DTI Vehicle Defense Class
The name John Farnam needs no introductions in the world of firearms training. John is truly one of the best firearms trainers in the world. The DTI Vehicle Defense Course is designed to prepare the responsible adult gun owner to handle defensive situations in and around vehicles.
Lecture & Training outline:
- Principles of shooting from inside vehicles
- Principles of shooting at threats inside vehicles (moving and stationary)
Shooting at cars: metal, glass, tires, motor, gas tank
- Using cars as cover
- Car penetration by various bullets and types of firearms; metal, glass, tires, motor, gas tank
- Using the car itself as a missile against criminal pedestrians and other cars
- Protecting passengers
- Hardening vehicles, formal and improvised
- Defeating vehicular pursuits; slow and fast
- Defeating attack by armed pedestrians
- Ramming (also mentioned above)
- Defeating stationary attack
On Oct 26 & 27, students & firearms instructors from all over New England attended DTI's Vehicle Defense class including Law Enforcement Officers from New York, New Hampshire, Boston Massachusetts and Colorado, Firearms Instructors from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York and some concerned citizens. The results are below. The first day was partly sunny and 64 degrees, day 2 was 45 degrees and raining most of the day. Although it was cold miserable everyone had a great time and basked in the knowledge that John Farnam had to share. He is such a wealth of information and considered a mentor to many of us and we'd like to thank him for coming to New Hampshire every year to share his vast knowledge and anecdotes. We love ya, John!
Notes & Observations:
- Shooting in around a vechicle is awkward and each individual has to develop techniques that work for them. The difference between right handed and left handed people, driver side, passenger side, back seat adds even more to the awkwardness of the job at hand, then adding in seat belts and always making sure you know where your passengers are in the process is crucial as we found out in this class.
- Shooting though a windshield is not accurate at all and should only be used as last resort. Whether shooting from the inside out or outside in the bullet is going to be deflected down due to the windshield. The bullet maybe badly mangled at that point since the windshield is pretty hard, accuracy even at targets at 15 to 20 feet are hard to hit but continued shooting opens up a hole in the windshield large enough that you may be able to get accurate shots off. The bullet may also fragment and hit other objects and/or people you may not intend to hit. Shooting from inside a vehicle through the windshield is LOUD even with hearing protection on and also produces a fine mist of glass that can easily be inhaled -- so you'll want to hold your breath (highly recommended) until you get out of the vehicle. You can see this mist coming from the glass in a few videos below (some of this is gases from the cartrigde also). Most shooters actually thought a handgun was much louder in the vehicle than a rifle or carbine. Rifles used in the class were .556/.223 AR-15's, AK47 & .300 Blackout AR Pistol with 8.5" barrel. Please do not try this at home.
- It is better to shoot around the vehicle then it is to shoot over the vehicle becuase an incoming bullet will skim the surface of a vehicle easily. Use the car as cover but not support. Car is better cover than your clothing and will stop or deflect some incoming bullets but not all, expose as little mass as possible and only when taking a shot.
- Windshields and sometimes back windows are made of laminated glass and will not shatter. It is very difficult to break out a windshield as an escape route. Take a look at the windshields below, you can clearly see the glass spiders but is still pretty much intact. Side windows and sunroofs however, are usually made of tempered glass and will quickly spider with a glass breaker made with a carbide tip. The one we used is from ResQme and can be bought on Amazon. When breaking a glass for people to exit from the vehicle it is recommended that you rake the frame with some kind of tool or whatever is available to make sure all the glass is removed from the frame. (Don't use your hand or sleeve.) The glass break mentioned above also has a seat belt cutter built in... to remove someone or yourself from the seat belt requires the seat belt to be pulled tight, then cut the seat beat at a 45 degree angle and it should cut like butter.
- The engine provides the best cover in the entire vehicle with the wheel hubs being 2nd on the list.
- Don't worry about gas tanks!. Even though it does make for some good movies scenes the gas tank is very well protected. The vehicle we are using below actually has 3/4 of a tank. You can see how many rounds went into this vehicle and none of them compromised the gas tank.
- The driver is the most important person in the car - he can get you away from danger, protect him.
- Most rifle rounds penetrated doors, even both front and back doors. Handgun rounds had less effect but even so I'd say 85% of the handgun rounds shot into the doors penetrated the door. I can't say how badly mangled or what the condition of the bullets actually was or even if it was lethal when they exited the door... but let's suffice to say the car door has more stopping power than your clothing. Handgun as well as rifle rounds seem to also always be defleted downward when penertrating the doors and that seems to be the trend all around the vehicle.
- In contradicting Hollywood again, shooting tires have little effect. Shooting a tire produces a tiny pin hole and the driver will probably not even feel the difference. The tire we shot stayed inflated for a good 10 minutes before it slowly went flat. Shooting a hole through the rim actually had more effect although I'm not sure a handgun round would penetrate the rim as we used a .556 round to penetrate the rim. Basically nothing is stopping a moving car except another car or removing the driver which is very dangerous due to the run away vehicle.
- Practicing drawing from your holster in your car can be accomplished with an inert BlueGun or Sirt training pistol. Try it at home and see if you can draw from your holster if you need to. Caution, should be taking not to swipe passengers or any part of your body while doing so. Lots of training in and around a vehicle can be safely accomplished like this.... although your neighbors might raise some eyebrows so use some discretion when doing so, remember a blue-gun from a distance looks very much like a real firearm. Reholstering in a vehicle might be difficult if you can do it at all, again all stuff you should know about your abilities and carry mode. If you are not able to reholster then under a thigh or on the floor might be a good option but never put your firearm on the dash or anywhere it will able to move around should you stop to fast or get into accident.
- Do your tow guy a solid, before completely destroying the vehicle, put it in neutral becuase you might not be able to lift the hood, move the gear lever in any direction, start your car or get it on a flatbed with the car in gear.
- Might be some strong language in these videos.
After 2 days of working in an around the vehicle and then testing various penetrations of windows, doors, trunk etc with various ammunition and platforms the class came to an end and it was time to let the boys light up this car. The grand Finale!