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Training safety: know the instructor/school, know yourself

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Training safety: know the instructor/school, know yourself

Postby TSiWRX » Fri Nov 09, 2012 7:04 pm

http://www.theakforum.net/phpBB3/viewto ... 4&t=187359

^ Thread from the AK Forum - a very brief AAR on a AK class taught at TDSA in TX....

http://soldiersystems.net/2012/11/08/cq ... out-there/ :arrow:

Soldier Systems wrote:CQB Training – Let’s Be Careful Out There

Close Quarters Battle training has become the latest rage for the ‘new golf’. While some might argue whether this skill is justified for civilians, I feel it is a valuable skill considering most of us own weapons to defend our homes. Employing a firearm in such ‘close quarters’ requires a new set of skills rarely learned on the flat range. Oftentimes, this form of training for those who are not military or LE is referred to by another name such as house clearing or home defense. No matter the name, the principles remain the same.

By now many of you know that there was an accidental, non-fatal shooting last weekend during a CQB-style course in Texas. Details have begun to emerge and the instructor has manned up and accepted responsibility. This is not the first time this has happened and unfortunately, won’t be the last. So, I thought this would be a good opportunity to point out some common issues encountered by prospective students....[more]


I came to "The Gun World" completely fresh about two years ago - right around now, actually.

Those who know me from this community know that I love to train. Yes, I think it's fun, and yes, I do like to pretend I'm a Force-Level-5-Ninja-Assassin :P :oops: sometimes. But in all seriousness, I sought training because I'm a nerdy pencil-neck'ed soft-living geek who has never had military or law-enforcement training. The responsibility of armed self-defense weighs heavy on my shoulders, and I realized early on that if I didn't seek instruction so that I can at least say to myself that "I tried to do it right," then I might one day not be able to look myself in the mirror.

Over the past two years, I've been really lucky. There's a great group of well-qualified instructors and schools right here in NE-Ohio (Bill Holcomb at Three Tango Firearms Academy, the Campbells at Commence FireARMs Academy, and Chris Cerino at Cerino Training Group; and it is also my hope that Ron Lauinger of LMI Inc. will re-start the firearms side of his house, too) and I've also been fortunate enough to study with some household names in the industry as well. As I continue along this path - adding both depth and breadth to my currently shallow and small pool-of-knowledge - I've come to realize just how lucky I've been to find such quality instruction, by having done nothing more than pulled up a few Google searches on my computers.

The old saying of "Is gun, is not safe," holds inherent truth. We need to realize that when we're out there on the range, it's not like we're playing tennis or even a game of touch-football. The golden Firearms Safety Rules is the only thing that splits the difference between you and your family/friends having a great day shooting versus absolute tragedy.

I urge everyone here to read the Soldier Systems blog post as well as the discussion thread that follows (which includes valuable input from many recognized authorities in the industry [and sadly, also some idiotic trolls, but you can figure out pretty quickly who's who, even if you don't hang around the "training circle" much).

Two things to keep in-mind:

Know who you're training with. Ask yourself - or someone who knows better than you - whether if this instructor's experiences qualifis him/her to teach the course you are enrolled in.

Look at this recent AAR of a Redback One (Jason Falla) 3-day "Home Defense" class. http://www.m4carbine.net/showthread.php?t=114326 Look at the safety measures incorporated into their curriculum (they *supplied* students with the proper armor and safety gear, went through the exercises using a dry/Sims/live progression, emphasized safety/accountability and punished speed/inconsitency, etc.).

Know yourself. And be brutally honest here, in your evaluation of your skill. It's much better to be the "Gray Man" at a training class than to be "that person." Similarly, remember that as we "advance," the inherent dangers of our training ramps up - and that also includes the ever-deadly complacency when it comes to those golden Firearms Safety Rules. We have to remember to gut-check ourselves.

Here's a good thread that recently popped up on the M4Carbine.net Forums, where the OP asked the question of "where/how do I start getting training" - it's also worth a read.

http://www.m4carbine.net/showthread.php?t=116013


----

I did not post this here to judge either those trainers or that school.

As much as the Soldier Systems blog's purpose was not to call-out that school/instructor- but rather, to use this unfortunate episode to call our attention to this critical issue - this is also the purpose of my post.

