25 Sep Village Praxis: Mountain Guerrilla Clandestine Carry Pistol AAR by John Meyers
Publisher’s Note: John just attended MG’s class. Here is his assessment. -BB
Instructor: John Mosby
Course outline from site:
“Focused on the use of the pistol for the underground, this course focuses on basic gun-handling under combative conditions, as well as the necessary mental and combative skills needed to protect the gun, and fight your way to the gun.
Two days of this course are straight range time, before moving into gym work with combative and FoF iterations. This is an extremely physically demanding course, and involves violent physical contact with other students. If you leave without cuts, scrapes, and bruises, I’ll be surprised.”
I was the organizer/host for this class and here is some background. The local community and I have concentrated largely on carbine work for the past several years. A lack of realistic training priorities dawned on me several years ago at a carbine class where I saw guys in full kit, leaving the class and locking up all their guns and separating the ammo and not even having a concealed carry pistol on them. They were ready for the Red Dawn carbine fight but not the fight at the local Stop n’ Rob on the way home. To this day it still reminds me of this Craig Douglas quote: “If you are in prison with 10 dudes, and you can’t keep 5 of them out of your ass, then the last thing you need is another carbine course.”
I’ve followed Mosby from the beginning. I believe I first saw the blog when it was on BlogSpot and was only 5 posts old. I quickly realized this guy knew what he was talking about and I dug his writing style. The skull stomping of sacred cows focus was what kept me reading and keeping tabs on the blog. The Derp in the preparedness world has always been deep. He was probably the first guy to seriously take that on. I soon realized that there is no way they are going to allow that blog to stay up (I ended up being wrong) and made it a habit to save all the posts onto a hard drive for later reference or if things went dark. Sometime in all this I found out we had a mutual friend.
My greedy self-interest was at play but I also believed there needed to be a wake up call to get people in the area to get training on their most applicable tool available to them, the pistol, in the context where they’d need it the most.
I have taken a couple of pistol courses in the past aside from a state sanctioned CHP/CCW course, one many years ago and one earlier this year. While I consider myself pretty competent from an accuracy/speed/efficiency standpoint with a carbine, pistol has always been my weak point. I cannot carry a carbine in my back pocket when I’m off the homestead.
I sought Mosby’s course work in particular because I knew it was going to be a wake up call for accuracy with a side arm for me personally. The most recent pistol class I’d taken was more of a “performance” based class with 10”x18” (slightly smaller than C zone) and Alpha (approx. 6”x11”) size targets focused on putting rounds fast into those areas from an open holster. It didn’t matter if one round was in the top 2’ o clock corner and the next in the bottom right corner of that Alpha or modified Charlie, a hit still counted. That is not the type of focus of this class, accuracy on small targets that mimic human anatomy was. But, as Mosby says, accuracy is very important, but the bullets must arrive on time. We’ll touch on that accuracy focus in a second. My main objective in the class was to over come the astigmatisms (I still have issues even with tinted Rx lenses) in both my eyes and get my eyes and mental processing working on the type of sight picture needed to make these types of shots.
I also sought this course out particularly because of the introductive combative work as I have no real formal training at such, even though I follow nearly all the content that is put out by folks associated with the ShivWorks Collective such as Craig Douglas, Paul Sharp, Larry Lindeman, Cecil Burch, and Chris Fry.
I’ll attempt to walk the line of giving away everything and saying “just take the class!”
Class was held 25-27AUG, in Western North Carolina, the same weekend as the Friends of Pat event at Alliance, Ohio, which honored the late Pat Rogers.
After everyone’s gratuitous ragging on Mosby for his pimpmobile rental vehicle, the class started out with a safety brief by the range owner and signing the appropriate waivers.
We then moved to the range and we started out with Mosby’s safety brief. Some of which echoes others in the community. For instance he pointed out the life safety rule that “all guns are always loaded” is silly. Mosby then inspected his gun, slide back, looked at the chamber and mag well and showed that indeed his gun was unloaded. Ah the intuitively obvious that is lost on so many. He elaborated that what we really need to do is focus on the condition of the weapon at all times, instead of the more childish notion that “all guns are always loaded.” I knew immediately the class was going to be good after this opener that had everyone thinking critically already and challenging range dogma.
There was a brief lecture period on grip, types of stops in a gunfight and an introduction to Mosby’s 3 Implicit Task Skills of the Gunfight, among other things. Mosby is an advocate of performance based training methodology, which makes each student compete against themselves to get better vs. just achieving an arbitrary standard that covers large swaths of people. To illustrate in another manner, if I can pull 455 for 5 reps on the death lift platform at 180 body weight, that is great, but I cannot then expect someone who has never lifted at a body weight of 140 to do the same thing. Further, I need to get better tomorrow than I am today.
