Marshal Halloway and I just returned from Gunsite Academy in Paulden Arizona where we took a Team Tactics For Two class or as I called it… a Couples Class. Yes .. That’s right! I did say a “Couples” class ~ Which means husband and wife together. Which consisted of: Getting along… Shooting…… Real guns…. Real ammo ( I know, I know — frightening thought).
Now, I have taken some classes at Gunsite in the past but it was all women. No men and certainly no husbands next to you , yapping and getting their two cents in and telling you what you should do, what you shouldn’t do, do it this way, do it that way… yada yada yada … and just generally being what husbands normally can be —- irritating and annoying ((( Bless their hearts))). So when Marshal first mentioned this to me and explained a little bit what it was about… and then added “They would like us to come and take it”, I gave him the deer in the headlight look and I said: “They DO know my personality right?? Do they understand that where you’re concerned, I have the patience of a rattlesnake?? Do they also realize they have a percentage rate of one of us not coming out alive? ….. Probably you??”
And as usual he laughed and said “Yes they know that – Let’s do it”! So we did!
Understand that I have carried a firearm, hunted deer, birds, and small game for most of my adult life. And since marrying Marshal over 9 years ago I have become a competitive shooter in SASS (cowboy action shooting) and in sporting clays. I’m not a spring chicken so I feel pretty confident when I have a firearm in my hands. And being the small-town redneck country girl that I am, and live in a Mayberry type of town of 800 people …. I have always had a mindset that what ever situation came before me I pretty much thought I knew what I would do! No problem!! I had it covered!!!
Well, Monday morning arrived. There were five couples…. and within the first 20 minutes of class, with the first example of a “what if” scenario in a city mall parking lot, this little redneck girl found out real fast just how much I DID NOT know. End result was that if it had been a real life situation and not just a scenario given to me, I would probably be either dead, injured or in jail!
That pretty much got my attention and I kicked into full learning mode!
Our instructors Charlie McNeese, John Hutchinson and Bob Whaley were three of the most impressive men in their fields of expertise that I believe I have ever met. They are dedicated and knowledgeable encouraging, and fun to learn from, and they were dead serious about what they were teaching us.
Every morning for five days, Marshal and I, together, honed our skills on body shots, head shots, tactical and speed reloads, gun handling and marksmanship, and “what if” situations, always with Gunsites policy attached, which is safety, safety, safety.
And in the afternoons, we learned how to sweep and check rooms safely… together. How to work outside covering an area safely…. together. But most of all we learned how to communicate with each other in life-threatening stressful situations. We learned to step out of our safe zone and bring our awareness and concentration to a ‘combat alert’ level, all while staying calm and having self-control. What battle to pick and what battle to let go.
And we learned how to do this by our instructors placing us in many different scenarios. And if you don’t think that your adrenaline can’t start pumping and your heart rate doesn’t and won’t excel a thousand miles an hour because it’s just a scenario…. think again! The instructors and handlers were pretty darn realistic in helping us believe it was the real thing.
I can say that it was a life-changing event for us. I would highly recommend this class to any couple anywhere at any phase of their life no matter the age! You will graduate from this class after five days with this:
Instead of some day saying, “I can’t believe this is happening to me!”…
You will say “I knew this might happen someday and I know what to do!”.
For more information about Team Tactics For Two, visit www.gunsite.com. Their next classes are scheduled for Apr 28-May 2, Jun 23-27, Sep 22-26, 2014.
About the author:
Teresa Heilevang aka Marshal’ette Halloway is the assistant editor of Down Range TV. She is also a competitive shooter and the reigning Kansas State SASS Lady Senior Champion in Cowboy Action Shooting.