Have I studied under instructors who have experienced safety breaches in their past? Yes. And I will tell you that they are now the safer and even more safety-conscious for it.
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Re: Training safety: know the instructor/school, know yourse

Postby Jake » Fri Nov 09, 2012 9:04 pm

No such thing as being too safe with regards to firearms.

Not sure if this falls into the topic but, I hate watching guys rack their slides by using the front of the slide.
IMO, it puts the hands to close to the muzzle.

Curls my toes every time I see it.
:lol:
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Re: Training safety: know the instructor/school, know yourse

Postby TSiWRX » Fri Nov 09, 2012 9:57 pm

^ Weird thing to curl your toes to..... :P :lol:

Out of sheer habit, I press-checked a G18 that had just had about 300 rounds run through it on full-auto. Without gloves. :lol:

Good thing I have callouses on my fingers!
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Re: Training safety: know the instructor/school, know yourse

Postby Jake » Fri Nov 09, 2012 10:00 pm

Muscle memory's downside?
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Re: Training safety: know the instructor/school, know yourse

Postby Brian D. » Fri Nov 09, 2012 10:01 pm

Jake wrote:
Not sure if this falls into the topic but, I hate watching guys rack their slides by using the front of the slide.
IMO, it puts the hands to close to the muzzle.

Curls my toes every time I see it.
:lol:


Yeah that was similar to the only thing taught by--maybe started by--Jeff Cooper that I always took complete issue with. His press-check technique (on a 1911 without full length guide rod) was to use the offside index finger to push back the recoil plug and spring. That of course puts the fingy directly underneath the muzzle.
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Re: Training safety: know the instructor/school, know yourse

Postby techguy85 » Sat Nov 10, 2012 7:41 am

so what happened with this shooting? doesn't seem to be detailed in the blog post.
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Re: Training safety: know the instructor/school, know yourse

Postby BobK » Sat Nov 10, 2012 9:01 am

Sounds like a good time to remember that Cooper's Four Rules apply 100% of the time, even in training or during combat.


RULE 1: ALL GUNS ARE ALWAYS LOADED
The only exception to this occurs when one has a weapon in his hands and he has personally unloaded it for checking. As soon as he puts it down, Rule 1 applies again.

RULE 2: NEVER LET THE MUZZLE COVER ANYTHING YOU ARE NOT PREPARED TO DESTROY

You may not wish to destroy it, but you must be clear in your mind that you are quite ready to if you let that muzzle cover the target. To allow a firearm to point at another human being is a deadly threat, and should always be treated as such.

RULE 3: KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER TIL YOUR SIGHTS ARE ON THE TARGET

This we call the Golden Rule because its violation is responsible for about 80 percent of the firearms disasters we read about.

RULE 4: BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET
You never shoot at anything until you have positively identified it. You never fire at a shadow, or a sound, or a suspected presence. You shoot only when you know absolutely what you are shooting at and what is beyond it.
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Re: Training safety: know the instructor/school, know yourse

Postby BobK » Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:45 pm

Read this from the Texas CHL forum:

bronco78 wrote:Ya, heard about it yesterday..
All the info I have seen is second hand stuff, No first hand account, no official response, or report that I know if.

This is the typical stuff out there.

It happened during a shoot house portion, Gene and a student was doing an AAR after a run in the house. Sonny Puzikas enters first room engages targets (no lights). Gene and student did not positively ID their presence in the second room, Sonny goes into room two, engages target with failure drill with Gene standing in front of that target and the student nearby. Two to abdomen, one to the arm. Sonny shooting under no light at a target he previously set up. But the problem compounded when Sonny did not account for all people in the class, the people in the shoot house upon hearing the shots, did not ID their presence, and shooting in low light with out a light to ID target.......sigh"
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Re: Training safety: know the instructor/school, know yourse

Postby TSiWRX » Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:53 pm

^ Thanks for that, Bob K. :)

I have a friend down in TX who is fond of training (although I don't know that he's into the AK platform, yet) who I'd planned to e-mail to see if he had any insights, but it looks like you were a step ahead. :)

techguy85, I think that it's still too early to expect an official debrief. The Soldier Systems blog seemed to indicate that this will hopefully move forward in a positive manner, so that we may all learn from the incident and be the wiser and better for it. I definitely want more detail, too, and I hope that it's forthcoming.


----

RE: my press-checking a hot G18...

Jake wrote:Muscle memory's downside?


