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AAR: Home Defense/Indoor Tactics

Posted by JFranz On April 11, 2011 4 COMMENTS

“Attempting a one man clear is f#$*!#g stupid.  Don’t do it.  But if you ever find yourself in a situation where you feel you have no choice, here are some things that may save your life.”      -Chris Clifton

Home Defense/Indoor Tactics – Handgun
Date:  April 9, 10 2011
Location:  Trigger Time, Carthage, NC
Instructors:  Chris Clifton and Steve Hawley, Defensive Concepts NC

Have you ever heard a bump in the night, grabbed the gun, and ventured out to investigate?  I’ll wager you’d be hard press to find a gun owner, or even a red-blooded American male who hasn’t.  Have you ever really stopped to think about the outcome if that crash in the night was something other than Fluffy knocking over a vase on the book case, and some scum bag and possibly his buddies were waiting in a dark corner of another room when you entered?  I have, and with all of my marksmanship abilities, my arsenal of assorted firearms, and bravado, I realized it could still turn out disastrous without proper training.  That is why I enrolled in Defensive Concept NC’s Home Defense/Indoor Tactics Handgun class.

Training Day 1
I need to find a job where I can be right 50% of the time, and often not be even close to right.  Weathermen have it made.  All week, they called for some of the warmest temperatures of the spring.  Some planned accordingly and donned shorts and short sleeve shirts.  Those attire choices proved less than ideal in the upper 50 degree and misting weather conditions we encountered on day one.  “Group hug,” safety brief, and short diagnostic test.  It would be difficult to find a class without these important openers, and this class was no different in that regard.  That is where the similarities ended from every other class I have ever attended.  This class was all about tactics, not shooting.   I spent far more time with an inert “blue gun” (orange in my case) than a live firearm.  We covered shooting around cover with live fire, and then locked the real guns in the cars, and out came the plastic. 

First up, “visual clearing.”  We covered two methods – the quick peek, and slicing the pie.  Each has its applications, and which is used is situational dependent.  The fatal funnel – everyone has heard the term, but how many understand it, the importance of minimizing time in it, and how to safely clear it?  Next, we rehearsed proper techniques for handling  doors.  It’s not as simple as the movies, where the guy wearing the white hat simply kicks it in and shoots all the bad guys.  Once that door is open, and as much visual information has been taken in as possible from outside the room, all while minimizing exposure, entry may be required.  We practiced room entry techniques with the plastic over and over, until it began to become familiar.  The reasons why doing a one man clear is f#$*!#g stupid became quickly apparent.  So many pitfalls presented themselves, even in our simple “shoot house” that was well lit, wide open, and contained no furniture.

Chris and Steve did an excellent job of mixing up blue gun work with lecture time.  Even in a “safe” situation, pie-ing corners properly, dealing with doors, and making entry into a room can be physically and mentally taxing.  Lecture time allowed us to take notes and rest a bit before more time in the “shoot house.”  This class was about more than just running through rooms and shooting bad guys.  Our first block of lecture during the class covered legal ramifications and considerations when using deadly force.  Many gun owners and individuals interested in self defense will sometimes correctly argue they often know more about the laws pertaining to weapons and self defense than police officers who are not as well versed.  Chris Clifton is NOT one of those officers.   Further, his actual real world experience in performing searches, serving warrants, and even dealing with innocent bystanders in these situations is valuable.  He takes his job very seriously, and it shows.  We also covered something that in all the shooting courses I have ever taken, has never been touched.  Verbal commands.  How and why to use them, what legal implications (good and bad) they carry with them, and how to deliver them.  Apparently, avoiding profanity, racial slurs, and threats while delivering concise, clear commands  gives you a better chance of de-escalating the situation and not having to use deadly force, and decreases your likelihood of being charged even if you do.  Who would have thought?

After a bit more blue gun work, and a few live fire exercises to reinforce what we learned, we packed up and headed home for the day.  I found myself exhausted, and slept soundly once I made it home.  However, when the alarm clock rang again early on Sunday, I found myself eager to get my feet on the floor and return for more.

Training Day 2
Everyone seemed to share my eagerness to return for more instruction.  The second day, we started with a bit more live fire work on the square range.  We ran a few drills that stressed important concepts in a home defense or structure clearing shooting, such as target discrimination, background and one handed shooting.  Again, the real guns were locked away, and out came the plastic guns.  We spent a good bit of time on hallways and intersections.  Multiple repetitions were performed to ingrain them as much as possible in a two day class.  Oddly, no one became disinterested or bored with the repetitive nature of the blue gun work.  I found myself wanting to “try it one more time” to figure out the best way and get it right.  When covering hallways, intersections, and entry into a room, it became even more apparent why clearing a structure alone is f#$*!#g stupid.  It is impossible to protect yourself from exposure from all directions, even with the best techniques, when confronted with structure situations I’m sure we all have in our place of residence. 

