Just about all serious students of home defense have a handgun or two and probably a shotgun prepped and ready around the house. But few folks I know and train seem to consider the carbine for home and vehicle defense. Aside from some potential legal issues while carrying in your car (know your state and local laws) I routinely carry a carbine in my vehicle and have the same placed in a strategic location in the house.
About a year ago I had the opportunity to attend a Combat Focus Carbine course in Gypsum, Colorado. This class is part of a series of courses sponsored by Personal Defense Network (PDN) and Rob Pincus, Executive Director of PDN. Although there are numerous instructors working nationwide for PDN, Pincus was the on-site instructor for this class.
The emphasis of Combat Focus Carbine was the defensive use of your carbine (both AR and AK platforms were present) in and around your home and vehicle. If you have watched Pincus’s training or YouTube videos, you know that his approach is focusing center of the target or threat from about ten yards and closer, rather than a focus on the front sight. Hence his “Combat Focus” trademark. This carbine course, as the name suggests, was no exception.
Pincus challenged the class with a series of drills and shooting techniques designed to enhance the shooters’ manipulations of the carbine. I wholeheartedly agree with making manipulation skills core to any firearms training course. Four key drills from the class are as follows and are worthy of incorporating into your carbine time on the range.
The first drill of the day started out at the five yard line. This distance is realistic to defensive actions taken within your home or around your vehicle. The drill proceeded as follows: assuming a good stance, (squarely facing the target with feet shoulder width apart) and the toe of buttstock in the pocket of the shooting shoulder.
The student would extend or bring the carbine into the cheek weld of face while beginning trigger touch, and then press the trigger immediately as the muzzle was on the threat/target. All the while the shooter’s focus is on high center mass of the target, looking into the desired strike zone.
This technique is quick and provided good combat accuracy at the five to ten yard line. The drill was repeated several times while increasing rounds fired from two up to six per sequence.
After several reps of extend-touch-press, Pincus incorporated lateral movement while moving into the shooting position—a realistic and desirable tactic.
2. Flow Drill
For this segment Pincus discussed and demonstrated a variety of shooting positions, including standing, kneeling and sitting. Once was what he calls the Flow Drill. At about 12 to 15 yards, students would flow through all three of these shooting positions (as physical abilities allowed) while engaging the target with multiple shots.
The realization that as distance increases, the shooter must start acquiring the iron or red dot sights became clear. This exercise forced students to maintain good muzzle awareness and finger discipline while moving between positions and attempting to make good combat accurate shots. Additionally, it became painfully obvious that it’s good to maintain good physical fitness within your own capabilities.
Other shooting positions introduced during this segment were the squat or “rice paddy prone” position and the supine (flat of back). Both are excellent positions if the shooter’s body and joints will allow.
3. Front, Middle & Back
Good mobility, physical movement and exertion were required for this drill. Shooters would start around the 30 yard line. At the command “move,” shooters would run to a certain yard line, say the ten-yard mark, and fire multiple rounds into target center mass. A command would then be given to move forward or back to another called distance that was pre-marked, and turn to fire multiple shots again.
This drill certainly increased heart rates and created a degree of stress. In my estimation, this provides a real-world application because few confrontations remain static. Added safety protocols are required for this drill so that no shots are fired until all shooters are on the same yard line and facing downrange.
4. Target ID
The PDN-trademarked “Balance of Speed and Precision” target was used throughout the day. This target is a silhouette and features a center mass zone with slightly blurred edges, along with a head zone, plus eight-inch “A” and “B” squares at the bottom. In addition, there are numbered and colored three-inch circles on the outer margin of the target.
Pincus would call out different colors or numbers, or puzzles with numeric answers. Shooters were required to move laterally, find the correct colors and or numbers, and then fire at those specific targets. It’s a good exercise that incorporates movement, multiple threats and target ID. The five to seven yard lines were the most appropriate distances for this drill.
Other shooting skills addressed during this course included transition to and shooting from support side shoulder, use of cover and cornering, assessing surroundings after shots fired, shooting through small ports or openings, and shooting from supine both left and right positions around and under a vehicle. Total rounds fired for the day approached the 400 mark.
Overall one could categorize this course as a home and close quarter’s defense with your “fighting carbine.” Consider incorporating the drills discussed above into your carbine training time. All gun training has an element of risk, so always practice safe and correct handling protocols with any firearm.
If you’re interested in upping your skill set with a carbine via the Personal Defense Network, check them out online for a list of training and course locations nationwide.