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VCQB End User – Centrifuge Training AAR

May 7th – 8th, 2018 | Erick

Type of Course – Vehicle CQB, L/E End User, by Centrifuge Training

Instructor – Will Petty

Location of course – Arcata, CA (Way, way northern Cal)

Gear – Safariland / TCI Liberator HP; DBT/CAT Level IIIA soft armor; full-size 9mm M&P 2.0 with thumb safety and X300A-U; Eagle Ind. / HSGI / Safariland / BFG / Blade-Tech teaching belt; Mechanix gloves – it is as close to my regular patrol set-up as I could get without trashing my work stuff.

I had wanted to take Will’s classes for quite a while now. I was signed up to take an instructor class from him back in ’15 or ’16. I got a last-minute subpoena (which was canceled). The company he was with back then NEVER responded to my requests for a refund.

When the class date was announced, I reached out to Centrifuge. While they did not receive any roll-overs, financially or otherwise from the other company, Will’s wife Angela addressed the issue. My thanks to her.

Why this class? Cops do a metric buttload of work, real work, in & around cars. That’s been confirmed in patrol, gang suppression, and narcotics – never mind in reviewing our events. However, sadly, we don’t get to train in that environment near as much as we should.

Secondly, having seen a lot of Will’s material out there, and in talking with students of his who understand the cop world, it was clear he looks at actual domestic L/E data to build his stuff.

Communication with Centrifuge ahead of time was easy. Several of the deputies who work for me or teach at the office took the class as well. Even with typical cop scheduling issues, Centrifuge worked with them to get matters addressed.

Day #1 – After student intros, Will went into his safety / med brief. It is solid, and he went into the Why behind his way of doing it. One of the Why’s was to shift the mindset onto the environment from whatever was going on beforehand and after class. The emphasis was on Safe Shooters rather than safe ranges.

It was made clear this was a class on solving problems in & around vehicles rather than just a shooting class. The shooting was part of how those problems were going to be solved. A significant percentage of domestic L/E shootings occur in or around cars. Those events last about 8-10 seconds max. Time to break contact, find a cinderblock wall, run to it, and then re-engage the Bad Guy doesn’t exist.

The class was warmed up at about 7 yards. Always interesting to see your fellow students’ targets. Then we went into the four positions needed for the class – standing, squatting, kneeling, and urban prone. Since squatting is a decent mix of the ability to best use what ballistic protection a car provides while retaining the ability to move, every day is leg day at a VCQB class. His kneeling involves dropping straight down, no steps forward or back. Also, it isn’t on the bottom of the knee cap; instead, it has the inside of the foot, ankle, calf, & knee contacting mother earth.

Reloads and malfunction clearances had to take into account the presence of partners, others, friendlies, and no-shoots. As a result, not everything could be done in the “workspace.”

Next was vehicle ballistics. Vehicle construction standards and energy absorption were discussed then demonstrated. Then, the governmental agencies that address vehicles were reviewed. Then we shot the cars – 9mm, .40SW, .45ACP, 12ga 00Buck & slug, .223, and finally .50BMG at went into the poor car. It took over two magazines of .223 to the B pillar for rounds to punch through & exit the far side of the ride. .50BMG rounds kept deflecting.

Will did not insist a car is impenetrable. He didn’t. He addresses better places to work when you are stuck at or right around the car. Petty compared the sizes of the A, B, and C pillars to rifle rated armor plates – that was of interest to me given some of the commentary out there about this material.

In working a live-fire drill after that, a student had one of the more significant safety issues I’d seen in a class. Having run his handgun dry, he turned to move to the rear of the car and muzzled the entire class while trying to reload. Will stopped the drill, addressed the issue, and benched the student. The student was allowed to remain on the range; however, he could not do anything live for the remaining day and a half of the course. I was impressed with how Will hand