoffner drills with Brian Hoffner's Elite Team. Aside from the large Tuesday night crowds, I don't really know what compelled me to shoot with Brian. He is a well respected firearms instructor and is the owner/operator of his own line of leather and kydex holsters. He teaches everything from the Elite classes to Tactical/Defensive Pistol, Shotgun, Carbine/Sniper and Hand-to-Hand combat.

The Elite Team drills are designed to inspire confidence and high self-esteem through several pistol drills. Each drill has a par time and no misses are allowed. Each drill time is between 1 and 4 seconds. From the draw, as I am used to doing, it seems almost impossible, but the first drill is the only one performed at the draw. The remaining drills are all done from the ready retention position (RR).

While the drills build confidence and character, they also help develop that mental quickness and agility necessary to survive a hostile engagement. Everyone from LEO to IDPA and IPSC, as well as guys like me, knows how stress in a high speed environment/hostile engagement can bring on what Instructor Greg calls "cerebral fibrillation." It is the inability of the mind to properly connect to the body and tell it what to do in a fluid and dynamic way. Sorta like getting cut off in heavy traffic. Your mind sees one thing and fixates on it while you have to act immediately to prevent a collision. The Elite Team drills are designed to prevent your body and mind from seizing up in a conflict. As Brian stated to me, this training is crucial to getting a person into that warrior mindset.

Those who've shot a Hoffner target know what it looks like. Since I am not THAT internet saavy, I will not try to reprint or post a pic of it here. I might blow up the World Wide Web if I do. The target is a standard body silhouette with six numbered circles on the border and an 'A', 'B', and 'C' zone on the body to represent the central processor (brain/B zone), engine room (vital organs/A zone), and locomotion (pelvic region/C zone). The idea of the three zones is to focus your attack on the three vital areas of the body that will defeat an attacker. For the purposes of the Elite Team drills, we only shot the 'A' zone of the target.

Brian stressed that we push the envelope to acheive maximum results. I pushed a little too hard and found that my skills become really sloppy, real fast. He told me to concentrate on being slow and smooth first, and that the speed will come to me over time. As his website states, for every one round fired downrange, 100 must be dry-fire practice. I can see that this may take a while, but you will know the minute I make the Elite Team. It is a great honor to make the team, and is a great morale boost for those who think it is impossible.

Taken directly from Brian's syllabus is the list of drills:

  1. DRAW ONE SHOT -- 1.65 par time -- Draw and fire one shot to the A zone, 1.65 seconds. All drills completed at 5 yards.
  2. TWO SHOT DRILL FROM READY RETENTION (RR) -- 1.35 par time -- From the ready position, push to the shoot position and hit the A zone twice.
  3. ALTERNATE TARGET, ONE SHOT EACH -- 1.5 par time -- From RR hit the A zone of two different targets with one shot each. Second sight on the first target you shot.
  4. TRANSITION RIGHT HAND/LEFT HAND --2.75 par time -- From the one handed, strong hand ready position utilizing one target. Hit the A zone with one shot and transition to the support hand and hit the A zone again with one shot. Practice with the thumb up method. This is the only method Hoffner will accept for Elite Team. Move the strong hand thumb up and away to give your weak hand web between thumb and forefinger the opportunity to seat properly and get a firm grip. Personal note: It is best to keep the gun extended while transitioning between hands. This allows for faster change and quicker sight alignment.
  5. TACTICAL RELOAD, TWO SHOT DRILL --3.75 par time -- Tactical reload, you know the drill. Start from RR and hit the A zone with one shot. Tac Reload using the correct procedure, cover your threat immediately and hit the A zone with one more shot. Put your partially used magazine in a pocket or waistband and check your threat area again with two hands. Time stops after the second shot. Personal Note: Remember to keep your mags facing bullets forward. Grasp with your weak hand before you hit the mag release. Hit the mag release and drop the spent mag into your second and third fingers. Slap the fresh mag into the mag well for a proper seat. The spent mag should be pinched between your third and fourth fingers when you go SOSU (Sights On, Slack Up) for the second shot.
  6. COMBAT RELOAD, TWO SHOT DRILL -- 3.5 par time -- This one is gravy compared to the last drill. Make sure your reload magazine is stored and gripped properly. Be calm and smooth when inserting the magazine. Remember to use the pinch pull method to run the slide. From the RR, one shot before and after the combat reload to the A zone. By this time, most people will be on an empty mag with one left in the chamber. If not, go ahead and void out a mag, but leave one round in the chamber.
  7. INGRESS/EGRESS DRILL --INGRESS, THREE TARGETS, TWO SHOTS EACH, 3.5 par time -- Moving forward at covert speed in the RR. Engage the three targets with two shots to the A zone each. The time stops after your last shot, but make sure you de-cock and/or engage the safety after second sight, then return to an observation, or ready position. Continue moving during the drill. EGRESS, THREE TARGETS, TWO SHOTS EACH, 4.0 par time -- Same as the INGRESS drill, but moving backwards. Be careful and check the terrain behind you.
  8. HAMMER DRILL, SIX SHOTS --2.5 par time -- This is a smokin' blast!!! Six shot rhythm drill. Six consecutive shots from the RR to the A zone. Be aggressive and lock up.
  9. THE HOFFNER DRILL -- 9.0 par time -- Control the chaos. Start holstered from an interview stance with five live rounds in your magazine. One dummy round must be somewhere in the magazine (have a partner load this magazine for you). The dummy round can neither be the first, nor last round. When the timer sounds, get moving laterally. If you are not moving, you are dying. Keep moving throughout the drill. Fire the first five rounds to the A zone and conduct a combat reload with a magazine loaded with only three live rounds. Hit the A zone two more times after reload and the B zone once (Mozambique). All manipulations must be safe and true to form. The time for the drill is 9.0 seconds if the Tap/Rack/Bang cleared your stoppage. If a double feed occurred to clear the stoppage, then the drill must be completed in 13.5 seconds.

I am going to focus on one or two drills every week or two to gain proficiency. This can be done as dry-fire practice or on the range live. For more information on Hoffner's products and classes, go to this link.

Remember to focus on safety, safety, SAFETY! These drills go by extremely fast. I know this by watching. The potential for a gun to get away from you or a 'laser' incident is very high. Remember that slow is smooth and smooth is fast. I made the mistake of rushing into this class, but because I have been training for almost a year, muscle memory and mental discipline help prevent problems.

If you happen to be in the Houston area around the first Wednesday of the month and have some time to kill in the evening, stop by the RANGE and join the Elite Team.

No comments: