This past weekend I had a great opportunity to be one of the last people to train under Dave Spaulding of Handgun Combatives, assisted by Dave Jenkins of Rochester Personal Defense and Rich Nance of WARTAC CQC.
Different than most classes I have attended, the focus was gun fighting with your handgun- not just simple marksmanship. The class was a combination of 15% classroom, 85% range time. On the range, we were explained many concepts and how the next drill would better prepare us and said skill to prevail in a gun fight. The instruction was very detailed and well thought out. It all flowed progressively, the next drill building upon the last. We had three trainers walking the line to watch for safety but also to volunteer critiques where/when needed.
I am not perfect, and received a lot of valuable help from the cadre to perform better in the various exercises. I learned a lot that will benefit me throughout life but also will be working on incorporating some of what I learned into all my handgun courses to make my students that much more ready for the fight.
Dave Spaulding has an extensive background in Law Enforcement which provided specific life experiences that led him to the level of knowledge he has today. He noted how he would often interview people who had been in gun fights to dissect their experience and learn what it truly takes to prevail, not just survive, a gun fight. These included law enforcement officers, military members, average gun carrying citizens and violent felons. That last part really surprised and stuck out to me but it makes total sense too.
As Dave pointed out, they have had gun fighting experience too and have a perspective to share too but they think totally different from you and I. They are street smart and often don't possess any formal firearms training- they simply learn from their life experience and find what works for them.
As I alluded to early, Dave is retiring soon and has many of his final classes on his calendar- some of which are sold out. I am going to be registering for as many as I can over the next couple of months before this opportunity is no longer. Dave, while still very mobile and agile, is 66 years old and has hard very hard for many years. Being on the road and away from family takes its toll- and while he didn't say this, I am sure he wants to spend more time with his family and enjoy the fruits have his labor.
If you have the time and resources to attend a course under Dave, I hope you take that opportunity. Thank you to all those that helped put this course together including but not limited to Candy Close Eubank and Crucible of Fredericksburg, VA for hosting
The great staff at Crucible provided lunch for us two of the days and one of the days we had this bacon wrapped alligator made available to us. Definitely a unique experience.