Next followed a standard walk back type drill. We started at the 7 and walked back to the 25. A 5 round course of fire was fired at the various ranges. I knew Mosby was a fan of index cards so I expected this to be the target. We were not so lucky. 3×5” cards torn in half were the targets. Ok, bad, but not so bad. But, you aren’t aiming at the entire card ½ card; you are aiming at just one corner. I learned to like the taste of humble pie.
Mosby’s version of the fundamentals of the pistol adhere to a fairly new school of thought in the gun world that is boiled down to grip and sight package, similar to John McPhee and many others. In case you aren’t aware you need to ‘GRIP THE FUCK OUT OF THE GUN’ you learned it in this class.
The draw was covered and used the common 4 count methodology which imbeds the ability to fight from retention positions if need be. His take on trigger management may be heretic to some but Mosby riffs with guys like Ernest Langdon, Mike Seeklander, Frank Proctor, John Chapman, Rob Leatham, etc. Pinning/trigger reset is detrimental at speed for the type of work done with a pistol at these distances in a self-defense situation. The trigger doesn’t really matter if grip is correct whether you reset in recoil or pin/reset.
The draw was worked using a great technique from an administrative / teaching perspective. We started with dry fire. This was repped using a technique to slowly increase the speed and efficiency of each shooter. Even though some folks were running open and some concealed, I do not believe anyone was slower than a 1.5 second draw to first shot when he was done. The improvement was amazing. Just when you thought you were done dry firing, each shooter shot a draw to first shot live fire, on the timer. In the mean time, the rest of the class did the same rep dry. Needless to say everyone got in dozens and dozens of reps on the draw stroke.
Cadence/rhythm was covered. Often reduced by some self-defense oriented instructors as ‘gamer stuff’ Mosby explained in context why it was important and why it needed to be worked.
Next up were multiple target engagements and this work culminated in a VTAC 1-5 drill with each student going under the timer. Targets were still small. 75% of all the shooting work done was on targets as big or smaller than a 5×8” head box, most was done on much smaller targets. I’ve always had the 1-5 drill as a mainstay in carbine work, but this was my first time running it with a pistol, let alone on the small targets used in class. I have astigmatisms in both eyes that even with corrective lenses I have trouble with iron sight alignment especially on target transitions. Red dot is not a problem. Inefficiencies with seeing my sights showed through again when running this drill.
Reloads and philosophy were discussed. Slide lock and Mosby’s version of the tactical reload with retention were demonstrated and done dry fire for many reps on the timer. I had a position on the far right side of the range and I was able to get a view all the way down the line. Seeing the line go from slow and bungled reloads to efficient and FAST reloads in a 15 minute or less dry fire session was a beauty to behold.
A few of the drills ran were proprietary Mountain Guerrilla material. One involved running multiple round strings under timer with ‘dudes looking at dudes’ pressure while also performing other tasks simultaneously. These were gold and will be added to the practice regimen.
We then began the force on force portion of the class after a 3 part pat down process common in such situations. An introduction to Combatives was begun with a brief lecture riffing on Craig Douglas’s “Managing Unknown Contacts” (MUC) module. We quickly got to introductions to the Fence, techniques for defending against punches and attacks, getting the gun out while entangled, and we got hands on. I was Mosby’s punching bag for many of the demos. We then ran into a brief run down of fighting from the ground and we all got some reps in with our sparring partners. The rest of this day was finished off with a good Q+A session and the motivational energy coming from the students in the class was high. Mosby explained teaching the combative aspect was slightly outside of his lane and the combative module was largely used to give a brief over view and show folks that they needed to seek other avenues to get the reps needed to become proficient with the skillset.
A METT-TC/Mindset/Situational Awareness lecture was given. To me this was just about worth the admission price. This was something many needed to hear. Often we’ve seen folks who understand what METT-TC is, but they lose focus of how that planning process applies to their daily life. They are stuck in Red Dawn or Military Raid mode and stay focused on that instead of how it is applicable to them right now. As was the custom, hot washes and Q+A’s were great and full of no holding back Mosbyism’s. Sacred cows were grilled into great tasting burgers.
Techniques for “virtual acceleration of the draw stroke” were discussed with a back drop of get the job done “sooner rather than faster.” When asked for a training triage template, the priorities of work from Mosby’s perspective for the every day citizen was medical, combatives, pistol, rifle, then team tactics. All to often it’s the exact opposite, particularly for folks of the prepper bent. And… Guilty! This has been something I’ve changed over the past few years.
