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Alex Nieuwland
Columbia, SC
Suarez International Ambassador
Interests: The pursuit of excellence
Recent Activity
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A Suarez International class can be a good place to wring out your gear. To quote a student in a recent rifle class: “You really don’t know if your gear is ready to go until you run it in a Suarez International rifle class.” The more you can take care of gear issues ahead of class, however, the more you can focus on developing your fighting skills during the class. At the suggestion of some of our students, JD Lester and I have put together this list of recommendations to help students prepare for their Rifle Gunfighting classes, so we can maximize our short time together training instead of dealing with avoidable gear issues. Some of these recommendations are specific to the classes in Columbia, SC (like this one, this February), but most apply to all Rifle Gunfighting classes, no matter where they are taught. Feel free to add your own suggestions or experiences in the comments below this post, or on WarriorTalk. Rifles Bring whatever rifle you want, as long as it’s a magazine-fed semi-automatic. The Cowboy Assault Rifle... Continue reading
Posted Mar 2, 2015 at GABE SUAREZ BLOG
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A systematic look at AR malfunctions and how to clear them. Continue reading
Posted Jan 28, 2015 at GABE SUAREZ BLOG
Thank you! I'll try that.
"Look again. Compare the top steel one to the bottom steel one. The second is aluminum" The top magazine is aluminum with a black finish. The second magazine is steel with a grey finish. The bottom magazine is steel with a black finish. Come to class and I will show you in person.
"since that day in 1967 when I was assigned to the 1st Cav Div and was told to load 18 rounds in our 20 round mags (they were the only one available back then)." Thank you for your service! Yes, 20 round magazines are now somewhat rare, but back then that was all that was available.
"The top two labels are reversed" No, they are not. It is definitely steel: a magnet sticks to it, and it is much heavier than the top magazine.
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Taking a detailed look at the different AR magazines and how to fill them. Continue reading
Posted Jan 12, 2015 at GABE SUAREZ BLOG
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As Suarez International instructors, we believe in being well rounded. That not only implies being good with all manner of weapons, but also being well rounded in other areas. Fortunately, being well versed with modern weapons does not require that one retreat to a temple to focus entirely on one’s martial skills. There is still time to learn other useful things. One of those things is other languages. A fe w years ago, I visited Mexico for the first time. This was the first country I had ever visited where I did not know the language, and I did not like this at all. As a result, I decided to learn Spanish. This topic comes up on the forum occasionally, so I thought it might be entertaining and instructive to detail my own experiences here. Feel free to add yours in the comments. Now, I’m sure some readers are thinking: “I should not have to learn Spanish. They should learn English!” or some such sentiment while referring to native Spanish speakers. That’s all well and good, but the reality of... Continue reading
Posted Sep 14, 2014 at GABE SUAREZ BLOG
Brian: This is my preferred setup. It is what I use whenever I can get away with wearing an untucked closed-front cover garment. It is bulky, but it's symmetrical and the weight is distributed evenly. Anyone noticing the extra bulk will probably conclude that I have somewhat of a successful life body, but I'm OK with that ;-)
Toggle Commented Sep 2, 2014 on Dual appendix carry at GABE SUAREZ BLOG
Knives are handy. I'm currently down to one knife, because my "left handed" knife (a Kershaw) was stolen out of my luggage, and I have yet to replace it since Kershaw regrettably seems to have moved its production to China. I always carry an assisted opener clipped inside my right hand pocket. You can see it in the photos in the article. For a while, I carried a small fixed blade (Ka-Bar TDI) in the middle, between the holsters, that was ideal from an accessibility and speed standpoint, but I ultimately decided that it was more hassle than it was worth routinely, given the knife I already had in each pocket.
Toggle Commented Aug 30, 2014 on Dual appendix carry at GABE SUAREZ BLOG
Jess: Yes, I carry one spare magazine on each side. It balances me out, and gives me rapid access to one reload magazine no matter which hand I have the gun in. If I have to, I can reach across my body and access the magazine on the "wrong" side as well. I use 17-round magazines, because they are easier to seat, and are just as easy to hide as 15-round magazines.
