Cars and Johns

Article submitted by Mark Hatfield.

Cars and Johns


Defense from vehicles as taught by John Farnam.

Once again to the Great Swamp of Florida John had been invited and requested to present a program for defense when in and near automobiles.  This topic had come up and been requested during discussions at the end of Johns previous visit to this range.  As the car we used did not have an engine we did not shoot from or into one which was moving but we certainly had some interesting experiences.

John Farnam, former Army officer, Vietnam combat vet, and over forty years in law enforcement, has been a trainer of renown for some time.  He can be found in Colorado with his organization, Defense Training Institute otherwise known as D.T.I.  This is perhaps six times now that he has been invited to teach at this location.

The course warmed up with his classic drills including challenging a possibly threatening person, responding to the threat, anticipating potential additional threats, dealing with bystanders, and reacting with responding law enforcement officers.

Working singly and in pairs, we used both handguns and carbines.  There was a very strong emphasis, nay, a demand, for partners to communicate with each other and become accustom to covering for each other, both while entering and exiting a vehicle.  The very same would apply to your spouse and kids at the mart-store parking lot even with no guns showing and would be particularly important if guns do come out.

A goodly number of test rounds were fire into a car door and a windshield, then after our car was no longer needed, it too became a target.  Often penetration was much less than anticipated, even from common rifle cartridges, even with 12 gauge slugs.  That was quite interesting.

Of interest was Johns emphasis on lack of concern for the car.  Once, at a class from a different organization, we shot over and around the instructors personal daily vehicle, I thought that showed trust.  Another class advertises that all shooting from or near vehicles will be done from the students own vehicle.  John advocates that if you are not risking hitting the car then you are not using it for cover as well as you should.  Hmmm, something to think about there.

Side notes from the verbal presentations included that the most common reaction of a ‘bad guy’ to being shot…is to run away.  A good reason to be generous with your ammo just in case their reaction is to do something other than run away.  In criminal and defensive settings, most people who are shot do not die, pretty much if someone does not die right there and right then, they most likely will not die.

This was my fifth class with John, this particular one provides an experience which is very likely to occur in a defensive shooting but which few instructors offer.  Additionally, on-line John still offers his ‘quips’, random thoughts on defense, shooting, related topics and common sense.  These are highly recommended and one can get them by visiting his website.

Again and still, If you have the opportunity to train with John Farnam, do it.


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