FPF Training: Concealed Carry Vehicle Environment Skills class
“Americans are in love with their cars, and many of us spend hours every day in our vehicles commuting and interacting with society at 60 mph. The criminal and anti-social element is mobile as well, and consequently we may find ourselves in an encounter ‘in and around’ our cars.”
So says John Murphy, owner and trainer of FPF Training. It’s a true statement, and is one of the reasons that more and more citizens and cops are starting to attend vehicle-centric classes. For years, military PSD teams, specialty units and SOF bubbas have trained to fight in, outside of and around vehicles. Similar training has been provided to (or sought out by) State Department agents and contractors, as well as other government organizations. Many police academies (sadly, not all) teach at least cursory use of vehicles in their courses.
Considering how much time we spend in or around vehicles as Americans, it would be foolish not to train more on this. There are many fine instructors who teach their own brand of vehicle skills, and as always it’s good to gather information from as many as you can.
Having attended vehicle-focused training in the military, and later with Matt Graham, Jared Ross and Will Petty, I’ve noticed trends and differences. I was recently invited by John Murphy to attend his Concealed Carry Vehicle Environmental Skills Class at FPF Training in Culpepper, Va. The primary instructor for this class, Chris Sizelove, was one I had heard very good things about from many friends. I was excited to meet him.
Chris has served as an Army Ranger for more than a decade, and his ability to train effectively and efficiently was instantly apparent. As an NCO, he has facilitated training countless Rangers for SOF missions in support of GWOT. His perspective is unique, as he views fighting around vehicles from two different angles: one as soldier and the second as a stateside CCW carrier.
Usually military trainers can come off gruff and a little abrasive, particularly to civilians who have never been beaten down by a salty sergeant or felt the power of the knife hand in person. Not so here. Chris was humble and patient from the start, and remained so throughout the entire class.
He kicked the class off with a presentation on what it means to utilize vehicles in our everyday life, and the patterns many of us slip into as we pursue our daily routines. The first topic covered, interestingly, was how we exit buildings and approach our vehicle. That alone was worth the time and money to be there, as he explained some new aspects and techniques I’d not previously been taught. As this course is designed to look at self-defense from the “vehicle environment” standpoint, it’s set up to illustrate simple methods of observation, situational awareness, and not setting yourself up for failure. It was refreshing to see more time spent on this aspect than in other classes I’ve attended.
We exited the classroom to do a walk-through of our personal vehicles, which were staged “parking lot” style on the range.
After covering specific concerns in regard to different vehicle types and setups, we hit the firing line for some warm-up drills. After shooting basic drills to knock the rust off we kicked off the next lesson, which students ran one at a time out of a parked beater. Chris explained the drill, had everyone run it dry, then had each shooter run it multiple times. The repetition was appreciated, and gave the students added confidence that they were executing the drill properly. This format continued throughout the day as the drills increased in difficulty and target number.
I enjoyed that this class spent a lot of time focusing on the regular guy by himself, or potentially with a family member. Discussions on what to do with your significant other and children were not only addressed, they were worked into practical application drills.
The class concluded with everyone shooting out of their own personal vehicle. The cars made slow circles around the range, as you waited your own turn to drive up to the “stoplight.” A stranger approaches your driver side window, asking if you want to buy some oranges. This went south quick, as the scenario turned from suspicion to action. The stranger approaching you doesn’t want to sell you oranges, he pulls a gun and demands your car. This drill was also run multiple times, and showed your own particular vehicle’s limitations in space to move, draw, present your weapon, and respond to the threat. It was definitely my favorite part of the class, and provided a lot of food for thought.
Chris is a temporary addition to the FPF Training team, and unfortunately will not be sticking around as a permanent trainer. I sincerely hope he considers a permanent position when his time in the service is up, as he is the very definition of professionalism. His unique perspective, knowledge and experience serves him well as teacher, and he conveyed his lesson in a clear, concise manner.
FPF has many great instructors, and they offer classes that teach specific skills many have little or no experience in. Their pricing is extremely competitive, and a steal for what you get out of it. This particular class was only one day, and I shot less than 200 rounds of ammo. It was well received by me and fellow students, who ranged from having zero experience in vehicle operations to vastly more than myself. Overall, I had a great time and learned a ton of new things.
You can learn more about FPF and their training schedule here. If you live central on the East coast, it’s not a bad drive and well worth it for a one or two day course.
Emergency: Activate firefly, deploy green (or brown) star cluster, get your wank sock out of your ruck and stand by ’til we come get you.
About the Author: Nathan “Mad Duo Nate” is a former USMC Sergeant who is now a nasty civilian. He lives largely on nicotine, whiskey and hate and can be frequently found orating Kipling poems to frightened hipsters. Inventor of the Gripstop, renowned procrastinator and renowned adventure protagonist, Murr is a graduate of the Camp Lejeune School for Wayward Boys. A combat veteran of multiple tours in Iraq and Africa, he was a Marine NCO, Infantry Platoon Sergeant and Scout Sniper team leader. Murr is a fully qualified American Jedi, handsome badass and world-renowned field barista (true story – he’s brewed great coffee on at least four continents). As anyone who has spent any time talking gear with him, Murr is something of an idiot savant when it comes finger-fucking stuff to make it work better. Mad Duo Nate only chain smokes when he’s drinking and only drinks every day. We reckon he is probably best described as a sociopathic philosopher with vestigial cutthroat (though poetic) tendencies. Thus far Murr’s writing has appeared in such places as here on Breach-Bang-Clear, on Military.com, in field shitters and portajohns on at least three continents, in RECOIL Magazine and of course Penthouse letters. (Grunts: vestigial) You can contact him at Nate(at)breachbangclear.com or follow him on Instagram @gripstop.