National Rifle Association is renown for providing the basic pistol safety classes that lays a solid foundation, but there is more that NRA offers. The next level is Personal Protection Inside the Home which touches on skills one would need to effectively protect themselves in their home. The step above is the Personal Protection Outside the Home(PPOTH) which touches on subject of CCW(Carrying Concealed Weapon).
The PPOTH class is actually made up of two parts. The first part is Basic PP2 and the second part is Advanced PP2.
The Basic PP2 covers presentation from a concealed holster, shooting from cover, shooting one-handed, and point shooting.
Advanced PP2 covers shooting on the move, shooting from low cover, prone positions, low-light shooting and dealing with multiple targets.
Depending on the instructor, the two parts can be covered over two consecutive days or with some time apart. During debrief it was mentioned that some instructors preferred to have a week between two parts so attendees could absorb the first part better and attend the second part with better understanding.
The first part started not with the range time, but with in-class lecture on mindset, legal implications, and equipment selection. This is something that can be missing in some training classes for various reasons, but with PPOTH program the aim is to cover more than just the range work - it also covers other important aspects of self-defense shooting. From the beginning, there is selection of right equipment, and even after shooting is completed there are other things that need to be addressed - lawsuits and dealing with police are good examples.
The portion on legal implication was taught by a local police sergeant, giving attendees a good idea of how responding officers are going to react in real life.
The second half of the Basic PP2 was on the range. Here, the basics of shooting were covered, including draw strokes and presentation. From there, the course progressed to practice of various techniques including one-handed shooting, use of cover. Since the class is geared towards CCW use, there were movements incorporated into shooting from cover. Attendees had to take cover and engage threats from behind the cover.
The last item taught was point shooting. There is a use for point shooting so it is presented in the class.
The second day started with Advanced PP2 range work. In the Advanced portion, there were several drills that increased the challenge.
One was engaging target from a distance. Tueller drill was discussed and attendees had chances to engage target that is approaching. The distance was made shorter and shorter with each iteration until attendees were not able to take a shot. This drill enabled students to realize how much distance they need in order to effectively engage and stop the approaching threat.
It also demonstrated if someone's choice of garment or method of carry would be efficient. Some had difficulty in presenting their handgun since they could not move their garment fast enough or step to the side. Doing this early in the morning wakes people up faster than gulping down a cup of frappuccino.
Shooting on the move was also covered. This is something that many attendees did for the first time and it is definitely something they had to learn.
Utilizing low cover was another important point. In the Basic PP2, a tall wall was used as a cover, and in Advanced PP2, use of low cover was taught. Later, shooting on the move and use of low cover was combined.
Turning and engaging was also discussed as it is a possibility that assailants could come from various directions.
And that lead to a drill where you had to make a conscious decision on which one to engage. Attendees had to start with their back to the target and when instructor called out commands, turn and engage the targets that fit the criteria.
There was also the practice with lights. Bad things happen at night, and 4 basic light techniques were presented and attendees practiced to see which they were comfortable with. This is something that is lacking in quite a few CCW courses as it is difficult to set up the environment for practice. However short and basic it was, this is the type of material that allow attendees to see other techniques they need to learn.
Finally, shooting in prone position was covered, followed by lunch and classroom portion.
Who should attend this course?
This course is recommended to anyone who wishes to carry. The course itself is a good course that encompasses a lot of topic in shooting techniques as well as legal ramifications and equipment selection. It doesn't matter if someone passed the state mandated training or not. Some have range sessions, some don't. Even the ones with the range session, it tends to be lacking in quite a few aspects.
NRA PPOTH course provides a sample of techniques one needs to know in order to stack the odds in favor of law abiding citizens. It in no ways replace more concentrated training provided by many other schools, but gives attendees various things they might not have been aware of.
It is highly recommended that attendees are familiar with several handgun manipulation techniques. NRA placed this course after PPITH(Personal Protection Inside the Home) and those who went through PPITH would know how to present from holster, perform tactical, emergency/slide lock reload. This course has a steep learning curve for those who only finished basic safety class. It can be done, but the rate of return would be even better if you can execute a technique with ease.
For those who had trainings from various other schools in advanced level, this course might not give you the best return, especially on the range. Please keep in mind that this class is like Olive Garden's Tour of Italy - a sampler of things. This class will show you many things you may not have known, but will be better off knowing.
Attendees who successfully completed this course should branch out further and learn the techniques in-depth. There are so much outside of this course, and it is highly encouraged that this class is used as a springboard for detailed training. A nice thing about this course is that it also includes a NRA guide. The guide is approximately 300 pages of useful information regarding all the points discussed in the class with illustration for various techniques. Due to differences in various local laws, it deals with more general legal guideline, but it is certainly a nice guide for reference.
Big thanks to TJ Johnston of All Safe Defense(Orange, CA)