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AAR: 2 day Vehicular Combatives with Dave Spaulding 9-10SEP17

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  • AAR: 2 day Vehicular Combatives with Dave Spaulding 9-10SEP17

    BLUF: very, very, good class. Well worth the tuition, ammo and time.

    Quick AAR: Took this class last weekend in Coffeyville KS.

    Student Body: 20 students, class oversold and there was a waiting list. Predominately LEOs, 5 non-LEO (one of which was an Army MAJ I work with). Of the non-LEO, two were trainers that came to bone up. The class was hosted by a combination of the county Sheriff’s Dept. and city PD.
    I’ve been through a bunch of classes, and this was the first where I didn’t see a student that struggled with either accuracy or basic gun manipulations. Everybody was a fairly decent shot and even more importantly I saw ZERO safety issues. There were quite a few opportunities for trigger dicipline and muzzle control issues due to the movement and vehicle egress involved.

    Tuition: $425 for 2 days

    Round Count: I personally went through 543 rds.

    Weapons: predominantly Glocks, couple M&Ps, 2 Walthers, 2 SIGs. Didn’t see a weapon issue all weekend. LEOs wore duty gear, civilians went from concealment (for the most part).

    Instruction: Dave S. is somewhat unique, little gruff, little full of himself, but extremely knowledgeable. IF you’ve got a thin skin and can’t deal with “colorful” language, this instructor is not for you. The guy runs a somewhat tight ship with little down time. The only lags in training is when we went to the actual vehicles due to there being 2 available. IMHO (and this is coming from taking a bunch of classes and 23 years of military training) his training methodology is very sound. Every complex task was broken down and rehearsed multiple times dry before going hot. By the time we’d gotten to real vehicles we’d egressed so many times from our “simulated’ vehicle seats it was pretty natural. He is not big on “The Way”, if it works for you it works as far as weapon manipulations. He’s also very big on “it depends” or it’s “situationally dependent” meaning no right answer…

    Material Covered (Keep in mind, this was not a basic course, so the majority focused on the vehicle stuff, tactics etc. rather than basic gun manipulation and marksmanship).

    Classroom (approx. 1 hr): Vehicle stats, VEH construction and a few videos of actual fighting in and around VEH. It was a good session for the "Why you're here and this is important"

    Range: Big believer in 3 rounds for each drill, one could be luck, but 3 shows you can manage recoil.

    5-25y walk back, 3 rounds at 5-7-10-15-20-25 on a 3x5 card at your own pace. We did this both days, from a ready position on day 1 and from the holster on day 2. He was looking for marksmanship issues

    High Ready: Since we’d be clearing dashboards and steering wheels when drawing.

    Holster work: Standard 4 or 5 count, is fine with appendix carry. Differences were, simulated confined space and Dave S. occasionally using a stick parallel to the ground to simulate clearing a dashboard and steering wheel

    Egress from vehicles and movement to rear to a barrel (later real veh) both FWD movement not worrying about maintaining contact and backing up (foot drag) while maintaining visual contact. We did this multiple times simulated to include disengaging seatbelts, opening door and propping open with foot, and live that by the time we hit the vehicles we had it down for the most part.

    Shooting from vehicle: Through windshield, driver and passenger side windows.

    Shooting positions: Standing, kneeling, both knees (high and low), supine, fetal right and left. This was exercised later when getting low behind fenders and fetal position (we called it Creedmoor) behind tires.

    Like I said up front, it was an excellent class with a very good bunch of shooters. We (the MAJ and I) apparently made a favorable impression with the Sheriff’s deputy running it as later in the afternoon of day one he informed us they have a carbine class coming up and he already cleared it with his boss that we can attend. Unfortunately Dave S. has decided to discontinue this class. We asked why since all present enjoyed it and learned quite a bit. Apparently it’s a logistic burden on the hosts to secure vehicles etc. I believe it’s being offered twice more this year, one is sold out, then it’s done.

    Interesting tidbit: We got to discussing weakhanded shooting and Dave asked how everyone does it. The majority of responses matched how I was trained, cant your gun to the right (left hand) tightening up your wrist. Dave then demonstrated 2 quick shots:

    1. With the standard hold, canted towards center of body, large dispersion due to recoil
    2. Straight up, no cant, smaller dispersion
    3. Leftward cant (the opposite I was trained) smallest dispersion, decent group. canting the opposite direction also tightens the elbow and will not let it flex in the direction the pistol wants to recoil, whereas the normal cant allows the elbow to freely bend.

    Dave ends every class with his 2x2x2 drill: 3x5 card, 2 rounds, in 2 seconds @ 20'. Nobody made it. I shot a 1.89 with a cover garment, hit my 1st round and pulled the 2nd. IF you make it, you win a $130 gun belt and a buckle with his logo on it. I don't think it's an accident that it's shot at the end of the 2nd day when you're pretty much spent....

    homo homini lupus est

  • #2
    It was a good class. I learned a lot and it certainly took me out of my comfort zone in regards to shooting inside of the vehicle. Dave has some sound advice and great blocks of instruction.


    • #3
      Agreed and it was good shooting with you guys.

      I'd like to take either his "Critical Space" or "Reduced Light", but I like to mix up instructors. I think this next year I'm going to try to find a Pannone class. A couple of the guys I shoot with took his "Covert Carry" class this year and thought very highly of it.

      homo homini lupus est


      • #4
        His Advanced Combatives class that I took out there a year and a half ago was a bit more fun. My only negative observation this time around was that the LE guys seemed to have camped out away from us civilians. In the last class, the LE guys were willing to hang out and talk shop.