Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Team Spartan: 2-day Low-Light Handgun Strategies & Tactics Review

While we're on the topic of course reviews, Herb Regan, owner of the Alpha Range wrote a great review of Team Spartan's 2-day Low-Light Handgun course:

After Action Report: 2-day Low-Light Handgun Strategies & Tactics Course By Spartan Tactical - January 25 – 26, 2014

I have had the good fortune to complete some 13+ classes with John Krupa’s Spartan Tactical Training Group, attending a couple of their classes twice! I took whatever was offered when my schedule had availability. Why not? Skills depreciate and constant review is necessary to stay sharp.   

One program in the STTG catalog that always intrigued me was their Low-Light Strategies and Tactics course. This class was very hard to come by seeing that STTG only offered this class to LE agencies with access to indoor ranges. After talking with John, I learned that night shoots at outdoor ranges were challenging to coordinate as weather, temperature, control of lighting conditions and noise, made access to these facilities during these times, extremely limited.

But things changed when Alpha Range opened with two full tactical bays, allowing for reduced light conditions and the ability to engage targets in diminished light, ambient light and of course, no light as in full coal mine “damn that’s dark” no light.

After some hounding, I was able to convince John to consider coming out to Alpha Range to run some low-light courses and he obliged and scheduled (2) for 2014.

I’ve attended some low light / diminished light events and USPSA courses prior to attending the STTG Low-Light class. It was clear from the start that John’s class wasn’t about gaming, but focused on real-life combat tactics. If you’re one to believe the chances of something going bad are more likely to happen in the dark at 3 am, rather than in full daylight at 1 pm, you should strongly consider putting this course on your Bucket List sooner rather than later...

John’s classes are not theory based. Actual application and physiology are the fundamentals for all his rationale. These fundamentals are supported time and again throughout the Low-Light course through personal occurrences and scientific proof. The Low-Light class did not deviate from John’s rational which is based on indisputable facts derived from years of analyzing case histories. With great craft, John developed this course to exemplify this rationale drive home to the students via complex drills.

In two days, we were led to understand the physiology of the human eye, illumination source control, how to operate in ambient light conditions, silhouette back-lighting awareness, target recognition, movement, weak-hand transition (and back again), and deception, yes, deception – i.e. how to CHEAT and control the light to rule the dark! At the start of the course, John explained, “This class is going to suck for most of you because 90% is going to be one-handed shooting.” He knew what we were getting into. I have done my fair share of one-handed shooting, so I wasn’t worried. But, the one-handed shooting was complicated with everyone’s free hand articulating and manipulating a flashlight at the same time they were trying to aim. So the accomplishment became a “walk, talk, chew gum thing” in this pitch-black coal mine environment. 

Think you have the coolest flashlight? You will want to rethink that... John ran us through at least five techniques utilizing flashlights for target discrimination, disorientation and as a force multiplier. Through each evolution, you were able to recognize advantage / disadvantage with various lighting systems and their operation. While it was discouraging to learn how limited your $ 150.00+ flashlight was, understanding it’s limitations and shortcomings in a “friendly drill” were invaluable.

While weapon mounted lights always looked really cool and seem like the best of all worlds, I could now rattle off 1,000 reasons why they serve as a back-up to the back-up. Knowledge is power... And one is none and two is one... Take the course and you’ll understand.

After completing this course, I shared with John that while all the other classes I’ve taken were incredibly valuable and practical, this one brought all the skills together and really pushed me to another level of training and understanding. Needless to say, I’m going to be spending some much needed time in a dark tactical bay re-running the drills and further developing my skills. Ahhh, the advantages of Alpha.

So, if you’re interested in taking this course, John is running one again Saturday, April 5th / Sunday, April 6th @ Alpha. And if interest is there, I’m VERY GALD to share John was receptive to running another course late Summer / early Fall.

Personally, I believe that if you are a STTG grad, this Low-Light course is a must. And maybe, just maybe, if we get a big enough group of Low Light grads, we can get John to come back and run one for AR’s! OK, time for us all to start hounding!

Dominate the Dark... STTG 2-Day Low-Light Handgun Strategies and Tactics Course. 

*A point to note: The Low-Light course is one of STTG’s capstone courses. It’s not for everyone and not for every experience level. While John can confidently run a safe firing line, safety is really on the individual at the individual level; after all it’s a pitch-black environment. I had the privilege to take this class with 11 other students; 10 were grads of numerous STTG classes like myself; the 12th being a CPD LEO. I want to especially thank my fellow students for their enthusiasm, dedication, and willingness to jump in on this course. You guys made it a great weekend and it was an honor to host you at Alpha!