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AAR: Responsible Armed Citizen, Amtac / Bill Rapier, May 30-31 (2016), New Holland PA

"Speed, Surprise and Violence of Action wins"

I met Bill Rapier a few years ago during a class.  He was just starting out in the training/gun-industry world after getting out of the teams and I knew I had to get into one of his classes.  Since then I have trained with Bill on a few occasions and this is the first public class I took with him.  I was told that this was not a pistol class, but it was a detailed instruction on fundamental skill sets every responsible armed citizen and man need to know.  Going into this class I knew Bill would challenge and push each student to find their peak performance.  Given the amount of topics and drills covered in this class, there were many challenges.

Come as you are, was the concept of equipment.  I decided it would be a good class to work an RMR setup out.

JM Custom Kydex AIWB RMR Compatible Glock Holster with a neoprene wedge G19L with Dueck Defense RBU w/ Trijicon RM06 RMR and Gemtech Glock 17 Threaded BarrelETS Group, Magpul and standard Glock 19 magazines
Fiocchi 115gr 9mm ammo
Warriors Way, TX / Head Hunter Blades Rat blade

The First Half (Day One)
Around 8:45AM, Bill began the first day with a safety brief and gave us a general overview of what we should expect from the class.  He talked a little about himself and his experiences.  Not much time was spent here, just covering the basics and we loaded up, getting on the firing line very quickly.

Right away Bill began to talk about the "strike ready" position which uses your elbows and forearms.  He demonstrated it and explained why it is important.

He went around to every student to make sure everyone had a solid stance and base understanding of the concept.  This is a concept which was continuously brought up during the entire class.  Being able to fight even from the reload position is very important.

Bill went over reloads, showing the technique he uses and proper stance.

Using the slingshot method for racking the slide was discussed over other methods and why.

Bill also showed his technique for a press check, and why he uses this method over others.

The above video shows Bill's explanation of natural point of aim.  

Stance is a fundamental part to shooting, as well as fighting, Bill stressed this and made sure to reinforce this aspect for each student.

Bill went around and pushed on everyone's stance to make sure they were doing it right, it is not just about shooting properly, having a good stance can allow a transition into combatives.

Bill covered proper pistol grip.

He explained several different ways of gripping the pistol properly and the tension you should be focusing on.

He went over his pistol grip and why it works for him.

Scanning after every course of fire is a requirement of deadly force confrontation when using a firearm.  Bill went over proper scanning technique and fed that technique in combination with the "strike ready" stance he explained earlier.

Bill demonstrated what he wanted to see everyone do and then ran the students on the through a course of fire combing several concepts.

Students would go through the drill practicing the concepts through live fire.  

Bill provided feedback to students on their technique.

Bill covered stances and "ready positions" which he did not find favorable, he explained why and went on to show his preferred ready position, explaining the importance of it through is personal experience.

He advocates a very strong and aggressive position which can be used not only to shoot from but to fight from.  

We would run drills and iterations of each instruction block.  

No, those aren't gang signs.  Bill is showing a pistol "tac mag" reload method.

After explaining why and how the students run a drill incorporating a tac mag reload.

Different firearms may require a different type of manipulation, students worked their way through each drill.

Whenever Bill would see an issue or a student have a question with a particular skill, he would explain the concept, demonstrating the proper course of action to take.

Every concept Bill explained he would come back to and put into the context of physical confrontation beyond that of simple pistol application.  The above images depict Bill's explanation of why the "sling shot" method of slide actuation works very well in a combatives context, allowing the pistol to be on target the entire time and not off to the side which a tradition "tap tilt rack" immediate action would require.  

Bill demonstrates a draw stroke from concealment.

He demonstrated it on a buzzer.

Then all the students did it and eventually ran draw strokes on our own, utilizing all the previous instruction into each drill.  Building skill sets through compound practice.

Whenever Bill had the opportunity to do so, he would incorporate mindset based techniques, such as picking up loaded mags that may have been discarded during a drill while actively assessing your threats.

Mid-day Talk (Day One)
After lunch we sat down and had a conversation about gear and gun selection, covering holsters specifically.  A few students had questions particularly in method of carry and pistol choice.  Bill discussed everything pocket carry to underwear carry.  This was a very important aspect of the class because having conversations about specific topics you should be educated about and be proficient in gives you an edge over others who would not have this type of education or experience.  Bill shared his experience and what led him to carry a Glock in the method he does normally.

The Second Half (Day One)
We began the second half with a threat-movement drill.  Bill gave us the command we would draw, shoot while moving and assess threats.

All students ran through this drill, accuracy was mandatory and if you dropped shots you had to pick them up before you finished the drill.

Part of fundamental skills of pistol implementation are immediate action drills.  These should be subconscious in action and that means knowing how to do them properly whenever a certain type of malfunction occurs.  Bill went over numerous immediate action drills and then demonstrated them for the class.  The class went on to setup their own malfunctions and conducted immediate action to remedy the stoppage.

Students ran through the immediate action drills.

