Subject: ASAA Combat Master Certification Course, Handgun
Author:  JPAIGE at ARINC2 <>
Date:    9/10/96 12:16 PM

     Well, the 4-day course is over!  16 people (candidates) attended and 
     no one achieved the 360 points to pass.  The highest score was a 354.  
     I think that I was third highest with a 323.  Is the test passable?  
     Yes, but you have to be almost perfect, i.e. no misses (I had 10, at 
     -5 each), no late shots (I had none), no hits on hostages (I had one), 
     no procedurals (I had none), and no overtime weapons handling 
     penalties (I had one).  Good hits were worth 5 point, peripheral hits 
     (hits on target but outside scoring area; for torso shots, hits had to 
     be below neck; for head shots, hits had to be above the neck) were 
     worth 2 pts.  There were 5 point penalties for each miss, late shot, 
     or procedural error.  Could I have passed?  Yes, if my presentation 
     was more consistent.  (With the tips I got from Chuck Taylor and the 4 
     other Masters that assisted Chuck, my presentation WILL be more 
     consistent next time!!)  I cannot wait for the retest!!!
     All weapon presentations were from the holster.  The test was as 
          STANDARD EXERCISES: 2 shots on torso (a 13" x 11" scoring area); 
          perform each once.  Total of 80 pts.
          1.  1 meter (m), Speed Rock, 1.0 second (sec) 
          2.  1 m, Step Back, 1.0 sec
          3.  3 m, 1.0 sec
          4.  7 m, 1.3 sec
          5.  10 m, 1.7 sec
          6.  15 m, 2.2 sec
          7.  25 m, 2.7 sec
          8.  50 m, 6.0 sec
               I had a peripheral hit at 10 m (I was not clean out of the 
               holster) and a miss at 50 m (the miss was in the groin 
               area); -8 pts
          SINGLES (Presentations): 1 shot on torso; perform each a total of 
          five times.  Total of 25 pts.
          9.  7 m, 1.0 sec
               I cleaned this stage.
          PIVOTS and TURNS: 1 shot on torso; perform each a total of five 
          times.  Total of 75 pts.
          10. 90 degree pivot to the right, 1.0 sec 
          11. 90 degree pivot to the left, 1.0 sec 
          12. 180 degree turn, 1.2 sec
               I had problems coming out of my holster clean my first 4 
               presentations.  This resulted in 2 peripheral hits; -6 pts
          MULTIPLE TARGETS: 1 shot on each as listed.  All shot from 5 m.  
          Total of 45 pts.  Targets are 1 m apart center to center.
          13. 2 targets, 1.2 sec
          14. 3 targets, 1.5 sec
          15. 4 targets, 1.8 sec
               I salivate at any fast shooting multiple target scenario.  
               This is normally my bread and butter.  The key is the first 
               hit (do it quickly);  also the gun should never stop moving. 
                I did not pick up the front sight on the first target on 
               run 15.  One peripheral hit; -3 pts
          HEAD SHOTS: 1 shot per command.  Total of 45 pts.
          16. 5 m, 1.0 sec.  Perform a total of 4 times. 
          17. 7 m, 1.2 sec.  Perform a total of 5 times.
               I had been performing terribly with my head shots the 
               previous 3 days.  My problem was my presentation.  At these 
               speeds it was not "brisk" enough.  So, I spent the first 
               evening making my movements faster, but consistent.  This 
               caused me to be faster for day 2, but my sight picture was 
               not consistent.  So I spent the 2nd evening, obtaining a 
               more consistent sight picture.  By day three, I felt that my 
               initial purchase on the stocks was not consistent enough and 
               I felt that I was not obtaining an adequate sight picture 
               quick enough, so that night, I ironed those out.  Now mind 
               you, I was a pretty good shot going into the course, 
               shooting comfortably at Taylor's Advanced Level, as was 
               everyone else.  As a matter of fact, head shots had been no 
               problem.  I actually welcomed them.  NOW in 3 days, I had 
               completely overhauled my presentation.  On the day of the 
               test, I practiced presentations every opportunity I got, to 
               reinforce muscle memory.  The key is to take an extra .1 sec 
               to verify sight picture, and then squeeze the trigger.
               To make a long story short, for run 16, I put 3 shots in 2 
               holes, and 1 shot 1 inch below the 3" x 4" head scoring 
               area; -3 pts
               For run 17, I completely lost the front sight; 4 misses (2 
               to the right, about 3" to the right of the right ear; 1 over 
               the top of the head; 1 in the throat); -20 pts !!!
               I was now at -40 pts, which meant that I had to clean the 
               rest of the runs.  This was within my capabilities !!!
          AMBIDEXTROUS SHOOTING: 1 shot on each target.  Total of 30 pts.  
          Time limit 6.0 sec.  Perform once.
          18. 7 m; candidate draws, fires 1 round at each of 3 targets, 
          speed loads, transfers gun to weak hand, then fires 1 more shot 
          at each target weak hand unsupported.
