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Buddy Tactics Course Review

Combat Dynamics Group Review

Richard C. (Taken May 2012)

Editor's Note: This is a review for the Buddy Tactics class offered at the Front Sight Facility.
  • Buddy Tactics

  • Student: Richard Carlton
  • Occupation: Software Business CEO
  • Weapon: 1911s, Glocks, or XD semi-automatic pistols
  • Ammo Used: 400
  • Number Course Taken: First time taken
  • Student Rating: 10/10
  • Course: Combat Dynamics Group
Short Summary

I had the opportunity to attend Combat Dynamic Group's first Buddy Tactics course May 19-21, 2012 in Pahrump, NV. This course is a midlevel course that introduces students to the idea of Team Tactics and engagement of hostiles by you and your buddy in the course. This course is absolutely fantastic, and I highly recommend it to anyone who has taken and completed a few basic firearms courses, such as Front Sight's 4-Day Defensive Handgun course.


First of all, Combat Dynamics Group (CDG) is not Front Sight. Combat Dynamics Group staff includes instructors who are familiar with Front Sight's shooting protocols and range drills. However, the curriculum and the instructors are entirely provided by Combat Dynamics Group (CDG). That being said, CDG does not have its own facility; it rents the ranges from various organizations. In this case, they had rented space from Front Sight Firearms Training Institute in Pahrump, NV.

Students who wish to attend a CDG course must sign up with and pay CDG directly for attendance in that course, as those courses are not Front Sight courses. Front Sight considers these courses to be special events which are controlled run by the third-party organization that manages those events. Because of this, any existing memberships that you have at Front Sight will not apply to third party activities and special events, although held on Front Sight property.

This was an excellent course and represents the first of, I hope, many third-party courses that may be offered at Front Sight's facility.

Day 1

Day 1 was comprised of a lot of shooting. I shot approximately 400 rounds of ammunition. The morning's activities were largely based on range drills that are similar to the ones that you would see at a typical Front Sight handgun course, such as a designated pair to the thoracic cavity and designated headshots under time pressure on turning targets. The speeds for the turning targets started off fairly slow, but as we progressed towards lunchtime, the speeds increased to close to what you would see in a Combat Master Test – which is much faster than what you would see in the 4-Day Defensive Handgun, 2-Day Skill Builder, or even the Advanced Tactics courses at Front Sight. If you want a sneak peak into what Front Sight's Handgun Combat Master shooting speeds are, late morning on Day 1 of this course is pretty close to what that would be. While the morning's drills were designed to polish up the students who haven't shot in a while, it built up speeds to the point that designated headshots were being performed in under a second from the holster at 7 yards. The afternoon of Day 1 was still on the range but was comprised of shooting and moving drills. We pulled from the holster and shot moving from left to right or right to left. Because of the distance moved, we could only run 2 or 3 shooters at a time, depending on the scenario. The afternoon reminded me a little of Advanced Tactical Handgun at Front Sight, but the movement was faster with longer distances to move while shooting.

Day 2

Day 2 was shooting live ammo in Front Sight's various 360-degree shooting simulators. The neatest shooting situation was the one in which a student and his buddy would be put into a car by CDG staff without being able to look around at their surroundings. Once the drill started, the students could look around for the first time and see that they are surrounded by hostiles that required to be engaged from inside the car and while moving from the door to the outside of the vehicle. The object was to work on communication between the two partners. That way one student could reload while his buddy covered him, allowing them to engage the hostiles alternately. One student reloading while the other one is shooting is much better than being alone and having to clear a malfunction or reload an empty weapon in a gunfight.

Day 3

Day 3 started off with additional live fire shooting in the simulators, including a fairly long drill – much longer than what you would typically see at Front Sight. In this situation, the students and his buddy are at the back of a seedy restaurant going to the bathroom on the side of the road, and they have to shoot their way back through and out of the building against hostile targets. They then have to progress across the 360-degree range to their vehicle to evacuate the location. However, while they are pushing to their vehicle to leave the area, they are engaged by numerous hostile contacts at oblique angles to the line of departure.

