Not Your Typical CCW Class

12-Apr-10 – 16:05 by ToddG

It never ceases to amaze me how many shooters will spend beaucoup money on tactical super-retention thigh holsters and war belts and plate carriers and dump pouches and so forth… when they work in an office building and never put any of that stuff on outside of a training venue. But these same people never take the time to learn and practice with their everyday CCW gear.

My good friend Dave teaches a class he calls Concealed & Off-Duty Pistol once or twice a year in South Hill, VA. The class covers — now get this! — how to carry a handgun concealed. Yes, crazy concept. Obviously, it only appeals to those who are more concerned with their everyday preparedness than with learning what to do when the Alien Communist┬áZombie United Nations “Red Dawn” scenario comes true.

Knowing Dave’s background and experience, I signed up for his very first C&OD class in 2008. Most of my fellow students had literally hundreds of hours of prior firearms training, yet most of them had never used a concealed carry holster in a class! Whether it was the drone from Sector 7-G or the IT guru or the carpenter, these were guys who carried concealed pistols every single day but had never taken the time to learn about carrying a concealed pistol every day.

The class covers a tremendous amount of material in just two days. First, Dave — who is a widely recognized expert on holsters and related gear for military, LE duty, and concealed carry — educates students about the true benefits and problems of various CCW options. Whether it’s leather vs. kydex or appendix vs. behind the hip or the good & bad of the shoot-me-first vest, Dave shares his tremendous experience to help each student find the best option(s) for himself.

But the class isn’t just about walking around without your pistol printing. Over the course of two days we fired around 1,000 rounds each. Dave covers a wide gamut of skills. Obviously, drawing and reloading while wearing various types of cover garments gets a lot of attention. But C&OD goes beyond the typical class with in depth practice of using these skills strong (SHO) & weak hand only (WHO)… and how different holster and concealment clothing options affect your ability to perform these skills under stress. Malfunction clearances — again including both SHO and WHO — were covered extensively. Stress is placed on both shooting on the move and using cover, including use of cover from unconventional positions.

Not only would I recommend this class to others, but I’d sign up to take it again myself. Dave balances professionalism and competence with an approachable demeanor that makes class both educational and enjoyable. Students were constantly challenged to improve, and I believe everyone in class did exactly that.

Dave happens to be holding another C&OD class next month in Virginia. So if you’ve been letting your practical skills decline while spending all your time learning how to single handedly slay a regiment of vampire Al Qaeda crab people with the carbine you normally keep locked in a safe in your basement, maybe it’s time you signed up.

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG

(photos courtesy of Tim Orrock)

  1. 14 Responses to “Not Your Typical CCW Class”

  2. FINALLY! Someone said it! THANK YOU for recognizing the need for “real world” [hand]gun skills over the latest-greatest tactical gear!

    I recently attended a couple “intermediate” handgun classes that were dominated by “ego-driven” shooters that spent all their time trying to figure out how to manipulate their handgun controls and draw from a holster instead of learning shooting skills! The rest of us didn’t get as much from the training because of it.

    I guess … “It’s better to look good than to feel good”.

    By GhettoSmack on Apr 13, 2010

  3. I have also attended this course and I highly recommend it. Todd is correct: It is startling to see how many people have been through a bunch of classes using war belts or police duty rigs that they do not use off of the training range.

    Concealed carry is its own special discipline. It’s not just wearing a holster with an untucked shirt.

    Dave puts on a very useful course that teaches a lot of important lessons. Attend if you can.

    By JW777 on Apr 13, 2010

  4. Sounds excellent.

    By practicalgunreview on Apr 13, 2010

  5. So I shouldn’t bring my Safariland 6004 drop leg tactical Ted holster to the AFHF?

    Pretty sure I fall into the category that carries concealed that has only trained once or twice from actual concealment. I just feel a lot better, and “cooler” with a drop leg holster. Even though it doesn’t make me a better shooter.

    I’ll see if I can find a concealed rig, pretty sure the future has a lot more concealed carry than drop-leg carry.

    By Sean on Apr 13, 2010

  6. I make it a point to use my carry holster and my M&P9c at the informal class each month. I don’t see the point in training with gear I don’t carry every day. If you’re only out to have fun, go ahead and wear the tacticool holster and such; but if you’re there to learn in addition to the fun, use what you’re likely to have with you should a defensive situation arise.

    By MichaelD on Apr 13, 2010

  7. Thank you for mentioning this. I’ve had more than a couple of guys come up to me while I was practicing with my everyday carry stuff while at the range to share their 2 cents like “Better be careful drawing with that IWB holster”, or “A proper range holster would be better for that sort of thing” or comments on how the gear looks over how it’s performing for me, “I used to use a similar kydex IWB as yours, but that’s until I got this lizard/shark/unicorn holster with rhinestones… only had to wait 2 years for it and spend $800.00 for it too…” etc. , just unbelievably annoying… It’s obvious that there are a lot of guys carrying day to day who spent a lot more time picking out their CCW holsters than they ever will actually using them.

