- Suarez International Staff Instructor Jon Payne
I have been asked many times, “What classes should I take next"? If you’re reading this there is a good chance you’ve gone through all the steps to acquire a handgun, obtained your CHL (if needed), bought quality concealment gear, and you’re ready to take a basic course such as Defensive Pistol Skills (DPS).
DPS is where it all begins. DPS introduces you to the fundamentals of marksmanship, basic weapon manipulation/gun handling skills, and immediate action. DPS also cultivates the Fighting Spirit or Warrior Mindset. By completing DPS you now have the same skills that are taught to police cadets and members of the military that are issued a sidearm. You should have confidence in your sidearm and your abilities to keep it in the fight. DPS is what I call a very good start. With a solid foothold with your fundamentals you’re ready to start learning. So what’s next?
Close Range Gunfighting (CRG) is Suarez International’s flagship course and an intermediate class. In order to attend this class you have to know how to run your pistol well. You have to know how to keep your pistol in the fight. You also are expected to hit what you’re aiming at. What you learn in CRG is how to draw, shoot, reload; perform immediate action, and a 360 degree after-action assessment while on the move. You also get exposure to contact distance shooting and bi-lateral shooting. Students that complete DPS and CRG through Suarez International have been introduced to more gunfighting information than is taught anywhere else and if you think DPS and CRG cover everything you need to know, they only scratch the tip of the ice berg. It’s time to leave the paper and square range behind.
Force on Force Gunfighting (FOF) destroys the square range mentality. There is not much adrenaline pumping through you when you’re shooting a two dimensional piece of paper. No matter how life like you make your target it doesn’t move like a human and it doesn’t shoot back. There is no time to think about technique with a bad guy coming at you with a rubber knife or airsoft pistol blazing! FOF is a simulation, but it’s as close as you can get to being in a gunfight without getting injured or killed.
In FOF you take everything you have learned in DPS and CRG and put it to the test against a live opponent. There are rules to FOF and you have to stick to the script, especially if you’re the bad guy. You have to be a good training partner and put your ego aside. In FOF you know you’re going to be in a gunfight, hence a script to insert the element of control and artificial surprise. Even though a gunfighter has taken great strides training from DPS through FOF there is still more to learn. Again, you’ll hear me ask, “Can you fight”?
In the real world sometimes you have to fight to get to your gun. 0-5 Feet Pistol Gunfighting is an advanced class and is all about “The Fight”. 0-5 takes everything you learned thus far and integrates combatives. This is a course that covers movement, dry drills, live drills, and FOF. In 0-5 we teach you how to fight inside the “hole” and even how to own it! Gunfighting is a martial art and we examine all angles of the fight from the right side to the left side, even from your back. 0-5 is about winning, even when the odds seem against you there is always a way to improve your position and fight.
Our goal at Suarez International is to make you a complete fighter. When it comes to being a complete fighter there are no always answers. You have to remember, unless it's a pro-active gunfight, you don't dictate what the fight will be. You have to know about as many of the facets of the fight as you can. When it comes to useful information, tips, or tricks; I for one don’t care who invented what. If it works I’ll use it. One of our Tier 1 Staff Instructors Randy Harris put it out in plain speech. It really doesn’t matter what you did 10 years ago or even last week. What matters is what you can right now at this moment.
All of the courses I have explained in this article will give you an awesome array of tools to save your life and the lives of your loved ones. The problem is if you don’t do your work before, after, and between training with SI you’re wasting your time. Taking courses from SI, getting training DVDs, and working your drills keeps you sharp. Take responsibility for your safety, improve your fitness, enjoy every day God has blessed you with. When the day comes to put your skills to the test you won’t have to ask yourself, “Can I fight”?