Cool Josh. It sounds like that course was chock full of usable info. Up next, AMIS?
I attended VCAST this previous weekend. VCAST stands for Vehicle Combatives and Shooting Tactics. The course was held at a nice sportsman's club just east of Pittsburgh. It was about a 5.5hr drive for me. The instructor was Craig Douglas, often known as Southnarc from his early days of teaching while still undercover. He teaches the well-known ECQC class and his company is called Shivworks.
As many of you know, I think highly of the shivworks coursework and Craig as an instructor. He has a way of getting across information that is second to none in my experience. This class was no different. Prior attendance in ECQC is a prerequisite for VCAST which was very nice because then you knew everyone was on the same page. With guns going off in cars next to faces, I'm a big fan of knowing everyone is on the same page. The class is limited to about 10 students and is taught relatively infrequently.
Training Day 1 - Friday evening
We all met at Home Depot with our private cars. I had a mid-size 4 door rental car for the class so I used that throughout. I normally drive a 4 door dodge pick-up so there will be some training practice to carry over the lessons. We spent 2-3 hours on Friday becoming very accustomed to exiting vehicles and "getting agile" around cars. We did literally sets of 50 reps of unbelting, opening the door, and exiting the car. We did this driver's side, passenger's side, etc. This all came in handy the rest of the weekend. We did cross-side escapes where you move from the driver's seat to the passenger's seat to escape, as well as moving to the rear seats. Initially moving around a car quickly seems like an impossible task, but with practice, instruction, and reps it is certainly possible even for a big guy like me.
We also spent time working angles for cars. Craig talks a lot about the "triangle" which is the area formed by an open door, the car, and the space needed to exit that area. If pinned in the triangle, your options become extremely limited. There are ways to park, pull along another car, and maneuver so that you can escape your vehicle while keeping another person's door pinned or them pinned in the triangle. It was amazing how a few inches and various car geometries can change your game plan from getting out normally to a cross-side escape. We went over contingencies such as "what if your wife is in the car?" Answer: Practice going out right over another person.
Training Day 2 - Saturday
Saturday was mostly spent shooting (live fire) from vehicles. We went through every possible iteration of sitting anywhere in the car, and shooting out to any other place. We did this live fire, with live passengers. We learned how to properly draw so as to not get hung up on anything in the car, properly pin a passenger in place so there was no way they could maneuver into the line of fire, and how to engage effectively from these strange positions. We spent time shooting to the front from all positions and shooting to the rear. We learned how to do this such that you can effectively shoot while not being at risk of falling out of the damn car. We did each position dry fire, then live fire with lots of repetitions. Craig took a significant portion of time on this, but it was worth the reps. I was in a small ford fusion hatchback trying to get the door open, spin in the seat, brace my position, draw, and engage to the rear. Initially it seemed absolutely impossible at my size. By the end of the day we were talking seconds from the fire command until I was in a position to engage accurately at a target to the rear while the car could still be driving. Very cool stuff and useful as people are working around vehicles so much in their daily lives. I'm not sure that I'll ever need to stay in the car while shooting out the back, but the practice was as much about learning how to maneuver your body in a tight space as it was about learning the actual skill. There is much more room in cars than you think there is.
That evening we worked an evolution. Without giving away the farm, it involved: a traffic collision and the following aftermath. We used Craig's signature blue Glock 17T sim guns. Cars were brought in for the class so we were actually driving and crashing. We had to think, communicate, use the vehicle skills we had been practicing, and work our way through. It was intense. The timing was perfect because the light was changing and getting darker constantly. Flashlights and positioning were huge. Everyone got a chance to cycle into position, crash a car, then deal with the problems. It was a great exercise.
Training Day 3 - Sunday
On the last day we got to the part I was looking forward to the most. A 4 hour dedicated VBJJ (Vehicle Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) module. We started from dealing with someone trying to attack or get into the car while we were trapped in the triangle. This later progressed to essentially rolling in a car. Having done some basic BJJ, it was absolutely incredible how complicated things can get. Craig said it best when he said it's a mix of BJJ and rock climbing. Essentially both people are on the bottom and gravity doesn't matter. Many traditional grappling positions don't matter. As an example, if you give someone your back in BJJ...you get choked. In VBJJ, if you give someone your back you have four limbs to to lock, press, and brace yourself against. It's pretty easy to leg press back into them with your feet on the door and a seat and essentially crush them into submission. Even small guys could brace and suffocate bigger guys if their posts held. After some time with this we plugged in weapons. Knives, guns, and impact weapons being deployed through various means of access while grappling in a car has to be seen to be believed. The lessons learned roll into all areas of confined space grappling. The whole module was eye opening and thought provoking. I'm bruised in some very strange places from being jammed in the floor board, crushed into steering columns, choked with seat belts, and pinned with reclining seats. It was a great 4 hours.
Finally, the end of Sunday was designed around shooting cars from the outside and seeing what we could learn. We shot at targets through the windshield from the inside and the outside and learned how point of aim and point of impact were related. We shot different calibers to see the effect. We located places on cars which are heavily reinforced which might make a slightly more useful piece of cover than normally expected with cars. We tested everyone's different carry ammo for barrier performance. We shot tires to evaluate the viability of using that to stop a car. One thing I will give away is that .40 showed a significant and obvious advantage penetrating areas of a car over 9mm. I carry 9mm and I'm not a huge .40 fan, but the difference was clear. Another fact was the barnes all-copper bullet performed pretty fantastically. It held together and penetrated very well. I think if you wanted a gun to leave in your car, something in .40 loaded with some black hills barnes bullets would be tough to beat.
Overall I was very pleased with the class. I expected a lot and my expectations were met and exceeded considerably. I recommend ECQC to everyone I talk to because I believe in the practical nature of the coursework. I would recommend VCAST to people looking to become intimately familiar with vehicles from a self defense, combatives, protection, and efficiency standpoint. I have lots of lessons that I'll be passing to friends and family on "best practices" with their own cars.
Cool Josh. It sounds like that course was chock full of usable info. Up next, AMIS?
AMIS is high on my list. As soon as I can get there I will. Everyone at VCAST had done amis except me, and their flashlight tactics and angle work was noticeably better. At the nighttime evo I got hosed multiple times by flashlight strobe + movement technique taught in amis. Its devastating to be on the receiving end of that. I was glad it was only sim rounds coming from that sparkly light.
Last edited by jdhaines; 10-21-2013 at 17:47.
Something I didn't see. Know your vehicle and it's limitations. Know how tight it will turn, how large of an object it can run over, how big of a curb it will climb, how large of a ditch it can get through, etc.
My work sends us to Smith System Drivers training. Good information on actual driving. Smith: Home
I have met some people who went through the FBI Citizens Academies (FBI ? Citizens Academy) and some how talked their way into the Defensive Driving: The Tactical and Emergency Vehicle Operations Center (TEVOC) class (FBI ? TEVOC) and said it was awesome.
Maybe INGO should start a training center and we could all get more training. lol
Great thread, interesting and informative.
Don't be afraid of the dark. Be Ready for it!!
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