Two Person Armed Defense: A Different Approach To Firearms Training

Disciplined training is especially important in a two-person defense strategy.

Many folks that take self-defense seriously and carry a pistol on a daily basis train extensively on an individual level. Consider combining your live firearm training with another person that you may spend a great deal of time with, perhaps a co-worker, a good friend or your spouse? Are you both armed on a regular basis?

This past year I was able to attend a course that focused on an armed situation where you and another may be forced to work as a cohesive unit. The session entitled “2 Person Armed Defense” (2PAD) provided some excellent insight into working with another armed person in a self-defense situation. This training, along with related topics, consists of firearms courses offered by Personal Defense Network (PDN) and its Executive Director, Rob Pincus.

In the course I attended, Pincus was the on-site instructor for the 2PAD class held at the Gun Club Range in Gypsum, Colorado during the month of June 2017. An overview of critical firearms safety rules started off the day as it always should. Pincus then discussed what he calls the “3 C’s Foundation” of communication, coordination, and cooperation when it comes to teamwork. He reinforced these concepts throughout the day.

An additional key point made early on in the day is that an “individual response” is almost always the first typical reaction in any high-stress event. Therefore, the day’s training focused on moving to or with your partner after your immediate response as an individual. Once these basics were well ingrained, we moved on to a series of live firearm drills, based on two people having to work together.

The following are critical drills utilized during 2PAD training:

1.Extend Your Handgun/Touch And Press Trigger

One of the few individual drills throughout the day started out at the five-yard line. This distance is typical to defensive actions in the average armed confrontation. First, the student maintained a proper stance (squarely facing the target with feet placed shoulder width apart) and firing grip on the handgun (the students utilized Sul position most often). The student would then extend the pistol straightforward while beginning trigger touch, and immediately they would press the trigger as they aimed the muzzle at the threat/target. All the while the student would focus on the high center mass of the target as they looked into the desired strike zone (not as seen in normal-sighted shooting).

This technique provides excellent defensive accuracy and is fast at the five- to ten-yard line. The drill was repeated several times, all while increasing rounds fired from two up to six. This combat focus drill is a trademark drill of PDN and Pincus and is worth adding to your training regime.

If you have not used the Sul or indoor ready position as it is sometimes called, take a look at the following link: https://www.personaldefensenetwork.com/article/firearm-ready-positions/

2.Move With Your Teammate And Shoot

This segment began to ingrain the skill of movement into defensive shooting. Each two-person team would move a few steps laterally when the shoot command was given. The movement was not always side by side but could be towards each other. The intent was to get a degree of comfort in working with another armed person with the added stress of movement and combat-accurate fire on the threat. Action was also encouraged after firing, which began the lead up to the next training drill: moving to your partner and then shooting.

3.Move To Teammate And Engage The Threat

In a situation where you and another armed citizen do not know where the attacker is, moving towards each other could very well provide an advantage. Of course, by doing so, the argument exists that it would become somewhat easier for the attacker to take both of you out. This drill has valid training points but ideally should often be practiced with your armed partner. This drill begins as one of the pairs observes a threat, moves and starts firing. The second of the team would then draw their handgun and move to assist their partner (utilizing the Sul position). The goal for the second partner would be to cover the 360 degrees for additional threats and look for an escape route. Ideally, you and your teammate would be pressed up against each other back to back with the “rear guard” so to speak, grabbing onto the beltline of their partner to help lead them to a more secure zone at the first opportunity. In the event the partner shooting would run out of ammo or had a malfunction, they would call for the “rear guard” to cover and rotate towards the threat to engage.

This drill may sound a bit nerve-wracking (any real shooting would be), but I found it to have real-world application, and it was a way to shape the thinking of an effective response should the need ever arise.

4.The Figure 8

Over the day, all drills were continued to reinforce the key concepts. Also, working through doorways and around vehicles were added in and always with a partner. Pincus likes to key in on the immediate and individual startled response, which is very probable in the real world. A good drill that teams performed to help instill this surprised response was the Figure 8 drill.

A pair of students would walk in figure 8 (crossing each others paths) parallel to the targets. Pincus would then call out numbers (numbers were drawn on targets with a marker) the student pair would turn towards threats (targets), which were scattered at varying distances, and engage the appropriate numeral(s) with multiple shots. Each student would fire only at the threats on their proper side. The Figure 8 is a dynamic drill, and as close to realism when having to find and identify the danger while engaging as any I’ve done, and all the while working with another armed citizen.

During the entire course and for all drills Pincus reinforced the importance of a valid 360-degree scan. What are you scanning for? In order of priority: additional threats such as other armed citizens or law enforcement that you don’t want to get shot by or other folks that may be willing to help you or others in some way. Then scan for a position of advantages, such as cover, a more precise shooting position, or other position of tactical advantage.

Ammunition requirements for 2PAD are in the 400 to 500 rounds range over a full day of training. This training course was a different approach than many others I have attended, especially from a civilian perspective. It provides insight into the reality of working with another armed person, and I would not hesitate to participate again.

For many long years I have trained in law enforcement both as a student and as an instructor, and now in the civilian world. If there is one good piece of advice I could give to any student of defensive living and mindset, it would be to keep pushing yourself with valid training and a proper attitude. Rob Pincus and Personal Defense Network provide such training.

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