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Review of Partner Tactics Training Course at Tactical Defense Institute


tdisignOn May 10th I attended my first shooting class at TDI this year (my first 2013 TDI class was CQPC 3&4 in March) – Partner Tactics.  TDI’s three-day Partner Tactics course.  This year has been unseasonably cool in Ohio and the weekend of May 10th was chilly with intermittent rain.  Despite the less than ideal weather, the course was both enjoyable and I learned a great deal.  Like most TDI courses, Partner Tactics began every morning with a time-in drill, moved to various skill drill demonstrations, then on to various scenarios to execute.  The main difference here is that everything you do in this course is done with a partner – if you didn’t have a partner when you came, one would be assigned to you.  This class seems to be a favorite of married couples, as there were several in my class.  There were also several law enforcement officers taking the course, as well as civilians like myself.  A friend of mine (Gerry) and I discussed taking the class last year during another TDI course we took, and we partnered up for this course.  Let me emphasize that Partner Tactics is a fairly advanced course at TDI which has their Handgun I-III as a minimum prerequisite.

In terms of what we did in the class, let me point you to the videos (Part I and Part II) below which show footage shot with both my traditional video camera and wearable GoPro which show the actual drills and scenarios we performed.  But I’ll take a few moments to talk about what I liked and didn’t like in the class:

One of the most appreciated segments we did was learning about shooting in and around vehicles.  I found that most of the defensive shooting classes I’ve taken really haven’t touched on this topic, or dived into it with any depth.  But in Partner Tactics the topic is discussed extensively and you even have the opportunity to bring up your own car on the firing line and shoot from inside it:


TDI Instructor David Bowie (of Bowie Tactical) lead the discussion on shooting in and around cars:


For some reason, when it came time to pick one of the cars from which to do his discussion of drawing and firing from within a vehicle, he picked my BMW.  Go figure!  🙂


I’m told that in all the years they’ve taught this course, they’ve never had a student shoot a car.  Fortunately, I wasn’t the first student to do so…but it does make you a bit nervous when you start shooting from your own vehicle.  Still, it’s not an experience you can easily duplicate.  In my way of thinking, you’re probably more likely to have to shoot from inside or around your vehicle  than you are likely to have to do other things which TDI and other schools spend a lot more time on….house clearing for example.  So I think that it’s fantastic TDI addressed the topic in Partner Tactics and I’d love to see more automobile shooting related training addressed.  In addition to shooting from inside your own vehicle, students had the opportunity to shoot in and around TDI’s fleet of “junker” cars for some scenarios which was great:


Another favorite activity/drill that we did in Partner Tactics was The Wall.


I’ve done the wall in TDI’s Tactical Rifle courses, but never with a pistol.  The targets you shoot at from the wall are small, and 20 yards down range….it’s a test of your skills which you just can’t easily duplicate at other facilities.  It also gave an excellent opportunity to practice working with you partner and practicing the critical communication needed when working with a partner.   Once you finish “the wall” you and your partner have to work you way down range, across, then back again, leap frogging one another as you go:


You have to shoot from awkward positions in some cases…make good use of cover….it’s really such a great, great drill to run.  You’ll see video footage from the wall in the “Part II video below.”

Of course, it wouldn’t be TDI without doing some house clearing scenarios in the live fire houses:


TDI is surely one of the best (if not THE best) house clearing training facilities in the country open to civilians.  That said, I think I’ve sort of got two different opinions on house clearing.  I’ve done in TDI’s Handgun I-III, Active Shooter, all three Tactical Rifle classes, and now in Partner Tactics.  Having done that much house clearing, I’ve decided a couple of things.  Firstly, house clearing under the most ideal of circumstances is bad….very bad.  If I had a family member that was trapped that I needed to get to, no question I’d go from room to room clearing as I went and try to reach them.  But if I thought someone was in my house, and I knew where my family members were, and we had a clear exit, there’s no way I’d go looking for the bad bad guy.  If my choice is leave, barricade, or perform house clearing, leaving and/or barricading are preferred choices with house clearing being a distant third.  So given my feelings here, I think the possibility of my having to clear my house or other building is exceptionally remote.  So while I’m glad I’ve been exposed to the techniques at TDI, I’m not sure that the (low) probability I’ll need to one day clear a house justifies the amount of time I’ve spent at TDI training to clear houses.  Sure, it’s fun to do, and incorporates lots of different skills and techniques which have broader applications.  But I can’t help but think maybe less time should be spent on house clearing and more time spent on training for scenarios the average civilian is more likely to face.  That said, I learned in Partner Tactics Class that having an equally well trained partner makes the prospect of clearing a house far less dangerous.  So it was good to experience that and see what an asset it is to have a partner with you when clearing a house.

We also spent a fair amount of time in the force on force house at TDI running different scenarios armed with Air Soft guns:


Lots of great techniques were taught and practiced here, and many lessons painfully learned…which again you’ll see in the “Part II” video below.

Here’s are the above referenced videos – I got lots of great footage so I split it up into two parts.  First up is part I:

Here’s Part II:

Overall, Partner Tactics is a highly recommend class which I greatly enjoyed, and learned a great deal from as well.  It wasn’t my favorite TDI class that I’ve taken (that honor goes to their fantastic Active Shooter class) but it was worth the price of admission and a class I can see myself taking again with my wife.

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. REVIEW: Partner Tactics Training Course at TDI Ohio>>>>>> - XDTalk Forums - Your XD/XD(m) Information Source! - [...] I took this class about three weeks ago and finally finished up my review.…

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