First Responder Pistol Review

Originally Posted on Lightfighter.com

COURSE- Hardwired Tactical Shooting (HiTS) First Responder Pistol

INSTRUCTORS- Darryl Bolke, Wayne Dobbs

DATES- 29-30 September 2012

LOCATION- Dallas Pistol Club, Carrolton, Texas

WEATHER- Rain for all of 29 September, Light misting that cleared as the day progressed on 30 September, and temperatures in the 60’s both days

FIREARMS UTILIZED

Gen 3 Glock 17 borrowed from Duke
10-8 sights (Tritium front)
Surefire X300 with DG11

AMMO

Approximately 650rds of Speer Lawman 115gr TMJ

MAGAZINES

Factory Glock 17 magazines with a mix of factory, +2, and Vickers baseplates

EQUIPMENT

RCS Phantom holster and dual mag pouch attached to First Spear Line One belt with RCS QMS
Sordins and M-Frames, as per SOP

OVERVIEW

Being told that Wayne Dobbs and Darryl Bolke were going to start a training company grabbed my attention from the get-go. I don’t know either very well but I’ve been around each of them enough to know that when they talk I should listen and that if they have a class nearby I should do my best to attend.

I watched closely here and elsewhere for the class announcement (like a lot of folks) and jumped on the opportunity as soon as I could. The application request was handled swiftly and efficiently by Mr. Dobbs, one of the indicators of a professional outfit.

Most of my notes suffered the same fate as Brother Joe’s (you would think that a combined 42 years of service could ziplock a notepad, yeah?) so I will also have to forgo the rundown by day. Some of my key observations follow.

HiTS METHODOLOGY AND MY TAKE-AWAYS

These gentlemen can teach. That they have put in the work to develop a solid POI is apparent. Covering the four basic rules of firearms safety set the tone for the weekend as Mr. Dobbs and Mr. Bolke traded off on covering each rule and elaborated on the rule in a thorough, relevant manner. I am a fan of multiple-instructor training when it is done well and First Responder Pistol was certainly that. The rainy weather on TD1 could have doomed a less capable pair but the modularity of the syllabus allowed for learning to continue without missing a beat.

The HiTS threat management acronym of SEE- See, Evaluate, Eliminate, makes sense and is more simple that many I have heard in the past (DLICCE, DIDEA, etc.). Simple responses that can be executed on demand were the hallmarks of the instruction throughout.

That’s not to say this was a blasting course. It wasn’t. The way each drill was presented required you to think and not all potential threats received lethal force. Waiting for a particular cue to fire, not just any cue, makes people process information. Most of us failed to process that information correctly at least once. Hardheads like me really benefit from these types of drills and I will be adding this to the range routine.

The HiTS “Two Second Standards” opened some eyes and are absolutely valid. When framed with both Mr. Dobbs’ and Mr. Bolke’s real-world experience as LEO’s these standards hit home for many of us. Two seconds can seem like forever, or nothing, depending upon the individual and his/her preparedness. But two seconds is all we are likely to get in a violent encounter. The standards were all about using those seconds to win.

The use of ranges out to 25 meters and two LAPD D Platoon Quals further reinforced accuracy under challenging time standards. These drills reinforced a fact that was most recently made apparent by Steve Fisher earlier this year. Joe and I are picketed together on the Rubicon. I dump my front sight with unfortunate regularity at distance. This will require a lot of continued work to fix for good. 

My equipment performed without incident and allowed me to focus on the training. Good kit allows me to know that if things go sideways it is almost certainly my fault, not the fault of the gun/ammo/pouch/whatever.

The venue, Dallas Pistol Club, is a miracle of resistance to urban sprawl. At least it seems that way to me. One of the board members was a student in the class and very influential in allowing the class to take place at the club. My thanks to Kimball for getting it done. The club is impressive with a paved surface and the tallest backstop I have ever seen. When you are in North Dallas you need a lot of degrees above GTL…..

BOTTOM LINE

The first offering from HiTS reinforced my opinion that the company will become one of the primary purveyors for those who seek real and effective training. I am anxious to see how the already-effective POI for First Responder Pistol evolves as Wayne and Darryl continue to refine their technique. I would recommend HiTS and this course to anyone without hesitation.

A good friend asked me last night if it would be a good course for a “tune-up”. I told him it would be a good course for an anything. Both instructors have the background and ability to teach the subject matter and do so at a high level. They also acknowledge those who have trained them and are without hubris. Wayne and Darryl are an absolute pleasure to learn from. I will be back for as long as they will let me.

It was also good to be in a class again. The folks who populate training are almost entirely solid people and this class was no exception. It was good to see friends, to put faces to screen names, and meet new like-minded people.

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