I think so. :lol: That little thing was chugging along remarkably well - popular media corrupted my perception of the piece, for-sure, and I was surprised to see it eat through all sorts of different ammo and barely even hickup. I was one of the last in line, and by then, the gun had developed some double-feed and failure-to-battery, so I'd taken hold of it with my usual routine.


---


Brian D. wrote:
Jake wrote:
Not sure if this falls into the topic but, I hate watching guys rack their slides by using the front of the slide.
IMO, it puts the hands to close to the muzzle.

Curls my toes every time I see it.
:lol:


Yeah that was similar to the only thing taught by--maybe started by--Jeff Cooper that I always took complete issue with. His press-check technique (on a 1911 without full length guide rod) was to use the offside index finger to push back the recoil plug and spring. That of course puts the fingy directly underneath the muzzle.


As I am exposed to more and more, my personal take on the different techniques is that as long as the core reasoning is sound, the difference between "safe" and "unsafe" is strictly in the execution.

FWIW, I would be somewhat uncomfortable with that particular style of press-check, too (although purely from a safety standpoint, I do not think that it violates The Golden Rules) - but my own press-check technique also puts my support hand/thumb quite close to the muzzle as well. Proper attention paid to not violate muzzle awareness and trigger discipline during this administrative procedure, for me, is thus "a double definite must."
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Re: Training safety: know the instructor/school, know yourse

Postby Sevens » Sat Nov 10, 2012 11:37 pm

The original short blip in the OP goes to discussion on an AK-forum. But I'm simply having to guess that this incident was with some manner of a handgun.

Two gut shots and one in the arm from an AK inside a structure is horribly unlikely to end with the unintended target making progress toward a positive outcome. :shock:
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Re: Training safety: know the instructor/school, know yourse

Postby Lysander » Sun Nov 11, 2012 9:48 am

Considering the people involved, and the company they keep, it was only a matter of time before something like this happened. Thankfully it wasn't fatal, this time.
Required reading for newbies: DO NOT CALL AHEAD. EVER.

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Re: Training safety: know the instructor/school, know yourse

Postby TSiWRX » Thu Nov 15, 2012 10:28 am

Update from the range-owner, on M4C.net:

Hello,

My name is Len Baxley, and I am the Founder of the Texas Defensive Shooting Academy (TDSA), not to be confused with other TDSA’s. I started the original TDSA in Texas in 1995. The other TDSA firearm training organizations are located in Tulsa, Missouri, Kentucky and Canada. I trained them how to shoot, then taught them how to teach, then allowed them to use the “TDSA” name in a hand-shake business arrangement. With the exception of Kentucky, none of them are associated with me any longer, even though they still use the TDSA designation.

I am also the owner of the TDSA gun range, founded in 1995, located just outside the city of Ferris, Texas.

As many of you have already heard there was a tragic (non-fatal) accidental shooting at my range on Sunday, Nov. 4th 2012.

I have intentionally not commented on this incident for several reasons. I do not know if that decision has been a mistake or commenting now is the mistake.

I was not present when the incident occurred. I had just left the range. As range owner, Sonny Puzikas gave me his account of what happened. So in the interest of correcting the inaccurate information I will tell you his account and I will follow it up with my personal comments.

Just a short lead in for everyone to understand how it got to this point;

Sonny is a range member of TDSA. He asked to rent a portion of the TDSA range for a two-day class. He expected a large number of students and he advised he had one main assistant instructor, Maxim Franz, and several other assist instructors. I estimated there to be two to four extra assistant instructors. But I am ONLY estimating that number.
The first day was static type shooting, which I observed while I was doing my other range owner duties. Other then YELLING at a few students for forgetting to wear their glasses I personally observed no safety issues. The second day was going to be using a section of the range we call the city. The city is a 200-yard long live fire area with multiple ballistic rooms. Due to heavy rains Saturday night that section of the range was not usable so I built a three room shoot house for them in the front of the range. I closed down the range so the class would not have to worry about regular range members getting in their way.
IT IS VERY IMPORTANT that everyone know I inquired of Sonny and Maxim as to how they wanted to use the shoot house. At that time both Sonny and Maxim stated they were going to run each student through the shoot house one at a time while the instructor held on to the shooter’s belt. They then said, and that will only happen after several hours of dry runs (empty/unloaded) firearms. After hearing their training plan I agreed to them using the shoot house.
Skipping back to day two. After building the three room shoot house that morning, several hours past. I later observed Maxim conducting exactly what they had previously described. Maxim appeared to have half the class and was teaching them how to maneuver through the shoot house with unloaded guns. I DID OBSERVE GENE (Asst. Instructor that was shot) in the room with the class while Maxim was conducting the training.
Fast forward to late in the day, sometime past 5:00pm. I know this because it was getting dark. With the recent time change, the class was now getting into the darkness due to the large class. I advised Sonny I was leaving the range. Sonny then said, “We promised them a live fire run through the shoot house and we are not going to break that promise. We only have two students left though.” As a TDSA Range member, Sonny has access to the range front gate. Sonny said he would lock up so I left.

