ITTS Handgun 2 Course

I feel like someone's been standing behind me and punching my back and shoulders for a few hours. This is, I think, a pretty common outcome after taking International Tactical Training Seminar's two-day "Handgun 2" course. Day 1, Saturday, is 9 AM to 5 PM. The 2nd day is 2 PM to 10 PM, to incorporate night shooting techniques with flashlights and weapon lights. Over the two days I shot off 345 rounds of 45 ACP FMJ ammo. I am thoroughly impressed with International Tactical's curriculum and instructors. (I've previously taken their Handgun 1 and Shotgun 1 courses.)

Scotty Reitz, the owner and lead instructor of ITTS, is a former LAPD SWAT officer and LAPD firearms trainer. The three instructors who taught my class, Troy Thomas, Howard Ng, and and Dane Hurst, are all active duty LAPD SWAT team members. All three were patient, knowledgable, and effective instructors.

The biggest problem I had as a student was understanding the difference between controlled pairs, accelerated pairs, and just shooting twice. (I was also told that the instructors no longer use the term "double tap," although I'm not sure why.) I'm still not sure I entirely understand the distinctions. I was trying for, as instructed, "one sight picture and two shots" and was unable to place the 2nd shot accurately at 20 yards. I then realized that we were supposed to be getting a sight picture for each shot, and I was able to align the sights, take a shot, align the sights again and take another shot in quick succession. (We were shooting "poppers," metal targets which fall down when struck with the first bullet. You need to be fast to get the 2nd bullet to your target before it falls down and is inaccessible. )

We later did Failure Drills (two shots to the torso, one to the head) and I finally felt like I was able to press the trigger twice with one sight picture and hit the target reliably. I think I was trying to do accelerated pairs (two shots with one sight picture) at too long a range for my current skill level. We did the Failure Drills at 7 yards, which is a much better match for my current skills.

By the end of the 2nd day I was so fatigued that I was having trouble with complex actions. I was still able to shoot, but when I had a malfunction I just stared at it dumbly until an instructor walked me through the clearing procedure. This is partly because of the physical and mental demands of two days of high-intensity instruction, and partly because the course was in Los Angeles in July, and it was over 100 degrees on our outdoor range. (The instructors had us take frequent breaks to keep hydrated, but it was still grueling.)

Right now it's Monday, the day after my class, and I'm definitely still recovering. I'm sure I'll have more to say about it later, but right now I'm going to close by repeating how highly I recommend ITTS and their training courses.