Toggle Commented Aug 30, 2014 on Dual appendix carry at GABE SUAREZ BLOG
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The two suspicious characters slowly advancing on me were between me and the door. The one on the left was freaking huge. The guy on the right was much smaller, but he was so close to the wall that I could not get through on that side. The area behind me was filled with clutter and offered no way out. My only way out was that doorway. GUN! Both of them were starting to draw what looked very much like pistols. I’m fast, but I knew from experience that it’s not fast enough to outdraw someone once they are already drawing, and DEFINITELY not fast enough to outdraw two guys. So I leapt forward towards the gap between the wall and the huge guy. Using my momentum and the wall for leverage, I drove him into his accomplice with my left arm while my right hand grabbed for my own pistol, which I carried in an AIWB (appendix carry inside the waistband) holster on my right side. I cleared the hem of my concealment garment one-handed, and felt the familiar... Continue reading
Posted Aug 30, 2014 at GABE SUAREZ BLOG
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One of the elements of Suarez International gunfighting doctrine that tends to cause lots of discussion is the way we encourage students to perform their reloads: by default, we retain the used magazine. There are lots and lots of tacticool guys on the Interwebz who favor playing Hansel and Gretel with used magazines, but as WT member Saladin (who has been there and done that) famously remarked during the subgun class in Prescott: “Ammo don’t come in magazines.” Without a reliable magazine to feed from, your semi-automatic becomes only slightly more useful than a muzzle-loader. I’m sorry if that hurts the Hansels’ tacticool pride, but that is the truth of the matter. Because the Hansels usually misrepresent what we teach to fit their preconceived notions, I figured I’d post what we teach on this blog. I have also added some personal observations on unexpected benefits of following what we teach. Suarez International courses teach you how to fight. What you can do on a nice shooting range when the sun is high in the sky, you are feeling good, everything... Continue reading
Posted Jul 13, 2014 at GABE SUAREZ BLOG
Alex Nieuwland is now following JD Lester
Jun 29, 2013
Alex Nieuwland is now following Gabe Suarez
Jun 29, 2013
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Alex Nieuwland - Suarez International Staff Instructor Life is pretty good, here in Columbia, SC, but during the summer the heat and humidity combine to form conditions that can be dangerous to the ill-prepared. When the summer sun starts beating down, and the humidity makes the air feel like you could cut it with a knife, it’s easy to exceed the body’s capacity to cool itself. When this happens, dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke can be the result. None of those are conducive to a good training experience, to put it mildly, so it is important to take good care of yourself. I thought I’d share some refinements that I’ve made to my heat survival system this summer here. The night before I go to the range, I will fill my 100-oz hydration pack half full with sports drink and freeze it. I place it into the freezer so the cap is up, and blow into the valve to clear it, and the hose, of liquid. I’m careful not to blow too much air into the bladder,... Continue reading
Posted Aug 30, 2012 at GABE SUAREZ BLOG
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By Alex Nieuwland – Suarez International Staff Instructor As my fellow Staff Instructor Chris Upchurch likes to say: “If I could make you a certified badass in 2 days, I’d charge you a LOT more money!” He is right, of course. There is only so much we can do, even in a 2-day Suarez International training course, to tilt the odds into your favor. I think of training to maximize the odds of winning your gunfight as a 3-step learning cycle. Some folks seem unfamiliar with this learning cycle, so I thought I would post it here. Step 1 is gathering credible information. To the consternation of some, watching TV and playing Modern Warfare is NOT considered credible information when it comes to actually winning gunfights in the real world. Attending a Suarez International course IS credible information. Watching the course DVD before the course makes it easier to absorb the information, but is no substitute for actually doing the exercises in class. During the class, focus on doing the exercises correctly, rather than rapidly. Speed AND performing the task... Continue reading
Posted Jun 24, 2012 at GABE SUAREZ BLOG
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 By Alex Nieuwland, Suarez International Staff Instructor in South Carolina As many are making their spending plans for the new year, I’d like to reflect on the search for the “Good Deal”. To quote gunsmith Mark Graham: “What made you think you were getting a $1000 battle rifle for $600?” I’d say ignorance and extrapolating from other experiences (like buying groceries) is the answer to that question, therefore this article. When it comes to buying groceries, I’m a value shopper. Given the choice between spaghetti in a Mueller’s box and a Great Value box, I’ll take the Great Value box. Sure, the Muller’s spaghetti comes with a whole marketing spiel on the box extolling the natural origin and wholesomeness of the box’s contents, but that’s not what I’m buying. I’m buying spaghetti. The 25% premium I save by going with the Great Value brand represents more room in my ammo budget. I’d like to define the true Good Deal as follows: Solving your problem for the smallest amount of money and aggravation. A solution that doesn’t solve your problem... Continue reading
