I just finished up 3 days of force on force training at the Firearms Academy of Seattle. FAS has had its own permanent training facility since the mid 1990’s, offering classes to students in the Portland/Seattle area. I trained with Marty in the late 1990s and he, Gila and I share many mutual friends and colleagues in the training community. Marty visited KR Training to co-teach the MAG Deadly Force instructor course back in January 2018 with Massad Ayoob. During that trip Marty and I scheduled my visit to FAS in September 2019, to teach a one day force on force instructor class to his staff, and run a 2 day block of force on force training open to all students.
There are very few trainers offering force on force course as open enrollment classes, and even fewer offering scenario-based (as opposed to “sparring”) force on force courses. This is because many instructors are skilled shooters and may even be skilled live fire stage designers for IDPA and USPSA matches, but have no background or training in all of the additional skills designing and running live action scenario based training requires. My one day FOF instructor class focuses on teaching those skills. FAS has been running force on force scenarios as part of their courses for many years, so a majority of the students attending my instructor class already had instruction from Marty and prior experience. That made it possible for me to go into more depth and detail in the instructor training I provided to them, and allowed me to have them run scenarios and act as roleplayers in the student scenarios on the first day of the weekend course.
The other key element preventing many instructors from running scenario based force on force training is lack of facilities. FAS has multiple shoot houses, including some that can be used during daytime as “dark houses” with limited light, with working doors, props, furniture and other features that add realism. FAS’ facilities are nicer than what I have at home at the A-Zone, so it was a real treat to be able to take advantage of them.
When most people think of force on force training they assume that will include use of Airsoft, Simunition, UTM or other projectile-firing training weapons. Exchange of projectiles adds an element of realism unavailable in live fire training, but wearing the full face masks required to safely run that training eliminates another element of live action training that can be very useful: the ability to read facial expressions, observe where others are looking and incorporate some pre-fight and post-fight cues that would occur in real incidents. Because of this, I include some scenario work using red guns, SIRT pistols, CoolFire trainers, Laser Lyte guns and other non-projectile-firing weapon simulators. CoolFire trainers, in particular, work extremely well for this type of training because they provide a cycling slide, some noise and recoil, and can produce a laser “flash” where the round would have impacted that can be seen by the scenario coordinator and others in the scenario. This allowed us to work around actual student vehicles and in facilities (like the FAS classroom building) in which projectile-based training could not be conducted.
Marty took a lot of pictures and will be writing up the weekend as an article for the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network e-journal, and at least one student in the class is writing an AAR for pistol-forum (link to be added after his review is posted). All the pictures posted below were taken by Marty, who assisted at various times in the course as we discussed the scenario outcomes and the likelihood the “good guy(s)” that took action would face charges, trial, lawsuit or jail.
Here’s a clip of a convenience store scenario I ran at the Rangemaster Tactical Conference back in 2005.
I’ll be running two more weekends of force on force classes, one at home Oct 5-6 (we still have room in the Oct 6 course), and a one day class paired with a one day handgun course in Watkinsville, GA October 26-27 hosted by Lee Weems of First Person Safety. In 2020 we already have some force on force training planned for March, including co-instructor John Murphy.
Information about all those courses (and to contact me to do similar training in your area in 2020) can be found at the KR Training website.