This was a review of our recent Lowlight Handgun class taught in Asheboro NC.
Defensive Concepts NC (DCNC) Low Light Handgun
1/28/2017 at Carolina Guns and Gear Training Complex in Franklinville, N.C.
Currently I am a Police Officer in a large department. Prior to that I was in the U.S. Army Infantry for 8 years and served 38 months in the GWOT. I have attended multiple courses in the military, law enforcement, and in the civilian sector. Previously, in the civilian sector I have trained with Vickers, Hackathorn and others; some of which I would rather not admit too. This was my third class with DCNC and my second time through this particular class.
I have finally been able in the not so recent past to get my wife interested in shooting and carrying. This was her first class of this type besides the NC concealed carry course. I doubt that she will write an AAR. However, in short she stated that she had a good time, and learned a lot.
Chris and Steve
6 males and 1 female (my wife).
Firearms used in class:
Glocks and one M&P
Firearm that I used:
Glock 19 Gen 3 (19k through it prior to class) with Freya Magwell, KKM barrel and comp, – connector, extended magazine release,Hackathorn sights with a TLR-1. I did not have any issues with muzzle flash from the comp affecting my abilities in anyway at night.
Gear that I used:
TR Holsters OWB holster for a G34 and TLR-1 and double magazine pouch. Magazines were a mix of factory G-19/17 and Magpul G-17. I used a streamlight Protac 2L for the class.
Wife’s guns and gear:
My G-17 Gen 4 (5k through it prior to class) that I chopped to a G-19 grip length, – connector, extended magazine release, and Hackathorn sights. The gun was carried in a OWB holster and she used a double mag pouch for ammo carriage. Her magazines were a mix of factory G-19 and Magpul G-19. She also used a streamlight Protac 2L for the class.
I shot 475rds of Blazer Brass 115gr and had 0 malfunctions. My wife shot 422rds of Federal Champion 115gr and only had one malfunction. From what she explained it sounded like a failure to eject. I did not see it occur.
Gear issues seen in class:
Firstly, it amazes me how often at classes that I see and hear of people attending a class with a gun that they have “only shot once”. Or those that have not tested their guns/ gear enough to know that it is going to work. Between tuition, travel, ammo cost, time off of work etc. I feel that it is imperative that you have gear and guns that work and you know that prior to showing up to a class. Not only do issues slow the rest of the class down but more importantly having gear and or guns that do not work will not allow you to get the most out of the training. However, this is an issue that I have seen in every class I have been in, in one way or another.
The two major issues in the class was one student’s gun was locked into the holster and would not come out. This was fixed a short time later. However, I do not need to explain why not being able to get your gun out is bad. The second big issue and the one that haunted one student all day was that he continually got double feeds/ type three malfunctions/ whatever you want to call it this week. He was using a Glock 19 Gen 4. He was using Fiocchi ammo. By the serial number it might have been one of the early Gen 4’s that is known to have issues. However, I loaned him my G-19 Gen 4 which had 1,200rds through it with no issues before the class. He still had a double feed/ type three once or twice. He was using factory magazines. Later he used different ammo in his own gun and I believe that most of his issues went away. His gun was equipped with the 336 ejector and I advised him of the newer ejector to use and the other changes that I have made to early Gen 4’s to make them run.
The class started at 1100 hours with introductions and a safety brief. The incase of injury plan was established I.E. who was going to do what, how to communicate to dispatch etc.
We then shot a diagnostic drill at 10yds two handed and then again SHO.
We then began to work through the four light positions that we would use in the class. Harries, Modified Harries, Modified FBI, and neck index. We would get into the positions via dry runs first and then go into shooting live. Once we went live we would start with the light against our chest. Then we would progress to drawing the light and the gun and getting into position live. Everything that we would do at night or during periods of limited illumination were covered during the daylight hours.
Chris also discussed the principles of low light. I take notes in every class that I go to and normally there are other people that do as well. I look at it as value added. However, I think I was the only one that did so in this class. Anyway, the principles were covered and real world examples were given for each of them. For several of the principles, non shooting examples were given so students could better understand the principles in a different context. Chris did an excellent job in this short but effective lecture.
