During SHOT Show 2015 one of our guys got invited by BreachBangClear to take a VCQB class with William Petty. The class was to be held at 88Tactical in Tekamah, Nebraska. Below is his account of the class.
William Petty has developed a curriculum related to VCQB and has been teaching tactics he developed for some time. Once the opportunity to train and learn from Petty presented itself, I immediately packed my bags and headed to 88tactical. The first day was a classroom setting where Petty went over the importance of historical data and scientific findings that all related to VCQB. He covered theory and existing mindset, and how his view has become more refined through the hours of research and practice he conducted. What is nice about this part of the class is that Petty lays down the foundations and allows the student to understand where he’s coming from and how he’s developed the curriculum for his VCQB class. After a few powerpoint slides we headed to the range where we went through some positioning drills that we would later put into practice. Petty gave the group reasons why these positions are important in a VCQB scenario and how it maximized cover. After we got done rolling through the gravel we headed back up to the classroom where we watched footage of actual officers getting caught in vehicle gunfights. Seeing officers in these fights that last mere seconds and knowing that training could have played a part in lowering risk, injury and even death made me realize how important this class is. It’s obvious that this type of training is important for law enforcement, military and military contractors but I also saw the potential for how armed citizens who find themselves in a really bad situation could benefit, especially if they are taking the responsibility to arm themselves on a daily basis.
We then headed back to the range where we went through the ballistics portion of the course. Here we examined the effects of various rounds on different parts of the car. Some of the tests were eye-opening and made you realize how a car can offer numerous points of cover. After all the grain counts and caliber pontification, the most important thing I took away was that there are 16 points of cover on a car. That’s pretty serious if you think about it. Understanding these points of cover would give you the upper hand in a battle, even if it’s only for a few seconds. The following day we headed down to the range again to put into practice what we learned the previous day. We had learned theory, the art of cover and the different positions that could maximize this cover while fighting the bad guys. The drills started with us sitting in the vehicle and on the call of “threat” we would unholster our weapon put 3-5 rounds through the windshield, make our way out of the car to engage the threats, clear and hold at the scene. All this while Petty would yell out where the threats were. This had us using techniques we learned in the first day and revisiting older techniques that some might say were controversial. But once in practice, you realized the merits. Exciting and fast-paced is how I would describe these drills. It was a great way to see what we learned come into play in such a dynamic manner.
The third day had us stepping up the pace with a drill meant to simulate stress and promote learning through failure. This famous Petty drill is known as Alphabet Soup. What I liked about this drill is that it would simulate what would happen if there were innocent bystanders and how quickly these fights can move. There were a series of targets in all different positions with letters and numbers. You are only to hit the targets Petty calls out or be disqualified. He yells them out quick — that’s the stressful part! To make matters even more hectic he used a 2×2 piece of wood to block casings coming out of the ejection port on your rifle to force weapon malfunctions. This drill taught you to move from primary to secondary weapon systems, and then clearing the malfunction to put the primary back in the fight. This drill taught us how to function under stress and get rounds on target. This part was so intense that watching video won’t do it justice, you’ll need to experience it first hand. Even the seasoned gun fighters in our group said this drill was intense.
The final piece of the course was force-on-force. We all took turns battling each other putting into practice what we learned over the 3 days. After all was said and done I came away with a few things. The aggressor always wins in a VCQB battle. Yes, it’s good to get adequate cover but you better fight. The high ground in a VCQB fight is an advantage (high points of over on the vehicle) and it should be your first go-to in terms of coverage and controlling the fight.
Here are 3 of the many things I took away from that class:
1) Better weapons manipulation – Training is key and if you own a firearm you need to train with it in a variety of environments. Sign up for classes with reputable instructors that will push your limits in a safe manner.
2) Train in ways that mimic your everyday life. We spend so much time in our cars so if you carry every day or work patrol, a VCQB class can be an invaluable learning experience.
3) A good tactical instructor should have a full understanding of their curriculum with proof that enforces their viewpoint without negatively affecting existing teachings. They should be able to work with a variety of people and their differing experience levels — and have a sense of humor. William Petty had all these traits and then some.
About William Petty: Officer William Petty began his Law Enforcement career in 2003 in Albuquerque, NM. While there, he served as a Firearms and Tactics Instructor, an Emergency Response Team member, and on the department shooting team. In 2011, Petty relocated to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates where he worked as a Counter Terrorism Instructor with the Critical National Infrastructure Authority. Currently, Petty is assigned to patrol and serves as his department’s Range Master/Instructor. He also works as a Firearms, Defensive Tactics and Patrol Instructor for the Criminal Justice Training Center’s Basic Police Academies and In-Service training courses.