Since a pistol is a handgun and not a handsgun, Bill went on to demonstrate the fundamentals of one handed draw, shooting, reloading, and clearing malfunctions.

ll students ran iterations of each technique demonstrated and did so until they understood how it works.  Bill answered questions as they arose and advised those who had DA/SA guns on proper technique.

Last block of instruction for the day concluded with Bill showing how to reholster if your strong hand/arm is out of the fight.  This included one handed shooting, reloading/tac mag, and reholster.  Just because you may have only one arm working does not mean you are out of the fight and it certainly doesn't mean you need to slack on your situational awareness and ability to blend in with a crowd.  Reholstering after a deadly force confrontation may be just as important for survival as any other skill set. 

The students finished out the day with a culmination of one handed live fire.  One handed draw, shooting, reloading/tac mag and reholster with either hand.  Bill encouraged those of us who were proficient in these skill sets to add malfunctions into the magazines to give us a little bit of stress.  Day 1 finished up with a "NOW" drill around 5:30 PM.

The First Half (Day Two)
We got started around 8:30 AM with a mindset talk.  Bill went over the definition of being "ready" and other mindset aspect which can be attributed to Tom Kier and Sayoc Tactical Group.  Bill had his own take on many of these topics and while many others out there try to talk about mindset, they rarely possess the fundamental skills and experience to accurately convey these concepts and allow physical manifestation through training.  Bill spoke about his experience, his faith and his motivations for training, sharing with us his personal reasons for what he did over his time in the SEAL teams.  

  Bill wanted us to go back over many of the vital techniques and concepts we went over on day one.  He put us through a few drills requiring us to use those skills.  

The students went over these techniques again and installing them.

Bill quickly got into the meat and potatoes of shooting while moving.  He showed us forward movement in a specific type of walk.

He demonstrated it and the students did their drills of this with a buddy.

Bill showed sidestepping and shooting, specifically proper foot techniques and aiming procedure.

He then demonstrated it.

The students went through left and then right, sidestepping and engaging targets, not stopping for reloads.  Move and shoot.

The above video shows Bill demonstrating a technique for walking backwards and firing.

Bill then went over a pretty good explanation of how to use barricades, clearing them, keeping distance and taking effective shots.  Both right and left handed.  He demonstrated and then the students ran a bunch of drills on the barricades.  This finished off the first half of day two.

Mid-day Talk (Day Two)
A very important part of this class is the time taken to talk about important concepts which otherwise would be glossed over in a normal pistol course.  Bill took the time to speak about medical items and what every responsible armed citizen should have on them at any time.  Bill spoke about his experience doing medical training during his time in the military, specifically covering what responsibilities someone who has even some medical knowledge has during an active situation where bullets may be flying.  Bill spoke about the responsibility to have a tourniquet on your person at a minimum and show his RATS TQ which his carries around now.

The Second Half (Day Two)
After lunch we quickly got into the intro to combatives portion of the class.  We took all our live items off (guns/blades) and put trainers on, those who had them.  Bill began to explain a few simple moves to give the students a good primer of combatives.

Spear elbow.

Head butts.

Bill went into detail regard the elbow strikes, showing several variations of it.  One of which is a downward elbow strike.  

The students ran through several iterations of the elbow and combination of strikes.  Then bill put a Thai pad on and the fun started with contact scenarios.

Bill would mix things up between just full on attacks.

To scenarios which require the use of deadly force.

Sometimes one or two shots would not stop the threat.

In other scenarios, Bill would intentionally for the presented weapon system and attempt to neutralize it.

It became quickly obvious that in a close physical confrontation a weapon grab and/or shooting from retention was king.

For the last block of instruction, Bill wanted us to get comfortable with retention shooting.  Anchoring the pistol on a lower rib on the strong side and accurately targeting within 3 yards.  

Each student did this several times at Bill's direction, giving us aiming points and you shot until you hit your target.

Another William Redheffer of ATAC jumped in for this since he was on the range.

For the class finale, Bill setup his "Stress Course" which includes everything we covered in the last two days.  Running, striking, shooting, reloading, malfunction remediation / immediate action, one handed shooting (strong / other strong), two hand shooting, strict accuracy standards and a time constraint.

Bill demonstrated the course and put up the fastest time.

Then the students went, one at a time and each one put up their own times.

The above is a video of me running the stress course.  

Class photo

This class was so much more than just a pistol class.  The title "Responsible Armed Citizen" really hits the nail on the head.  Bill does an excellent job of covering many skill sets, concepts and providing the right type of instruction, backed up by his experience.  I have taken hundreds of hours of instruction, many dozens of classes and this is one of the most well put together open enrollment classes I have ever attended.  Bill packed so much content, so many drills and so much into two days you would have thought we were on the range for twenty plus hours a day.  To add to the extensive content, Bill is an excellent instructor and injects his experience into each aspect of the classes presentation.  This course should cost more than it did, and the fact that he only markets word of mouth means that everyone who shows up wants to be there and to learn.  I have no doubt that Bill will be among the top names in the industry very soon and those of us who have been lucky enough to get to train with him will look back on his instruction as among the best the industry has had to offer.