When couples are looking to bond or strengthen their relationships, they might enroll in dance classes or cooking courses at a local community college or recreation center. For those looking for something to strengthen the ties of togetherness that’s a bit more intense, dare I say, more tactical and potentially lifesaving, then Patriot Protection in Plano, Texas, has just the thing.

Patriot Protection is a firearms training facility dedicated to providing professional firearms training, along with tactical concepts and situational awareness skills courses, that will prepare you and yours for real-life confrontations. Since the company introduced its Couples In Home Defense course last year, Tim Dodd, the president and CEO of the company, says the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

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Extreme Training

The couple self-defense class that Patriot Protection offers are generally structured as part classroom-based discussion and part hands-on simulated scenario training. The difference that really sets the company apart from the pack in terms of its simulations is that it employs an advanced type of realistic, non-lethal training ballistics and specially modified firearms that were previously available only to law enforcement and the military. Also, Patriot’s trainers are adorned in protective gear to serve as the targets, and they are locked, loaded and fully ready to fire back at you!

Dodd and his team have developed a curriculum that is as intensive on the education and responsibility side of firearms ownership issues as it is interactive and tactical skills-based. All of the weapons on site are converted and negate the possibility of live rounds from being accepted at all.

Whereas all firearms have undergone barrel conversions to preclude the loading of any live ammo, the rest of the firearm remains unaltered. You can still use all of the furniture that you would otherwise have in place on your own firearm, including rail systems, scopes, tactical lights, lasers and more.

Couples Self-Defense target practice

Calm Under Fire

Some of the unique skill sets that are focused on in Patriot Protection’s curriculum for real-world encounters include developing the knowledge and tactics needed to build the confidence required to survive a possible attack, how to develop constant awareness of your surroundings, how to use household improvised weapons such as staplers, ball-point pens and flashlights, as well as learning applied firearms fundamentals, such as the pros and cons of carrying a firearm in your purse.

“Everyone’s got their tornado plan, everyone’s got their fire plan, everyone’s got the burglar plan, but let me tell you, the second an event hits or rounds start going downrange, all of those plans go to hell,” said Dodd.

An extremely sobering aspect to the training also comes in the form of high-stress “no shoot” scenarios, in which the predetermined role of the instructor is to act as an aggressive and agitated approaching individual, but their behavior does not necessarily warrant the drawing of a firearm, let alone discharging it.

“There is a component to this training that we really dive into, which is the psychological aspect of it. We’ll turn several scenarios into no-shoot scenarios, which puts people on their heels and gets them thinking beyond training. They have to think, ‘There are consequences if I draw my weapon here, just like there are outside,’” noted Dodd.

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Interactive Targets

Although Patriot Protection isn’t in the business of training commandos, and Dodd emphasizes that he doesn’t expect the couples in his courses to be clearing rooms or doing advanced tactical drills anytime soon, a big part of couples self-defense training does revolve around the partner system, much like the contact/cover protocol employed in law enforcement.

Under this design, one partner will engage contact with a suspect while the other partner provides cover. Being mindful of your partner and the location of other family members, especially within your own home, can be an overlooked aspect to real-world home and self-defense tactics.

“During many coordinated couples training sessions, husband and wife teams will be yelling from just one room over to one another, and because of the massive adrenaline dump they’re experiencing, accelerated heart rate and stress, they literally will not hear one another,” said Dodd. “Oftentimes, they end up accidentally shooting each other in the confusion and chaos of the situation.”

COuples self defense interactive training

Dodd explained that the engagement with live targets is one of the most valuable aspects to the type of training Patriot Protection provides. “Paper targets don’t talk to you about your placement. Our (live target) instructors will tell you where they were shot and when. They’ll say, ‘The first shot you hit me with was in the shin, the second in the knee, third was in the thigh and the fourth was in the stomach.’ From this kind of feedback I can tell that the shooter was ‘bowling’ and firing on the upstroke and not pushing out on target like we taught. Then we work on improving that. You don’t get that from a piece of paper because it’s just a group of bullets all over the place.”

The Man Marker Rounds (MMR) used in the training allow instructors to see small streaks of paint where the round has impacted after discharge. Tracking your fire and knowing where each round is placed, and ultimately ends up, is
another very important aspect that Patriot Protection has taken into account.

Dodd notes that he and his lead instructor, Robbie Allmon, whose professional experience spans 15-plus combined years in the military, law enforcement and special operations, place a great deal of emphasis on the ballistics aspect and forward-thinking training.

“If you shoot a 9mm round in a typical apartment complex, it’s going to go through four or five paper-thin walls of sheet rock before it stops,” noted Dodd.

As such, the company has implemented specially designed features within its training grounds that allow it to track errant round penetration through walls and their final trajectory and impact path, allowing trainers to visually show students what can happen if proper technique and placement aren’t observed.

Ready Defender

The Patriot Protection staff are well versed on all current regulations and laws regarding the use of deadly force throughout the United States. As part of a debrief session with classes, instructors will analyze the scenarios their students have just engaged in and they will assume the role of the police and ask participants investigatory questions. Taking it a step further, they will also act as the participant’s jury and pose the question, “Would another individual in a prudent mindset have acted in the same way, and what would the potential outcomes be depending on the reasonable determination of their findings?”

Ultimately, it is an exercise designed to motivate the course participants to consider the fact that their involvement in the process of self-defense does not necessarily end in the moments after a would-be assailant has been engaged and deadly force was enacted.

When asked to summarize the experience for new trainees, Dodd said, “No matter who you are, you are going to take something away from our training, and at the very minimum that’s going to be enhanced situational awareness and the fact that this is nothing like what you thought it was going to be.” For more information, visit patriotprotection.net or call 972-943-5880.

This article was originally published in the SURVIVOR’S EDGE ™  Spring 2015 issue. Subscription is available in print and digital editions here.