For a while now, I’ve had on my bucket list to attend an armed vehicle defense class, so that I could be better prepared if it became necessary for me to defend myself (or others) from within my vehicle, especially given the amount that I travel and find myself in a vehicle.
Unfortunately, with my insane schedule, it has proven difficult. However, this weekend, an opportunity presented itself to attend Trop Gun Shop‘s Armed Vehicle Defense two-day class, which is taught by Phill Groff. For those of you who don’t know Phill, I cannot do his background justice. For brevity, he has a substantial military and law enforcement bckground, with an emphasis on training law enforcement officers. But don’t let this concern you; Phill is an extremely down-to-earth and a phenomenal teacher, with actual real-life experiences and stories, unlike some trainers and YouTube commandos. But, you aren’t reading this because you want his CV – you already know that if I’m spending the time writing an article on the class that he taught, he has the necessary skill-set and is a phenomenal instructor. Rather, your question is: “But, Josh, why do I need training on use of a firearm in or around a vehicle?”
The answer is simple – for most of us, we utilize our vehicles to get to and from work. In addition, many of us utilize our vehicles daily to pick up and drop off our children and other tasks. Take a quick minute and think of all the times you used your vehicle in the last week (grocery store, department store, gas station, take-out food, going to and from a restaurant or event,…etc). Most of us spend far more time in our vehicles than we realize.
“But Josh, this still doesn’t answer my question.” You’re right. First, you need to realize the amount of time that you spend in your vehicle to understand the importance of an armed vehicle defense class. Then, you need to consider what that means in relation to your current training.
If you’re like most people, you spend a limited amount of range time preparing for the unlikely event that you are required to pull your firearm. That may, or may not, be enough to make you proficient at shooting paper and steel and maybe even pulling from your IWB concealed holster; but, have you trained for pulling your firearm while seated? With the a seat belt? Do you know the techniques for drawing your firearm in your car with a steering wheel in extremely close proximity to you? What about window deflection? Does it change whether you’re shooting from inside the vehicle to outside or from outside to inside? (Hint, YEP! Do you know how much each way? They’re FAR from the same and you need to know how to compensate based on your ammunition). What if you have other occupants in the vehicle, like a friend, spouse or children – do you know the proper techniques to limit their likelihood of being shot by friendly fire? Remember, the assailant could come from the back quarter-panel or trunk of your vehicle. Do you know what parts of your car provide concealment versus cover? You might be surprised at the (limited) amount of cover that a vehicle provides to occupants, even to pistol calibers; however, you may likewise be surprised at the amount of rifle and shotgun calibers that cannot penetrate through a car. Per Phill’s trademarked slogan, the cover provided by a vehicle is consistently inconsistent.
One of many of the great aspects of Trop’s Armed Vehicle Defense class is the ballistic labs that you’ll go through, where you’ll get to see the result of pistol, rifle and shotgun (and even your own!) rounds impacting a vehicle. Think your defensive carry rounds are the best all-around for any situation you may find yourself in? You might be surprised…
You’ll also have an opportunity to shoot paper and steel from in, under and around vehicles – hell, while in one vehicle, you’re crashed into another (at 5-7 mph) and thereafter have to engage threats. Do I need to say more? Well, if you’re still not sold, after learning many of these invaluable lessons and skills, you then have an opportunity to see and try their real world application through force on force Simunitions. If you’ve never experienced force on force with Simunitions, then the class is worth it for this alone! If you have, then you know how phenomenal an opportunity it is to train force on force with Simunitions.
I simply cannot emphasize how invaluable this class was and the amount of knowledge that I obtained from these two days. I highly recommend that you take an armed vehicle defense class if you spend any amount of time in your vehicle. It just may save your life.