Monday, August 18, 2014

Spartan Defense of CA's Superior CCW Class

During my time in the Marine Corps, whether it was solving a malfunction with my M60 or finding answers as to why one tactic worked over another, I appreciated those who gave first-hand real-world experience, real-life applicable knowledge.

Because I had some great Instructors, over the years I learned to expect more from Instructors. And yes, I have been disappointed by many, including supervisors, foremen, and back in the day by fellow Sergeants, who only covered the subject in a cursory manner -- or who obviously didn't know their subject.

On Sunday, August 17th, 2014, I took my CCW Class from Spartan Defense of California in Linden. The class was well organized, and was a comfortable size. Yes, many times classes may be so big that students don't always get what they need. That wasn't the case with this CCW class on Sunday.

As for it being informative, I can testify that it was certainly that. The reason that it was so informative was that the Instructor/Owner Fidel Taylor. He was outstanding in relating his experiences to the subject matter. He knew what he was talking about and connected the dots in a way so that all there understood what was being covered.

Fidel Taylor is the owner and Lead Instructor of Spartan Defense. He has approximately 22 years of combined military, security, and law enforcement service. He has experience and training as a Sniper, Gang Investigator, Advanced Officer Safety Patrol Tactics, Entry Training, Urban Warfare, GOPlat Training, Executive Protection school & Tactical Rappelling.

During his law enforcement career, he has worked as a Patrol Officer and as a Field Training Officer (FTO) training new officers. It should also be noted that ee has been a P.O.S.T (Police Officer Standard Training) certified Firearms and Patrol Rifle Instructor since 2002. And yes, besides that, he has Instructor accreditation with CA B.S.I.S, CA DOJ, UTAH BCI, the NRA, and is an affiliate Instructor with the USCCA.

Besides CCW classes, he also holds Basic Handgun 101 classes, Defensive Handgun Training, Multi-State Concealed Carry Utah & Arizona permit courses,  State of California BSIS Security Officer Training, Women's only classes, and Home Defense regarding the Castle Doctrine as it pertains to California residents. Yes, he has a great deal of teaching experience.
Fidel Taylor is very professional, but also a very personable Instructor. He knows his subject extremely well, is very current on current law and firing techniques. He puts the importance of training and CCW permits in context very well.
During the 4+ hours of classroom discussion, he was informative while also making the class think about numerous aspects of the subject.

During his class, he covered:
  • Real-World situations and scenarios,
  • Issuing Agency's Policies, how the State of California leaves it up to each County to develop their own guidelines and policies, and how they differ from County to County,
  • California Department of Justice Firearms laws and guidelines,
  • Permissible Use of Force,
  • the Castle Doctrine, 
  • Laws regarding storage and transportation of firearms,
  • Where you are and where you are not permitted to carry a concealed weapon even with a CCW,
  • the Moral and Legal aspects of carrying a weapon,
  • Situational Awareness and the need to be vigilant,
  • Firearms Safety Rules,
  • Firearm Nomenclature, as well as the nomenclature of ammunition,
  • Firearm Maintenance and the importance of cleaning your firearm, 
  • the Mental Mindset that someone needs to have with a CCW, 
  • Firearms Handling, 
  • Loading-Unloading,
  • Malfunction resolution,
  • Shooting Fundamentals,
  • Shooting Positions,
  • Various Methods of Concealed Carry, 
  • Use of Cover and Concealment during an altercation,
  • Contact with Law Enforcement
  • Post Use of Force Incident
During the discussion, I liked the way he checked and rechecked his class to make sure everyone there understood the laws and the material being covered.

During the 4+ hours on the range, he covered: 
  • Range and Safety Rules,
  • Dry Fire Drills,
  • Drawing and Holstering,
  • Loading-Unloading Drills,
  • Malfunction Resolution Drills,
  • Live Fire Drills,
  • Scenarios both with live fire and dry fire,
  • and Qualification Course
While on the range, Fidel was a great hands-on Instructor in that he gave a great deal of one-on-one attention to those in his class -- especially those who are new to firearms. And yes, even though I have been around firearms for well over 40 years, I learned a great deal. And frankly, that is what inspired me to write this article -- it was all about practical reasonable self protection.

I was trained in the 1970s in the Marine Corps as a Grunt, my primary MOS (Military Occupational Skill) being 0311, later I picked up a Secondary MOS of 0331. I learned to deploy my weapon and men in tactical situations. Later, while still in the Marine Corps, I was trained in high level security including Special Weapons containment, crowd control, and the use of deadly force.

As a Military Policeman, I learned patrol procedures. In Corrections, as a Brig Chaser, I qualified to escort prisoners across country. After leaving the Marine Corps, I received a degree in Criminal Justice and learned all that entails. And yes, I worked in private security for many years. 

My point is that I absolutely enjoyed Fidel's class because one of the things it did was to fill my curiosity about how things are done today, the advances that have been made, changes in the laws, practical applications of firearms for defensive purposes, new methods of shooting, and of course the tactical applications of today's techniques.

And yes, there is that other thing. I loved finding out that even an old dog like me can learn new tricks -- and enjoy it. Yes, even during those moments when I was being corrected.  

Fidel said, "with carrying a concealed firearm comes responsibility. One part of that responsibility is being properly trained and having a good understanding of how to handle firearms in a safe and legal manner."

He believes training is constant and ongoing, and to be proficient you must practice correctly instead of practicing how to do things the wrong way. While on the range, he was quick to spot problem areas in one's shooting style and weapon handling. He had students resolve those issues. Unless they couldn't, then he'd step in.

He stresses the need to understand the practical applications and uses of firearms and tactics, and sees this as a huge part of the responsibility one has as a CCW holder. I couldn't agree more.

Fidel gives a practical, realistic, real-world class that is both challenging and fun. And yes, if you're wondering if I would ever recommend his CCW class, from my experience I would certainly recommend his CCW class to anyone interested in learning the essentials while receiving great hands on training.

My hat's off to him for a great course and a great day.

Tom Correa


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