ITTS Vehicle Assaults Day 2

Little that goes into one side of a car will exit the other side. You need to test what you use against a real car.

Day 2 started by de-briefing the vehicle assault / hostage rescue done by LAPD SWAT several years ago. Learning points including rehearsals, intelligent bad guys, observation skills, communication and un-expected actions by hostages.

We shot a four-door American made sedan with our duty rounds. The best performing handgun rounds were Black Hill’s 185 grain Barnes all-copper bullet and Federal’s bonded 230 grain jacketed hollow-point – both making it through the car to the exterior wall of the far door. While there are better options for vehicles, the .45ACP and full-power 12ga slugs performed decently.

We began clearing the cars in teams. On each run, Scott increased the complexity of the problem: multiple suspects, victims being used for cover, or very limited target areas. Finally, a shooter needed to hit moving target while approaching the car was added to the mix.

The blue tape on the bottom target is the No Shoot indicator. Making the headshot on the bad guy required a lateral shift to get a clear background and not jeopardize the hostage.

All of us shot out of the car, through the windshield. The windshield’s double laminate glass will aerosolize when shot, so safety precautions are in order. While this is something you really need to do, it needs to be done under supervision because of the potential issues involved.

To remind us about those pesky fundamentals, the class finished with us shooting at a steel silhouette about 135 yards out.

Scotty is pretty adamant about using, when possible, a modified Weaver stance. The movements involved in coming on target and getting hits lent themselves to using a traditional low ready position via a modified Weaver. Neither a retention nor compressed ready position was needed given how we worked around the car.

At Scott’s request, I have not discussed any of the specific tactics taught. I will say this, what he teaches does not create any kind of cross fire issue. Every one has their lane. That said – muzzle awareness is extremely important.

This was not a high round count class; it was about getting accurate hits under time constraints through narrow windows for the shots. Taking down the BadGuy with a few well placed rounds and not hitting anyone you can’t justify shooting is a whole lot more desirable than a mag dump with co-lateral damage.

Tim and I used Black Hills ammunition throughout the class. Most it was their commercially loaded 230gr ball. The remainder was their duty loads, including the 185gr Barnes all-copper bullet. They performed just fine.

We shot Black Hills ammunition through the class. This included their 230grain ball, their 185 and 230 grain jacketed hollow point as well as the 185grain all-copper Barnes hollow point.

If you are a working cop or service member who encounters Bad Guys in cars you need to take this class.

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About Erick Gelhaus

Erick has been a Deputy Sheriff with a large northern California Sheriff’s office since 1990. Currently assigned to patrol, he is also a Senior Firearms Instructor and armorer. His prior assignments include gang violence suppression and narcotics investigations. Erick served in Iraq as an Infantry squad leader. He also teaches at Gunsite and has worked for Aimpoint.