On Friday the 24th of January, I participated in a Concealed Carry Level Two class taught by John Abramson, the concealed carry instructor at Centennial Gun Club. The learning objectives in this class were:
- Review of concealed carry laws for the state of Colorado
- Discussion of the mentality of carrying a concealed weapon
- The color code of mental awareness
- Situational awareness
- Having a plan for how to act in a possible violent incident
- Proper method for drawing from the holster
- Tactical Simulations
- Range drills for advanced combat techniques
The class lasted for four hours and started in the classroom. To begin the class, we went through a review of the concealed carry laws for the state of Colorado. In my view, knowing the law is so important that frequent reviews are essential to understanding the legal implications of choosing to carry a concealed firearm. Because being involved in a defensive shooting can lead to arrest and legal issues, having a plan for how to conduct oneself after a defensive gun use is important. John led a good discussion of these topics.
The next area of interest was around the mentality of carrying a concealed weapon. Centennial Gun Club also offers a class entitled “The Psychology of Carrying a Gun” which I have attended and found useful. In making the decision to carry, one must have a sense of situational awareness and maintain what is known as “Condition Yellow” which is “Relaxed alert – no specific threat situation”. Most people live in Condition White and as a result are easy targets for the criminals and predators among us.
Another aspect of maintaining Condition Yellow is “Situational Awareness” – being aware of locations, surroundings and potential threats, while at the same time visualizing a plan in the event of something happening. This can be as simple as knowing where the exits are and knowing what you will do if required by the tactical situation. Mr. Abramson led us through the steps of avoiding a potential violent encounter including creating space, verbal de-escalation, using less than deadly force and of course deadly force as a last resort.
In any violent encounter, people react in different ways. John led the class through a review of the typical reactions that people present, including fight, flight, freeze, posture and submit. Some of the physical reactions to a deadly force situation include loss of fine motor skills, tunnel vision, time dilation and muscle tremors. It was my concern over the loss of fine motor skills that led me to believe that a Glock is a superior carry weapon, as opposed to the 1911 or other pistol that has a safety that would have to be dis-engaged. (Since there is no time to rack the slide in a self-defense situation, the 1911 would have to be carried with a round in the chamber. Since most people would be uncomfortable carrying with a round in the chamber and no safety, most people who carry 1911s do so in “Condition One” – round chambered, full magazine, hammer cocked, safety on).
After this discussion, we reviewed how to draw from a holster. Using a series of slides depicting various threats, we practiced drawing our firearms from our holsters and putting sights on target. After each slide was presented the instructor led us through discussions of why we should or should not have engaged the target, what factors may have indicated an incorrect decision on our part, and other thoughts on each situation.
By now, we were about halfway through the class time. At this time, we were divided into two groups and my group stayed in the classroom for the TI Training Lab – a tactical use of force and firearms simulator that was very realistic and educational. As each of us went through different realistic scenarios – including ones where the “bad guy” was not obvious or a shooting situation may not have been called for – it became very apparent to me that realistic training is a key factor in surviving a deadly force encounter. My desire to take more training in ever-increasing difficulty level classes was strongly reinforced by this experience. John provided critical feedback to each of us in how we handled our simulated encounters. In the hour that this segment of the class lasted, we each went through three simulations. This part of the class was definitely worthwhile and fun.
Next we went to the range for live-fire exercises. This part of the class was led by an instructor who is also an active duty law enforcement officer. His high energy and passion for his topic
was evident and very engaging. For the next hour, between discussions of various aspects of close quarter defensive combat, we practiced several drills including drawing and firing, drawing and firing while stepping to the left or right, firing while backing up or moving forward, close quarter drills and more. This was, for me the most fun I’ve ever had on a shooting range. The instructor’s stated objective of having us take one or two things away from the session that worked for us was met. My decision to carry and train with my Glock 19 was reinforced, and my sense that to be a responsible concealed carry practitioner required ongoing training was also strengthened.
After our range time, we returned to the classroom for a wrap-up discussion. This was my fifth class at CGC. Starting with the Multi-state Concealed Carry, AR-15 University (which I took to learn how to safely operate my recently acquired modern sporting rifle), NRA Range Safety Officer training, and the Psychology of Carrying a Gun, I have been pleased with every class I have taken and felt that it was a good value for my money. The instructors are clearly subject matter experts, engaging and friendly, and prepare and present their instruction in an effective manner.
For this class, my learning objectives were met. Between the class discussion in the first two hours, the simulation time and the range time, I learned several valuable lessons about the practice and responsibility of concealed carry. This is not a beginner class. I do recommend it to anyone that has basic competency with a pistol and has already completed the first concealed carry class. I believe anyone who chooses to carry a concealed handgun should attend training and this class is a great way to meet that objective.
By Richard D. Turnquist
January 29, 2014