Critical Defensive Handgun with Paul Carlson

The Trip

  • The drive out to Garrettsville, Ohio was pretty uneventful 6 hour drive from the DC Metro area.
  • A thing to be mindful of when driving through Pennsylvania is that you will see houses that have Christmas lights on them, the reason for that is that there are some very narrow roads that have speed limits of 55 mph so The yellow white and blue Christmas lights are so that you don’t crash into peoples houses!

The Lodging

  • Camping at Southington Hunt Club is very reasonably priced and makes more economic and logistical sense than getting a hotel room 10-15 miles away.
  • Car camping was easy and preferred to a tent since the temperature dropped to in the 40s at night.
  • A good pillow makes all the difference for sleeping in a car!
    • Yes there are working toilets, running sinks, and working showers with hot water at the Southington Hunt Club camp ground.

Day 1

  • Filming
  • Weather was overcast, cold, and rainy, so layers of clothing were necessary although some new challenges would be posed for the draw stroke.
  • Medical emergency Briefing
  • CAT Tourniquet Demonstration
  • Pressure bandage demonstration
  • Quick Clot demonstration
  • Show of hands for everyone who had a medical kit with them
  • Positioning the appropriate vehicle to be used for medical evacuation
  • Paul Carlson designated drivers if we had to move someone who was injured.
  • Paul Carlson briefed us on the proper way to report a firearms training accident via 911 call.
  • The key phrase to use when on the line with the 911 operator is “there has been a firearms training accident”.
  • Safety briefing and 3 rules
  • Always keep your finger somewhere other than the trigger
  • Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction (down range and dirt ground (if necessary)


“You are in control of a deadly weapon. If you wield it with malice or negligence you can kill yourself or others.”


  • I took part in my first podcast!
  • I was surprised at the amount of equipment and work that goes into making a quality podcast.
  • Sean Sorrentino spent a good chunk of the evening editing the audio from our podcast recording session with Paul Carlson.

Day 2

  • Medical Emergency briefing
  • Holsters
    • The Dark Star Gear AIWB holster I wore to class performed magnificently.
    • An incident in class gave me an insight into one of the reasons that people purchase suboptimal holsters.
    • Most retail gun stores keep very few left handed holsters in stock simply because they do not sell quickly. So the incentive is there for the store to sell the lowest cost left handed holster.
    • Paul Carlson told the student exactly why the Uncle Mike’s nylon holster could not be used in class. Paul Carlson explained that with floppy nylon holsters, students often unknowingly “dig” with the muzzle of the gun to open the mouth of the holster to reholster their firearm.
Combat Focus Shooting Target

CFS Target (Fair Use)

  • The CFS Target consisted of a silhouette, 6 colored circles with numbers, and a two large boxes with the letters A and B
  • Move and shoot
  • Draw stroke improvements
  • Finer points of grip and recoil management
  • 1911s…suck
    • A student brought a Rock Island compact 1911 to the class and it malfunctioned several times.
    • The student forgot to disengage the safety on a few drills.
    • Compact 1911s have a track record of malfunctions with instructors who teach full time and have a large volume of students per year.
    • Malfunctions included stoppages and a malfunction where the slide would not go back into battery and a rubber mallet had to be used to get the slide back into battery.
    • It was also noticeable that the design of the compact 1911 made it very easy for the student to put his finger on the takedown lever button when placing his finger in a safety index alongside the pistol.
    • The student had to switch to a full size 1911 he brought to class.
  • Introducing change into the mix
  • Square box, numbers, descriptions, letters
  • Recognize and Square up to the threat, movement, draw stroke, Assessment, fire, assessment
  • Assessment went beyond the head choreography seen in many classes, we were encouraged to look for details in the range environment and to remember them
  • Reloads should ideally be automatic and done without looking
    • Finger index the magazine, gun out of sight, load, over hand rack
  • Reholstering safely, ensure there is nothing in or covering the mouth of the holster.
  • Drawstroke and Reloads
    • There was an emphasis on watching out for drawstrings getting into the trigger guard of the gun
    • During my draw stroke I found my support hand getting jammed up by the draw string of the hoodie I was wearing.
    • Layers of clothing impede the draw stroke
    • Layers of clothing impede magazine reloads from the magazine pouch
    • At least three times, I had a magazine get rolled up inside the cover garment when I had to perform a reload
    • Oddly enough, I had an easier time getting a spare magazine out of my back pocket when I had to reload!
  • Ammunition Issues
    • Repeated malfunction drills can habituate a sub optimal response to a reload
    • Since the course was billed as 500-1000 rounds, I pulled out a case of Wolf 9mm I had purchased many years ago. It didn’t not go well. Wolf Steel case 9mm has a case lubricity that does not work well with Magpul Glock magazines that resulted in cartridges being stuck at the bottom of the magazine because the spring would not feed properly due to the friction of the steel cases.
    • Glock factory magazines also malfunctioned with the Wolf 9mm ammo
    • When I experienced a stoppage during a speed shooting drill, Paul had me stop and yell “F*CKING AMMO” to the rest of the class.
    • I also ran a box of Winchester Ranger 127 grain +P that I had on hand and I noticed that it didn’t eject as positively as the Federal Premium 124 grain HST did.
    • It could be that it may have been older ammunition (10 years If I recall correctly)
  • Safety Solutions Academy
  • Critical Defensive Handgun
Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in Concealed Carry, Handguns, Training
2 comments on “Critical Defensive Handgun with Paul Carlson
  1. […] Source: Critical Defensive Handgun with Paul Carlson […]

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Paul is a good dude and a great teacher!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: