I woke up to the smell of bacon. Not because it was cooking in my house, and no this fat guy was not having a stroke, but because ‘Merica! That and the fact that I knew I was going to do some badass training at Close Quarters Tactical; any chance to squeeze a few hundred rounds of ammo off makes me feel free.
I hopped into the family Tactical Minivan and realized no, this called for the full hardcore experience. I decided this trip was to prime for the Combat Recon Vehicle or Honda CRV for short.
When one drives down the nondescript road lined with giant white concrete buildings, the last thing they would expect is a full-service firearms training center that offers training from basic handgun up to a full tactical kill house with force on force training. But I knew, because, well, I read the website, and, of course, I am an operator.
Operator (op·er·a·tor) noun 1. One who operates stuff… like a car or maybe a donut into their mouth.
Here I found Close Quarters Tactical in Shelby Township, and when I stepped through the front American emblazon doors I was instantly impressed with the facility. A full-service gun store, a range that can take up to .50 BMG, multiple classrooms, and a hand-to-hand training room. I had only wished I brought my Tough Mudder headband because I wanted them to know I was there to work.
I had the opportunity to meet with the staff, each with their sidearm of choice strapped to their hip and a welcoming smile on their face, and the group of students there to experience CQT’s Handgun 1 course.
My experience with training, I felt, was better than most; I have in the past gleaned a ton of information, instruction and techniques from shooting with both Shawn and Jeremy of We Like Shooting. Both of who are instructors and who both preach fundamentals like they were some zealots of a gun cult. I’ve also had the chance to work with Instructor Zero for a short period. Yes, working with Zero was more like just watching someone do amazing things and thinking, “yeah I will never be able to do that.” So going into the classroom, I felt this was all going to be a refresher session exercising the training that I’ve already gotten. You know, I get it, there is only so much information that can be presented by an instructor before they are all reading from the same material. You feel me right?
I was surprised at how well-versed instructor Carl Hospedales was. He is a tactical advisor to law enforcement agencies and security companies within the US and abroad, who has had a deep and distinguished career with a background spanning 30 years in the Military, Special Operations and Tactical Law Enforcement in Global Operations & Training with a special focus on Counter-Terrorism procedures. Wow, that was a mouthful. I realized that this was not going to be just another class.
The first thing that grabbed me was the care and professionalism that Instructor Hospedales took to making the material relatable and relevant to visual examples and hands-on teaching. He knew his stuff, and what was great was how well he worked with the class.
Now to know me is to understand I am a very hands-on kind of learner. Many times people can talk, show diagrams and explain things to me all day, but until I do it, I just won’t learn it. I think it is because I am so self-centered; I mean this has to be about me, or I just don’t care. So the time he took with every student, which was a mix of civilian and former as well as current military personnel, I was like, wow, I get it, and this makes sense.
As the class progressed, I saw the class groupings shrink in size on the targets down range. After every drill, there was an evaluation giving each student pointers, techniques and instructions that improved the shooters on the line.
Another thing I enjoyed about the course was that while this could be very technical and dry, where you normally find that an instructor is talking at you, was instead very interactive, with the teacher talking with you. I walked away feeling that the instructor communicated very well, and then gave us the opportunity to put the techniques into practice immediately, reinforcing the instruction.
While this was just the first of many classes, this basic level class left me more confident than when I walked through the doors, humbled me a bit and bettered me a lot. I would like to say I threw on my polarized sunglasses and drove off into the sunset but, damn, the class is 8 hours long, and the sun had long since gone down. So, I hopped into the CRV and cruised home, happy, and satisfied with what I learned and better prepared for the crazy world in front of me.
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