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Frequently Asked Questions

About location, equipment, etc.



Q. Where are your courses held?

A. All shooting classes are conducted at the Blue Trail Range in Wallingford CT. Located off Exit 15 of I91 it is a approximately 45 minutes south of Hartford's Bradley Airport, 15 minutes north of New Haven and only two hours from New York City. The range is close to hotels, restaurants and shopping and has a small gun store and coffee shop open most weekends.

While Blue Trail is the state's largest public range, our classes are conduced in a private area away from the public and reserved for our sole use during classes.  

A map with directions to the range and recommendations on local hotels are in the information package sent to all new students. Classes, except for LFI1, normally run 9:00AM to 5:00PM

Q. What equipment do I need?

A. Only a minimal amount of equipment is required for most courses, remember we're talking training for personal self-defense, not paramilitary or swat operations. Students receive a list of equipment required for each course, but seasonal clothing, eye and ear protection, a reliable rifle/handgun, spare magazines/speed loaders, a good quality holster and a notebook make up most of the list. With the exception of the eye and ear protection, anything you would not have with you when going about your normal daily business should probably not be required for most training.

There is a tendency by first time students to purchase new equipment for the class - holsters, mag carriers, etc. We advise against this unless absolutely necessary. If at all possible borrow what you need or make do with what you have. What you learn in class about equipment selection and weapon modifications can often save you hundreds of dollars. If you must buy new equipment make sure it all works together, it is all too common for someone to show up for class with a new holster so tight they can't draw or reholster without using both hands.

Q. What kind of ammunition do I need?

A. Blue Trail is an outdoor range that has no restrictions on ammunition. We recommend using the least expensive ammunition that is both full powered (but not +P or higher) and functions reliably in your firearm. Accuracy is normally only a concern in precision rifle courses. We have no objections to hand loads, if they are of high quality. The last thing you want to do while trying to master new techniques is fight with malfunctioning ammunition.

Q. Classes are listed as Seminars or Courses, what is the difference?

A. We still use the originally ASAA terminology where "Courses" are conducted over a period of three or more days. At the end of a course an evaluation drill is conducted and to graduate a student must meet a minimum level of competence, usually 80%.

A "Seminar" is a highly condensed class of one or two days containing most or all of the material normally covered in a "course". Because of the short duration of the class, there is no evaluation drill. Conducting a test would further reduce the limited training time. In addition, it would be unfair to expect students to "perform" the techniques learned at anything above a minimal skill level in so short a period of time, so a test would be meaningless.

Q. I'm an experienced shooter and a graduate of the 345 Handgun Class at "XYZ". I want to take the Tactical Handgun Seminar or Advanced Handgun Course with Chuck Taylor. Why do I have to take a basic course first?

A. Our Three Day Defensive Handgun Course is not a basic course as normally defined. Requiring the Three Day as a prerequisite to attending other ASAA handgun classes is not meant as a reflection on your abilities or previous training. ASAA offers defensive handgun courses on four levels. The concepts and techniques that are the foundation of ASAA's approach to the subject, which is somewhat different from that of other schools, are only taught at the first level - our Three Day Defensive Handgun Course.

Because of the way ASAA courses are structured and paced, accepting students in advanced level classes who are not Three Day graduates is unfair to both them and the rest of the class. In addition, both the higher level handgun courses and our tactical handgun seminars, which are different than those conducted by ASAA elsewhere, include techniques that can be very dangerous if improperly executed. This is another reason we have specific prerequisites for these classes. Defense Associates began independently conducting ASAA courses in 1993 has never had a firearm related personal injury - we want to keep the record intact.

Q. How to I become a Handgun Combat Master ?

A. To qualify as a Handgun Combat Master you must start by scoring a minimum of 360 points out of a possible 400 on the shooting drills listed below. The test must be conducted by Chuck Taylor or an authorized ASAA instructor, firearms and holster must be concealable "street" equipment (no optical sights, compensators, speed rigs, etc.) and all ammunition must be full power with the .38 special the lowest power cartridge allowed. Shots are scored 5 points each for center hits, peripheral hits are 2 points for major calibers, 1 point for minor. The target to be used is the original buff/green Taylor Combat Target, shown on the "Courses by Taylor" page, with it's 5 point head zone of 4" x 3". All drills start with holstered gun, hands at sides. Times are by stop watch.

Once the shooting drills have been completed the candidate is tested on reloading and malfunction clearance drills as shown below. Failure to use ASAA methodology in performing the drills results in a procedural error and point loss.

Standard Exercises - Single target - 2 shots per drill, each drill performed once.
    1 meter  -  1.0 second (Speed Rock)
    1 meter  -  1.0 second (Step Back)
    3 meters -  1.0 second
    7 meters -  1.3 seconds
  10 meters -  1.8 seconds
  15 meters -  2.2 seconds
  25 meters -  2.7 seconds
  50 meters -  6.0 seconds

Presentation Evaluation - Single target @ 7 Meters - 1 shot per drill, drill performed five times.
  7 meters   -  1.0 second 

Responses Left, Right & Rear - Single target - 1 shot per drill, each drill performed five times using ASAA methods
  Response Left    -  1.0 second
  Response Right  -  1.0 second
  Response Rear   -  1.2 seconds 

Multiple Targets - Targets at 5 meters and spaced 1 meter apart3
  Two targets    -  1.2 second
  Three targets  -  1.5 seconds

  Four targets   -  1.8 seconds

Small Targets at Close Range - head shots - 1 shot per drill
  5 meters  -  1.0 seconds  -  perform four times
  7 meters  -  1.2 seconds  -  perform five times

Ambidextrous Shooting - 3 targets at 7 meters and spaced 1 meter apart.
Using both hands, a candidate fires one round on each target, speed loads, transfers the weapon to the weak hand and re-engages weak hand only firing one round per target. Time limit is 6 seconds for self loaders, 8 seconds for revolvers.

Hostage Situation - Partial head shots - Target at 7 meters, one shot per drill performed 5 times with hostage holder to the left side of the hostage's head and 5 times on the right side. Time limit 1.2 seconds.

Target at Odd Angles - Targets at 7 meters and 60% obscured by cover, one shot per drill, perform 5 times with target to the left side of cover and 5 times to the right side of cover. Time limit 1.2 seconds.

After completing the above shooting test you still must perform each of the following weapon handling and malfunction (self loaders only) drills 5 times each. For each drill improperly performed or performed over the time limit, 5 points are deducted from your shooting score. 360 remains the minimum scored required to pass.
  Speed Reloads  -  self loaders 1.5 seconds
  Speed Reloads  -  revolvers 4.0 seconds
  Tactical Reload  - all weapons 4.0 seconds
  Type 1 malfunction  -  1.0 second
  Type 2 malfunction  -  1.0 second
  Type 3 malfunction  -  4.0 seconds

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