Today I am going to be writing a proper review of Clandestine Carry Pistol with John Mosby. I will talk about the general flow of the class then get into the usual good, bad and ugly. There will be some redundancy but that is ok.
Again as this post comes from my notes and memory it is almost surely flawed in some ways. As my intent is more to share my impressions of the course than to give you some training POI the differences are probably not too important. So disclaimer if it sounds weird or dumb its my fault and mine alone.
Day 1- Link up and move to training site. BS session and then safety brief. Relaxed and informal but very professional covering all the key points.
Began with forming a proper grip and slow deliberate fire at 3 yards. The goal was to keep every thing on the index card. Various individual issues were addressed. We gradually worked backwards to 10 yards. Individual students were mentored as needed while the group took breaks.
“Even height, even light, don’t disturb the sights with trigger press.”
Next we moved to multiple shots. We did this using a rhythm method and progressively getting faster.
One thousand and one, one thousand and two, one thousand and three, one thousand and four.
1 and 2 and 3 and 4
1,2,3,4 (spoken speed)
1,2,3,4 (spoken fast)
We were reminded to be aware of how fast we can shoot. If you can only accurately shoot at spoken 1,2,3,4 no point in going faster. Ditto distance.
Self awareness of your own level of capabilities was emphasized.
Next we moved into multiple targets. We used the same rhythm method. After last shot on target breaks move your eyes to the next target then the gun follows. It was emphasized to focus on the target you are on. Don’t stress the next one. Deal with the one you are on now.
In terms of prioritizing targets John said to shoot the most dangerous target first, until he isn’t the most dangerous then repeat as needed.
After that we closed with a roving conversation about gear, tactics and shooting.
Draw. John teaches a 4 step draw stroke.
This is, despite some slight individual variances, basically standard in the modern shooting community.Interestingly at CSAT with did a very similar draw stroke but not broken down into individual parts. Paul cited Army Marksmenship Unit studies that the artificial break down into parts slows things down. I can’t say one is right or wrong, thats way above my level, however it is interesting to see differences in instruction. Johns method lets you shoot from position 2 which is pretty handy. I like that and it is my preferred method of shooting from retention.
We started drawing by the numbers.
Practice- 1 free then 2-4 by the numbers.
1-2 free then 3-4 by the numbers.
Then after everyone was in a satisfactory place we moved to draw and shoot.
Live (take 1x shot)
Do 1-3 by the numbers then 4 and shoot.
Do 1-2 by the numbers then 3-4 and shoot.
We tried to keep it to the index card.
Next we shot from retention.
The way John teaches you can shoot from position 2. Obviously you need to have your other hand out of the way. For training keeping it on your chest is sound. In practice it will probably be entangled with the shootee. We practiced this.
Then we drew to position 2, fired 2 rounds, took a step back, fired 2 from position 3 and then another step back and 2 from position 4. It was explained that in reality it was more likely we would be static and the other person moving.
John explained the movement through the drawstroke as freeway to city streets. You can go as fast as you safely can from 1-4 then you have to slow down enough to get the sights right and make the shot. Think of it like a long drive. Get on the freeway and put the hammer down. Then once you get off the freeway do the last couple blocks at an appropriate speed. Its 80 then 35 not 55 the whole way.
Next we talked about creating time. This was more conceptual and I may address it in a different post.
This was followed by reloads, admin and tactical. John had us use the slide release. He explained the sling shot idea (gross vs small muscle movement) is invalid because handgun shooting is inherently a small muscle skill. Also this is much easier to train on as the mag release reload works with an empty mag so you don’t need to mess with dummy rounds.
The last instruction on day two was briefly discussed hand to hand in the context of armed self defense. The goal was to protect your gun and then create space to employ it. This was basically a technique for surviving initial attack and closing with the opponent. Building a helmet with your arms and aggressively stepping in to collide with your opponent and achieve a clench.
We then ran through an iteration of easy live drill to try this.
That ended day 2. We had dinner that night which was nice.
Day 3 started with a warm of of drawing to 4 rounds on pace.
The main point of day 3 was decision making. We shot a lot of drills that make you think before and during shooting. This is a heck of a lot harder than it sounds.
We used Frank Proctors 3rd grade math.
