Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    Red Lion PA
    (York County)
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    Default My visit to the home of the National Tactical Invatational

    Recently I was invited to the West Short Sportsman’s Association located in Lewisberry PA by Ken O’Donnell, the president of the club. West Shore is better known as the home of the American Tactical Shooting Association and the National Tactical Invitational. What even fewer know is that a very dedicated group of these folks meet on the third Saturday of every month for a tactical study group.

    I arrived on Saturday morning and made my way to the club house and made contact with Jim Garthwaite. Jim is a full time gunsmith and can be found on the web at www.garthwaite.com. Jim was very friendly as was everyone else who began to trickle in. I signed a one day visitor’s card and that along with a sponsor and one dollar granted me access to the club for a day. I also signed in on the roster for the study group and paid $2 to participate.

    The day started with Jim Garthwaite reminding everyone that it was Patriot’s Day, or April 19th the start of the Revolutionary War. Jim gave an excellent presentation and that explained the events that led up to Lexington and Concord.

    Next Skip Gouchenour began a discussion about the reality of the distance at which shooting occur. Research has confirmed that 30% occur within 5 feet and 70% are within 10 feet. Everyone in the room agreed that very little “professional” training takes place at that distance.

    Skip went onto explain how the vast majority of people insist on punching the gun out at this distance instead of engaging the target as soon as the gun cleared the holster and was on target.

    The class moved to one of the club’s excellent ranges for some live fire drills. I was also excited since this was the first time I had attended any formal training wearing the MCS ACR holster by Raven Concealment. After getting shooters on line, we were instructed that the situation was that we were being approached by someone displaying articulitable behaviors that would justify the presentation of capability of deadly force, AKA showing your handgun. A buzzer as a sign to draw your pistol (which you had your hand on) and engage the target. After doing this drill several times everyone in the class was doing so in well under a second. Once everyone was comfortable with that we did began the same way but instead continued to fire as we moved off line using vertical tracking to dump rounds from pelvis to chest.

    The next stage was the force on force inside the clubs indoor range. After emptying your pockets of all weapons and being physically searched you were called into the room. Walls were made out of blue tarps to construct hallways and rooms. After being briefed by the range officer and being issued a Glock 19 air soft you were given your scenario and allowed to begin. I will not go onto the specifics of the scenario, but I will say that you met several role players whose actions would be dependent on your actions and verbal commands. All scenarios are difficult and but winnable. For those who have never been involved in force on force training it does an incredible job of inducing stress. You can feel your heart rate rise even before the start. Some other things also become very obvious to first timers, the most reported is the fact that you don’t focus on the sights but instead the threat.

    The last stage of the day was a live fire scenario in the shoot house. This is a huge departure for folks who have only ever shot on a typical range. You have angles to navigate and targets to engage inside a building. My scenario was based me having purchased an old house to renovate in a bad area. During the day I had decided to stop by the house with my young nephew to check on the contractors in the house. While approaching the residence I heard what was suspected of being a gun shot. From there I had to proceed.

    The group values decision making and tactics over putting rounds into a target, but when you do the latter they better be accurate. Folks attending this one day of training experienced more realistic training than the average police officer will receive in a year, and depending on where they police maybe even career. That is no exaggeration. I won’t even comment on the average gun owner. Anyone can pick out a gun and carry it. You can even go to schools to teach you to shoot the hell out of targets, or not to. Forcing yourself to think and make good decisions under stress takes effort and training. I think I fired a total of 30 rounds during the course of the day. Every round was purposeful and struck its intended target in response to a specific threat.

    Next month is the NTI at West Shore, unfortunately because of a scheduling conflict I am unable to attend. I do however to intend to attend every study group that I can and hopefully next years NTI.

    West Short is minutes off Rt 83 just south of Harrisburg. If you have any interest in personal protecting and it is within your reach you need to attend at least one study group. It is most insurance you can buy for $3.

    I would like to thank everyone who put the stages together for their hard work and all the attendees for their hospitality.

