Todd's Review of Frontsight - Shoothouse

The lunchtime lecture on the third day of my four day Defensive Handgun class at Frontsight was on clearing a doorway and clearing a room. This, taught professionally, was completely new to me. We've all seen too much 'Hollywood' on this topic, and the instruction here was refreshingly basic, common sense stuff that mostly put the lie to that which we see on film. After the basics of door clearance, we advanced to -

The Shoothouse

After 'Monsters Inc.', it's off to the live fire shoot house. The shoot house I went to was a 'duplex' in a bermed range complex of its own. That is, it was surrounded on all sides by 12 foot earthen berms that you had to 'weave through' to gain access. I assume the two halves of the shoot house were separated by ballistic walls (they looked like stout adobe to me). The shoothouse proper is separated from the 'waiting area' by those same stout adobe walls.

One by one, students are invited into the shoothouse by staff and told the scenario they face. Students are told not to discuss what they saw after they come out in order to preserve the 'surprise' of the lesson for everybody else. It's an interesting exercise to watch students leave, and gauge their level of satisfaction with their performance, etc. I happened to be there when one of my 'range-mates', a woman who had been struggling with a DAO revolver, came out of the shoothouse. She did not look happy. I think for her, it was one more challenge to what had alreadly been a pretty challenging weekend.

My turn came. The instructor introduces himself, and then hooks an oversize carabiner to my training belt at 'center back'. This is his 'handle' for the exercise. It keeps him oriented away from my gun (assuming I don't do something extremely stupid) and allows him to yank on my center of gravity if I *do* do something extremely stupid. (Did I make clear, this is a 'live fire' exercise? Real ammo in my gun?)

He explains the scenario to me. My wife and I have just come home, and we get assaulted in the driveway. The perps drag her inside, leaving me outside. In the scenario, I am armed, and I have a cellphone, I have called 911. I have heard, "Your call is very important to us, we will handle it in five minutes...."

I'm asked by the instructor, "What are you going to do?"

My response, "I'm going in." - an aside, I heard a few students before me get a 'man speaking woman' voice shouting, "Help! Help!". I assume this is what happens if you don't elect to go in at the first decision point.....

The intial door clearance seems to take forever. (don't be in a hurry to get killed...) I remember at the point that I want to move quickly through the door, I half-turned to the instructor and asked, "Do I need to tell you what I'm going to do next?"

I got a curt, "Nope."

...and I was scurrying through the door, quick-checking my blind side, scanning the room. No targets. At this point, I have an introspective moment. I realize that I am sweating, panting with stress. Part of me says, "What the hell, it's just a simulation!" and the other part says, "You paid big bucks and time to get here, treat it like it's real!"

Another corner, another room... ...slice the pie...

Obvious bad guy comes into view.

I shoot a controlled pair, center mass. One down. - note, Photo Realistic Targets on easels used

Another corner, another room... ...slice the pie...

Same bad guy I saw on the range! Caucasoid in a suit who had a magnum revolver yesterday! Today, he's carrying a first generation cellphone the size of a collegiate dictionary! I blurt out the first thing that comes to my head, "Who the fuck are you! And what are you doing in my house!"

From behind me, I hear the instructor, somewhat muted, say, "I heard gunshots! I called 911!"

That feels like a "Don't shoot" to me, so I don't.

Another corner, another room... ...slice the pie...

Obvious bad guy comes into view.

I shoot a controlled pair, center mass. Two down.

Another corner, another room... ...slice the pie...

Obvious bad guy comes into view. He's holding a hostage covering his body (my wife, as the scenario holds).

I go for the head shot in the inter-ocular cavity. Hit!

The scenario is over. The instructor grades my hits and gives me passing marks.

I'm still struck by how 'real' it all felt. I am wrung out, sweating. On the walk back to the range, I remember that I never did a tactical reload. This is (per training) a tactical mistake. I shot 7 rounds out of my "8+1" HK P7. I damn near shot the gun dry. Oh well, this is a 'teaching moment', I guess.

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