Saturday, April 13, 2013

A Funny Thing Happened At Partner Tactics

In May of 2012, my husband and I loaded up our gear and took the longish journey down to the Tactical Defense Institute (TDI) in West Union, OH. We'd taken the trip a few times before for Handguns 1-3 and for Defensive Knife but this was the first time we were going to do some training for the collective us. We'd wanted to take a partner's tactics class for years and we were finally doing it.

TDI's Partner Tactics class is hailed as one of the funnest classes to take. I can't speak for everyone but it was a lot of fun, very relaxing, enjoyable weather and some great company. We got to see old friends and meet new ones or meet old friends' better halves. While the class is designed for any kind of partner dynamic, be it military, police or otherwise, the majority of the students were husband and wife duos which made the class a sort-of pseudo marital retreat. Many couples had been to the class several times, making a sort of romantic holiday of it.

The three day course consists of partner movement drills while also communicating with him or her both verbally and non-verbally. Something a lot harder to do in practice than in theory. We learned partner room clearing, up and down stairs, around corners, through hallways, etc. We learned escaping vehicles, cover, concealment, group settings, partner rescue, leap-frogging and all sorts of other great tools for partners who need to work together with guns.

Attending the class for a second time was an older couple we will call Bill and Jane. Bill was in his late seventies and Jane in her late sixties. She was about as hyper as I am and three times as talkative. No matter where she went she left a sea of smiles behind her because of her propensity to suddenly jump off a flight of stairs or say something completely off the wall but hilarious. At the same time she was deathly serious about everything making it that much more entertaining and endearing.

They were dressed far more for comfort than for any semblance of style. They both wore large frame glasses and she wore a blurred patch over one eye to help her with eye-dominance issues. Their hat wear looked as though it may have come from an advertisement for an African Safari and they both wore tan shooting vests with more pockets than military utilities. But not to be threatened with appearing average, she would don a different colorful scarf or otherwise bright and colorful oddity to remind the world she was still very much young at heart.

While doing stair-clearing drills with unloaded firearms she had us all cracking up with her "PEW! PEW!" sound effects. While doing the walk through of the shoot houses, you could find her skulking around corners, crawling around obstacles and using her finger as a pistol while things were being explained.

Her husband was a quite a bit more serious and took her shenanigans in stride. Always by her side he rarely opened his mouth unless they were on the firing line and needed to communicate as that fighting team. At which point, he communicated ceaselessly...

"Firing! Changing! Moving! What's the condition of your gun?! Check your world!"

The couple had their own lingo they had brought with them to the class ("green" meaning the individual had a loaded and functioning firearm in the fight, "red" meaning the firearm was not functional and needed his or her partner to cover) and it worked well for them. They were both so serious about everything and seemingly completely unaware of the joy they spread to the rest of the group.

On the second day we all went up to the upper range to practice shooting our way out of vehicles and then using partner tactics to get to safety.

The scenario starts with the partnered pair sitting in an old, beat up van, seat belted and doors locked. On the command of "fire" or "gun" the pair was to engage a number of targets on both sides of the van (and hidden around other cars), egress from the vehicle and move to safety.

Everyone had their turn and next up was Bill and Jane.

Jane got in the driver's side and Bill got in the passenger's side. They strapped themselves in, shut the doors and waited. The instructor yelled, "GUN!!!" and it was on.

Except nothing happened.

We were all sitting a few yards to the rear of the van, waiting for gunfire, the doors on the van to bust open, anything!

Nothing. The van didn't move. The doors didn't open. There seemed to be absolutely nothing going on. The instructor, who had moved to the rear of the van to stay out of the way, peeked around the corner with the same look of confusion as the rest of us. He took a step forward, presumably to see what the hold up was and the driver's side door flew open.

Jane rang out a long, blood-curdling war cry, "DIE!!!!!!!"

And all hell broke loose. Gunfire broke out from each side of the van as Bill and Jane fired and everyone else broke down laughing.

They moved down the sides of the van screaming at each other ("MOVING TO THE REAR!") and their targets.

When they finally made it to the back we were nearly in tears from laughing so hard.

Jane got in what was fast becoming her classic squat. Legs wide spread, squatting down until her butt nearly touched the ground, arms stretching her gun out in front of her leaning from side to side like some skinny, oddly dressed creature out of a Lord of the Rings movie with a gun. She was screaming, "GREEN!"

Bill, standing more erect, was comical only in the absence of his wife's erratic, bouncy and sometimes sporadic movement answered with, "GREEN! Are you alright?"

"I'M ALRIGHT! GREEN!" she answered.


"CHECKING MY WORLD! CLEAR ON THE RIGHT!" Her body bounced right to left like some strange ape while he stood over her merely looking side to side.


Jane, "GREEN!"

But no matter what, we could not get over the hilarity that was this sixty-some-year-old woman, dressed in a safari hat, colored scarf and tactical vest, throwing open the car door and screaming, "DIE!" at the top of her lungs.

Even though I wouldn't be laughing if I had to face the both of them in a gun battle. They were an effective pair!


  1. Great post. Made my morning coffee and reading that much more enjoyable, even on a Monday.