I was later notified about the shooting and went back to the range. Gene had already been transported to hospital and the Dallas Sheriff’s Office was on the scene.

AND HERE IS WHAT SONNY SAID TO ME:

“I was standing out front of the shoot house talking with students. I was taking some money and shaking hands and saying bye to students. I had heard the last shooter’s number called out, #41. (It seems that 41 was the last student that day) So I knew the last shooter was going inside to shoot. I heard the shooting stop. I did not hear shooting for a while. I finished saying good-bye so I decided to make a run in the house before I left. I made the statement, “I am going to do a run” and then I heard a person standing behind me respond to me saying, “OK” I did not turn around so I don’t know who said OK to me. I, wrongfully, assumed it was clear to go. I pulled my pistol out and set up and started coming around the corner like this. (Sonny then demonstrated to me how he did that, which was pieing the corner) I shot three quick shots at the far left target, then three quick shots at the far right target and then three quick shots at the close right target just inside the room. I then heard someone say, “You shot me” so I cleared my pistol and ran over and ask him where are you shot, he said, “the stomach” so I ran back out of the house and yelled for the trauma bags and to dial 911 and to ask for a helicopter. I then went back in to attend to Gene.
Gene was standing near the first target I shot at and was hit with all three rounds. He was hit once in the right hand, once in the right bicep, and twice in the lower abdomen. The student was also in the same room and bent down to check on Gene. Sonny said, I never saw them in the room.”

Points to emphasize:

*Gene was shot with the first three rounds fired. SO, he had NO warning and could not have yelled out or done anything once rounds started being fired.

*Gene was NOT in the second room, but instead in the first room.

*Sonny was not doing a failure drill and was not aiming at a head shot of a paper target or of course a person.

*Sonny, did announce his intent to shoot in the shoot house, and believed he was being given clearance to enter.

*The actual live fire training during the class was done one student at a time with an instructor holding onto the student’s belt.

*Sonny did then and still does accept responsibility for his actions resulting in Gene’s injuries.

*Very qualified medics, including a former Special Forces 18D Medic (now currently a Doctor in Private Practice) and an Army Medic with recent combat experience were ON scene during the class and treated Gene within minutes of the incident.

Under the heading of potential bias in writing this:
I want everyone to know that read my account my opinion. So you will understand I am not “taking up” for Sonny.
I am not a student of Sonny’s and have never been. I fall into the category of AK’s and anything related to them are horrible and AR’s are the way to go. I have been privileged to train shooting fundamentals to American Special Forces and don’t understand why any American would want to train with Russian Special Forces. AND to drive home that, when Sonny introduced me to his class on Saturday he actually said, “This is Len Baxley, the range owner, and he HATES AKs!!”
BUT !! That being said, I personally saw people in this class that I knew with the following backgrounds: USPSA Master Class shooter, Former US Special Forces Medic (yep, the Doc!) and a recent former 82ndAirborne soldier.
SO, before you totally dismiss this Class or Type of Class or Sonny for that matter. There is a obvious segment of good Americans that think enough of it/him to pay good money to travel along way and take this/his training.


Now for my personal comments, if anyone is interested in reading. I make these comments for several reasons: I have spent the better part of the day contacting news reporting agencies correcting in-accurate reporting. Mainlydue to “quoting” other reports. It seems NO ONE wants to take responsibility, but instead just keeps repeating, “We just want to get the story correct sir, so tell us the real story?” Of course after they got it wrong!!
So,for the current TDSA Range Instructors that have been wrongfully blamed for causing this accident in local and national news agencies and for TDSA Range members that have called to see how our range could “cause” such an accident I made this statement.