    Here are some sites of interest-
    Ken O’Donnell’s line of classy concealment vests www.bullfrogskin.com.
    www.westshoresportsmen.org
    American Tactical Shooting Association www.teddytactical.com
    Last edited by mercop; April 19th, 2008 at 11:22 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania
    (Monroe County)
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    Default Re: My visit to the home of the National Tactical Invatational

    Sounds like a day very well spent! Thanks for the write up.

    5 feet is just barely out of knife range, 10 feet is about 3 steps away... wow thats a lot closer then I would have imagined they would be.

    whats it like trying to shoot a target at less then 10 feet? I would assume its more of a just pull the trigger and hope the target gets hit?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    downingtown, Pennsylvania
    (Chester County)
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    Default Re: My visit to the home of the National Tactical Invatational

    AD, AD, AD jesus man.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    Red Lion PA
    (York County)
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    Default Re: My visit to the home of the National Tactical Invatational

    Quote Originally Posted by c.sander View Post
    AD, AD, AD jesus man.
    ?????


    Easy to hit with a little practice.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
    (Dauphin County)
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    Default Re: My visit to the home of the National Tactical Invatational

    thanks for the great report i am hoping to be able to attend soon!!



    ETA: your link to tactical teddy does not work

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    Red Lion PA
    (York County)
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    Default Re: My visit to the home of the National Tactical Invatational

    fixed, had it backwards

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Lewisberry, Pennsylvania
    (York County)
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    Default Re: My visit to the home of the National Tactical Invatational

    I'm glad you enjoyed yourself.

    You forgot to mention the discussion and demonstration of the taser. I rather enjoyed that portion of the morning.


    As I understand it, the ATSA Study Group charges $20 for non-Team Members, plus $2 to help defray the cost of the targets. But they waive the fee for the first visit with the group so the participant can apply that money towards joining the club. Skip does ask that anyone who wants to continue to participate with the Group join West Shore as a regular member.


    As an aside, there will be no Study Group in May. The Team spends the weekends preceeding the NTI event, held over the week over Memorial Day, performing work days to prepare for the event. Study Group resumes in June, and they are always the third Saturday of the month.


    Dredly,

    Most attacks occur at those close distances. For a number of reasons a criminal actor needs to be close to do the things he wants to do to us. You won't find yourself getting robbed from across the street.

    It is a bit uncomfortable to someone the first time he stands 3 feet from a target and shoots it, but you get used to it. Paper targets don't hold up well under the muzzle blast, so you really want to use cardboard. Shots can be made easily at that distance. But you do need to have sufficient time on the gun so you know where its pointed using muscle memory.


    I'm not sure what this means:

    c.sander said: AD, AD, AD jesus man.
    West Shore Sportsmen's Association WSSA Home page

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Mountain Top, Pennsylvania
    (Luzerne County)
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    49
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    Default Re: My visit to the home of the National Tactical Invatational

    ATSA study group is some of the best training available.
    I look forward to attending again after several years hiatus!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Red Lion PA
    (York County)
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    Default Re: My visit to the home of the National Tactical Invatational

    Ken, I must have blocked te Taser out since I consider myself allergic to it It was pretty neat. As a Taser Instructor I was very impressed by the number of folks who jumped up to get Tased. You have to drag police kicking and screaming.

    I will be back along with some of my students and instructors.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Devon, Pennsylvania
    (Montgomery County)
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    Default Re: My visit to the home of the National Tactical Invatational

    Wow, great review mercop. I'll consider checking out the group. Sounds like descent training. I never shot at a shot house.

    BTW given the scenario you describe why not get your nephew and yourself far from the house and call the police? It's supposed to be an empty house, the corpse if there is one won't be going anywhere anyway, and you can always visually track the person who may have done the shooting from much further away as they leave without endangering yourself and your nephew. If no one is seen leaving the house until the police get there, let THEM clear the house (yes I remember you're one of THEM but you're not on duty or a cop in that shitcityusa, you're just a private citizen who owns that house).

    thoughts?

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