On Sunday, the folks over at Lucky Gunner treated us to a shortened version, or demo version of you will, of a pistol course from Range Master. Based on what I experienced, I think they have a sound program, and I would recommend it. Their staff are experienced law enforcement officers, and law enforcement and civilian trainers. You can see some of the people we met here. Tom Givens told us that he’s had 53 of his students go on to get into gunfights, and all of them won them. He did unfortunately say he’s had two of his students murdered, but both had forgotten the first rule of gunfighting, which is to bring a gun.
The day started with some basic classroom instruction, focusing largely on the mindset of carrying a firearm, safe firearm handling, and most of the basic stuff you’d expect to have covered. Then we went to the range session, which started with some basic exercises. Despite what our opponents often think, in that training is this magical thing that turns one from a bumbling fool into a competent gun handler, it is not. The purpose of training is to provide the building blocks of competent gun handling that can be practiced, over and over again, until it becomes second nature. Range Master teaches with this is mind, working from the holster to firing the gun in multiple steps and are combined over the course to show the student how to, on his or her’s own, drill those good habits into their brain through repetition and practice.
After drilling on the basics of the draw and presentation of the firearm, we worked up to firing, first one shot, then two, three, along with magazine changes through all the firing drills. One thing I learned was that I carry spare magazines backwards. In truth, and I’ll probably get kicked out of the tacticool club for admitting this, but I almost never carry a reload (unless you count a New York reload). I also learned a pretty good tip for one handed shooting, which was to allow the gun to cant a bit to the side if it helped you get a firmer grip on the pistol. This did seem to improve my one handed shooting, particularly with my left hand.
After lunch we did drills on improving shooting cadence, going from one shot per second, to two shots per second, and up to four shots per second. There are tips for being able to shoot fast accurately, which we didn’t get into very much, but that could be because we were not taking a full Range Master course. After working on cadence, that’s when the target dummies came out. Follow this link to see the web site of DVC Targets, who makes them. These are excellent training tools. They were fully dressed, and set to drop if hit with a clean shot to the vital area by a 9mm (which is what most were shooting, including me). This is the first time I’d ever shot at something that looks like a live person. The drill was to fire two shots into the chest area down zero zone on an IDPA target, at about 5 yards, then engage the dummy at about 10 yards. Two hits down zero at five yards I wasn’t going to sweat, but I was a little apprehensive about how my eye would find center of mass on something human shaped wearing clothing, but I found center of mass just fine and dropped the dummy.
If you’d like to take a class with Range Master, they are in the Memphis area, but do instruction offsite as well. You can find their schedule here. I think they did a pretty good job with us, and were very patient under the time-compressed circumstances. All training helps, and is beneficial, no matter what you think you know and no matter how basic the course. You will learn something new, or pick up a new technique that could end up working for you. I was glad to spend Sunday with Range Master, and thank them for introducing us to them, and to Lucky Gunner for arranging it.