Gentlemen/Ladies, I have worked over 18 years to build the TDSA Range. A range that allows shooters the ability to shoot the way they want, without the stringent rules imposed likemost other ranges. One shot every two seconds, no moving, no drawing and generally, NO FUN. Hopefully, TDSA range members realize we allow a lot of freedom on our range while trying to keep it as safe as possible, “GIVEN THE FREEDOM YOU ENJOY” The hard truth is freedom comes at a cost, to use a very true statement. For instance, the freedom to run and gun means someone might trip and fall and accidently discharge their firearm and hurt themselves or others. I think about this frequently as a range owner. I have to way everyone’s desire to utilize the “cool” things we have on our range with the possibility/probability of an accident occurring.
Just think about how many other ranges have a 40 ft. shooting tower, live fire street, live fire 200 yard city capable of 50 BMG. I think they are all very cool stuff but as proven even an experienced instructor made a small mistake that had grave consequences resulting in a life threatening injury.
To my Texas Defensive Shooting Academy Instructors, thank you for your discretion and professionalism in this matter. Your restraint shows character. I am proud to have you as instructors and friends. We have made a true difference in many lives: civilian, law enforcement and most recently military.

In closing, I wish Gene Smithson a quick and successful full recovery.
Furthermore, I hope the friendship Gene and Sonny have will not be torn apart but instead strengthened in this very difficult time. Remember, what makes a man is not what happens to him, but how he responds to what happens to him. So can be said for a friendship.

Len Baxley
Founder TDSA


Edited only to chop contact info for Mr. Baxley, per OFCC TOS.
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Re: Training safety: know the instructor/school, know yourse

Postby Brian D. » Thu Nov 15, 2012 11:13 am

Interesting. When we do the shoot house stages at Tactical Defense Institute as part of OFCC's and BFA's fundraiser events, those of us who run the squads have a very deliberate methodology when making sure everyone in the group has come back from scoring and pasting up the targets. Whichever of the squad leaders has the timer is THE VERY LAST PERSON to come back uprange. You can dangbetcha that we're anal-retentive about that practice. Nothing matters but safety, and I don't like being distracted while I'm doing that final look downrange as I'm heading back to the start position.

Usually John Benner, the owner of TDI "plays through" the courses of fire, by that I mean he will jump to the front of line at whatever station he's at, because he's got other things to do during the event. Absolutely not a problem, and out of habit he'll do that last look downrange right next to me while he's there. Nothing wrong with a second set of eyes. But still, as the guy with the timer I'm the last one out and back uprange, even if I gotta (jokingly) shove John out of there ahead of me. Egos have no place with regards to safety stuff.

it's easy enough to lose track of somebody downrange on an outdoor range, given some target and stage prop vision barriers. Saw that happen once, fortunately no one got hurt. (And also fortunately :wink: I was not a range officer or squad god at that match, 'twas not my goof up.) A "shoot house" is even worse because there's less light, and full of blind spots--it wouldn't be worth building one otherwise, that's the very idea of them.
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Re: Training safety: know the instructor/school, know yourse

Postby Klingon00 » Thu Nov 15, 2012 11:30 am

BobK wrote: RULE 4: BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET
You never shoot at anything until you have positively identified it. You never fire at a shadow, or a sound, or a suspected presence. You shoot only when you know absolutely what you are shooting at and what is beyond it.


^^THIS. I wonder if there will be criminal negligence charges against him? Complacency is often the devil's weapon of choice.
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Re: Training safety: know the instructor/school, know yourse

Postby Brian D. » Thu Nov 15, 2012 11:37 am

Klingon00 wrote:
BobK wrote: RULE 4: BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET
You never shoot at anything until you have positively identified it. You never fire at a shadow, or a sound, or a suspected presence. You shoot only when you know absolutely what you are shooting at and what is beyond it.


^^THIS. I wonder if there will be criminal negligence charges against him? Complacency is often the devil's weapon of choice.



Like I said, the live fire house is usually expected to be somewhat lowlight, in some cases VERY low light, depending on the level of training desired. Some years at TDI we've put black plastic around the outside to cut down the daylight finding its way inside. Hence part of my range officer gear is a flashlight or two with fresh batteries. Not really needed if the weather is sunny, but definitely useful if it's overcast that day.
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