B.R.A.V.E. at Gunsite Academy – Essential training for the legally armed citizen

As a firearms instructor, I encourage my students to train regularly and as a Second Amendment activist I urge the same for all gun owners. I train regularly as do most of the firearms instructors I know.

There are a number of great firearms training organizations around the country and Gunsite Academy in Paulden, Arizona is certainly one of the best. I try to attend at least one Gunsite class annually and this year’s choice was B.R.A.V.E. otherwise known as Ballistic Response Against Violent Encounters.

B.R.A.V.E. covers skills that should be considered essential for all concealed carriers and with which any gun owner concerned with self-defense should be acquainted. The class focuses on practical skills that could be lifesaving in response to violent encounters both inside and outside the home.

This five day class begins with a short refresher of the pistol shooting fundamentals that are covered in detail in the 250 Defensive Pistol Class which is the first class required of all Gunsite pistol students.

The class quickly progresses to more advanced skills such as safely drawing and shooting from a seated position and engaging threats from various directions while seated. Tables and additional chairs are added, and students progress to drawing, getting up, moving, and shooting while safely negotiating movement around furniture and innocent bystanders. These are skills that most armed citizens probably never consider yet could be required in response to an active shooter event.

Shooting and moving, shooting while moving, and moving safely with a drawn handgun are covered thoroughly in class. In addition, students run through drills intended to simulate defending against an active shooter in a crowded environment and engaging a moving attacker. These are skills with which most concealed carriers are likely unfamiliar and cannot practice at the range. These are also skills which are very likely to be needed by someone who is the target of a violent attack.

Violent carjackings are on the rise across the country with gas stations and convenience stores commonly selected by criminals as ideal locations for these crimes. B.R.A.V.E. students practice drawing and shooting from inside a parked vehicle as well as exiting, shooting, and moving around the vehicle while engaging an armed attacker and utilizing the vehicle for cover. Students also participate in exercises simulating violent attacks in convenience stores and how to best defend in those situations.

The class isn’t limited to defensive tactics in public but also covers dealing with violent attacks inside the home. Students learn tactics employed to clear rooms when an intruder is somewhere in the home and gain an understanding of why that should be considered a last resort. Scenarios include fighting through to save a loved one as well as fighting out to escape.

In addition to armed defensive techniques, the class covers basic empty handed skills. Students spend time on the mats learning how to fall and land correctly to avoid injury. The class also teaches basic palm-heel strikes, elbow strikes, and kicks. Finally, techniques for fighting from the ground and getting up while under attack are practiced.

The course wraps up with a short discussion of basic first aid skills focusing on gunshot wounds and covering items that should be included in an individual first aid kit (IFAK).

High quality training with first-class instructors should be done regularly by all gun owners. Gunsite Academy offers exactly that with a variety of classes covering pistol, rifle, and shotgun training as well as special tactics and situations from active shooters to church security.

Personal defense is but one use (albeit the most important) of firearms and all gun owners should have at least a basic understanding of how to use a gun in a defensive situation. Concealed carriers should train and develop those skills regularly

If you’re a gun owner, training at Gunsite Academy should be on your list of things to do in the coming year. It’s also a wonderful way to meet great people, receive top-notch training, and have a surprising amount of fun with firearms.

©2024 Joseph T Drammissi

This article and more of Joe’s work covering the Second Amendment and other topics can be found on Substack at https://getagrip.substack.com