Thursday, April 19, 2012

Wilson Tactical Training: Defense Fit

Hilton engages multiple targets with the SIRT Pistol while I begin my weighted box jumps/steps in this DefenseFit session.

Too many times I have either attended or taught firearms courses with students, wishing to learn how to survive a deadly force encounter, who would be better served walking around the block. Don't get me wrong, anyone serious about personal safety should have a baseline level of firearms knowledge and I applaud anyone willing to spend their own money and take the time to better themselves by attending a firearms class. However, there are many folks who wrap themselves around the axle about caliber selection or the best way to put down multiple armed attackers when the reality is, given their physical condition, they are far more likely to die of a heart attack or slip into a diabetic coma than find themselves in the middle of a home invasion robbery.

Good physical fitness is as important as skill at arms, and greatly improves quality of life. In addition, it significantly contributes to our ability prevail should we find ourselves in a life or death struggle, and it increases our survivability should we become injured in such an encounter. Unfortunately, it seems many firearms enthusiasts and students completely ignore this area of training.

Last month, my good friend Hilton Yam and I were teaching a 10-8 Duty 1911 Course in the greater Seattle area, and had the opportunity to train with Jeremy Wilson of Wilson Tactical Training. When he offered to put us through a sample of his DefenseFit program, we seized the opportunity. Wilson Tactical Training's DefenseFit program incorporates functional strength and cardiovascular training with defensive tactics and shooting skill development. The idea is not only to get a great workout, but to produce physical stress to simulate what one would feel in a self defense or lethal force encounter.

Hilton and I arrived at one of the training facilities Jeremy Wilson uses to teach his courses on Sunday morning and met Jeremy for the first time. Jeremy is a full time police officer with over 13 years of experience, serving as a SWAT operator, use of force instructor, firearms instructor, and holds numerous instructor and armorer certifications. He is also a longtime student of the martial arts. He explained what we would be doing and told us he would give us a sampler plate of what his courses have to offer.

We put on our concealed carry rigs, which consisted of a CompTac belt holster and magazine pouches underneath a concealment garment. We would be using Next Level Training's SIRT Pistol. SIRT stands for Shot Indicating Resetting Trigger. The SIRT pistol is an inert training pistol that features a self-resetting trigger and a laser indicator. The external shape and dimensions resemble a Glock 17. It uses weighted, inert training magazines that fit in G17 magazine pouches (as well as the actual Glock 17). This training aid allows the student to safely perform exercises and force on force drills, yet the laser indicator keeps the training realistic. Misses are called as misses by the instructor, which usually means the student is doing pushups!

Hilton and I started with a five minute warmup on the rowing machines, then progressed to the medicine ball exercises. Agility and weighted box jump drills integrated with multiple shot engagements were next. We continued with clinch drills, firearm retention drills, sprints, shooting on the move, and marksmanship/gunhandling drills integrated between the exercises. Ground defense drills, positional shooting on the VTAC 9-hole wall, and air squats rounded out our session, which lasted over thirty minutes with only very short water breaks in between.

The training highlighted the difficulty of making technical shots requiring fine trigger control and forced me to focus on fundamentals, while battling fatigue and coping with an elevated heart rate. It reminded me of what instructors used to do to us in the police academy: using physical exhaustion to simulate stress. It worked then, and it still works now. 

If you have not integrated your workout program with defensive marksmanship skills, you are missing out on a highly effective training method. Use your imagination and try it. And if you are anywhere near the Pacific Northwest, seek out Wilson Tactical Training and check out their DefenseFIT program. It will open your eyes and just might save your life.

NextLevel Training's SIRT Pistol is an integral part of the DefenseFit program.


Wilson Tactical Training

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