During one of our huddles following a string of drills working on one of the positions; Chris broke down the target areas that are prefered to stop a threat. Chris talked about CNS stops, Psychological stops, the high center chest (heart), and also talked about the issues of shooting the pelvis and how it is not as effective as many people believe that it is.
We then broke for dinner.
After returning to the range we went through the same techniques again however at this time it was dark and getting colder. It was great to get additional reps and since it was dark it allowed us to see that our lights may or may not be pointed in the right place/ direction. This allowed us time to make sure that the way we positioned our lights was actually casting the light where it needed to be. It was difficult for me to get the light directly on the target and keep it there in some positions. However, as long as I can see the target, can ID it as a threat, and can engage efficiently and effectively I am fine.
Chris also discussed reloads. Stowing the light, maintaining the light in the hand, etc. We then did some 1/R/1 with the light in hand so people could work through different options and pick the one that best suited them.
In my job as a police officer I use Harries for right sides of cover and neck index for the left side. If there is no cover available, I generally default to neck index. I am not a big fan of modified Harries. However, I did better in that position that I normally do and think that it is something that I will use more often now. Especially considering the fact that is most likely a faster transition from Harries to modified Harries than Harries to neck index. I will be putting this on the timer in the near future to test that theory.
The final drill of the night was a makeshift “snake drill” where 55 gallon drums filled the roles of people. I have been in classes where the snake drill was shot with live people in a single file line. Chris had two A/C zone steel targets down range. One on either side of a plate rack that contained 6- 8” circles.
The first time through this drill we would work through the positions that we had worked on all day. The second time through the drill Steve would call out a position and that we would be the position that we would use at that point in drill. Then the drill was opened up for people with weapon mounted lights. After position one or two with my TLR-1, it went from normal brightness to about a 5 lumen strobe. Therefore, I was not able to see hardly anything. I was not allowed to use my handheld and had to fight through it. I was able to get some hits (A/C both, and some 8” circles) but not with consistency. Later I came to realize why I was not able to see my front tritium; the comp blacks out my front sight after about 200-250rds. Normally, on the range in the daylight I notice this, wipe it off and keep on trucking. However, I did not think about it at the time. Eventually, Chris illuminated the targets and I finished the drill. The weapon mounted light going out in the middle of the drill is one of the many reasons that I have always carried a handheld light in conjunction with a WML.
As always this class with DCNC was a high value class with lots of great information and opportunities to test one’s gear, guns, and abilities in a low light setting. I have two more classes with DCNC lined up this year. I feel that they are one of the highest values in the training industry especially those of us in N.C. I will take this same class again in the future for the simple fact that low light training is very important however, there is just not that many opportunities to conduct it. This can be due to range limitations, facilities etc, or the fact that this type of training is not offered very often.
This was a great class. Again, students would have been better served to have shown up to class with guns and gear that they know works. Additionally, the better handle that a student has on the fundamentals going into a class like this; the better training experience that they are going to have.
One of the many things that I like about DCNC courses is the fact that there is a high but realistic accuracy standard. If a student missed the target area they were expected to make the shot up. We were shooting on VTAC Targets. Our target areas were the CNS box, the high chest, and the pelvic box. I had very few shots that landed outside of these areas and quickly made them up. Therefore, I decided to push myself by shooting faster while still maintaining the accuracy standard. I also really tried to work on firing once I was at the apex of my presentation which I can do two handed but something I haven’t quite gotten down pat one handed yet. In a class environment I do not want my target to look like I am shooting a shotgun (unless it is a shotgun class of course) However, I don’t want to shoot through the same 9mm hole over and over. I feel that if one does not run the gun hard enough to miss from time to time, then there is no opportunity to see one’s limits, learn from it, take corrective action, and progress.
I shoot SHO and WHO a lot already and can do so accurately. I would say that about 50 percent of my shooting is SHO/ WHO. However, rarely do I rep out shooting one handed while using a flashlight. Therefore, I came up with a drill progression that I will use every so often at the range that will allow me to rep these techniques out and hopefully get to the point of where I can get into them and transition from one to another and attain the level of subconscious competence.