I'll try keep this brief since I don't like typing and I know I hate seeing a massive wall of text.
Global Tactical Training Group
has been my go-to place for training lately. (Not the only place, mind you, but the main place.) Reason is that it's quality training that's close to home. Earlier this year, the counter-carjacking class came up and I jumped on the opportunity. I'd been thinking of getting some drivers training anyway...
Gary Glemboski owns GTAC and was the lead instructor for this class. He was joined by Thomas DeMaio, John Taylor, and an EVOC instructor, Ben who's last name escapes me.
The class was hosted at a private range owned by a friend of mine.
Day 1 started inside near the range with a brief lecture. For the purposes of the class; a carjacking could be any situation in which you were the (intended) victim while in or near your car. We talked about things like situational awareness and the "fight-or-flight" decision that has to be made while in a car (more on that later). We also discussed some common carjacking scenarios: being followed out to your car in the parking lot while distracted with keys/groceries/etc, being approached while stopped in traffic, and a deliberate traffic accident so you have to stop - just to name a few.
After the lecture we headed out to a nearby park with a large, unused, paved area. The good old traffic cones were set up and 2 rental cars awaited us (a 4-door sedan and a small SUV). The two EVOC (Emergency Vehicle Operators Course) instructors, John and Ben each took a car and 3 students (only six students in the class) and we got to work. The driving portion of the class started simple: setting up the car (mirrors, etc), hands at 10 and 2, etc. A lot of emphasis was placed on steering - short hand-over-hand movements. The EVOC instructors preferred this over the "shuffle steer" which they said they'd never seen anyone use successfully on the skid pad. We moved on to various exercises and obstacles; weaving through cones, turns, and even parallel parking. We worked on these fundamentals until lunch.
After lunch the course was reset and we stepped it up a notch to accident avoidance (many carjackings are initiated by an accident, after all). Sharp turns and swerves were practiced slow and then progressively faster. One of the accident avoidance drills involved driving towards the center of 2 lanes divided by cones - at the last second you'd receive a signal to go left or right and have to swerve to miss the first cone in line. Then, we moved on to stopping distances and leaving yourself enough room to move if stopped at a light or something. The drill for that was to pull up behind a line of cones that simulated the bumper of a car in front of you. An instructor would approach the car and you would have to speed away avoiding the car in front and then getting back into your lane.
Towards the end of the day airsoft pistols were thrown into the mix. This was mainly to show the difficulty of shooting while driving or even riding in a vehicle (we've all heard the "either drive or shoot, but not both" mantra). Even at low speeds with stationary targets the hits were hard to come by. Often a carjacking will involve 2 groups: one group blocks the escape while the other approaches the car. To address that; we worked some drive-then-shoot drills. The reason being that if you're about to escape on wheels it may be a good idea to stop and engage the bad guy with the gun so he doesn't shoot you in the back as you flee. Your car won't stop the bullets (more on that later).
Day 1 wrapped up with a Q and A session.
Day 2 started right off on the range. Gary and Tom had mostly stood back the day before and let the EVOC instructors do their thing - now it was their turn. John stayed on for day 2 and between the 3 of them we had an impressive amount of military, LE, and even competitive firearms experience teaching us. Day 2 started with some basic drills. (This was a basic level class with the only requirement being a valid DL. However, 5 or 6 students had prior training of some sort - 4 had taken several classes and shoot on a regular basis - 2 of us were prior military.) Having 3 instructors really paid off here - as we warmed up Tom and John each took one of the 2 less experienced students and brought them up to speed. Once we warmed up we dropped our ammo and came back to the line to find 2 folding chairs...
Placing a folding chair close behind another one is a great way to simulate some of the problems posed by sitting in a car. You're seated and there's and obstruction in front of you where the steering wheel would be. After some instruction and demonstration, dry runs commenced. The other good thing about the chairs is that the instructors and students can see exactly what you're doing - mainly if you're sweeping yourself.
A quick word on drawing from inside your car...
First - every student happened to be right handed, although we did go over a weak-handed draw in the event that, well, you need to draw with your left.
