AAR: Utah F.A.S.T Armed Security Course

The First AAR

For those of you who don’t know what an AAR is, it’s an After Action Review. Basically after a course, class, workshop, etc. you sit down and discuss what was supposed to happen, what happened, what went well, and what can improve. Here at Survival Defense Lab we’re going to start doing them as a way to review trainings, etc., that we participate in. Our first AAR is with Utah F.A.S.T and their Armed Security Guard course. Check out the video AAR below, and the write up afterwards.


What Was Supposed To Happen

As I said in the video, this isn’t meant to be a high-speed-shoot-from-the-sun-roof-of-your-moving-car type of course. It’s a course focused on meeting licensure requirements to be an armed security guard in the state of Utah. It was taught by Steve Marquardt of Utah F.A.S.T. at a local security company he works with.

What Happened

The course was broken up over two days; 4 hours on the first day, and 8 on the second. The first night was all classroom instruction. It focused on firearm safety and basic gun handling techniques. The second day started in the classroom and focused on the legalities and potential scenarios that are encountered in armed security work. We also physically practiced basic gun handling while there in the classroom. We then took the written portion of the license exam. We then went to a firing range for hands on gun instruction and the handgun qualifying portion of the exam.

What Went Well

As I said a course like this could result in a bunch of boring verbatim reading of power point slides. Steve did a wonderful job of avoiding that. When it comes to legal code and regulations it’s important to read word for word what’s there. The law is especially important when it comes to firearms, so it’s good to know the details, but beyond that if an instructor reads the slides verbatim they might as well have emailed them out to everyone. Steve did not do that. He used them as a guide to help his teaching not as a crutch to make up for it.

As well as top notch classroom instruciton Steve was also able to provide great instruction and correction on the range. Before taking the qualifying test, he had us practice and was able to immediately identify our issues and provide correction. He wasn’t condescending, but he didn’t shy away from telling us what we were doing wrong, and that’s a hard quality to find in an instructor. Too many think they’re better than you and laugh at your newb mistakes or they don’t want to make you feel bad so you’ll come back and give them more money so they don’t tell you how to improve.

What Could Improve

As I said in the video, the only real negative was the range; which is completely out of Steve’s hands as far as quality goes. He was striving to keep costs down by going to the one we went to, but having talked with him since the course, he’s put down a little more in order to go to a better range where everything works. As he continues to grow in his training business I know he’s got big plans that will require even better ranges and I know he’ll do what he can to get those into the courses for the best price possible.


It was a great time and a lot of fun. I look forward to taking future courses from Steve and Utah F.A.S.T. as he’s a great detail oriented instructor with years of experience under his belt. If you’re looking for some great affordable training in the Utah area head on over to his website to see what courses are available and get signed up. You’ll be glad you did.

So what do you think of our AAR? Let’s have an AAR on the AAR in the comments below. Thanks and as always, stay awesome!

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