Next we used what I’ll call the Mosby 1-5. 5 numbered targets in mixed order. You are shown a card with 3 numbers on it. You shoot the 1st one once, the second one 2x, the last number 3 times then put 4 rounds in the second number and 5 in the first.
Targets were set up in front of each other or at angles which necessitated movement. We messed with each other pretty successfully.
It is timed and only clean runs get a time. I think there was one clean run in the class.
We then began the AAR. It paused so we could shoot dots to work on trigger control. Next we talked about how the right answers for self defense could change in time if/ when America’s slide out of being an empire continues. We also covered a variety of different points and John answered a lot of questions.
That was, based on my memory and notes, what we covered in 3 days of Clandestine Carry Pistol.
Now to the good, bad and ugly.
All of the shooting instruction. John is an excellent instructor. Also he has a pragmatic way of looking at things. Instead of chest thumping and saying “We do it this way!” he is more likely to say “There are 2 valid methods to do this. I prefer method one because it offers the following advantages. Try them both and see which you prefer.” When a student came up with an idea that was strait up stupid John would take the time to explain exactly why that idea was flawed.
We had a 5 minute demo on why SERPA holsters are a really bad idea. Hint, aside from maybe shooting yourself in the leg the catch can be jammed with mud, twigs or various junk making it so you can’t get the darn gun out.
This course was realistic in that it dealt with how we will actually employ pistols as civilians in real life. That means from concealment, around civilians/ no shoot targets and with legal constraints. Use of force was not a huge topic though it came up on several occasions. The bottom line is that you are going to need to be able to convince a series of people that your actions were reasonable based on the scenario.
So much more good.
The Bad: I was let down in the close quarters/ hand to hand portion of the class. Definitely thought that piece was going to be a bigger part of the course. The little bit we did was decent enough stuff but not much and very basic. For anyone with a modest background in BJJ or wrestling it is not new territory. That said in the class only 2 of the students had any such background. So for me it was a bit disappointing but for them it was probably a lot to take in.
In fairness to John he explained in class does not feel especially qualified to teach an in depth piece on this. There are some folks with deep martial arts background who are already teaching this stuff. John seemed to feel his efforts would not necessarily bring real value to the arena so he just leaves it alone. Any guy who leaves money on the table (and classes are money) with other peoples best interest in mind has some real values.
I will be going back to that area to take a Cecil Birch class early next year. That should help me feel a bit better about the specific skill set in question.
The Ugly: The pre class administrative side of this class was not great. I found out about it on fairly short notice which complicated things a bit by making the timeline a couple weeks not a month or more. You don’t know where the class is being conducted at or have a number to get ahold of him. Payment is by cash or USPS money order sent to a drop box. Still I did not know they had my deposit (which is basically fire and forget since its not like I can cancel a blank money order) I was good for the class until 2 days prior. People not being registered for a class till they put up money is pretty standard in training circles. That said with other guys you can call and ask if they got the check. Everything is done by email. In my case an email got lost in the web or missed, which happens. This is why we always preach to avoid single points of failure for communications. I believe people have taken the time and traveled for classes in the past but due to some sort of admin issues not been able to attend.
For an event that occupies days of time, requires travel and costs a few hundred dollars, several hundred dollars after expenses this is not very satisfactory.
John is non banked (no bank accounts) and understandably has personal security concerns. That complicates things considerably. Still though…. I really don’t want to be harsh but there simply has to be a better way to manage this, probably without much more effort on his part. Maybe he could keep a burner phone for training courses and turn it on in town a couple times a week and check for messages. Maybe a pre class webinar type thing a week out to get everyone on the same page and deal with nagging admin issues.
Overall impression. Take the class. You will get a ton out of it.
As John mentioned almost the entire class shot AIWB with Glocks. The group in general were in the beginning range in terms of legitimate tactical training and such. Mostly gun guys but not a lot of formal training. Over the class there were several hundred rounds fired and probably a hundred draws per student. Nobody shot their dick off. Nobody came close to shooting their dick off.
It can be easy to get fixated on training for yesterdays threats. The classic one guy, 3 yards, 3 shots, 3 seconds. Todays threats may say that two guys are more likely. This means we need to shoot faster and carry a gun with more bullets. Tomorrow we could be facing larger groups of armed men or beatings by mobs of BLM type thugs as less than an occasional thing.