Ok, lets talk about some fun stuff like, guns!!  On Saturday I went to Fairfax Virginia and took a course called Personal Protection in the Home from the Good folks at Innovative Defensive Solutions.  I always am excited at an opportunity to train and to meet knew people, but when I woke up at 4 am to get ready for the class, I was not so excited.  I am not a morning person.  I am not really a night person either as I am usually in bed by 9.  I guess I am more of a mid to late afternoon person, but that is a bit off topic.

When I got to the classroom, I immediately ran into Lynne and got a big hug.  It was so nice to finally meet her in person.  She is the best.  Lynne introduced me to Evan Carson, President and Chief Instructor.  For some reason I was nervous to meet him, but there was no need.  He was nice and I was very comfortable chit chatting with him.  Of course, I had to disarm, which I hate.

I completely understand the need to do this.  I think it makes perfect sense and I know there really is no other safe way to conduct a class, but I still hate it.  For the first few minutes I took a look around the room at the people there, I can tell you where everyone sat and what they were wearing.  I don’t know why I paid attention to that, but I did.  I looked at the windows and the doors.  We were in a hotel and I thought if someone goes on a rampage, I am not in the best spot.  I have no idea, but I am assuming Evan and his partner, Dave were armed, but I would not be their first priority and plus I have this little thing about being able to defend myself.  I felt safe and comfortable there and I was not overly paranoid, but I am just saying I prefer to have my gun.

At the very beginning of the class Evan purposed a question and one of the ladies in the class answered.  Her answer did not sit well with me, so I said something.  I am not going to get into the specifics because it will come out way more dramatic than it was and also, I do not want to open her up to any kind of criticism.  Sometimes you lovely people try to defend me and by doing so, you get feisty with others.  I love that, but she was a sweet, sweet woman and she meant no harm.  The reason I bring it up at all is because it might be the first time I have ever confronted someone.  I can’t say 100% for sure that I have never said something to someone, but if I have it was rare.  I was so nervous about doing it, my hands shook.  I tried to pick up my coffee cup to calm myself and I had to set it back down because the liquid was literally jumping out of the cup.  I think people thought I was upset about the topic, but I was really terrified about speaking up.  After, I had I felt awful and I apologized to her and the instructors about 10 times.  Occasionally I think about the exchange and I cringe.  I didn’t yell or call her names and I probably handled it fine, but in hindsight, I wish I would have handled it differently.  The whole thing lasted about 5 minutes and everyone moved on.

The class itself was fantastic.  Both Evan and Dave Kirchgessner, Vice President and Instructor, are smart, smart, smart guys.  I learned a lot about things I had never thought about.  Like which floors in a hotel not to stay on.  That a bookcase full of books is pretty good cover.  That it is legal in Virginia for a 12 year old child to have access to a firearm.  I learned a lot.

One of the really cool things was that I got to train with Glock laser guns.  I loved that!  I was surprised by the level of detail both Evan and Dave have.  There were 3 of us students standing side by side, picking up our training guns, and shooting and these two men saw everything.  The first time, they walked around and checked our grip, stance, the usual and after a few times of that, we “drew” from the table top.  The guns were on the table, someone would say fight or go or whatever, we each picked up a gun, aimed, fired.  At one point Evan asked me if that was my normal grip.  I looked and said yes and he said, really because earlier it looked like your index finger was a little higher up on the slide.  I looked and he was right.  I had picked up the gun quickly and my grip was not right. 

The class offered a lot if insight to mindset and ideas for thinking out a plan.  They talked about laws and different scenarios.  Very, very helpful information and I really did learn a lot, but I walked away from that class with a valuable bit of information about myself that I didn’t realize until I left there.  I have learned a lot this past year.  I knew a fair amount about the laws in Virginia and how to apply them.  I understood every term they used or lets say 99%.  I learned things, but I was not lost.  That made me feel very confident in myself. 