One other myth busted was that competition, be it shooting or combative, will get you ‘kilt in da streets.’ A pretty good discussion took place. One thing that popped in my head was Paul Sharp’s take on this topic, in reference to competition having rules and the real world not having rules. Some folks think that in the real world, they’ll be able to beat X opponent because they can break the rules and restraints of the competition. Paul Sharp says basically, “cool story bro, but the rules are holding me back as well. If you can’t beat me here, what makes you think you can beat me on the street?”
The final day started with decision-making drills. Frank Proctor’s 3rd Grade Math was used. I was the first to run the drill since Mosby knew I had taken a Proctor class earlier this year. I’ve run the drill with carbine many times but never with a pistol. Without giving away the Mosby twist, he has a very good way of incorporating No Shoots in the drill. My failure was the example we all needed to use our brains first and foremost, but I was stuck in the range paradigm when I shouldn’t have been. Targets were 5”x8” paper on USPSA target’s.
The final exercise of the class was a proprietary Mountain Guerrilla drill that incorporates problem solving coupled with engaging targets in a VTAC 1-5 sequence all while avoiding no shoot targets in the process. This drill is gold and will be a mainstay in the repertoire. I’d read about it in his books, but didn’t quite grasp its power until first seeing it and then running it.
The remainder of the class was spent running 2 qualifications / standards tests to show people where they stood. A 5x5x5 and Hackathorn’s “The Wizard.” These were not shooting work/exercises, these were essentially pop quizzes to see where we were. I’d shot the 5x5x5 with pistol several times before but was using the top half of an A-zone, a target size favored by KD4 for other applications. I have always been able to clean it every time I ran it. But of course if it were easy, it’s not worth doing. Our target was a vertical 3”x5” card. We then ran the Wizard that I’d seen the course of fire before, but have never run. 1 student was able to pass both standards tests and congrats to him. He won a free book.
I ran two guns I carry daily. Summer, in a tee shirt, is almost exclusively a G19 in an Eidolon or Raven VG2 (less likely these days). Gun is stock save KD4 Ameriglo’s and KD4 style stippling at index points and under the trigger guard. Fall/winter with more clothing on is a G17 w/ U-boat in a VG3 w/ claw mod. Sevigny Carry sights w/ front fiber, red. Stippling.
Raven Copia mag pouch
Liberty Tree Tactical belt
This was a great class. We learned and we know what we need to work on. I’ve never seen some of the people I knew at the class so motivated. Talk of building new pistol bays to setting up range practice days weekly was had by nearly all. The accuracy standards were a wake up call to me personally and showed where I need to focus my practice. Mosby’s andragogical approach and teaching methodologies were spot on.
My only critique of the class was that I would have liked to of gotten a few more reps in on some of the drills. Lower round count classes are great and are usually heavy on the knowledge bombs, but I do like to get some reps in. (I’d be surprised if anyone fired over 300 rounds in the 3 day class) This low round count approach does however let you focus on taking the material learned at class and incorporating it into your own practice sessions.
As to Mosby himself, the dude is squared away. His course work and POI was solid. The guy is humble. He may or may not want me to say this but he flubbed up a couple demos. But you know what? He told the class what happened and what he screwed up in the process. He did not do as I’ve seen some guys do…miss shots and say “ok, so I purposefully pulled those last 2…” In person Mosby is the same guy he is on the blog. No punches pulled. He definitely will tell you how he really feels for instance on some ‘legal’ issues, etc. that no other trainer in the firearms industry would touch with a 10 foot pole. This guy could easily be the high level traveling road show trainer everyone wants to take a class with.
A few random last notes. I have heard from some folks over the last year asking what happened to Mosby’s blog posts and why aren’t they more frequent. Well, to be frank, he has reached what I consider the post political moment that I think both he and I have come to essentially around the same time but from slightly different angles. As was written in Forging the Hero, “We don’t need a Revolution. We need to be a revolution.” (Note the use of capitalization) He is too busy living it instead of writing about it, flat out. To echo similar sentiments, there will not be another 1775/76. The South will not rise again. You won’t vote yourself out of this, but you can control what you can control, your own life and your own actions.
I’ve had some issues with some of the factions of what I guess we can consider the Alt Right with their identity politics and sacrificing freedom for aesthetic preferences. If you think Mosby is the type of guy you are going to recruit to your 1488 meeting because he values community and his tribe, then you have no idea what you are talking about.
Everyone who carries a pistol daily needs this class, end of story. If you cant get him to come to your area and get a class put together, shoot me an email if you are within driving range of the Smoky Mountains and we’ll get him back.