I was asked in a thread here to share some of my experiences with training under MSG (ret) Paul Howe at Combat Shooting and Tactics. Happy to do so as a repeat student. For the record, Paul has never paid me anything, (quite the opposite, in fact) I am simply a repeat customer who leans heavily on his material when I’m training students of my own.
Pertinent info about me: shooting for over 20 years with a defensive handgun focus, police academy top shooter award 2004, and designated firearms instructor for my church security team. Heard about CSAT while researching commercially available training and decided to give it a try because I’m already in Texas, the cost was lower than other schools, and it seemed to come well-regarded by past students. Attended the 2 day Rifle/Pistol Operator course and while most of the material wasn’t new to me I was very impressed with the course structure, flow, and focus. I figured that if Paul could teach material I mostly knew so clearly, I wanted to return for more advanced stuff. To date I’ve completed Civilian Response to Active Shooter, Close Quarters Tactics (fighting at arm’s reach with gun, knife, and empty hands), Rifle/Pistol Instructor, Long Range Hunter, and 2 person rifle CQB daylight/lowlight.
What I like most about CSAT is that it’s the most efficient system I can imagine. In the world of gunfighting there should be a balance between being over simplified to the point you are unprepared for some situations (ex: never working on single hand pistol shooting), and being over-complicated to the point you are overburdening yourself with a huge list of drills you need to train regularly on. Realistically, over-complicating your shooting techniques is either going to make you spin your wheels at the range burning time and ammo for little to no benefit, or it will make your training so irregular that you’ll be out in the world with a wide array of techniques, none of which you can actually pull off well. Paul Howe, in my opinion, has refined his material to the point of irreducible complexity: CSAT methodology is as complicated as it needs to be to cover all the bases and no more. This makes the best use of any time spent training, whether you have hours a week to spend practicing or are lucky to get out shooting 2-3 times a year.
Besides the focus on efficiency through simplicity, here are some other things I appreciate about CSAT that keep me coming back:
· Cost: tuition is average to slightly better than other high-end schools out there, but there is cost saving in having a lower round count and barracks provided for many courses. Some students opt to stay in a local hotel, but I actually prefer the barracks atmosphere. I’ve called it summer camp for gun guys.
· Facility: The CSAT range covers all the bases. 2 shoot houses, multiple 100 yard flat ranges, and a 1000 yard sniper hill. There’s also steel, an obstacle course, and trails for a woods walk and Scrambler run and gun drill. Barracks will get you bunks, fridges, microwaves, showers, laundry, grill, and a PT area. It’s about a mile between the barracks and the range.
· Learning focus: Instructors work to maintain a calm atmosphere that promotes getting in good reps. Training is stressful, but the stress is measured. Also, classroom based training is sometimes needed, but Paul is aware that students will drift if he keeps them there too long. Classroom blocks are helpful but concise.
· Knowledge base: Paul has a good understanding of the training trends out there. He doesn’t go out of his way to explain what techniques he doesn’t like, but if you want to know why he teaches high ready for pistol (elbows down, muzzle up so front sight is in lower peripheral vision) and low ready for rifle (toe of stock in position, muzzle below belt line) he can explain. He’s been doing this long enough that he’s had a canned solution ready for every strange problem I’ve heard offered up.
· Emphasis on versatility: if a technique only works given certain conditions, it doesn’t get taught. Techniques learned will work across the board: concealed, open carry, or full battle rattle. Example: Paul teaches prone rifle shooting off elbows. Monopoding off a 30 round AR mag works fine right up until you switch to a bolt action, shorter mag, or put on chest mounted gear that keeps you from getting low enough to the ground.
· Sky’s the limit: Paul has taken techniques that work for the highest level of the military hostage rescue and reversed engineered them to build his training progression down to the basic flat range drills. Those drills will now apply when a student progresses from flat range to a shoot house, force on force, and actual combat with no changes.
· De-emphasis on speed: Speed in shooting is a measure of efficiency and not without merit, but should be the fruit of training rather than the goal of it. The training industry is good at cranking out fast shooters, but Paul wants to focus on efficient problem solvers, one element of which is the mechanics of making a shot.
If this info interests you, check out the following links for more. I recommend serious consideration of CSAT for anyone training to go into harms way.
· CSAT website. Check out the ‘blogs’ and ‘publications’ tabs for a bunch of exposure to Paul’s thoughts in writing. https://www.combatshootingandtactics.com/
· Membership based training videos. https://www.patreon.com/TheCSATWay/...PnN8mmOA-qVuxqk0BZsIMFi-z-okf6ImS7nYArnORXYGI
· CSAT Way on Facebook. Free videos. https://www.facebook.com/The-CSAT-Way-105892344294390/?epa=SEARCH_BOX