MVT Defensive Concealed Handgun Class

William (‘Wheelsee’):

BLUF – If you have a Concealed Carry (CC), or if you carry a handgun for personal protection, you NEED to take this class. And, yes, we would air travel again for this class.

Participants – Ten adults from across the US, including 3 women. Ages from mid-20s to mid-50s (my apologies if I underestimated someone’s age).

Range of experience – from brand-new shooter to those who CC on a daily basis, including NPE (non-permissive environments).

Basic format – 10 shooters, on the line, drawing from concealment at various targets, including shapes, colors, numbers, and finally a humanoid paper target.

Lessons learned:

  • Your primary weapon is between your ears, use it wisely.
  • The best way to survive a gunfight? Not be there (see #1)
  • You have the rest of your life to put effective rounds on target.
  • Grip is everything. Having a good grip (on the firearm) gives you a solid foundation for what comes next. Having a sloppy grip gives you nothing to work off of.
  • Singular focus on the immediate threat, engage, neutralize, then scan and assess (truly SEE, not just glance. Scott did a great job of bringing this out in us)
  • Challenge yourself EVERY SINGLE time you go to the range. Have a training plan for that time. EVERY SINGLE shot must be planned, focused, and deliberate.
  • Work on as many different options as possible, i.e. one-handed dominant, one-handed support, using support hand as trigger hand, etc. EVERY SINGLE time you go to the range.
  • SLOW down. Practice drawing from holster (concealment) at home (dry-fire, EMPTY weapon) as many ranges may not allow drawing from holster.
  • It’s about more than just carrying a gun, a “magic talisman” (see Scott’s comments on his review of class). It’s about having the extra tools that go along with carrying a gun. How many carry a tourniquet (TQ)? While I carry one in my work bag, I hadn’t thought through carrying it on my person. The vast majority of people will have the opportunity to use first aid before the need for using their firearm. Do you have what it takes to stop major bleeding (from an accident, a car wreck, a mass casualty event)??
  • Night fire – while this is an option, consider it MANDATORY for life. I live/work in a 24-7 environment (work days and nights). We went over how a light can be used as a deterrent, as a weapon, and as an adjunct for the firearm with at least 6 different options. We were then able to spend time finding what worked best for each of us. The most common ways were not the ones I found comfortable (I was told the way I liked was used by only about 1:100, figures). We also were exposed to what a bright light does to an adversary and how long it can take to re-acquire targets (more than 10 seconds!).
  • Tueller drill – Thank you JohnnyMac for being the runner, multiple times!
  • An instructor can make or break a class. Scott MADE this class. His ability to meet the student where they were (from first-time shooter, to experienced shooter) and to push to improve was refreshing. He knew what the student needed to work on and adjusted one thing at a time. His solution for left eye dominant, right hand shooter was ingenious. When I used it, no problems. But my right eye would create problems for me, closing it solved it. His comment on European handguns versus American handguns and the sight picture was eye-opening, and it made a difference on how I started shooting.
  • Good equipment – don’t skimp on holsters. While I used a paddle holster, it was primarily because I had recently (week before) changed weapon platforms and hadn’t had an opportunity to change holsters. Another shooter, using a paddle holster, would periodically draw with the holster still attached (they too were using a new weapons platform and were still figuring it out). The caliber of Scott’s instruction continues after the class – he is working with that student to find a holster that works.
  • Good ammunition – if your handgun will shoot steel or dirty ammunition, use it. But if it won’t, DON’T. There were several instances of malfunctions that could be traced back to the ammunition. While it may work for malfunction drills (unintended), you need to know what/how your carry ammunition will function.
  • Sights – as we age, our vision changes. Mine has deteriorated over the years, to the point I can’t even see the front sight with stock sights. I had Ameriglo sights ( placed on my Glock and I could easily see the sights.
  • Quality training facility – the MVT training facility is an outdoor facility that allows a wide variety of options. Hot, yes – welcome to the South. Humid, yes – welcome to the South. Scott monitored all of us and we took frequent hydration/shade breaks. It’s not about being comfortable for 8 hours but about using your firearm in a realistic environment without punishing the student. MVT has a good balance.

Extraneous lessons

  • The Koolwink Motel is a good stay. Do NOT use Google Maps, Apple Maps, or Waze to find it – you will end up in BFE on a dirt road (5 miles away from the real Koolwink). If you are headed west on Hwy 50, you’ll go past a Tractor Supply on the right….keep going. It will appear as you’ve left Romney, keep going. The Koolwink Motel will be on your right. IF you make it to the WV School for the Deaf and Blind, you have gone too far.
  • Sheetz (like a RaceTrac or QuikTrip in the South) has good breakfast options.
  • Traveling with firearms – Each airport is different. DFW was a 5-minute process and smooth sailing. Dulles (IAD) took about 30 minutes and quite a bit more paperwork (at the counter).
  • Do NOT take ANY bag from the range through security (TSA) for carry-on. I had a single live round in a crevice in my backpack and set off alarms. A friendly visit from local LEO left me with a report but no charges. If I’d been flying through Reagan, it would have resulted in wearing silver bracelets and a resident of a state facility. EYE-OPENING EXPERIENCE!!
  • Be part of the solution, not the problem. Fellow students may make comments that would be easy to sigh but look deeper. They are genuinely asking. Let it force you to rethink your position (not to change your position but to question why you do/believe the way you do). NO ONE in this class denigrated another student. We were all there to learn and the environment lent itself to same.


I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I signed up for the Defensive Handgun class. I knew from my dad that the other classes he had taken through MVT had been “tactical” or “combat” classes and I wasn’t sure if I was ready for something like that. But that was not this class. I recommend that everyone who carries, or anyone who is planning to carry in the future, take this class. Between the realistic discussions and practical exercises, I feel much more confident carrying in today’s world.

I have had my License to Carry (LTC in Texas) since 2013, but I have yet to carry, because I didn’t feel comfortable drawing from a holster. Scott was fantastic with working with new people who had never shot a gun before and people who had been shooting all their lives. It wasn’t drill after drill after drill to the point where you’re exhausted and don’t want to shoot anymore. Don’t get me wrong, after two days you will be tired, but it’s worth it.

The amount of information given to you in the class regarding holsters, ammunition, scenarios, realistic applications of what we’re learning was all soaked up like a sponge. I’m not only thrilled about what I learned in this class, but also excited about future classes and even doing a repeat of this class for extra practice. Overall, I would recommend this class to anyone, but especially recommend it to women who want to feel more confident carrying.