A few days ago I woke up and thought, you know, I don’t know anything about room clearing, I should look into that….. I realize this is a rather bizarre line of thinking, but I am currently gearing up for Unlisted, a training weekend with Fit to Fight and whereas I have a rather vague idea of what I will be running into, lots of scenario work, long days, guns, knives, and mud now apparently; I still wanted to run through my mental list of what I am lacking in (which is plenty in and of itself). I thought well hell, why not try something else too, because adding on is exactly what you should do when you are gearing up mentally to get your butt handed to you. Insert eye roll here to myself….
So room clearing.. Who better to teach you this than from people who have actually done this countless times with their jobs and careers? I ended up at AR Tactics in Charlotte, NC. Note when looking into new training, especially anything involving tools meant to kill or maim, it is always good practice before signing up for anything to research the living crap out of a trainers background and credentials; then research their credentials because a Wombat Fighting Pistol Program Certification may not be a real thing. If I have trained under you, I have internet stalked you like a digital Richard Ramirez. I am not even ashamed a little bit by this.
I signed up for a private lesson with Rodney Thompson one of the three owners of this rather dazzling facility and proceeded to remind myself (because I was frustrated) yet again that I need to suck and give respect to the craft. I didn’t expect to move through rooms like I was on the SWAT team but I also knew enough that I didn’t want to shoot (see what I did there?) for looking like Riggs in Lethal Weapon.
I was greeted by name warmly in the parking lot by the first of the triad of owners Nicole. No she was not stalking me….that I know of…. She was just getting out of her car and assumed I was their 10:45. Nicole has a black belt in Krav Maga, quite the resume on all things incapacitating people, and then she is also an RN; so she can fix you and then break you again. She also has a personality to very easily put a client at ease. I feel that’s something a lot of training places miss and AR Tactics has it in spades. I didn’t meet one closed off person. I write and speak about this often, the intimidation of walking in a front door and to meet frowny intimidating people is not conducive for those that actually need this no matter what alpha dominance you feel you need to exude. In fact after meeting all three owners and a couple of others, the ease of chatting was so smooth that they were probably wanting me to shut up later on in the parking lot as I talked about knives.
I did not wear my High Strung shirt today, probably should have. I was learning something new, at the same time of this lesson I had a grandson getting an MRI for sudden seizures, a nephew seeing a plastic surgeon to sew up the gaping cut on his face where he met an unfriendly fireplace last night, and with the pressure of the weekend looming over me, high strung was an apt description. Also I hate looking like a fool. If I had to choose I am pretty sure I would take getting punched in the face over looking stupid or unsafe. I actually wish I was joking on that statement.
AR Tactics is a 5000 square foot, large, clean building that honestly is kind of hard to find so GPS it and good luck. However it was well laid out, safety was top notch, and offered a wide variety of different training spaces from a car to a multi room “shoot house.” I was asked a couple times if I had any weapons on me and then Rodney assessed what I knew (not much) what I wanted to learn (likely too much for that hour and a half) and we got to it (when I didn’t interrupt him with my questions on clarity).
Rodney has a soothing personality that uses humor. It’s almost disarming because his background is anything but. The laundry list of Special Forces Army everything he has done is extensive and actually thinking about it now, it is somewhat unnerving he was that approachable and he has likely killed people. Just saying. He was also clinical which I am sure people first starting out on a defense journey would appreciate. He always asked before approaching or adjusting any equipment and whereas I am used to basically being thrown around now, that approach makes a person, especially a woman feel safer. He was clear in instruction, I was clear with my RBF….. it was fun and frustrating at the same time.
Honestly room clearing is basically its own art. I know that now. There was so much to absorb that I am pretty sure my ears leaked. I gather I retained only like 1% of what was taught to me and that was not an instructor issue. From pieing doorways, to flipping light switches while still keeping firearm in a ready position, watching shadows, making sure you don’t make shadows, where are your kids, you don’t want to shoot prematurely because that COULD be your kid, you don’t want to shoot too late because bad guy is lurking in a dark corner already at an advantage. It was for lack of a better term a lot. This was literally something I didn’t even know I really needed and now all I can think about is that I need a plan. I was asked by Rodney what are my reactions to a bump in the night? I have seven kids that live in a large two level home, the amount of variables are infinite, what the hell is my plan?
I went in with the intention of getting a bit of experience so I wouldn’t bomb so badly this weekend and came away knowing I am going to bomb and now I have one more thing on my plate that bumped up to top five things I need to train and hone. It’s actually overwhelming, fun in a weird way, but super overwhelming. I got about a quarter into this lesson and was like sh*t, this is not a one, two, or hell even 20 lesson ordeal and trust me, I know that expression showed on my face. I went from lighthearted to the dawning of the gravity of what I was actually training for and it’s not for this weekend. It was for the seven babies at home. The weight was astounding.
Special shout out to Bud, he was an fantastic bad guy who’s specialty was to lurk in corners I failed miserably to see. I also managed to impress them both by spinning backwards into a room while at the same time knowing bad guy Bud was in the hallway; this was not textbook but just my body stupidly doing what it wanted while my brain assessed the ignorance simultaneously.
They use sim rounds when training so I was familiar with the sting. Do they make these marking rounds in any other color than green because that seems to be the universal one….. I just feel I would be a whole hell of a lot more smiley getting pegged and scarred by a pink one…..
After being completely demoralized yet again on the vast amount of everything I don’t know, I spent another 30 minutes fighting a goose in the parking lot who was blocking my truck and chatting up the third owner and Lead Instructor Altonio Rivers. And by chatting I mean he was probably trying to politely escape the conversation but I held him hostage. Altonio is a marine and currently a Meckleburg LEO. His expertise makes the AR Tactics triad very well rounded. You have the women’s aspect of self defense, medical, different branches of the military with both men, and Altonio pulling out expertise with Violent Crimes Task Force, The Gang Unit, and SWAT. All are NRA instructors and it makes for, “hey you got realistic questions? I have some realistic answers.”
Altonio had the same inviting personality as the other two making me have regrets that I didn’t know about this place at the beginning of the month because I definitely would have gone a few more times most likely because I am a glutton for punishment. I will for sure make time when I come back in August for the Armed Blade Tactics course with Fit to Fight.
AR Tactics offers several Pistol and Rifle classes as well as private lessons and I would totally recommend them to anyone looking to just expand their firearm and home safety knowledge. It was again definitely enough for me to put this type of protection plan at the top five, hell even top three if I am honest with myself. It is a new found gap in my training and one I plan to fix in the future. If you are in the Charlotte area or are passing through most assuredly check them out.
Also pray for me this weekend. Shooting for survival....
#selfdefense #roomclearing#homeprotection #keepthembabiessafe#2ndamendment #artactics #LethalWeapon#simrounds #badguyinacorner#theyhaveacoolknife
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Author- Christun Erwin
"Thank you for your words. They make an impact and its important that, human to human, woman to woman, mother to mother... you know that you make a difference, even to those you never knew your words" -Krystal