Gunsite Academy: Defense Against Street Crimes


Bob Whaley Steel Pit
Gunsite instructor and retired SWAT Lt. Bob Whaley demonstrates a drill in Gunsite’s Defense Against Street Crimes class.

We live in a world where most people that you meet simply lack the will to visit violence upon other human beings… and that’s a wonderful thing.


Unfortunately, there are people and even entire subcultures within our society who view using violence to get what you want to be completely acceptable and even encouraged.

Armed robbery, sexual assault, the so-called “knockout game” and other predatory attacks are far too common, and Gunsite Academy’s Defense Against Street Crimes class was specifically designed by law enforcement veterans to address these threats.

Nine students (including your’s truly) attended the inaugural run of the course in Paulden, Arizona.

250 Pistol was the prerequisite requirement for Street Crimes, but it appears that almost everyone in the class was a multi-class veteran. Students had taken a wide array of Gunsite courses beyond 250 Pistol, including 223 Carbine, 260 Shotgun,  350 Intermediate Pistol, Close Quarters Pistol, and Defensive Vehicle Tactics.

The students came from all walks of life, and included several business people, a former law enforcement officer, a psychiatrist, a prosecutor, two Bearing Arms readers (Hi Rich and Kevin!) and a lady firearms instructor.

The author ran a CZ P07, which he'll discuss in a future review.
The author ran a CZ P07, which he’ll discuss in a future review.

We had a wide range of handguns represented as well. there were three 1911s, a Glock, an M&P, an XD, a Beretta 92, and even two CZs, including the P07 that I was running. It’s the first class I’ve been to where DA/SA guns outnumbered striker-fired guns. Calibers were either 9mm or .45 ACP; the declining popularity of the .40 S&W in defensive shooting circles increasingly in evidence.


As was common in my 250 and 350 courses, the first several days of Defense Against Street Crimes (which I’ll start calling DASC for short) were a combination of familiar skill-building, classroom lectures on mindset, and in a first for me in a shooting course, a serious look at self-aid in the event you or someone else takes hits from the bad guy.

We learned how to use two of the most popular tourniquets on the market, the CAT and the SOFTT-W, got an overview of when and where packing gauze into a wound was your best option, and received a primer on using occlusive seals. As a result of this medical brief I have a much strong desire to find and take a “tee triple cee” (Tactical Combat Casualty Care, or TCCC) course so that I can render aid to myself or others. TCCC training was also beneficial for another eventuality that some of us seem to have a knack in running across, serious vehicular crashes. TCCC doesn’t turn your into an EMT or doctor. It simply gives you the basic skills to use simple combat-tested equipment to keep as much blood as possible within the body, and air going in and out as much as possible. It’s designed to push out that “golden hour” needed to get people to a trauma center.


Another way DASC differed from prior courses I’ve had at Gunsite was the extra emphasis on making precision shots in  crowded environments where there are far more friendlies (or at least neutral parties) than bad guys, and while moving.

Most shooting classes worry only about marksmanship on a square range. Gunsite’s Defense Against Street Crimes breaks that mold in order to get you thinking about how to employ your shooting skills in a tactical way to defeat the most common threats, and I can’t recommend it enough.

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