We’ll never say we have enough training in personal defense, and we hope to inspire that attitude in our students as well. For the third time, our friends at Fortress Defense Consultants from Illinois/Indiana came to ND and the whole Pretty Loaded Team had an awesome weekend training with them along with a group of local friends of ours who all proved to be Gunmen/Gunwomen!


Miranda helping one of her fellow students

Fortress Defense is one of the best tactical firearms training companies in America and what an honor to learn from them so we can provide the most effective skillset possible to our students. One of the great attributes of the defense training community is that they all have the same goal – empower as many students as they possibly can.


Miranda ready to “Get it done!

Time spent in the classroom learning the latest academics in firearms defense, and tons of time at the range in many different scenarios made for one very full weekend with over 24 hours of training time!

We take firearms very seriously and want to keep our skills at the highest level we can for the most effective protection of ourselves and loved ones, but also to be able to be modifying our own pistol curriculum although it is focused more toward the novice shooter at this point.

One of the things we teach in our Situational Awareness class is how much the “stress response” plays into how one reacts in a critical defensive incident. Fortress Defense believes strongly in this, and they make it happen in training! We need to do this in training to condition our mind and body to deal with it and having guys who regularly train law enforcement scream, “MOVE, MOVE, MOVE!!!” in our ears up close and personal did the trick.

We went through a lot of real life scenarios, and holding a “baby” was a great one for us parents in the class. This drill forced us into one handed shooting and reloading while trying to keep the child out of the view of the attacker. The baby made it more difficult to grab the new magazine with one hand, and racking the slide on our belt was a new trick we all had fun with.

kristen and baby

Kristen and “Baby”


Beth and “Baby”

In a critical defensive encounter, the body’s fine and gross motor skills start to fail and this is why it is important to train in these conditions so we can build muscle memory. Perfect training makes perfect, and in an encounter, you will NOT rise to the occasion, research has proven you’ll revert to your training. What if you don’t train at all?

Some of the drills we did were advanced. We were moving, shooting, reloading, moving more, and under the watchful, hawk like eyes of this crew, there was no chance safety measures would be breached.

One very underutilized piece of equipment is body armor. Our friends at DKX Armor (made here in Bismarck!) brought out a pistol plate and we confirmed that this stuff can save your life. It was amazing to see firsthand a plate about 1/2″ thick stopping the 9mm defensive round.


Beth putting rounds downrange


Beth got the job done

80% of defensive encounters happen at night, so the night shoot was very beneficial, and Fortress Crew made it look like a Hollywood movie set to push us to the limit. For all of us, it was the first time we were unable to see our targets and had to make snap decisions to “get the job done” as Frank would say.


Kristen and Beth during the intense “night shoot”

This was the first time one of Fortress’ awesome female instructors came, and Tricia was amazing to work with. She really helped us with some of our “female specific” instruction and had the woman’s touch for the whole class. She was one tough woman, you definitely want her on your side!

pl and fd

Pretty Loaded and Fortress Defense

THANK YOU Frank, Tommy, Vince, and Tricia for the excellent training, friendship and making us even more “LOADED” so we can pass this valuable information on to our students.

There are two spots left in the June 13th Handgun and Concealed carry class for any of our students that have completed the Situational Awareness class. Sign up soon, and take your skills to the next level!

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