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A Review of Enhancing Combative Pistolcraft Course With Dave Spaulding


On Saturday, July 21st and Sunday July 22nd I had the opportunity to take Dave Spaulding’s Enhancing Combative Pistolcraft course at the Miamisburg Sportsmen’s Club:

This was a tremendous training opportunity for me as I’m a member of this particular shooting club – it’s only about 10 minutes from my home.  As it happens, it was a convenient opportunity  not only for myself, but also for Dave Spaulding.  Like myself, Spaulding is a member of the Miamisburg Sportsmen’s Club and often trains at the facility though he and I had never met prior to this particular course.

Spaulding is one the best known trainers in the firearms training industry – in 2010 he was named Law Enforcement Trainer of the Year.  I first became acquainted with him a couple of years back when he did his “Ruger Tactical Tips” series of videos for Ruger Firearms – he still maintains very close ties with Ruger.

Spaulding  normally travels to the locations where he trains, and is well-equipped to conduct his courses.  We surely wouldn’t have made it in the 90 degree weather without the portable tents he brought along:

Spaulding’s Enhancing Combative Pistolcraft course is his second level offering.  Earlier this year he offered his 1st level course, Combative Pistolcraft Essentials at the Miamisburg Sportsmen’s Club but I had an unfortunate schedule conflict and could not attend.   Later this year, he’ll be offering his 3rd level course, Situational Combative Pistol to the Miamisburg Sportsmen’s Club which I also plan to take.

The first part of Saturday morning was spent in under the tent as Spaulding lectured on the what was to come.  Not only is Spaulding a very capable and experienced shooter, he’s also an excellent present and is quite engaging.

As interesting as Spaulding was to listen too, it didn’t take long to get us out on the range – we began shooting drills which stressed the fundamentals of grip, sight alignment, and trigger control:

Throughout the weekend accuracy was emphasized but so was speed.  Here’s a photo of Spaulding demonstrating a timed drill:

Most of the rest of the day was spent reviewing various ready positions, doing reloads, and drawing from the holster.

While Day 1 of the course was an excellent review of the fundamentals associated with combative pistolcraft, Day 2 built upon this established foundation into techniques I’ve not previously been exposed to.  After a warm up drill, we jumped right into failure drills and practiced quickly recovering from the two most frequent failures found in a semi-automatic pistol “stove pipe” failure to ejects, and double feeds.  We then moved into shooting from various unfamiliar and for most unpracticed positions.  Would that every attack happen while you’re at a gun range, standing in a ready position with your attacker 20 ft. down range.  🙂  Since that’s not the case, having some training on shooting in non-standing positions is certainly beneficial.

First, Spaulding demonstrated some different positions for us and how to approach the techniques he advocates:

After the demonstrations, the class got practice shooting from various positions.


On our backs:


Here’s one that you don’t see done in every class – shooting on your back behind you – I’m in the blue shirt 2nd from the right:

We also discussed situations where due to various circumstances (like being shot yourself) it might be necessary to operate your firearm with your weak hand.  Here’s the class practicing drawing with their weak hand:

Now here’s a drill we performed which will take you out of your comfort zone.  How does one reload one handed while kneeling?  Place your firearm on the inside of your knee:

I’ve taken several firearms courses from different schools and instructors but still found Dave Spaulding’s Enhancing Combative Pistolcraft course to be both instructional and entertaining.  We worked hard over the two days of the course but Spaulding made it a very pleasant experience despite the temperatures with which we were dealing.  If you ever get the opportunity to attend one of Spaulding’s courses, I highly recommend it.  A schedule of his upcoming courses and locations can be found on the Handgun Combatives home page.

About John B. Holbrook, II
John B. Holbrook, II is a freelance writer, photographer, and author of, as well as and *All text and images contained in this web site are the original work of the author, John B. Holbrook, II and are copyright protected. Use of any of the information or images without the permission of the author is prohibited.

  1. Thanks for the review. I just signed up for one of his classes on Saturday, can’t wait.

  2. Great review of what sounds like a fantastic class. Dave is a stand-up guy and a great teacher.

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