by John Boch
The Rangemaster training group in Memphis held their 2016 Tactical Training Conference held March 11-13 at the Memphis Police Academy. The event saw nearly 200 cops, trainers and firearms aficionados learning all manner of material to be better prepared for criminal and terrorist violence.
Each participant could tailor their time at the event by choosing from over three dozen modules taught by some of the top national names and a few newer Range master-affiliated trainers.
The Memphis Police Academy acted as gracious hosts for the event, and carry by the civilian attendees was not only allowed, but encouraged. Yes, a few of the modules required attendees to leave their hardware and blades in their cars, but aside from that, the facility stood as easily the safest place in the entire city for the weekend.
What’s more, the staff at the Academy displayed the finest in Southern Hospitality, and themselves were chock full of information and knowledge. Even the photos on the walls told their own stories… (sometimes with humor).
The diverse cadre of instructors Tom Givens brought together shared their enthusiasm and knowledge eagerly with the good guy attendees. Topics included a bevy of segments on mindset issues, physical fighting, legal considerations, various weapon platforms, first aid, escaping restraints, learning about violent criminal actors, interactions with bad guys, and how to be a better trainer.
Seven of us from GSL Defense Training attended. We enjoyed the training immensely and met other trainers, shooters and writers from throughout the U.S., creating relationships and sharing ideas and information.
Everywhere one turned, it was like a Who’s Who in the firearm world. For instance, in “Managing the Entangled Fight”, I found myself lucky enough to have Craig “Southnarc” Douglas as my partner for much of the segment. In another class, my partner was Mas Ayoob’s significant other’s daughter.
The entire team of instructors proved very approachable and open to questions the entire weekend.
All of the segments were cutting edge and well-presented. Some of the segments I had the lowest expectations from provided some of the best information. It made for a very enjoyable experience.
Here are a few segments I attended:
Dr. William Aprill shared some incredibly educational (and potentially life-saving) insight into “urban youth” in "Violent Acts and Actors". How I wish I could bottle what Dr. Aprill shared and give it away to people to help them better understand the importance of carrying everyday.
John Murphy delivered a superlative presentation on “Recognition-based decision modeling” aka "Street Encounter Skills" – which in plain English was all about situational awareness. Murphy, ever colorful in his language and sense of humor, kept the audience chuckling while discussing deadly serious behaviors of bad guys, using videos to illustrate his points.
In Craig “Southnarc” Douglass’ “Experiential Learning Lab”, I survived my first force-on-force experience with Simunitions. The scenario sounded easy: escort a co-worker to her car because she was worrying about some family issues. Of course, things are never that easy, right?
Managing the "Don't Shoot Yet" had fellow Illinoisan Larry Lindenman giving us a quick and dirty lesson on how to handle bad guys at gunpoint. Sometimes you just don't want to let a bad person get a second chance to victimize innocent life, and the skills Lindenman taught did a nice job not only identifying potential weapons on bad guys, but how to put them at as much of a tactical disadvantage as possible.
Cecil Burch's "Managing the Entangled Fight" should have been called "The Art of Defeating the Clinch". Great stuff here as well, and it left participants breathing heavy from modest exertion.
Tiffany Johnson taught a segment on "Optimizing Classroom Instruction". Among the great material she shared was how to make a decent Power Point presentation. (See those slides above from Murphy's class. She reworked his presentation.) She also covered a host of strategies for becoming a better instructor.
Tom Givens’ presentation on Active Shooters and how to counter them (and how to survive an active shooter event) should be required material for every man, woman and child in America.
Fletch was in the house!
Fletcher Fuller's "Tactical Folding Knife Essentials" proved a lot of fun, introducing folks to how to employ a blade and how to use one as part of weapon-retention.
Emergency Disarms proved very informative, adding new tools to the "take their gun away" toolbox – including take-aways for rescuing third-parties from getting shot – both rifles and handguns.
The three-day course tuition came in at about $300. With lodging, food and fuel from Central Illinois, my total cost hovered around $700.
The knowledge gained will prove priceless when, not if, it helps to avoid potential encounters with bad guys.
Better still, we can share this great information with our students, making them better, smarter, safer and more confident Americans in the face of increasingly brutal violence on America’s streets.
If you are serious about becoming a better instructor or a more knowledgeable and capable good guy, you should enroll in the 2017 Rangemaster Tactical Training Conference. It’s exceptionally affordable, informative and fun to attend. The people are all super nice, but then again, an armed society is a polite society!