My favorite part of the class was when we got to go to the range and shoot.  I know that surprises all of you.  The classroom discussion is as important and I did enjoy it, but nothing makes me happier than a loaded gun and a place to shoot it.  The range we went to was the NRA range.  I had never been there before, so I had to take a test and fill out some paperwork.  A lot of people think the test is dumb and I thought it might be, but it was fine.  I knew all the answers to the basic gun rules etc, but I had to use their book to find answers about their specific range rules.  I was happy to have that info because their rules are much different from the indoor range I shoot at and I would have broken several rules had I not had the test.  It’s a good range, but I didn’t like everything about it.  It’s clean and the people are so, so nice, but the parking garage is creepy and dimly lit.  I did not enjoy walking from my car to the range and the place was packed.  A 3 hour wait to shoot.  It is good that so many people were there, but I would not enjoy waiting and waiting.  For one thing, I rarely have that kind of time, so I fear if that were my only choice, I would not get much training time.  Here is what I loved…

The targets move!!!  They have these neat computerized targets that can be set to do different things.  I got so exited about that!  It was crazy cool.  The way things worked out, I got one on one instruction from Dave for about 30-45 minutes.  That was a huge.  He had me do all kinds of things I have never done before.  He set the target to turn to the side and then flip at different intervals.  He stood behind me and called out, 1 shot or 2 or 3.  When the target flipped to face me, I was to shoot before if flipped back.  That was fun.  We also did drills where I was on one knee.  Dave put my gun on the floor, magazine out, then he would say go, I would pick my up M&P, load it, shoot 2 shots, then stand up and shoot 2 more.  He most certainly challenged my skill and my ability to handle a little stress.  The NRA does not allow any pictures of any kind, so I got nothing to prove it, but I did pretty well I think.  When my time was up, Dave said, “I don’t really have much to tell you”.  He was not saying I was the best shooter ever and for me to go apply for Top Shot, I think what he was saying was that I have good solid fundamentals and if I continue working, I will improve.  At least that is what I hope he meant.  I had a blast!!

Innovative Defensive Solutions offers a variety of courses and I would strongly encourage you to attend one or two or all. 

18 thoughts on “Finally

  1. Next month, I’m signed up to take the NRA’s Basic Pistol Class – the prerequisite to taking the Personal Protection in the Home class. I’m looking forward to the pistol class – and moving on to other learning opportunities like what you did!

  2. NRA has a no live ammo in the classroom rule for their courses. So, if the instructors were following the rules religiously, they weren’t armed either. Of course, live ammo in a loaded mag in a holstered gun that never gets messed with isn’t a real risk to classroom safety.

  3. In ~11 years of teaching that course and others I have never gone into an NRA classroom with ammunition. That said there are few places I feel safer then on a range, even if it’s in a no ammunition classroom. Check out NRA classes in your area here:

    Did you get to do the drill of picking up the gun while you were in the PPITH class? Sounds like fun. -Boyd

    • We were not at a range. We were at a very busy hotel and to be honest, knowing what I know now, I don’t think I would put myself in that situation again.

      Yes, I did do the drill with the PPITH course. It was fun.

    • When I attended the Cornered Cat training in Memphis, Kathy asked that we not have our guns inside the classroom during the holster discussion. Since we were trying in holster’s and whatnot, she wanted to be absolutely sure that no one accidentally grab a gun from a holster etc. good plan, but we were at a range and I know in fact several of them were armed. Again, I always prefer that I am able to protect myself, but in that situation it would have been more dangerous had I been. To willing go into a situation where no one is armed is never my preferred choice. I do. I go to my kids school etc and I do rely on other skills for those time, but I limit my time in that state as much as possible.

    • If the only range you ever attend is well monitored with full time ROs that are armed and willing to defend you, then I guess I can understand. Most ranges, in my experience, don’t have that level of oversight. Many have none and are in remote locations.

      Disarming because of a blanket policy, especially when it’s expected that everyone, not just students, are disarmed can be very hard for some to stomach, especially past victims (sorry to use the label, I did qualify it as PAST).

    • I wouldn’t say I have ever been to any range where the RSO or anyone else was willing to monitor and defend me, but I also don’t go to the range unarmed. The point is I take my responsibility to keep myself and family safe very seriously and keeping my victim-ness in the past is my full time goal.

      I understand some may see that as extreme or paranoid and that is fine, but for me, being unarmed is not a situation I like to be in.

      Thank you for informing me on the policies of the NRA. It is very useful information.

  4. I was being tongue in cheek about the RO willing to defend you. It would fit within the parameters of their job. But you can’t count on it. It is your job. And you should be allowed to do it, IMO.

  5. Sounds like an awesome time. Moving targets take things up a notch, don’t they? Everyone should shoot movers so they can understand why you really need to train so hard. If the real thing happens, everyone is moving.

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