Monday, December 30, 2013

2014: "Next Steps" Firearms Training at the Midwest Academy

2013 Midwest Academy Firearms Program in Review

In 2013, the Academy began teaching its CSAT (Combat Shooting & Tactics) based firearms program to qualified civilians.  CSAT is a system developed by retired Army Special Operations Force/DELTA MSG Paul Howe who served as a team leader and trainer in the Army’s most elite units; Paul is now heads CSAT, his own training company.  CSAT can be researched here.  For over a decade, David Hakim, a law enforcement Special Operations Team Leader and Trainer to multiple teams and also the Academy’s Director, has been teaching this system to Law Enforcement Special Operations Teams. 

The Academy’s firearms training exceeded student's expectations by emphasizing the fundamentals of shooting (pistol, rifle, or both) and applying these fundamentals tactically.  The student roster was diverse – men and women, some of whom had little experience to current and veteran law enforcement and military special operations personnel.  A number of students repeated the course for the experience and drill repetitions.

In Illinois, as we enter 2014, the state’s Concealed Carry Weapons (CCW) program takes its first steps forward.  The Academy is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and the responsible armed citizen.  That said we have opted to stay out of the CCW training environment for the following primary reason:

Integrity – all of the programs at the Academy are taught by instructors who have high levels of personal and professional integrity combined with skills that are rooted both in extensive experience and training.  We have chosen not to lower our standards to that of the state's qualification: of the 16 hours of CCW training required by the state, the actual skill set of “shooting” consists of 30 rounds fired of which only 21 have to be “hits”.  Since the shooting portion is un-timed, if it even took as much as 1 minute to fire each round, the 30 minute range portion would still only be 3.125% of the total training hours. The accuracy required under un-timed, non-stressful shooting is only 70% to quality. The remainder of the state mandated hours includes instruction on topics such as liability, use of force, transportation of firearms in “gun free zone”, and the like topics. 

As the Director of the Academy’s Firearms Program, while I do have an experience base that includes roots as a military combat veteran and a veteran law enforcement special operations team leader; while my daily experience includes carrying a weapon everyday for approximately two decades, it is outside my experience base to opine on the ambiguities and statutory contradictions contained within the current Illinois Public Act 098-0063 (Conceal Carry Statute).  Furthermore it is not in the long term interest of the Academy's students to train to the sub-par standard of the state's program; we believe without additional training and dedicated practice, this standard will be counterproductive in the gravest extreme (see our previous article discussing High Utility Combatives).

We have, however, chosen to remain in our area of expertise – in this case the tactical application of firearms – which we know at a deeper level, and teach, using a superior-results-oriented method, than any other locally available teaching group (particularly those groups attempting to be all things to all people). By continuing to focus on developing the optimal skill sets for our students, we believe that we can address the utility gaps inherent in the state's training standards as well as those created by opportunistic instructors that view the CCW training as another "money grabbing" opportunity.

The Academy encourages citizens of Illinois to seek out and obtain their CCW certification/license, however, cautions to be wary of instructors who stake their claims solely on NRA certifications, reserve/auxiliary law enforcement credentials (even many active law enforcement officers elect not to carry a weapon off duty and, thereby bring into question the integrity of their “experience” on the matter), credentials that state that they train law enforcement and/or military personnel, and anyone that politicizes self-defense training related to CCW (enough said on that sub-point).  We offer the following article as a guideline for finding an instructor: Finding Qualified Instructors

2014 Midwest Academy Firearms Program Preview

In 2014, the Academy will continue to offer our CSAT TPO (Tactical Pistol Operator - Video Drill Demo) and TRO (Tactical Rifle Operator) courses determined by logistics, but will also introduce a tactical firearms program that meets bi-monthly at the Academy and is designed to be a “next steps” program.  It is the “next step” to take after qualifying for a CCW license and, in the Academy’s tradition, solicits the serious student of the firearm as opposed to “wanna-be’s with a gun license”.  The real world experience that Academy instructors’ possess continually hones our curriculum and is without peer in the region.  However when combined with the bi-monthly format of the training - training which includes quality repetition, in-depth tactical study, and regular high-frequency practice sessions - produces unparalleled tactical competency.

Some of the topics covered include: the best carry methods for a CCW lifestyle, the most efficient and effective methods for presenting and employing a firearm, weapon ready postures, tactical scanning methods, tactical decision making, movement with a weapon, the effective use of cover and concealment, tactical geometric angles, immediate “tactical casualty care” (for yourself or another), identification to law enforcement, and case study analysis on significant shooting incidents.  All of the Academy’s firearms courses are based on the CSAT methodology and, as such, the principles are conducive to both on (live fire) and off (dry fire) range practice sessions.  Like all Academy programs, the “next step” firearms program is both cost and time effective. It requires, however, an investment of effort and attention on the part of the students. 

Qualified students will possess a valid Illinois FOID and an Illinois CCW, or another state’s equivalent, or be Academy students screened through our in-house process.  All Academy students, firearms students included, must possess a positive can-do attitude and be dedicated to improvement.

For more information or to apply for training to the Academy, please contact us at either (630) 836-3600 or Visit Our Website.

1 comment:

  1. Without the FFL license one cannot (and should not) try to own, sell, or manufacture firearms. It is against the gun law in many states. These basics should be known to all firearms student.