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May 7th Defensive Handgun Class

Posted by JFranz On June 6, 2011 1 COMMENT

May 7th, 2011 Defensive Handgun Course at PHA in Lexington, NC

We had the pleasure of instructing 8 shooters at PHA in Lexington, NC on Saturday, May 7th in our Defensive Handgun course. The weather was perfect. My thanks to PHA for hosting our event and to the shooters who attended. I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did.

Pictures can be seen on our Photo Gallery page.

See you at the range.

One Response so far.

  1. KZero says:

    Aesir Training, Basic Handgun Class, 7 May 2011
    Instructed by Jeff Franz and Steve Sellers
    Location: Piedmont Handgunners Association (PHA) Range in Linwood, NC

    When the people I work with started asking “what are you doing this weekend?” the way most people in most jobs do, some were a bit surprised to hear that I was going back to the Basic Handgun class. “Didn’t you just do that back in March?” they’d ask. “Yes, I sure did,” I told them.
    There’s never anything wrong with going back through the basics. No matter how good you are, or how far along the training spectrum you’ve come, the basics are the foundation that the whole of your training and abilities are built upon, and reinforcement in this area is not a bad thing. I like to think of it in terms of reading a book; no matter how many times I’ve read a particular book, I usually catch something the next time through that I didn’t before.

    The morning started off with nice cool temperatures, but I knew it wouldn’t last. And thank goodness for sunscreen, because by about nine o’clock the sun was out in full force and would be until about three in the afternoon.
    We started things off with the usual “group hug” (“I’m so-and-so from wherever and I’m here because___________”), followed by the safety brief, and appointing of First and Secondary responders in case of mishap. Then it was time to load up and get out on the range.
    We started off, like last time, with learning the fundamentals of grip, stance, sight alignment/sight picture, and trigger control. This first half of the class was pretty much identical to the last class, but it gave me the opportunity to see how well I had incorporated what I had learned from last time.

    After lunch, we got into doing drills, some on the clock, some not. Jeff also likes to change the pace between drills, going from drills that are very fast-paced, and on a timer, to drills that are a bit slower, and more focused on precision.
    He also did a good job of not just trotting out the same old drills we ran the last time. The second half of the day was almost nothing at all like the second half of the day during the last class I took with him. Having different drills to run this time not only keeps things interesting and fresh, it also means I have even more tools to use during my all-to-infrequent practice sessions to build my skill.
    This was also my first experience with the “Roadhouse Drill,” an interesting little drill using steel targets that were rearranged for each shooter, while the designated shooter was not looking. This is the drill where somebody-who will hopefully remain nameless-was the only person to shoot head-shoot the “no-shoot” target.
    Since we weren’t too far behind schedule by the end of the class, Jeff decided we had time to try the “Walkback Drill.” So, we carried a steel plate over to the 100 yard rifle range. The drill goes like this: Your first shot at the plate is at 25 yards, two hands, taking all the time you want. If you miss, you still get to try….primary hand only. When / if you miss with your primary hand, you still get to try……but with your reaction hand only. When / if you miss with your reaction hand, you are out of the drill. But, “your baggage goes with you.” Say you hit the plate at 25 using both hands, but at 50 you miss with both hands. Using your primary hand only, you hit at 50. When you move back to 75, you are still shooting primary hand only. Devious, isn’t it?
    I don’t know exactly how big the plate was, but for the sake of generalities, I’ll say it was at least 16″ x 16″, and it gets tiny in a hurry at these ranges. Everyone thought it was fun, and it was definitely the furthest I have ever attempted to hit anything with a handgun. I’ll also say they grow some brave turkeys down in Linwood; part of the time we were shooting this drill, there was a wild (?) turkey wandering around to our left and across the downrange area, who didn’t seem bothered at all by the sound of gunfire, bullets whizzing overhead, or the sound of bullets smacking steel.

    What I took away from this course:
    -Mostly, a class like this shines a light on the areas that need the most work, and the purpose of this kind of class is to give you the tools to take with you so that you can become more proficient. As far as areas that need more work…..well, all of it! But I need to especially focus on my one-handed shooting accuracy, both primary-hand and reaction-hand.
    -Another benefit to a class like this, as said somewhere above, is you can evaluate how well the things you were taught before have integrated into your technique.
    I’m not a braggart by any means, nor do my targets display ragged, golf ball-sized holes at all ranges, but I can say without undue ego that I did a lot better this time than I did the first time through. (Incidentally, so did my nephew, who attended the last class with me.) There is still a lot of work for me to do, but now I have even more tools to work with to accomplish the goal of proficiency with a handgun.
    -Never underestimate the importance of dry-fire practice. Between the last class in March, and this one, I have only had the opportunity to practice one or two drills that were taught to us. But I have done a TON of dry firing, and will continue to do so. It’s easy, it’s FREE, and it’s helped me a lot.
    -It’s time to buy a proper pair of safety/sunglasses. The clear ones I have and the yellow-tinted ones my nephew let me try just aren’t cutting it for outside use. Thankfully in the afternoon, some high overcast came over, or the sun would have been in our faces as we faced downrange. So, some good shaded shooting glasses are on my short list.
    -Showing up with all of your gear is better than being the dumbarse who left something incidental (Holster? Who needs a holster!?) at home.

    So, all in all, everyone had a safe, productive learning experience. Jeff and Steve were real good about switching things up, while still stressing the points they were trying to get across to us. They were also real good about spending one-on-one time with the students, working on things with each of us until we got them down pat, and they didn’t just tell us how to shoot the drills, they got in there and shot a lot of them with us too, showing us that they knew what they were teaching us.

    There were no gun- or gear-related malfunctions with either myself or my nephew, aside from the double-feeds we intentionally set up during the malfunction-clearing portion of the class. His adjustable sight needed to be adjusted, and every now and again his slide wouldn’t lock back on an empty mag, but this was attributed to the super-high grip of the reaction hand putting just enough pressure on the slide lock lever to keep it from coming up. This only happened two or three times all day, and since we are certain that it is the reaction hand grip that is doing it, we don’t consider it to be an actual problem.

    For anyone who is within driving distance, I cannot recommend Aesir Training enough. If you own a handgun, and especially if you carry one concealed in public, you owe it to yourself and the public to become as proficient as you can with it. Aesir Training is the place to get just that. You’ll never regret it.

    My gear:
    Handgun: Glock 17, Gen4, with Glock-brand mags
    Holsters and mag carriers: Kydex, I made them.
    Ammo: Sellier & Bellot 115gr. FMJ, 9×19 (I really like this ammo)
    Belt: 5.11 Tactical Operator’s Belt, 1 3/4″, my everyday pants belt.
    Deep Woods Off insect repellant.

    Thanks for reading.
    Jeers, cheers, comments and questions welcome.


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