    Seems like a lot of guys for whatever reason would much rather dress up as Rambo on the weekends more than put in some work with their everyday stuff… sad, and not real safe either IMO.

    By ChipK on Apr 14, 2010

  8. I would love to know if you are aware of anone teaching this type of course around Houston, TX? So many here are hung up on the tacticool scene. You need to go to this guy he’s an x Navy Seal with a 100th degree blackbelt in 20 martial arts. He’ll have you shooting hanging upside down from a repelling rope with 1 inch goups by the time your done.

    While it sounds pretty cool I can’t think of many day to day shooting scenario’s that will involve me being anywhere near a repelling tower or helicopter. HMMM maybe if I have to jump from the 14th floor of my office building and grab the window cleaning ropes it will come in handy.

    By Patrick on Apr 21, 2010

  9. Using a range holster (straight drop, maybe a slight outward cant) is what I see in use by the majority of students when I take a class at Frontsight. It’s my number 2 complaint about their training. And if you rent a Glock, that’s what they supply. Most bring their own range rig and full size guns. Seems remarkably silly to me. Now, if they never carry concealed, and it is their house/bedside gun, that’s ok. In the first class I took, for the concealed draw, one couple was using fanny packs. They said that is how they ccw’d. Don’t think I’ve seen that since, maybe it’s not allowed anymore.
    And the people that think they will be able to hide that Gov’t Model in a straight drop belt holster are kidding themselves. Not with any normal cover garment.
    The big problem I see is that the reflexive draw for that straight drop OWB will not translate well to an angled concealment holster OWB, and certainly not for an IWB angled rig. Hell, just changing the angle a few degrees may cause problems in getting the gun out. I bought a Fobus paddle rig for my G27, and occasionally the gun would lock up in the holster when I was drawing at full speed. In comparing it to my usual Mitch Rosen ARG (IWB), I discovered it had a slightly straighter drop angle. Years of using the ARG had me trying to pull the Glock out at an angle that tended to cause it to stick. Felt like I had missed releasing a retention lock. THAT gets your heart pumping! With the help of a heat gun applied to the top bend of the holster, I rotated the holster body to match the ARG’s angle. No more sticking.

    By Will on Apr 21, 2010

  10. At a place like FrontSight it makes perfect sense to me to issue Kydex OWBs with the rentals. They’re cheaper and less maintenance, and if you’re renting a gun you’re probably a brand new shooter. If I were running a line, I’d want the newbies to get their basic gunhandling skills down before dealing with the additional danger of snagging the trigger while holstering with an IWB rig.

    If it’s a pure shooting class, I run kydex OWB and a full size gun (my IDPA/USPSA gear). If it’s a more defensive focused class, I run my EDC gear, which is IWB with a compact version of the same gun I compete with.

    By Jeff on Apr 21, 2010

  11. I don’t think it’s so much the type of holster as it is the placement of same. For example, I run a full size 1911 in class, because that is what I carry normally (I’m big enouogh to do so easily).
    While at class, I use a Blade-Tec kydex belt holster, but use a Milt Sparks Summer Special II for carry. I make damned sure that the pistol rides at the same spot on my belt with either holster, so that my hand “knows” where to go to execute a draw.
    I don’t use a 6004 for this reason, because I will never use one outside of class.
    I run a chest harness for my carbine courses, because outside of classes I will fight my way to the carbine using my pistol and shuck into the already loaded up chest harness before grabbing the carbine.
    Mission dictates gear, never forget that.

    By Mark on Apr 21, 2010

  12. Someone who is just learning the fundamentals may be better off with a simpler holster, but at the same time if that person is immediately going to start carrying IWB then a class is a far better place to figure things out than at home or, worse, in the middle of an antisocial encounter.

    By ToddG on Apr 21, 2010

  13. Last two classes I took, from Givens and SouthNarc, I used my Glock 26 and IWB as well as a t-shirt for cover. That same 26 is my local IDPA gun.

    Some people actually do train with what they carry.

    By Smith on Apr 22, 2010

  14. Greetings. My wife loves SB… she turned me on to the article. When I determined I would begin carrying, I arranged for courses ata local club. I’m very satsified with the practical mindset and quality of the trainers, who have become friends. Since I had not yet selected arry gear I was recommended to get a good inexpensive OWB holster tor maximize learning in the course. But the one thing that came to me based on my background: we’ll fight like we train. In other words, under stress your skills will be 50 % of what they were on your best day, and you will default to your level of training. Now that I have my gear, the only thing that makes sense to me is ‘train the way you’ll fight.’

    By Hiram A. on Apr 24, 2010

  15. Oops! Actually, the article and site were linked to from Survival My mistake… but now a new and valuable resource for me. Stay safe, all!

    By Hiram A. on Apr 24, 2010

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