Yesterday I took the last of the two-day class, “Fighting in and Around Vehicles” offered by Jorge Biagorria.
As always the classes are top-notch and I’m glad to take advantage of this excellent opportunity to learn more about defensive shooting. While there are many good instructors around the world, it is a rare opportunity to find one that teaches techniques that are constantly put to test in the real world within that same environment. Every shooting technique is presented with a recent case in which either an instructor present or student of the academy used it himself.
Its hard to argue with an unaimed backward shooting stance when it happened to be used successfully by at least two people within the group of acquaintances that year alone. “When Carlitos was getting pistol-whipped in the back of the head, this is how he drew his weapon, and this is how he shot his attacker. Daniel did this same thing when he was robbed” Another instructor interrupts Jorge. “Daniel actually shot from the left, Carlitos did it to the right”. “Oh right, in any case we’re practicing on both sides”. A student interrupts the explanation with a question “What if you get shot in the back of the head?”. The reply is obvious. “Then you get shot in the head. There’s no guarantee during this sort of attack”.
Later when talking about the parts of your body that are likely to get shot: “You need to be skilled with both hands because your arms are likely to get shot. The natural defensive stance brings your arms up into the line of fire, so your arms and forearms get shot in the fight, see?” He points to a 38 special gun shot wound in his forearm.
Everything you do and learn is done so for a reason. It has worked for enough people enough times that it was decided to include it in the class. For every shooting stance and technique such events of how it happened are described. It’s truly a unique opportunity to lean in such a way. The current crime problem in Argentina is unfortunate, but it’s a field test for defensive shooting and an opportunity for you to learn from other’s experience. It’s not about how it was done in the good old days, but the gunfight that took place that same week a mile away from where you’re training and with the people that were involved. Yesterday I saw a group of Australian cops taking classes as well, and there were a couple French checking out our class too.
After the different drills of shooting in all directions from a seated position, we practiced some kneeling and shooting from the floor. A good amount of time was spend learning to work in pairs, providing covering fire and communicating with our partner so as to keep a constant rate of fire with a one second interval to keep the bad guys at bay (the capacity of your handgun and fast reload if of great importance here) Then we moved to the vehicles, practicing how to carry your firearm, how to get out of the vehicle, how to move for cover, then working in pairs covering each other as we went around the vehicle. Finally we did a force on force exercise where you drive with your partner into an unknown situation. Two where robberies, the other was a fight among two strangers (you were not supposed to get involved “its not your fight”)I got ambushed from both sides as I got out of the vehicle, got shot in the arm with a wax bullet that left a red mark and small bruise as a reminder.
The class was well worth it and its more information to process and keep in mind while driving.
If you have the opportunity to come this way and take a few classes, maybe organize a trip with a couple other like-minded people and get some training organized for your needs, it’s a one of a kind opportunity. The atmosphere is friendly and the camaraderie after the classes is very good. No gun guru egos or Grand Masters in their pedestals like it happens with some American instructors, yet at the same time you won’t find people with more street experience regarding what they preach, just people that train and many times had to use what they teach and learn in these classes, both as police officers and civilians. I have no commercial relationship whatsoever with Jorge’s school but I’d help with the communication if anyone wants to come here for training, simply because I know the kind of opportunity it represents. His contact info can be found here http://www.jorgebaigorria.com.ar
The Importance of Training
Nine of us paid and signed in for the class. Five minutes later the class only had eight people left. Someone had brought a friend of his to the class and clearly overestimated his friend’s skill with a firearm. Problems with his gear, a lack of fluidity in his weapon handling showed he wasn’t ready for advanced training.
It was very politely explained to him that he simply lacked the degree of skill required for an advanced shooting class and he would be putting himself and others at risk when shooting on the move and 360º. He was invited to stay and watch the class, but that he would be much better served with Defensive Pistol Module 1.
As for the rest of us, only once are you warned about a mistake you may have made regarding safety, the second time you are asked to leave. Shooting from a seated position and doing so with people by your side means that you sometimes break the gun safety rules and cover with your muzzle parts of your body or others you don’t want to shoot, so a level of training is required to take this sort of class safely.
The importance of training becomes even more obvious when these things happen for real. Last year a father received a phone call from his son that had problems with his vehicle on the road. Knowing that this can be dangerous in some parts of Argentina, the father picked a gun “just in case” and went to help his son with the car. Sure enough, as he approached his son’s vehicle he saw that he was being mugged. With no training he used the weapon, sending the bad guys away but effectively shooting and killing his own son in the process. I know of a similar case where a son shot his own mother in the hip with a 357 magnum instead of shooting the mental patient that had broken into her house.
If you need experience to even practice and train these things in a safe, controlled environment, then what can you expect when doing it for the first time, for real with your loved ones around you? Its up to each one of us to assume the responsibility of owning a firearm for self-defense and acquiring the skill to use it properly.