Member Monday: VOD Tactical
VOD TACTICAL—FRANK & RHONDA SEAMAN
Tucked away in the time-worn mountains of the Blue Ridge range sits a plot of land that holds the hearts and history of Frank Seaman and his wife Rhonda. Named Manoah, the 134-acre farm stretches across the foothills of Old Fort and is home to their business, Virtue Of Defense Tactical or VOD Tactical, a not-so-typical firing range.
The land has had many incarnations and has been in Rhonda’s family dating back to the original land grants from King George III. Its name stems from the Hebrew word meaning ‘rest’ or ‘peace’. Aptly monikered, the land has taken good care of the Seamans and the generations that came before. A blessing of sorts as it is also the name of Samson’s father from the Book of Judges in the Bible (Chapter 13, it’s a short read!)
The couple has a deep love and loyalty to their community and are active partners in efforts to grow Old Fort responsibly. McDowell County natives, the two met “on the side of Highway 70” as Frank recalls, “Just having graduated Paris Island.” They will host family and friends at Manoah next month in a festive mountain shindig celebrating 33 years of marriage.
Family, commitment, and virtue are important to Frank. Although he takes these tenants seriously, his jovial disposition and quick wit are what draw people to him. With his pipe propped in the corner of his mouth in what seems to be a perpetual grin, images of St. Nick flicker through the mind. It’s part of what makes training with Frank so easy, comfortable.
Not your typical firearms instructor Frank brings a level of humble confidence earned through experience, respect, and conviction. A Recon Marine, he knows how important it is to operate well under pressure when handling firearms. For Frank, its about SAFETY. “We’re here to be and to teach people how to be good stewards of the shooting world,” he said. “We’re teaching people habitual safety habits, grooming them to understand that safety is the top priority.”
Following his service to the country, Frank spent 23 years with the Wakenhut Corporation, the world’s largest private security company where he said he really learned the art of tactical shooting.
“We don’t shoot just to shoot,” he explained. “We focus on one specific skill set at a time. When faced with danger, we go into flight or fight mode. We experience an adrenaline dump where fine motor skills are no longer working.” At VOD Tactical, it’s not all about being fast or accurate, although they have professional marksmen frequent the range. His priority is to educate ordinary people how to operate a firearm under that level of pressure by elevating their skill set. “The gun is the great equalizer,” he said. “This is a perishable skill set and target shooting in the backyard is not going to prepare you for a life-or-death situation.”
The art of shooting a weapon for self-defense involves a thousand different physical and mental operations to be successfully executed simultaneously—all while under duress. We all have a pressure gap, he explains. This concept was described well by a good friend and executive coach with which I work. Imagine walking a straight line on the ground. You’re likely not going to have any problem performing the task. Now, walk that same straight line on a balance beam or a tightrope hundreds of feet in the air when the cost of falling is so much greater and that’s where we find our pressure gap—our ability to proficiently execute a skill at the highest level of stress. You may be able to walk a straight line, but it takes practiced skills to be able to do that same task just as well when you’re in danger. As Frank says, “Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.”
I recently took my family (five of us) to VOD Tactical for a family outing—something fun to do. Two of my party had military backgrounds while the other three were backyard shooters. I must admit, I felt like I needed a whole class in just handling (loading, unloading, etc.) the weapon and learning to be comfortable with it. Even though I had passed the concealed carry test, I knew that I was not prepared to ward off any attacker should I meet one while running in the woods. This is serious business—being responsible gun owners, and I was grateful that Frank led from this perspective. The value take-away for our first lesson was now we knew exactly what we needed to work on to improve.
The training you’ll receive at VOD Tactical is mined from three firearms disciplines, military, police, and competition. It’s actually the only regional range where shooters can work on basic skills, close quarter skills, and long-range skills—in one place. Tactical work includes becoming proficient with drawing from a holster, taking cover, and firing at moving targets.
“We don’t do Hollywood tactics here,” Frank said. “We focus on life-saving techniques, defense, and gun fighting skills.” They offer women’s only classes, concealed carry classes, and everything from basic instruction to hosting practice for elite military forces and professional shooters. VOD Tactical Members are stringently vetted he said. “This is a thinking man’s activity and we want people that have a respect for the art.”
Neighbor and fellow Marine, Jeremy Bailey joined the VOD Tactical team in 2018 after meeting Rhonda at church. He fondly recalls meeting Frank the following week at his farm when Frank showed up and hollered up at him, “I understand there is a Marine here that is unsupervised.” It was instant brotherhood according to both men. (They ran into each other’s arms—it’s a Marine thing.) Jeremy has extensive firearms training and helps instruct on the range as well as create some of their more unusual and creative activities for clients.
The Run & Gun allows professionals and amateurs to navigate an obstacle course of rope climbing, tire flipping, shooting, and running to hone their practical skills and mix it up a bit. Date Night (coming soon) will allow gun-toting romancers to dine and fire at the range with a catered sit-down meal and time on the range. Then there is the Friday Night Fights event that is open to individuals for a little friendly competition. The competition events always have fun door prizes and maybe some of Frank’s great stories. Private parties can book instructional time, range time, or request a customized experience.
“Everyone is taken care of,” Frank adds. “We are really building a family here. We get high level operators and beginners come together and you’ll see a natural mentorship evolve. There is no ego allowed.”
When you visit VOD Tactical, you are welcomed into the family as ambassadors of gun ownership. So if you are looking to learn how to safely operate your firearm, improve your skills, and have fun doing it, visit them on Facebook and make sure to check out their Instagram Account and their website; vodtac.com.
VOD Tactical is located at 438 Walker Drive, Old Fort, NC 28762 and can be reached at 828.442.7404.