Posted Jan 3, 2012 at GABE SUAREZ BLOG
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 By Alex Nieuwland, Suarez International Staff Instructor Earlier this year, I had TSD install a Trijicon RMR sight on my primary Glock 19 carry gun. When I started practicing with it, everything was as expected when it came to sighted fire: I was keeping all of my shots in the silhouette at 100 yards, plinking at 8” plates at 50 yards, etc. Point shooting while moving, however, did not feel right. It felt as if something was slowing me down. I recently figured out what it was, and thought I’d try to explain it here in case others are in the same situation. Now, point shooting looks and feels different to different people. That’s why you should come to a point shooting class to experience it for yourself. If this is not how it looks and feels to you, move right along. I'm cross dominant: my primary hand is on my right side, but my dominant eye is on my left side. If you’re not already cross dominant, you may be in a similar situation when you are shooting... Continue reading
Posted Dec 30, 2011 at GABE SUAREZ BLOG
By Alex Nieuwland, Suarez International Staff Instructor This October, Suarez International Tier 1 Staff Instructor Randy Harris traveled from Tennessee to South Carolina to teach a Force-on-Force Gunfighting class. This course is a good demonstration of what makes the whole Suarez International handgun curriculum so advanced: it is based on the lessons from Force on Force training, and without learning those lessons your preparation to fight real gunfights is incomplete. Extrapolating from square range training to gunfight tactics, like so many other organizations do, is putting the cart before the horse. The purpose of this post is to share some of the lessons learned from this FoF training course. Some of these lessons have to be experienced to be really believed, so find a FoF course near you and come experience them for yourselves. Lesson #1: No prior experience is needed to benefit from FoF training. Suarez International makes FoF training available to the general public, without requiring any prerequisites. This class demonstrated the wisdom of that policy. Students who were already skilled with live weapons had a chance to... Continue reading
Posted Nov 1, 2011 at GABE SUAREZ BLOG
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 By Alex Nieuwland, Suarez International Staff Instructor In my area of operations, home invasion is gaining in popularity as a tactic used by criminals. Apparently, cold burglaries with very precise information are preferred, but if that won’t work home invasion is considered as a perfectly acceptable alternative. Recently, I started looking for more information on countering this specific tactic. Most of what I found was well-meaning but impractical advice or products. There was, however, some good along with the bad that I thought was worth passing on. Types of home invasion We typically think about home invasions as starting with a kicked-in door. That is not necessarily the case. Home invasions can be subdivided by their means of gaining entry: force, deception, stealth, garage, and carjacking. Force is what we commonly think of when we think of home invasions: a kick to the door knob. Deception means a ruse is used to get an occupant of the house to willingly open the door. Stealth means picking or “bumping” the lock, or entering though an unlocked door. Garage means gaining... Continue reading
Posted Sep 11, 2011 at GABE SUAREZ BLOG
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By Alex Nieuwland – Suarez International Staff Instructor in South Carolina I’ve heard all of these comments, some of them recently. “All of this realistic training to win gunfights is getting in the way of my IDPA.” “Practicing with my reloads that barely make power factor and barely cycle my gun has made my gun handling worse instead of better.” “I can’t stop myself from walking backwards instead of pointing my toes in the direction I’m going. I’ve been a gamer for too long!” All of these shooters had fallen into the gamer trap. I know I had, so I could relate. Participating in gun games, just like most things, is good in moderation. When taken to extremes, however, it becomes easy to fall into the “gamer trap” where winning the game instead of winning your upcoming gunfight becomes priority #1. As Jim Cirillo, who was an accomplished competition shooter as well as the winner of many gunfights, put it: “It may take extra time in a sports match, but in reality it would save lives. To hell with the... Continue reading
Posted Jul 10, 2011 at GABE SUAREZ BLOG
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By Alex Nieuwland, SI Staff Instructor Almost exactly ten years ago, a friend of mine invited me to my first IDPA match. I still remember the first stage I ever shot. It was called “Officer Down.” For string 1, I started out laying flat on my back with my legs pointed at the target, holding a hammer in my left hand, and a Glock 19 in my right hand. At the buzzer, I sat up and shot both targets twice. For string 2, the hammer and gun switched hands. The only matches I had previous experience with were much more sedate, and I thought IDPA was the greatest thing since sliced bread. Fast forward 10 years. I have shot countless IDPA matches and been an IDPA Safety Officer for longer than I can remember, but I have also received some of the best training money can buy through force-on-force training with Suarez International. I still shoot IDPA matches, and will continue to do so, but I have also realized that most of my fellow IDPA shooters are training to beat... Continue reading
Posted Jan 2, 2011 at GABE SUAREZ BLOG
Alex Nieuwland is now following The Typepad Team
Dec 15, 2010