Owning a firearm and going to the range a couple times to shoot a few rounds will not prepare you to actually in a real gun fight. While most people will never be faced with such a reality, some will. If you want to be prepared for the realities of a gunfight, you must train for them. In Close-Range Gunfighting: Reality-Based Firearms Training for Realistic Situations, combat shooting instructor Gabriel Suarez teaches the skills needed to use your weapon for combat.
The running time for the two DVDs is 195 minutes, and during this time Suarez basically covers the skills he teaches in his live classes. The goal of his classes is to replicate real world situations through the training environment. This two volume set teaches you how to go about the same training.
Each lesson is well taught. Suarez speaks well and demonstrates everything he teaches. The segments are concluded with a review section that makes it easy to remember the main points he was instructing. The entire set is well filmed and edited and ranks with some of the best shooting instruction videos I have seen.
The first DVD starts out with a brief introduction and then a safety briefing. I was glad to see this, because there is no excuse for not handling weapons safely. Suarez points out four rules that everyone should follow. 1. Treat all firearms as if they are loaded. 2. Don't let your muzzle cover anything you're not willing to destroy. 3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you've made a conscious decision to shoot. 4. Be sure of your target and what's beyond it.
Next Suarez goes into marksmanship fundamentals. It's a succinct overview of the seven fundamentals of marksmanship he teaches. A complete novice may need more instruction in this area, but then a complete novice should get some first hand live instruction on the basics before learning the combat skills taught in these DVDs. The basics Suarez covers include grip, stance, gun alignment, sight alignment, sight picture, trigger control, and follow-through.
Once these basics are covered, Suarez moves into ready positions. I liked his practical approach with different ready positions for different needs. He covers imminent threat ready positions, movement ready positions, and covert ready positions.
Suarez teaches a four part drawstroke and goes into detail on how to best deploy your weapon for action. From there, he also covers how to reholster. This is something you will have to do many times to be as smooth as Suarez. Remember, speed will come with practice. Don't try to rush learning to draw. Learn correctly, practice correctly, and speed will come.
After teaching the above fundamentals, the DVDs gets into actual shooting. Suarez does a good job of covering live-fire basics such as weapons check, loading and unloading, and shooting basics. He then goes into multiple shots, instructing on the double tap and three and four shot shots per target. First he has you shooting from a stationary position using both the compressed contact ready and the close contact ready positions. Then the shooting becomes a bit more realistic for combat with the shooting on the move drills. Suarez does a good job instructing how to shoot wile moving forward, back, left and right.
Once you have fired and your target it down, you can't just stop.
Suarez teaches his version of an after action assessment. He covers all the bases as he teaches to verify your target is out of the fight, look for other adversaries, make sure the area behind you is clear, make sure your weapon is still operational, and do a self-check for injury.
Again, I felt he did an excellent job of explaining what to do and why. Still shooting on the move, he also covers attacks for the flanks. Basically it is the same drills, but from different angles.
Volume one wraps up with instruction on the proactive reload and malfunction clearances. He covers failure to fire, failure to eject or stovepipe, and failure to extract. It is a good little primer on malfunction clearances, but many shooters will want to train more in this area and look to other drills and malfunctions as well.
Volume two starts out with weapon transition drills. Suarez teaches that in the middle of a fight if your weapon does not work you don't have time to figure out why and must go to your secondary weapon. From here he covers the trigger reset drill and failure to stop. (Your target does not go down, so you switch to a head shot.)
After you can handle one target, Suarez teaches drills to handle multiple adversaries. He has a no nonsense proactive attitude that just may keep you alive if you ever face such dire circumstances. Another thing that may help keep you alive if you are ever in a gunfight is being able to shoot with your weak hand. Suarez teaches a couple drills to help you become proficient at this, including one hand draw, what to do when your pistol is dropped, and how to clear malfunctions with one hand.
The reality is most people carrying a firearm will do so with a concealed carry. If you have not practiced drawing from a concealed carry, you won't have the necessary skills when needed. Suarez covers the closed-front cover draw (two-handed), closed-front cover draw (one-handed), and the open front cover draw. He also covers extreme close-quarters shooting. This is within two yards of your opponent and where you may have to create distance using your support hand before shooting.
The next drills taught can only be done with the proper training gear. Don't even attempt the force-on-force drills without adhering to the proper safety precautions. Suarez does a good job of emphasizing this, so pay attention. He uses Airsoft training weapons and provides a very good safety briefing. The drills he teaches involve gun v. knife and gun v. gun at various ranges. It is an eye opener to see what distances can be traveled in such short amounts of time. If you are not as proficient at drawing and firing as Suarez, you may find yourself being "killed" quite often in these drills until you become more proficient.
The final lessons on volume two consist of using cover and shooting from inside a vehicle. The brief description of cover and when to move toward it and use it is very practical. One of the most important things to remember is to be sure what you're using as cover will stop a bullet. Suarez points out that shooting from inside your vehicle is a last resort. He does teach how to draw and engage from inside your vehicle when no other option is available.
Overall, I was impressed with this two DVD set. Suarez covers a lot of information, and he covers it well. Obviously the best training is live first hand training on the range from a qualified instructor. Sometimes the ideal is not always possible. The information in this set is presented in such a way that you can learn from it, and if you practice the drills safely at the range you will be more proficient at combat shooting. That proficiency might just save your life some day.
This DVD and more in the Survive and Defend Store: Firearm Instruction DVDs