Thursday, June 16, 2011

Finally...Tactical Defense Institute (TDI) Pistol II & III After Action Review

TDI Pistols II & III After Action Review. May 15th-16th 2011

Before I get into the review of the class, I want to talk a little more about what TDI is and who makes it that way. TDI is currently ran by John Benner who is the president and chief instructor of the Tactical Defense Institute. He is a 37-year veteran police Lieutenant and Vietnam Veteran and spent 25 years with the Hamilton County Police Association Regional SWAT Team, serving for 20 years as team Commander, he has received several prestigious awards including Contribution to Law Enforcement, Police Leadership and Officer of the Year. Mr. Benner is certified to instruct and a guest instructor for the Ohio Peace Officer’s Training Council (OPOTA). John is a member of and presenter for the International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors (IALEFI). John is the co-author of the nationally used CQPC Program.

Most of the doctrine at TDI has come from John’s lifetime of experiences, he’s basically been going into harms way while armed for his entire adult life and he’s still here to talk and teach about it, so I found it very wroth while to perk up my ears when he was speaking, regardless of the topic. John freely admits that most if not all things TDI is 49% him, and 51% his instructors, and they aren't slouches either.

Most of us have probably heard of or read content regarding Bowie Tactical Concepts, what we get a glimpse of on the website is Dave’s background as a SWAT officer. Dave Bowie has been an instructor at TDI for 18 years and has worked as a prosecutors office investigator, a deputy sheriff and has been on SWAT for 10 years as a team member then as team leader and has now commander for the past two and half years.

Dave also was a competitive shooter in USPSA and was a master class shooter until TDI got so busy that he could no longer attend matches. Dave is a NRA certified pistol and rifle instructor and has been a guest instructor for the Ohio peace officers training academy and for the international association of law enforcement firearms instructors and is also a member of the Ohio and national Tactical officers association.

One of TDIs assets  Greg Ellifritz, I was first introduced to Greg though my wife who attended the TDI Defensive Knife Course, through her reviews, and video of the class which can be viewed HERE.
Greg Ellifritz is a 16-year veteran police officer, spending the last 11 years as the fulltime tactical training officer for his central Ohio agency. In that position, he is responsible for developing and instructing all of the in-service training for a 57-officer police department. Prior to his training position, he served as patrol officer, bike patrol officer, precision marksman, and field training officer for his agency.

He has been an active instructor for the Tactical Defense Institute since 2001 and a lead instructor for TDI’s ground fighting, knife fighting, impact weapons, active shooter, and extreme close quarters shooting classes.

Greg holds instructor, master instructor, or armorer certifications in more than 75 different weapons systems, defensive tactics programs, and law enforcement specialty areas. In addition to these instructor certifications, Greg has trained with most of the leading firearms and edged weapons instructors in the country.

Greg has been an adjunct instructor for the Ohio Peace Officer’s Training Academy, teaching firearms, defensive tactics, bike patrol, knife defense and physical fitness topics. He has taught firearms and self defense classes at the national and international level through the International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors, The American Society of Law Enforcement Trainers and Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police. He has a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Management and has written for several publications including: ‘The Firearms Instructor”, “Ohio Police Chief”, “Combat Handguns”, “Concealed Carry Magazine” and “The Journal of the American Women’s Self Defense Association”.

What my wife and I both like about Greg is that despite the list above, he is very approachable and easy to dialogue with regarding almost any topic related to self-defense. On top of being a physical fitness instructor Greg is also an avid foreign traveler, which brings a unique perspective regarding improvised weapons of opportunity. Greg also teaches Field Emergency Medicine.

Another unique part of the TDI team is instructor Bill Posey, Bill has only been shooting for about four and half years but was directed to TDI early on and started in the right direction. After two years of intensive training at TDI, approximately 35 days in his first year, he obtained NRA instructor's certifications in Pistol, Home Firearm Safety, and Personal Protection in the Home. John Benner then invited Bill to join the staff at TDI as an adjunct, volunteer, instructor. Bill views his helping out at TDI as his "give-back" to the community of people interested in self defense and willing to obtain competent instruction. He is in his third year of instructing at TDI.

Bill has been a practicing trial lawyer since 1979, having litigated product liability and other cases in more than 35 states. As part of his responsibilities at TDI he gives the brief lecture on home insurance considerations and handles questions that may arise relating to personal liability in self-defense situations. Bill ran the "furtive movement" part of the Handgun 3, which will be covered in more detail later in this review.

