Guns & Gear Review: Trident Concepts TACOST Rifle & Pistol Training Decks
This month we’re looking at something different, an innovative new twist on an old idea from former Navy SEAL Jeff Gonzales and his training shop, Trident Concepts. The use of playing cards as compact, readily-accessible quick-reference tools has a long and successful history, ranging from planes and ships in WWII to the famous Iraq “Deck of Death” bearing ID photos of Baathist officials and other Leadership Targets, and now Gonzales’s team have adapted that concept to weapons training on the range with these sets of 52 different drills in four broad classifications. We’re going to be looking at their Rifle I and Pistol I decks; there’s also one I don’t have for SIRT simulators and thus can’t comment on, but both decks I have are similarly laid out and equally well thought-out.
Each deck has three extra cards on top of the standard 52: one explaining the TACOST program and concepts, one quick reminder of safety rules and practices, and the third a quick-reference explaining the abbreviations on each card. The suits correspond to four basic categories: Marksmanship (Spades) focused on pure accuracy, Speed (Hearts) focused on hitting “minimum acceptable” scores faster, Dry Fire (Diamonds) focused on handling and trigger-work technique, and Baseline (Clubs) which is a group of drills to shoot first as a “placement” and then re-shoot periodically to assess growth. Many of the Marksmanship and Speed drills are challenging even for experts, so when I wrote in with feedback and mentioned that I was thinking of using these as a teaching tool, the suggestion was to either increase target size or reduce round count as a “beginner handicap.”
While they recommend selecting specific cards based on skills to be worked on and ammunition available, I’m also a fan of using them to create completely random training sessions every now and again–too much structure leads to things like “scripted kata” where a martial artist looks impressive on the mats but doesn’t have the flexible thinking to handle the chaos of a streetfight, while not enough also leads to problems of its own. I could see these working well to spice things up with a kind of “Range Poker” game, where it starts with regular 5-card draw but instead of taking the pot, the winner gets to trade hands with any other player of his choice, and then whoever completes the most out of their five drills on the firing line wins the hand.
Educational, challenging and fun. Would buy again–and worth full price, even though I got mine on Black Friday sale.
The author was not compensated for this review, and the review sample is courtesy of his own wallet.
Previous Watercooler Guns & Gear Reviews
- FAB Defense AGF-43S Folding Grip for AR-Pattern Rifles (Feb 22, 2017)
- Back-Up Iron Sights by Diamondhead and Matech (Mar 29, 2017)
- The Lunch Hour Lower: EP Armory 80% AR15 Lower Receiver & Jig, Part 1 (May 17, 2017) and Part 2 (May 24, 2017)
- “AR15 Bookshelf” (Jun 28, 2017)
- CAA MPS Magazine Carrier (Aug 23, 2017)
This Week In History
- Sunday, 7/1: Gettysburg kickoff, 1863; Battle of San Juan Hill, 1898; Ford Thunderbird line closes, 2005 (Special shoutout for my girlfriend: Canadian independence, 1867)
- Monday, 7/2: Congress votes for independence, 1776; Garfield shot, 1881; Civil Rights Act signed, 1964
- Tuesday, 7/3: Washington takes command, 1775; Pickett’s Charge, 1863; Idaho statehood, 1890
- Wednesday, 7/4: West Point opens, 1802; Vicksburg falls, 1863; Freedom of Information Act signed, 1966
- Thursday, 7/5: Liberty Bell hits the rails for Pan-Pacific Expo, 1915; Spam introduced, 1937; first clash of Korean War, 1950
- Friday, 7/6: Retreat from Fort Ticonderoga, 1777; first RNC, 1854; first MLB All-Star Game, 1933
- Saturday, 7/7: Quasi-War with France begins, 1798; Lincoln conspirators hanged, 1865; sliced bread introduced, 1928; Hoover Dam groundbreaking, 1930
Today’s Birthdays: Composer Stephen Foster, 1826; President Calvin Coolidge, 1872; jounalist Pauline “Dear Abby” Phillips, 1918; And… I guess you could call it a birthday of sorts, when an American icon first Godzilla-stomped into the public eye. I refer here to Henry Fairfield Osborn’s introduction of Tyrannosaurus rex to the world in 1905. Good thing I picked up some cupcakes so Junior can celebrate his heritage a little…
Holidays Around the World: Northern Mariana Islands and Rwanda both celebrate their Liberation Day, and the Philippines observes Republic Day.
This Week In History is compiled with assistance from History.com and Wikipedia. Something interesting not listed here? Please share in the Comments section–this is an Audience Participation Encouraged featurette.
Gratuitous Gun Giveaways
- *American Handgunner magazine, for a Glock 35 Gen 5, Olympic Arms KRP Retro AR15 pistol or S&W Hi-Viz .500 Magnum revolver package: http://americanhandgunner.com/giveaway/
- *Guns Magazine, for a Savage Arms MSR15 .224 Valkyrie rifle, Kahr Arms Snapshot .22LR rifle or Mossberg 590M Heat Shield shotgun: http://gunsmagazine.com/giveaway/
- Davidson’s Gallery of Guns, for a Remington 870 TAC-14 20-gauge firearm or Remington 700 Special Purpose .300BLK bolt-action rifle: https://ggg.galleryofguns.com/
- GrabAGun, for a Heckler & Koch VP9 two-tone 9mm pistol: http://grabagun.com/giveaway
- Springfield Armory, for a variety of XD pistols and related gear: http://www.springfield-armory.com/resources/giveaways/
*Note: FMG Publishing giveaways require you to provide an FFL dealer’s info at entry. Aero Precision and Primary Arms giveaways give me one entry each per person who uses my referral link.
Public Service Announcement for “Sanctuary State” Residents
If you would like to report illegal aliens, please call Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at 1-866-DHS-2ICE (347-2423). They will need to know names, locations (either work place or residence) and any other specific information you can provide. Visit http://www.ice.gov for more information.
Quote of the Day
As always, the Watercooler is an Open Thread. And as so eloquently coined by ntrepid, “Thanks for the click! Your effort helps fund future posts of this nature.” Now get out there and celebrate Independence Day with your families rather than hovering over a screen with us here!
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