Our philosophy is pretty much just like shooting: simple, but not easy.
Shooting really is simple, when you get down to it: All you need to do is align the back sight with the front sight, and have that on the target at the time the firearm goes off. Very simple. This is completely separate from whether or not this is easy. Because effective shooting (shooting that actually has a purpose) then adds on whether or not you need to make a followup shot, if you need to move, turn, reload, shoot one-handed, do it as fast as possible…we could go on and on.
Shooting is simple. That doesn’t mean that effective shooting (whether it be for defense or competition) is easy.
In a similar fashion, our goal is simple:
The goal of Precision Response Training is to make you a better, more effective shooter in whatever area that you have chosen.
Is this easy to do? Of course not. Everyone is different, and has different goals, strengths, and weaknesses. So how do we make this work? Our philosophy is also simple: We teach students. We use a curriculum, we have class material—but we teach students. That may sound like semantic nit-picking, but it really isn’t.
Our curriculum is based on the best, most up-to-date, expert knowledge set we can create (and is continually updated and refined). We use research-based training methods to provide a maximum of kinesthetic retention and cognitive understanding. And we take that curriculum and those methods, and apply it to each student.
We want you to be better when you finish our class.
There are a lot of people out there who can shoot very well–and yet, really don’t know how they do it. Many people have read articles or books or webpages online that discuss the basic fundamentals of shooting, and most experienced shooters can probably easily come up with the list of the standard shooting fundamentals. And yet, many shooters don’t actually apply those fundamentals correctly. For those of you who are saying in the back of their mind “well I certainly do!”:
- Shooting at least once every second, can you place 6 shots in a 3 inch circle at 7 yards?
- Can you consistently hit an 8 inch circle at 25 yards?
- Can you consistently hit a 6 inch circle at 10 yards strong hand only? Weak hand only?
- Can you do it with a gun you’ve never shot before?
If you can’t do those things, then your fundamentals could be better. If you can do those things—then how fast can you do those things? Could you be faster?
No matter what else you want to do with a handgun, a solid grasp of the fundamentals is necessary.
And no matter HOW good you are—an outside eye analyzing your fundamentals will make you a better shooter. The best shooters in the world continually go back to the basics again and again—and if they need to do it, the rest of us certainly do also.
Something we’ve observed in several training classes we’ve attended:
- Many people teaching defensive shooting classes are shooters who’ve learned defensive shooting techniques, and are teaching them. This is different from defensive tactics instructors who are teaching firearms as defensive tactics tools.
- Our perception of what tactics people should diligently practice differs somewhat from others—not necessarily in technique, but mostly in direction and focus. Students in other classes learn defensive shooting. Shooters in our classes learn defensive tactics that include shooting, and the tactics are applicable to any given situation.
The defensive tactics classes we teach are centered around the use of a particular self-defense tool: the firearm. However, while there are tactics specific to handgun usage, the overall field of defensive tactics really isn’t based on the tool at hand. Again, this sounds like we are merely making a semantic difference for sake of argument–but we really aren’t. There is a substantive difference.
Effective defensive tactics apply in every defensive situation. If you understand and can apply the basic principles of effective self-defense, then you have a much better chance of surviving unharmed. If you happen to have tools with you that multiply your effectiveness, so much the better—but even if you don’t, the principles of self-defense still apply.
Short form: the skills that we teach in our self-defense classes don’t suddenly stop working if you no longer have a handgun. We aren’t just showing you how to defend yourself with a handgun. We are showing you effective tactics to defend yourself–and they apply all the time.
The head instructor of Precision Response Training has been a martial arts and self-defense instructor for quite some time. As such, we have a certain bias in our belief of what constitutes Close-Quarter Tactics training. (Note: this is a class that is taught at PRT only upon request, given sufficient interest.)
CQT isn’t about room-clearing. Nor is it about a “close” attacker 5 yards away—it is about an attacker 0-5 feet away. Starting to move back and putting your hands down to draw (or even keeping one up to guard your head as you draw with your other hand) as an initial reaction to an attack is often a good way to make sure you are beaten before your gun gets out. Worse yet, if you get the gun halfway out and then get taken down, they’ll know you have a gun-and they’ll have access to it.
Our CQT course is a self-defense tactics class, not a “gun” class. We use tools, sure. But the weapon is the mind, and in CQT situations the mind should be telling you that you need to create space (both in distance and in time) so you can access and use your tools. If that space isn’t there, you have to make it–so CQT courses should show how to stop attackers, how to redirect attacks, and how to jam movement to give you that time and space. Without it—you break the first rule of self-defense.
First rule of self-defense: Don’t get dead.
What important things should students get out of our CQT training? Well, what circumstances will result in a lethal force response? Large disparity of force, weapons, or multiple attackers. (Or combinations thereof, noting that the 2nd and 3rd often create the first.) So—CQT for civilian self-defense needs to deal with how to keep yourself safe under those conditions, at 3-5 feet or closer. And oddly enough, going for the gun is almost always NOT what you should do first. Matter of fact, sometimes going for the gun means you lose control of the situation, and you get dead.
Don’t break the first rule.
The entire point of our CQT course is defensive tactics at close quarters-and while we assume that we will have access to a concealed firearm, that is merely one of the tools that we have available to use. The entire point is to learn how to stay alive in close quarters lethal force situations-and thus knowing when the gun isn’t the right initial choice is important.
Our CQT class is neither a “martial arts class,” nor a “shooting class” – because describing it in either of those fashions loses the point completely!
Self-defense means doing what is necessary to keep yourself safe. Having tools to better enable you to do this is handy-but you have to be careful that you don’t turn every situation into a “this is a hammer, so everything is a nail” reaction. Thinking that a self-defense class is a martial arts class OR a shooting class means that the student isn’t thinking about realistic self-defense tactics, they are thinking about drills for specific tools. There isn’t anything wrong with this, UNLESS thinking in this fashion makes you practice drills that are unrealistic. At close quarters, if you don’t stop the attacker and create space, you will get killed. In most cases you can’t do that by starting off with drawing the gun.
Our CQT class is about tactics to keep you alive in lethal force situations. You will learn plenty of drills to help you access your firearm quickly, and engage targets accurately. But that certainly isn’t the main topic of the class, and if you ignore the parts of training that keep you alive until you can access your firearm-then it doesn’t matter how much you drill the “shooting part”.