Pat Watson, founder and head trainer at Uncensored Tactical, recently observed on Twitter that “All the rifle courses in the world won’t do you any good if you can’t get through the locked obstacle that’s keeping you out of the gunfight.”

This was an interesting bookend to the revelation I had about halfway through the first day of his Tactical Lock Picking class. We were popping the latch on a commercial office-type door when I realized I’d feel pretty silly if I tried to beat feet out of an area where a terrorist or active shooter was doing their thing — and found myself stopped short of freedom and safety by a simple locked door.

It was an interesting training curriculum, which the name hardly does justice. It included lockpicking, certainly — in fact, probably two-thirds of the class time was focused in that direction — but there was also a great deal on escaping restraints, bypassing locks, a few things that fell into the category of “social engineering,” and more.

As far as the “tactical” in the class title, it speaks more to the mindset and ethos behind the class materials, rather than the weekend’s

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