AThens, GA: 2-Day Vehicles Tactics Course

AAR-Vehicle Tactics-June 2016-Princeton, NJ

Instructor: John McPhee

I have previously attended several classes with Shrek in the past, including handgun, carbine and scoped carbine.  Shrek has previously dispelled firearms myths in my past class and I looked forward to learning what was actually cover on a vehicle and what wasn’t. This class was entirely made up of LEO’s from the NYC metro area, with everyone turning out to be squared away, and no observed safety violations.

I ran a Glock 19 with Hornaday Critical Duty 135g and an 11.5” Colt Commando with 62g green tip for the course.  The class had mainly Glocks, a few Sigs and an XD that ran the gamut from 9mm to 45.  Rifles on hand ranged from 5.56 and 7.62×39 to a .50 Barrett (more on that later)!

The range was set up with an Infiniti sedan parked parallel with the targets, an Infiniti coupe parked facing downrange and a Lexus sedan parked facing up range with all at the ten-yard line.

Day 1:  Day started out with a meet and greet followed by a brief safety briefing and the location of the nearest hospital, with roles designated for students in the class if something happened.  Shrek explained, as with all of his courses, it would proceed at a slower pace, as each student could analyze their runs with John on his IPAD using the coach’s eye.  Coaches Eye is a great application that utilizes slow mo video breakdown ala instant replay in an NFL game with the telestrator markers.

We moved into vehicle diagnostics with students firing individual rounds into predetermined marked squares on the car (doors, trunk, A,B, C pillars, etc.) on the Infiniti sedan. After each round, we walked downrange and examined the bullets trajectory within the vehicle.  In what was a small surprise to me, the vehicle did not stop much, with most rounds passing through both sides of the vehicle.  The exception being the engine block and the vehicles pillars.  The Hornaday ammo performed well, as all rounds I shot through the Infiniti’s doors and trunk passed through the vehicle.

We then had a little fun with the .50 cal and shot the Infiniti with it in the same spots we did with the smaller caliber stuff earlier.  The .50 absolutely destroyed the soft spots on the vehicle as you can see from the pictures.  The engine block, however did stop the .50 cal, dead in its tracks. The .50 was also stopped by the front wheel.  We shot this from appx. 100 yards, so the round still had all its juice when it hit the car.

Shrek taught that while the pillars may be small temporary cover, but it is better to maneuver yourself to put as much as the car between the threat and yourself.  The engine block will stop everything that a LEO is likely to see domestically, so use it to your advantage.

We then moved to the Infiniti coupe facing up range and began to diagnosis shooting through the windshield and the rear windshield.  The myth that the glass would greatly deviate the bullets path was slaughtered, as my 9mm Hornandy would only slightly rise for the first round through the windshield, and once subsequent rounds went through the first hole area, it was dead on.

At this point Shrek covered the proper way to remove your seat belt under stress and how to best exit the vehicle. He taught to draw and toss your handgun onto the dashboard while seated to be able to have both hands available to work the seatbelts and doors, and then grab the gun prior to exiting.  Shrek was not a fan of the new fangled “temple index” that is being taught and preferred to move around the vehicles at a low ready.  It was taught that it is impossible to draw a handgun while seated from appendix while seated in a vehicle without covering your legs with the gun. However, if you follow the safety rules and keep your finger off the trigger while doing this, you are good to go.

We then learned where to shoot a vehicle to disable it.  This was very eye opening and once again, myths were dispelled.

The day ended with Shrek fielding any questions from the class and did a pistol diagnostic “check up” for anyone that wanted to work their draw on video.

Day 2: The second day dealt more with the tactics that a 2-man patrol car would utilize in an ambush situation. Shrek taught ideally to simply drive through the ambush, but if the vehicle was rendered inoperable, how best to bail out and cover your partner.  We covered how far you should be working off the vehicle as to not crowd it and lose situational awareness.  Like in my prior CQB training, vehicles are no different, as working to get the best possible angle, with giving the threat the least of you exposed by using the most of the vehicle as you could was instructed.

As for some of the things being taught in the industry such as broke back prone to shoot under the vehicle, Shrek was not a fan. He preferred to stay on his feet and be mobile. Being on the ground killed situational awareness and leaves you open to being flanked.

We then ran partner bail out drills on all three of the vehicle setups and ended the day with learning how to properly conduct a “felony stop,” and how to set up a vehicle L-shaped ambush.

The class ended with a hot wash and we said our good byes.


My time in Iraq was the last time I had received any vehicle based training and have gotten zero in my LEO career prior to this. This was very eye opening as to what I should be using on a police cruiser as cover and where I should be positioning myself as to maximize my effectiveness.  I cannot recommend Shrek or this course to any LE agencies that are looking for a no frills vehicle class.

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