               Another bread and butter scenario for me!  During the 3 days 
               of instruction, I had fired a shot over the target while 
               transferring to my weak hand, recuperated from the AD, and 
               still made the time AND the shots.  I had also had the slide 
               not lock open on the speed load (initially, my weak hand thumb 
               rode the side of the slide, sometimes inadvertently resting on 
               the slide stop; I changed this the first evening, by adopting 
               Taylor's "Thumbs up" purchase).  This required me to manually 
               rack the slide so that I did not get a procedural.  No 
               problem!! I made the time AND the shots.  (Fortunately, I am 
               blessed with extremely fast gun handling skills; ask Chuck and 
               his staff.)  Well, you get the idea.
               Well, I got a peripheral hit on the last target with my weak 
               hand; -3 pts !!!
               I was out of the running.  At this point, there were only 2 
               people left who could qualify.
          HOSTAGE SITUATIONS: 1 shot on each.  Perform each a total of 5 
          times.  Shot from 7 m.  Total of 50 pts.  Time limit: 1.2 sec 
          19. Head shot on felon past left side of hostage's head.  Perform 
          a total of 5 times.
          20. Head shot on felon past right side of hostages head.  Perform 
          a total of 5 times.
               This stage starts separating the Masters from everyone else, 
               if anyone else is left.  By this time everyone is tired and 
               highly stressed, to put it mildly.
               Well, I center punched the hostage's head my first shot.  
               Chuck Taylor laughed and said, "Great shot, but the hostage 
               is the center target."  I laughed and said "Oh?"
               I recovered and put 3 shots in the head and 1 shot to the 
               left of the head; on the right side, I put 3 in and 2 shots 
               to the right of the head; -20 pts
               Also, another candidate dropped out.  Now there was only one 
               left who could pass.
          TARGETS AT ODD ANGLES: 60% obscured by cover.  1 shot each.  Shot 
          from 7 m.  Perform each a total of five times.  Total of 50 pts.  
          Time Limit: 1.2 sec each.
          21. Target looking around right side of cover.
          22. Target looking around left side of cover.
               During the 3 days prior to the test, I used this exercise to 
               practice head shots; I would normally put three to the torso 
               and 2 to the head.  For the test, I tried all torso hits.  I 
               had 1 peripheral hit on the left and 2 on the right; -9 pts
          This completed the shooting portion of the test.  I had amassed 
          penalties of 72 pts, for a raw score of 328.  If my misses were 
          peripherals in all but the Standard Exercises, I would have had a 
          raw score of 352.  This still would not have been good enough.  
          After the debriefing, we were told that one had to clean the 
          Standard Exercises to pass.  That would have put me at 360!  All 
          it would have taken was a more consistent presentation and better 
          trigger control!!!
          Next was the weapon handling phase.
          SPEED LOADING; NO SHOOTING.  LOADING ONLY.  Deduct 5 pts for each 
          overtime.  Perform a total of five times.  1.5 seconds each.  
          Possible total deduction of 25 pts from shooting score.
               Weapon handling, no problem.  I can normally do a speed load 
               in 1.0-1.2 sec.  However, I went too fast on the first run 
               and could not find the magazine well in time.  The next 4 
               runs were clean; -5 pts
               Also, the last candidate had 3 overtimes (His magazines 
               would not drop free).  No there were none!
          TACTICAL LOADING. NO SHOOTING.  LOADING ONLY.  Deduct 5 pts for 
          each overtime.  Perform a total of five times.  4.0 seconds each. 
           Possible total deduction of 25 pts from shooting score.
               I can do tactical reloads in 3.0-3.5 sec, with my eyes 
               closed (literally)!!  I cleaned this.
          ONLY.  Deduct 5 pts for each overtime.  Perform a total of five 
          times within time limits listed below.  Possible total deduction 
          of 75 pts from shooting score.
          A.  Position One (Failure to Fire): 1.0 sec
          B.  Position Two (Failure to Eject): 1.0 sec
          C.  Position Three (Feedway Stoppage): 4.0 sec
               The solution for Positions One and Two are the same: Tap, 
               flip, rack.  No problems; no deductions.  The solution to 
               Position Three is more involved: identify the stoppage 
               (look); lock back the slide; strip out the magazine; rack 
               the slide 3 times, or until stoppage is removed; insert 
               fresh magazine; rack slide; back to "point".  Again, I 
               typically do this in 3.2-3.5 sec.  No problems; no 
     There you have it.  There was a possible total of 400 pts.  You needed 
     360 pts (90%) to pass.  The penalties were as follows:
          5 pts will be deducted from candidates score for each occurrence 
          of the following offenses:
               A.  Premature start/"creeping"
               B.  Overtime shot.  If caused by a malfunction and candidate 
               properly clears it, no penalty will be assessed.
               C.  Hit on hostage or object designated as cover.
               D.  Overtime speed load, tactical load or malfunction 
     Needless to say, the entire experience was exhausting, and physically 
     and emotionally draining highly stressful.  It normally takes a couple 
     of weeks to recover.  I can see now why Law Enforcement are routinely 
     put on Administrative Leave after a deadly force/life and death 
     I learned a tremendous amount from the course, both mentally and 
     technically.  I also now know what it takes to be an ASAA Combat 
     Handgun Master.  My hat off to the 12 who currently have that 
     certification.  I should hopefully be joining your ranks soon!
     P.S.  You also need the right attitude!!!!

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