AAR of OC/Pepper Spray Instructor class for non-LE
AAR of Chuck Haggard of Agile Training and Consulting's OC/Pepper Spray Instructor class for non-LE
I was once at an event and caught a short block of his OC (pepper spray) class that I really enjoyed. I had wanted to take this opportunity for a long time and was so glad to make this happen finally.
There is almost no pepper spray training available, especially for those that are not Law Enforcement. This is even more so for an Instructor level class. Chuck comes highly recommended on this topic. Chuck has several years’ experience involving this product, both in using it in real-world events and having felt its effects, as well.
A side note on Chuck’s ability to adapt and make the most out of the class goals was that we had to rearrange the day due to the weather impacting the outdoor portion of the class. This went smoothly and is always a consideration instructors should make depending on the class material, the students, and of course, the severity of the weather. It was to rain, and using inert OC spray in the rain would not get across the points being made during this time.
As gun owners, sometimes we focus on having our gun as a talisman and believe we do not need any other skills or tools. This class is well-designed to help fill that gap. The class is categorized as being “something between a harsh word and a gun.” This is very well stated as it was more than just a pepper spray class. A large portion of the class was spent on managing unknown contacts (MUC). MUC is a critical skill and a base for the class. Time is well-spent on this topic, as it covers more than always being in “code yellow.”
We spent some time going over less-lethal options. Some had more advantages than others, but none fit the role that OC has as an effective deterrent at a greater distance than arm’s length. Before we got too detailed into the specifics of OC, we had to talk about the myths of wasp spray. Notice I used the word MYTHS.
We spent a lot of time on OC itself (naturally). We covered such topics as:
The history of pepper spray and why all of its predecessors were potentially lethal. OC is not.
The chemical composition of OC. Some companies don’t provide this information. That is a red flag.
How OC impacts the body. This is important to understand how someone will respond to being in contact with the chemical ingredients.
What makes an effective pepper spray. This is also an area that is good to understand, so you know what to look for when shopping for pepper spray.
Brand recommendations (based on the above information).
Various deployment designs and why some are safer than others. You don’t just want your pepper spray going off in your pocket or purse, do you?
The various emission patterns and densities. There are pros and cons to each. Something about the right tool for the job comes to mind.
For the outside portion of the class, we began by practicing some of the skills we discussed on MUC. We spent a considerable amount of time testing different emission patterns. Safety goggles were given to each instructor candidate. OC units used were all inert. No live spray was used during this class. We got to see the distance they reached and how to aim the unit effectively. This was very beneficial to try these on a live person. From here, blue guns were used to practice going from OC to your “gun” if needed, depending on the situation.
This class was wonderful, as is Chuck! It is an instructor-level course, but do not expect to have all of your instructional tools given to you. This is not that type of class. There will be work involved on your own if you want to present this information to students. You are given the information, the whys, and how to make this fit your teaching style. I would highly recommend this class EVEN IF you do not intend to teach it. It is that good.