Why no M-855 / ‘Green Tip’?

Because M855 can ‘dimple’ even AR-550 steel, making the target unsafe for use at close ranges.  This isn’t an issue in DC1 and DC2 where we don’t shoot steel, but it’s a big problem in UBC where we shoot a lot of steel and some of it at the minimum distance.

If this creates a problem for you, let us know ahead of time and we’ll swap your M-855 for some M-193, round for round.

Why no Blackhawk SERPA holsters?

Because they use the trigger finger to deactivate their retention device.

This isn’t a problem when everything works perfectly, but if you’re having to draw your sidearm under duress we’re already past that point.

We banned SERPA’s in 2005 after a student using one almost shot an AI in the foot. It was February and raining.  Everyone was layered up in cold & wet weather gear well beyond what they were used to. Truthfully, how often to we voluntarily go to the range in SC when it’s almost freezing and raining? So, the student attempts to draw the sidearm during a transition drill and the gun gets hung up in all that clothing.  Sensing that the gun won’t come out of the holster, and mistakenly attributing that to the SERPA device, he stabs his trigger finger in again and presses the exposed trigger.  The round impacts the ground between the shooter and the AI standing behind him.

Was there operator error? Maybe. We could say that he should have sensed that the gun wasn’t fully seated but was actually lifted about an inch, but in the context of a transition drill where things have already gone wrong and the stress level is high, that might be asking too much in the way of fine motor skills.

Whatever, any holster that requires the use of the trigger finger to deactivate a retention device, and isn’t an agency requirement, is banned at our classes requirement.

Pre-charging mags

Q: Will you put the drills on the course page w/ the mag / round count so students can pre-load mags?

A: No.  The drills, the round count of each and their order were developed over 20+ years and we treat them as proprietary.

But, we do encourage students to take notes during the class and we have no control over what they write.  We’re just not going to publicize the details.

Terminology alert:  We’ll use, and encourage you to adopt, the term ‘charge’ for putting rounds in a magazine and reserve the use of the term ‘load’ for when we’re making a weapon hot, etc.

Ex: “The next drill is drill x.  You’ll need x mags charged with xx rds each.”

Also, a good habit is to separate work mags from training mags.  Mags are expendable items and training mags are repeatedly subjected to rough treatment in a class.  Mark them somehow so they can find their way back to you.

The point is, you should bring enough training mags to help the flow of training and these should not be the mags you may have to use to fight your way back home. Keep those mags separate and treat them with care.

What should I say to the police afterward?

Probably less than you think.

If you keep a gun for self-defense, you should check out Andrew Branca at Law of Self Defenses.  He’s also got a book by that title that I found helpful.

Deposits / Cancellations

For our classes at Lake Darpo we have to arrange for the use of both the Darlington County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) range and the Darlington County Recreation Department’s (DCRD) cabin.  In both cases we compete with others for that space.   So, when we reserve a weekend,  we’re impacting other people who may want the cabin or range.

DCRD has a policy that they be notified of cancellations at least two weeks before the requested date(s) or the requester loses their deposit.   Over the years, we’ve had to occasionally cancel a class at the last minute and DCRD has been very generous with us, because of our non-profit status, and returned our deposit even though we were within the two week period and they could have kept it.  In return, we’ve been very generous in returning deposits of students who have cancelled at the last minute.  If it doesn’t cost us anything, we’re not going to charge you anything.

Here’s the new policy:

If you want to seat in a class, you need to get me a deposit.  If I don’t get a deposit from you, I’m assuming you’re not coming.  That applies to everyone.  If I don’t have the required number of deposits when I reach the two week mark, I’m cancelling the class then and notifying DCRD and the DSCO in case others want to use either facility.  

This doesn’t mean that ALL reservations must be received more than two weeks before a class date.  It means I’m making the GO or NO GO decision for that class based on deposits I’ve received by the two week date.   If you find yourself suddenly able to attend a class inside the two week window, by all means contact me.  IF the class is meeting and IF there’s room available, I’ll gladly reserve a spot for you once I receive your deposit.

Obviously, if your situation changes and you have to drop out prior to the two week deadline, I’ll refund your payment or apply it to a future class, your choice.  After that, refunds will be decided on a case by case basis.

Again, this isn’t meant to be punitive to our students.  DCRD has a policy (for a reason) and this is what we have to do to operate within it.