Not all of TDI’s instructor cadre is SWAT Police or lawyers. Clay Smith’s day job is in the 401k business. His shooting background started young with his father who was a competitive trap shooter for most of his life, around the age of 18 he picked up an interest in handguns, and other firearms of a "defensive" which eventually led him into pistol competition sports including IDPA and USPSA and led him to seek out professional training. Clay began attending TDI in 1997 and began instructing there in 2003. Clay has also attended NRA Instructor Certification, Glock Armorer's Certification, training from Tactical Response in Tennessee, and Bob Vogel, and will also be attending the Roger's Shooting School in Georgia this year. Clay still shoots in competition at the local level when his schedule permits.

Two other instructors mentoring me while there were John Motil and Forest Sonewald. John is a retired Air Force Master Sergeant and Forset is a twenty year veteran of his police department in Northern Ohio and has served as their firearms instructor and as a SWAT team member. He's been teaching at TDI for around six years.

That is not even the entire list of instructors that were there during Pistols II and III, if you’ve ever felt that the staff at a shooting class was spread too thin and if you’ve ever been shooting well enough not to warrant the attention of an instructor as others need more help, you will NOT feel that way at TDI as there were 12 instructors in all including John Benner. With a class of around 24 you get a 2 : 1 Student to Instructor ratio which in this industry is outstanding! Not only will you get time with an instructor, you get time with 11 or 12 different instructors, that’s a lot of viewpoints that look at different things and give different feedback on your performance. When you look at the cost of training classes TDI is not that expensive and it is money well spent as you will get time with an instructor regardless of how well you’re doing and as outlined above the instructors are top notch.

Now we’re going talk about the class.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

1500ish Rounds Through the HK45 So Far...

I got the gun at the end of April and so far between a couple of range sessions, one IDPA match, one USPSA match, and a couple of classes have shot somewhere in the neighborhood of 1500+ rounds as of today. I polished off the remaining 1200 rds that I bought to take to TDI and was able to shoot some after a class today. The gun continues to wow me, it hasn't had much of  a cleaning, the mags got nice and muddy this afternoon working reload drills as that is the one area that's still giving me a little grief but I'll get there.

The ambi safety from a USP Compact is still working well with both right and left hand manipulation. ill probably do a good once over on the gun and detail clean the magazines to get the mud and little chunks of grass out of them and will be running the gun tomorrow @ the Blackhawk Pistol Clubs monthly USPSA match.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Really Digging the HK45...

After my trip to TDI I told myself I was going to not be as serious about competing in IDPA and not rush so much to get through the stages. I placed 4th overall in our June 5th match, 2nd place in CDP, and for the first time, match most accurate with 11pts down.  I've been division most accurate a time or three, but never the whole dang thing.

I've made some mods to the HK45, it is now a Variant 9/10, which means that is is no longer equipped with the decocker, a Variant 5/6 detent plate is what is needed to make the change, and can be ordered from I also managed to snag a USP Compact ambi safety and was able to mate it to the HK45 with a little patience and an Exacto knife.

The gun now agrees with me all the more better as previously I was mashing down on the safety lever too much and would start to decock the gun and every now and then I'd fully decock it and I could feel the muzzle dip. The ambi safety is purely for IDPA and classes where we work off-hand shooting quite a lot. Some don't like it, some could take it or leave it, but I'm starting to prefer them.

Here's the HK45 wearing the USPc ambi safety.

And here are two pictures from a target @ TDI, range was only about 5 yards or so, but the drill was shooting one round free-style, one round strong-hand only, one round weak hand only, repeat for one magazine and it was right after I got done at the Live Fire House and was still a little amped up.  The goal is to have one hole. I need a little work, but over all I was pretty happy with the results of the second attempt. Both pictures are are 10 shot groups.

HK45-TDI-Accuracy Drill-1-10 shot group (inset @ bottom right is of actual target)

HK45-TDI-Accuracy Drill 2-10 shot group (Inset @ upper left is of actual target)
I'm finding I don't mind the factory sights as much as I though I would, but I need to replace at least the rear as I just can't stand the rear dots.

The after action review of TDIs Pistol II and III classes is almost done, I've never had a review take this long to write but it's been a hectic couple of weeks.

I spent the one weekend @ TDI, the following weekend was spent at the NRA PPOTH-I Course, and then Fri, Sat, & Sun of Memorial Day weekend I found myself at a NRA Training Counselor Workshop and am currently awaiting the paperwork to clear and be appointed and NRA Training Counselor....add into that IDPA, work, and being a dad & husband and it makes for a busy time.

Hopefully I will get the TDI review done Friday evening after setting up the classroom for Saturday's Iowa Defensive Pistol Class