Time for more lecture, this time on hardening the home and interacting with police.  I have pages of notes with great ideas for how I can better protect my home, family, and belongings from unwanted entry by the less desirable elements in our society.  All that said, if someone wants in bad enough, they will probably find a way.  The interaction with police was also invaluable information, and applies to interactions whether they happen in the home, or out in public.    

After lunch, more blue gun on multiple room clearing and entry.  Now all the little pieces came together.  Clearing the scenarios put in front of us required everything we learned from the beginning of the class, and was more stressful than you would think, even in the relatively simple situations with no real threat of danger.   Once everyone was comfortable, out came the real guns, and structures were cleared with live fire.  First, a simple scenario was presented to wet our beaks.  Target identification and discrimination, as well as golden rule number 4 (knowing your target’s foreground, background, and what is flanking it) became extremely important.  A few had difficulty with shot placement and target identification, but everyone was safe, allowing us to up the ante a bit and work through some more difficult scenarios.  The more variables you add, the tougher it gets.  And these targets don’t move, don’t shoot back, and the lighting is good.  Clearing a house alone is f#$*!#g stupid.  Don’t do it if you can avoid it.

We wrapped up by cleaning up the range, holding a great debrief, and saying our goodbyes.  Even though we ran long, the sun was out and the temperature increased, the gnats were biting, and we were all tired, no one wanted to go home.

Clearing a house alone is f#$*!#g stupid.  Don’t do it if you can avoid it.  However, if you believe you may one day be forced to attempt it, don’t think you will magically grow the ability to do it without getting yourself killed.  Attend some training.  This is the first true tactics class I have attended in nearly 20 years of shooting, and I have realized there is so much more to staying alive than pressing the trigger in a defensive shooting situation.  At the end of the day, if you attempt to clear a structure alone out of necessity, you will get exposed in a manner that could be fatal.  You have to pick your poison as to how and when you are exposed to minimize the danger as best as possible, and press on.  But make no mistake about it, you may wear a hole at the end of it all no matter how proficient you are if you attempt it alone. 

This class provided reinforcement as to why Defensive Concepts NC holds their students to such a high accuracy standard, even on the square range.  Even under the modest stress induced by the scenarios handled in this class, groups started to spread, even at these short distances.  Not to mention, without precise placement on the guy who needs a bullet, those rounds may find their way to people who don’t.  That’s what keeps me up at night when thinking about defensive shooting situations.

Chris and Steve were consummate professionals as always and as expected.  The class was relevant, realistic, and full of invaluable knowledge.  No cool-guy ninja rolls or high round count ballistic masturbation.   Chris makes the class informative and fun.  This was my third opportunity to train under their tutelage, and it won’t be my last.  If you are anywhere near a class they are offering, do yourself a favor and attend it.  It will be money well spent, and you will not be sorry you did. 

Pregnant women carrying beer bottles and plain clothes detectives should take heed and stay as far away from Topher as possible.  He will drill you.  Same goes for bumble bees.   In all fairness, EVERYONE in the class popped at least one no-shoot.  It sounds easy until you are the guy standing at the door for your run.

Did I mention clearing a house alone is f#$*!#g stupid?

Thanks for reading.  See you at the range.


4 Responses so far.

  1. redbarron06 says:

    Good review Jeff

    • adammac32 says:

      Sounds like a good class to sit in on. I’ve got some of the Rob Pincus dvds that are helpful and covers alot of what you menchend but theres nothing like hands on training and for me i learn a little quicker that way. Like to get in on the next if you here about one comeing up again. Thanks and have a good vac. AW

  2. KZero says:

    Great write-up! I can only imagine how much more nerve-wracking it would be to do this (clearing a house) than to shoot in a timed competition, etc. which I find nerve-wracking enough already.
    If I can get my basic shooting proficiency up enough, I’d love to take a class like this.
    Sounds like you learned a lot. Thanks for posting it up!


    • JFranz says:


      Thanks for the kind words. And welcome to Aesir Training. Glad to have you.


      When you are ready, I know just the guys to teach you.

      Safe shooting,


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