Second- there's 2 basic schools of thought on how to draw and engage a target on the drivers side. You can draw and get the gun up as quickly and directly as you can, sweeping your legs and crotch in the process...no thanks.
Or, you can draw, bring the gun forward and trace the outline of the steering wheel with the barrel (slide).
The first way is obviously not ideal - sure, you're a trained shooter and you'll keep your finger off the trigger until you're ready to fire...even when some thug is at your window...right? Sure....maybe.
The second way is, in MY opinion, silly. If you don't think you (or I) can keep from finger fucking the trigger to soon under threat of imminent bodily harm, then why would you think I'm going to be able to play ring-around-the-rosie with my steering wheel under the same circumstances?
Fortunately, Gary had an in-between method. You draw and bring the gun straight up, turn the gun sideways, and bring it across as you turn towards the door. This actually feels natural after you do it a few times (wish I had pics to explain better).
Anyway, back to the chairs. Once Gary was satisfied that we were GTG on drawing without sweeping ourselves; we did some live-fire drills from the chair. These were done seated, drawing from cover, and engaging single or multiple targets. The next step was to drive a car onto the range and kick things up a notch. Again, we started with empty guns. As Gary put it: we had 2 choices - 1) put all your ammo away 2) put all your ammo away...Choices! When do you ever get that!
Things got a little more difficult with the added step of clearing the seatbelt. As before, once we "got it" we loaded up and did live fire from the car. We also discussed the importance of shouting a warning to your passengers. Not everyone is in condition yellow like you are and if you suddenly pull out your CCW and start firing your passenger(s) may exit the vehicle...right into the arms of the bad guys. So, we went over giving a loud monosyllabic warning to your passengers. Also covered was the challenge. If you either drive off or start shooting ever time someone approaches your window well...things could get interesting in a bad way. Around here you might have anyone from a bum asking for change to a tourist asking for directions to someone trying to sell you something at a stoplight. A few good options for a catch-all verbal challenge were discussed.
As the day went on they added drills where you exited the car as if it had been blocked or disabled. Shooting around the front of the car rather than over the hood where you could get hit by a bullet skipping along the hood was covered. It is interesting to say the least watching people try to get and stay low enough to shoot around the front of a sedan. You gotta be flexible - I folded up like an accordion.
The last drills of the day involved 2 of us in the car. I paired up with my friend since we've shot, moved, and communicated together in a class before. The main emphasis here was on communication. Although this was actually a plausible scenario IMO. I have a lot of friends that are "gun-guys" and we're in the car a lot together travelling to a match or the range or whatever. So, this had an application beyond the usual "if SHTF me and my squad...." Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Ok, back to what I said earlier about your car not being bulletproof. Sure, we all knew that, but it was interesting to see and shoot first-hand various car parts. Gary brought out front and side auto glass as well as a couple body panels. We set up targets behind the windshield to compare deflection of 9mm and .45 as well as .223. It was interesting to note the effect that window tint had as well.
Ok, that's about it...just a general overview with a few specifics so you hopefully someone picked up a useful tidbit. Damn, that was a lot of typing. And, it's in the training forum, so 2 people might read it.
I thought it was a great class. The driving part alone helped me a lot as far as pointing out all the bad driving habits that have crept in over the years - I drive different (better) now just from the day 1 stuff. How many people neglect to get driving instruction? More than neglect firearms instruction, I'll bet.
The folding chairs - great way to practice this stuff anywhere.
My Glock 19 - of course.
Hat-cam - I filmed short clips throughout the class. They really helped my remember what we did and what order we did it in. It's hard to take notes, but it's easy to push record.
Just about everything else in the class - no real problems to report. This wasn't a "beat the shit out of your gear" type of class anyway.
What didn't work?
Hmmm....oh yeah, one guy's M&P 45 jammed. He tap-racked and that didn't work, so he pulled the mag and blah blah blah, you know that one.
Sorry, no pics at this time. Gary took some, but he's a busy guy. If/when I get them - I'll put some up.
Here's the video, watch in hi-def if you can.