Class AAR: Close Quarters Pistol / Tactical Medicine
25-26 June 2016
Instructors: Darryl Bolke & Caleb Causey
review by Karl Rehn and Mike Byrom
KR Training recently hosted a 2 day class taught by Darryl Bolke and Caleb Causey. The course combined their skills and expertise to offer training in the application of shooting and medical skills to difficult, close quarters situations. Much of the course emphasized performance of complex tasks and decision making under stress and time pressure.
For those unfamiliar with the instructors: Darryl Bolke is a retired SWAT cop from Southern California who was involved in multiple shootings during his 20 year LEO career. He also investigated more than 70 officer-involved shootings. He currently teaches with HardWired Tactical based in DFW. Caleb Causey is the lead instructor for Lone Star Medics and a former Army medic. Caleb offers a wide range of courses for the general public and for medics, and he partners with many firearms instructors to offer integrated, scenario based training. He’s been a guest instructor at the annual Rangemaster Tactical Conference, featured in a Personal Defense Network DVD, and interviewed on many national podcasts including Ballistic Radio.
Day 1 was spent mainly on the range, with Darryl running the students through lots of drills. Much of the work involved shooting around tightly spaced no-shoots, with strong emphasis on muzzle direction. One excellent point that Darryl made during class is that most training (and all forms of ‘defensive’ firearms competition) allow shooters to cover no-shoots with their muzzle as they transition from one shoot target to the next. That develops bad habits that could lead to pointing guns at people you don’t intend to shoot, or worse, in real situations.
This video shows student Mike Byrom running one of the drills, which was a variation of the Hackathorn “Snake” drill.
This drill simulated being in between your car and the gas pump, with family members between you and the threat (at the back of the target stack). A correct draw in this drill required you to get the gun on the threat without muzzling the family member immediately in front of you.
Many of the students in class had long training resumes and solid skills, and that enabled us to run some challenging drills, with some individual coaching from Darryl, who had an excellent eye for detail and provided great tips, corrections and feedback. Emphasis for the entire day was on shooting “zero down” on the IDPA targets, with hits outside the 0 ring and outside the center of the head box considered misses.
Day 2 started with an introduction to medical treatment for injuries that would be expected in a close quarter gun fight. Caleb demonstrated the proper use of pressure dressings, chest seals, tourniquets, combat gauze, patient injury assessment, and much more. He had lots of practice equipment so you were able to handle each of the items, ask questions and practice with it first-hand.
The afternoon was spent running scenarios that integrated live fire (on paper and steel targets) with application of medic skills to live roleplayers. The scenarios required application of shooting skills, significant attention to gunhandling and muzzle direction, and concentration on tactics, communication and medical response.
(Karl notes:) As an instructor, I’ve had the opportunity to run similar scenarios with Caleb in our “Unthinkable” and “Medicine X” classes, and at the annual Rangemaster Tactical Conference, both live fire and force on force. It was great to be able to be a student in this course, working through the problem without knowing the “answer key”. Darryl and Caleb did an excellent job of scenario design, execution and coaching.
Full context scenario training that includes pre-incident setup (where ‘managing unknown contacts’ as well as opportunity to improve position or take other pre-fight measures are included), a fight of realistic scope and duration, and post-fight phase that includes movement, communication, assessment and response (medical and tactical) should be extremely important to anyone serious about being well prepared for any type of self-defense incident, from being attacked by a single threat while alone, to an attack where family/friends are present, to a mass casualty situation. It’s not necessary to be an expert to participate in this type of training, but a minimum level of skill in drawing, shooting, and safe gun-handling is essential. In depth scenario training replicates as many of the factors that will present in an actual situation as facilities, staff and safety will allow. If skill building classes are the equivalent of practicing scales and etudes, scenarios are the dress rehearsal in full costume before the live performance. Your preparation for an actual event really isn’t complete without this type of training.
Caleb will be returning to KR Training, with Dr. William Aprill, in January 2017 for another session of “Unthinkable”, and we’re talking with Darryl about HardWired Tactical returning in 2017 for some pistol and AR-15 training, and/or a return of this specific course.
-Karl & Mike