Safety and Prerequisite Skills

Combat Dynamics Group strongly emphasized that this is not a Front Sight course and that a student's attendance of this course was not predicated by any previous history at Front Sight itself. That being said, I would strongly urge students who wish to take this course to attend Front Sight's 4-Day Defensive Handgun and Advanced Tactics prior to attending this class. Of course, if you can attend another school at another location and take the equivalent level of classes, that would be acceptable in my opinion. Once again, I would like to reiterate the fact the Combat Dynamics Group does not require that students take Front Sight's 4-Day Defensive Handgun or Advanced Tactics course. However, students will be working together as a team moving in a full 360-degree simulator and will need to have absolute confidence in their weapon handling skills, including clearance of malfunctions, emergency reloads, and also mastery of the SUL position (taught in Front Sight's Advanced Tactics course). The reason for the need for SUL is that the students will be facing instructors and each other with loaded weapons while progressing through the scenarios with loaded weapons. Leaving the weapon at the ready or pointed in will cause the student to sweep and muzzle the instructors and fellow students with live weapons, which is completely unacceptable. The SUL position allows students to face each other with loaded weapons in a safe manner.

I took my 13- and 15-year-old kids to this course, as they have been through Front Sight's 4-Day Handgun/2-Day Handgun Skill Builder five times and have a very solid grasp of the basic skills necessary for this course. They have not taken the Advanced Tactics course yet, as they have not been able to DG the basic Front Sight skills test. As a result, the instructors had to take them aside to teach them about the SUL position. While my kids are very competent with their weapons, they were not comfortable with this position. However, the SUL position was absolutely critical in day 2 and 3 for safe weapon handling.

A brand new student, new to handguns, who takes a 1- or 2-day course (or even the 2-Day Defensive Handgun course at Front Sight) will not be prepared for the Buddy Tactics course offered by Combat Dynamics Group. While CDG will allow that student to attend the course, I have concerns that the student will not be able to enjoy himself or derive the maximum benefits from the class. The reason being that he will be focused on basic weapon handling skills and not mentally focused on the Buddy Tactics component of the class, which is frankly the sole focus of the class.

What a Student Can Expect to Learn from This Class

This class is not about weapons handling skills, presenting your weapon from the holster, malfunction clearances, emergency reloads, etc. All of those things should be pre-existing skills that the student is comfortable with prior to attending the Buddy Tactics course. The student will learn the team tactics mindset, which is big on communication, overlapping fields of fire, as well as tactical movement for the pairs of shooters. Students will also learn about the mental decision-making cycles that they should expect to encounter. In addition, students will learn that their decision-making cycles can break and interrupt the enemy combatant's decision-making cycle, changing the momentum of the engagement to the student's benefit. AWESOME!

Required Equipment

To attend this class, you should bring the equipment that you normally carry, whether that be CCW or open carry. All students at the course when I attended were carrying 1911's, Glocks, or Springfield XD semi-automatic pistols; however, any quality semi-automatic pistol will do, as long as it is at least a 9mm. Students will also need electronic ear protection, eye protection, a hat, generous amounts of sunscreen, and layered clothing depending on the time of year. When I was there, the daily average high was about 95 degrees in the shade. In addition, students will need an approved simunition gun. The simunition gun you need to bring may vary, so check with CDG prior to attending the class. I ended up using an Airsoft weapon, which worked pretty well. I used a set of Law Enforcement Blue combat Airsoft weapons. These weapons have a very high failure rate, when compared to a typical Glock or XD pistol, so bring a backup weapon to use. Also, you will need appropriate simunition protection. At a minimum, you will need a full- face mask, as seen in the photo. Students may additionally want to wear heavier clothing to slow down the rounds, as they impact the body.

Cost of the Class

The cost of the class was $400 per student or $750 for a pair of students. Everyone who attended the class this time brought a partner or spouse. This made it fun for husband and wife teams to spend some time together shooting on the range in a cooperative activity. This course is worth every penny!!!!